Author Topic: [Review] Famicom/NES Everdrive ENGLISH  (Read 12347 times)

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Offline aleomark

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[Review] Famicom/NES Everdrive ENGLISH
« on: June 01, 2013, 02:58 AM »

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What’s up guys!! So long since the last review, what can I say, medicine is a time consuming career, but anyway, I am not discouraged to come up with my own (format and style) review. Another user already posted his review and that is fine because with more reviews posted, the user gets more chances to debate if a flashcart is a good option or not. 

Introduction
The flashcart manufacturer Krikzz it’s already well known by all of us, he is an enthusiastic of the videogames and a retro console device developer. This time, he is launching the flashcart for the NES/Famicon console, originally developed in Famicon format (pin size and order differs from NES) but equally compatible as long as you get a CIC “famicon-nes” adapter; likewise, a NES PCB is coming soon.

About the reviewer

My nickname is usually Aleomark, in some webpages of CR I am also known as Sousuke, but internationally and officially I prefer Aleomark, and I want to add in this section that I have already done several reviews in the past, both in English and in Spanish, about flashcarts for different companies and retro scene accessories, so you can take for sure that in my analysis you will find a broad perspective about comparison and, most importantly, neutrality when it comes to analyzing and writing my reviews, I thank those who sponsored my reviews sending me samples, but when doing the analysis I am as objective as possible, so that you, the readers, can make sure you are reading a good review which you may use to base a decision of acquiring the product.

Quickly, what is a flashcart and how does it work?
A flashcart is a device, usually a PCB with multiple components and a wide manufacturing development, that primarily loads roms (console games in digital format) in the console itself, using some kind of storage mean, usually an SD, in a way that resembles an actual cartridge/official game. They usually offer some extras that upgrade their value: customized menu, compatibility with unofficial titles or translations never seen before!

Why should you buy a flashcart and stop playing with free emulators?
because if you like retro consoles and videogames and if you like to fully enjoy a game, you clearly know that an emulator is not enough. As a matter of fact, you may know that nothing compares to the sensation of playing one of the considered “essential” games in the actual console with the actual joysticks in a tube TV or ctr. In short, it is playing the game accordingly to the conditions in which the manufacturer thought that the game was going to be played. Also, it raises a very special feeling that takes you beyond the experience of simply using an “old” console, that feeling is easily known by an actual gamer, no need of any further explanation.



How does it look like? Is it a big ugly device like those old SNES copiers? (I compare to SNES copiers just as an example!)
The look is one of the most positive features of this flashcart, it is a blue PCB with some inscriptions: "Everdrive", "http://krikzz.com" y "Front Side"/"Back Side", specially designed to fit a cartridge case, which gives you the option to “dress” it or customize it. In addition, you can post your ideas and customizations in the forum.


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But if you do not like handicrafts, there are resellers like Stoneagegamer that sell a full version of the flashcart with a professional finish.


In my case, as usual, I choose to customize my own cartridge (aside from the fact that I needed to do so since I received a famicom PCB for my NES console). I needed to get a CIC Famicon-NES adapter (you can get a simple Famicon-NES adapter and then weld the CIC chip) so I choose to buy a NES Gyromite game, the version that includes an adapter, this was guaranteed by the seller in Ebay because there are a lot of Gyromite games that do not include the adapter, this is something you should keep in mind before buying one.


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You will also need a gamebit de 4.5mm screwdriver:

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Just in case, I bought a retrousb transparent blue case as well, but you can also use the one from the Gyromite game.


It is important for you to properly place the PCB inside the case (picture without the back cover):

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So it looks like this:

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For decorating the case, you can look for cover designs in the  assembler's official forum and download a label and insert. Also krikzz' forum is already available in case you need more covers to browse. I did use a cover uploaded by user: Magnus87 in Krikzz’ forum and the final result was:


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What does the product include?
You just get the N8-Everdrive PCB, something good is that you do not need to buy any uncommon format memory devices and then find out they are not compatible. You do not need any accessories to read the SD, nor any unstable client PC software full of bugs. When you receive your cart, you only need to adapt a case for the PCB, to have a SD (2GB). Nevertheless, it does not include any printed instruction manual even though the cart’s usage is very simple and intuitive. There is also a version with a USB port, which is very useful for programmers to transfer their homebrew to the cart without connecting/disconnecting the SD, this USB version is more expensive, but it is not indispensable unless you are a programmer.

You will receive a package like this:         



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Manufacturer’s Specifications
EverdDrive-N8 RAM cartridge for Famicom / NES with micro SD interface.

Features:
Famicom, NES and Famicom individual systems compatibility. *Many NES/FC clones are compatible too.
NES/FDS ROM images.
FDS Automatic disk side change.

Audio expansion**
Game Genie compatibility.
Automatically makes security copies in the microSD. No need to restart before shutting down the system.***
Mapper support can be extended through software updating, as easy as loading new mapper files in the micrSD card.
FAT / FAT16 / FAT32 file system format compatibility.
MicroSD (SD and SDHC) cards compatibility (up to 32 GB).

Game files quick loading (4-8 seconds aprox).
USB port for homebrew and mapper development (optional).

EverdDrive-N8 hardware:
Powerful FPGA.
2 x 512Kbyte SRAM for PRG and CHR data.
128Kbyte memory back up battery (Saves data in the microSD).
CPLD Max II FPGA for BIOS, SD, USB reconfiguration.
 BIOS 1Mbyte flash.
PPU voltage change buffers and CPU bus for game levels between 5v NES bus and 3.3 EverDrive bus, much better than the simple damper resistor for reducing noise and the energetic consumption.

*The Everdrive N8 Famicon version requieres a "Famicom to NES" adapter in order to be compatible with the NES consoles. The Everdrive N8 NES version requieres a "NES to Famicom" adapter in order to be compatible with the Famicon consoles.
**Only the Everdrive N8 Famicon version is capable of using the "expansion sound" function (no intervention required). The NES consoles need a modification for using this feature.
***FDS is the only exception, the user has to press the RESET button for returning to the main menu before shutting down the console, otherwise the data saved in the games will be lost.

Updates and support
The firmware is updated through the SD, the support provided by Krikzz has been wonderful, there is an official forum with a lot of users in which Krikzz answer questions himself (only in English) and sometimes, when needed, the users can ship back the cart to Krikzz for him to fix/replace it with a new one.

Menu/Interface

The menu is very simple it is just a black background and in yellow font color the folder names and in white font color the file names. To browse the menu:
Up/down: for moving through the roms/directories list.
Left/right: for moving through the roms/directories page.
Select: options.
Start: for starting last session saved in the flascart.
B: enter.
A: return/esc.


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If you press “select” you will see this:


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And if you enter “options” you will see this:

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My recommendation is to leave the options as they are shown in the picture: the audio volume should be HIGH, file sorting ON, reset to game OFF and the SRAM backup ON (for the games that use battery).

If you enter the Cheat option you will see the game genie code for introducing.


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In the device info option you will see the flashcart data:

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In mapper info you will see the mapper compatibility.


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In about you will see the credits and the browsing instructions.

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Compatibility
The compatibility is high, the flascart can play a lot of mappers, you can go to following link to find a complete list of compatible games:
Some screenshots using the flashcart: http://skinnyv.cerise.feralhosting.com/misc/Everdrive_N8_Compatibility_List_%28nesos-s3m5%29.pdf







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Conclusions
This flashcart is a great option for the Nintendo 8-bits fans, you do not need to use any buggy PC client software, nor any other accessory for SD loading and when you receive it, you just need to look for a case (in case you bought just the PCB) and a SD with all required files and roms.

Pros
- Factory microSD support.
-Ultra-high loading speed.
- No PC software required.
- Region free.
- Updates and support.
- High compatibility, over 90% of the games. No patching required.
 -Saves compatibility.
-Firmware updates unattended and silent.

Cons
- Unattractive menu.
-No written instruction manual.
- Requieres a "Famicom to NES" / "NES to Famicom" depending on the console and version that you have.

Where to buy?
stoneagegamer.com
retrogate.com
warnersretrocorner.com
emere.es
gp2x.de
junfangames.taobao.com (for Chinesse customers)
retrogame.co.kr
store.kitsch-bent.com
hardcore-gamer.net
sanvishop.com

« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 03:11 AM by aleomark »

Offline dvd2vcd

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Re: [Review] Famicom/NES Everdrive ENGLISH
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2013, 09:14 AM »
nice review +1 have you ever thought of making ED instruction manuals?
ED64 v2.5 - MEGAED X7 - TED v2.4 - SD2SNES rev F - EDN8 fami - REVO K101 GBA

Offline butfluffy

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Re: [Review] Famicom/NES Everdrive ENGLISH
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2013, 01:50 PM »
i also liked the review, very informative. i don't understand why people see the menu/gui as a negative personally. it does everything required of it for good functionality, can display long filenames which is a major positive imo, maybe people are spoiled these days by modern pc's, tablets and so on with all the shiny menu graphics on offer lol. we have to remember the nes was released in the mid 80's.
 also regarding instruction manuals... the only time i felt let with a krikzz product not having instructions was when i didn't know how saving worked on the master everdrive. but thanks to this forum and assembler forums there was already people with the same problem and some people in the know explained whats what.
instruction manuals could be handy for people new to flash carts but a in those cases maybe a brief manual that can be accessed online would do the trick. in all fairness krikzz is always on here answering questions and it's a friendly community here with everyone willing to help out.

Offline Duo_r

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Re: [Review] Famicom/NES Everdrive ENGLISH
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2013, 05:43 PM »
Excellent review!

I will be releasing a simple instruction manual probably next week. I created a special version for a special run of these boards and going to release one for everyone.

As you stated it's simple but there are things like Saving Fami disc games and loading Genie codes that have a few caveats to them.

Offline Hanafuda

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Re: [Review] Famicom/NES Everdrive ENGLISH
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2013, 06:28 PM »
Nice review, very useful for those who might be considering buying the N8 (and comparing it to competing carts).
Are you planning to repost this review on other sites?

And Duo_r, yes please and thank you!  :)

Offline aleomark

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Re: [Review] Famicom/NES Everdrive ENGLISH
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2013, 06:58 PM »
Hi, yes I will. People can have diferent opinion than me, its dificult to find points against these product , personally i don't mind about black screen as menú, but everything plays an important rol when you have to talk about an item, because that can be important for other users

Offline butfluffy

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Re: [Review] Famicom/NES Everdrive ENGLISH
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2013, 07:29 PM »
i understand your point. there seems to be people out there who want a more fancy gui for the older console everdrive carts so i guess there is a demand for it. also i suppose a nicer gui may come in handy as a selling point for people who purchase with their eyes as opposed to functionality, the powerpak don't offer anything better in the way of gui though from what i have seen but any improvements are welcome. from what i gather is the gui was to be improved cosmetic wise the improvements would have to be within reason especially for the older systems like master system or nes.
 i have not tried to save a fds game yet or use any game genie codes so i myself could have problems in these aspects so maybe a manual would a decent idea after all.

Offline dvd2vcd

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Re: [Review] Famicom/NES Everdrive ENGLISH
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2013, 08:47 PM »
I will be releasing a simple instruction manual probably next week. I created a special version for a special run of these boards and going to release one for everyone.
+1 :)
ED64 v2.5 - MEGAED X7 - TED v2.4 - SD2SNES rev F - EDN8 fami - REVO K101 GBA