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PharaohsVizier
08-16-2008, 12:16 AM
Memory Cards – Which do you need?


What kind of memory do you need?


Probably one of the only things people look at back in the time of GBA flash carts was the memory. How many games will it hold? Does it compress?


But today, in the flash cart market of the DS, there are far more questions regarding the memory. Not only does memory affect how many games can be put into the DS, it also affects speed.


All flash carts, in the past, in the present, and in the future are in two major categories which can be summarized relatively easily:


-Built-in Memory: Flash Carts that do not require memory cards, instead have some memory within the card.


-Expandable Memory: Flash Carts that do require memory cards, from SD to MicroSD.


Flash carts with built-in memory are fairly straight-forward. There is no future upgrading, no expanding memory, you are basically stuck with what you have. In some cases, there is a large amount of memory (N-Card), however, in almost all other cases, you are stuck with 512mb. The flip side to this memory is that built-in memory is faster than expandable media. The N-Card, the G6 Lite, they all run Castlevania – Portrait of Ruin flawlessly. This is an incredible feat for carts with expandable memory.


Flash carts with expandable memory are far more complex. There is a lot to worry about, from the amount of space, the quality of the chip, the price, and the speed. The good news about these memory cards is that if you buy the equivalent memory of built-in, they are cheaper.


Expandable media is a fancy way of saying memory cards. There is quite a large selection of memory cards, and you have to get the one that your cart supports. These memory card types are:

-CF: Really fast, even the slowest cards don’t give anyone problems, however they are big, I’d say 10x as big as the MicroSDs. However, they are fast, and cheap because they are old.

-SD: Relatively small, the carts that support SD stick out of old DSs by just a little bit. However, SD cards are slow, and unless you pay top dollar for one, then you’ll have lag for some of the more troublesome games.

-MiniSD: These carts are about half the size of SD cards, and they run really slow. You need to find the right cards to run the more problematic games, and even then you’ll have to live with lag. I’d recommend getting the A-Data 1gb MiniSD, they are not that expensive, and they run relatively fast compared to the others.

-MicroSD: These carts have a wide array of results, from ridiculously slow to surprisingly fast. Generally speaking, most people would suggest the 1gb MicroSD cards that are branded with SD-C10G cards, which are the Kingston 1gb MicroSD (Made in Japan), PNY MicroSD, and the Toshiba MicroSD.


However, what some people don’t understand is that most people won’t ever meet one of these problematic games. In most games, it may be slight, unnoticeable lag, only a few games have major problems. In Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, there is lag in the intro video, who cares? In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, there are freezes and stutters, so you may need a fast card. In Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam, there are stutters, regardless of what cart you have, the only cart that can run this game no problem is the N-Card. So unless you must play those games, you can get cheaper memory cards and simply avoid those games. However, I must say, the Kingston 1gb MicroSD (Made in Japan) are super cheap, so why choose something else?


So which kind should you choose? It is really hard to say. The built-in media features fast memory, and it is all decided and picked for you. So if you’re lazy, and you just want to get it over with, built-in media is the way to go. However, if you want to pick out a really cheap option, or you want the best, then you can go to either side of the spectrum and pick expandable media.


How much memory will I need?


Instead of giving you stats of how many games will be stored in each amount of memory, I will tell you right out, get a 1gb memory card. There are two main reasons for this suggestion.


First off, 512mb is just not enough, if you put a single movie in there, you’ll probably run out of space, if you have a favorite game you want to keep, you’ll never have enough space to swap. Second reason would be that memory cards with 1gb tend to be faster than the rest. Because of the technology involved in creating 1gb memory cards, they are a step higher than the 512mb, however, increasing the memory to 2gb will drastically slow performance.