Hardware by Nintendo
- Console - There is the original DS, which comes in different colors and different firmwares, but you can't tell the firmware version from it's color; however, an old, silver DS is more likely to have an old, easier to flash firmware. Look here to learn how to check the firmware version on a DS. This DS is sold in china as "iQue DS" with a larger flash chip (512 KiB), but the rest is identical to the other DSs. You can also flash it. In 2006 Nintendo released a DS Lite, which is smaller, has a larger Stylus and brighter displays. It has new firmware with more brightness levels (4) for the displays. You can also flash it.
- Cartridges - The cartridges differ only in the size for the game/gamesave.
- Rumble Pak - This is an add-on that goes into the GBA slot and can be used with Metroid Prime Pinball. It provides force feedback.
- Wifi Dongle - The wifi dongle is simply a USB wifi adapter which you can use to play multiplayer games over the internet. This adapter works as an access point; not as a normal LAN adapter, so you can't use it for anything but playing with your DS online. This means you can't use it for WifiMe out of the box, but because it's just a Ralink, you just need the right drivers to use it as a regular usb wifi-dongle. The Linux wmb drivers work with this dongle and with a bit of hacking you can use this to wirelessly multiboot.
- PassMe: Using a PassMe device, you can run homebrew software on an unmodded DS. It is built by Natrium42, you can also get it here. It can't handle a DS with the new firmware, however, you can reflash a PassMe to become a PassMe2 with a JTAG cable. The PassMe costs about $15.
- PassMe2: The PassMe2 can also handle the new firmware found in any new DS, but requires a compatible NDS game and a GBA cart with SRAM. This device costs about $20.
- G6/M3 PassKey: This is a PassMe clone which can't handle the new firmware. It costs about $20.
- PassKey2: This is the successor of Passkey and will work with any new DS.
- EZPass2: This seems to be the first PassMe clone, that can handle the new firmware, but it costs about $30.
- Superpass: Another PassMe clone which can now handle the new DS firmware using the "SuperPass 2" which is very similar to a PassMe2.
- WiFiMe: You need a special wifi adapter if you want to use WiFiMe. It has to be a PCI or PCMCIA card with a Ralink 2500 chip; USB won't work. Here is a list of all cards with this chip. WiFiMe does not work with the new DS firmware.
- Max Media Launcher: The first NoPass that emerged. It's rather cheap, but there's some risk of damaging your DS. Read Review.
- SuperKey: A NoPass by the makers of SuperCard. It is usually around $35 shipped to the U.S.
- MK4-mini: A NoPass by NeoFlash. Also compatible with MK2/3.
- PassCard 3: A NoPass by the makers of the GBAMP and M3. This usually costs around $35 shipped to the U.S. and can be bought either here or here. Review here.
- DS-X Website: A new flashcard solution, that is very new and not tested yet. It seems to be the most easy and compatible solution yet.
GBA flash cards and CF/SD adapters
To help you decide which storage card to buy, this section describes the available cards and lists advantages and disadvantages.
GBA Movie Player
GBAMP is short for "Game Boy Advance Movie Player" and was originally meant to play video and music on a GBA/GBA-SP. But now it was hacked so that it is possible to run DS homebrew software from it, and in fact, no one uses its original music/movie functions any more. There are two versions of it, you will need the second version pictured on the right. The GBAMP is available as a CF and an SD version, but ONLY the CF version works with homebrew! To run homebrew from it, you need to flash it (which is quite simple), you can download everything you need for that from Chishm's website. The GBAMP is the cheapest way to take your homebrew apps with you (~25$). The GBAMP can be found at Movie Advance, via different resellers or eBay.
WARNING: This works only with the CF version of the GBAMP, this means: there is no way yet, to run homebrew from a GBAMP v2 SD.
Here is a tutorial that explains how to install the modified firmware on the GBAMP that enables running homebrew DS code from it.
- Storage space is only limited by the CF card, and CF cards can be quite huge.
- Rather cheap ($24.90 at Lik-Sang, 24,99 at PlayDeluxe in Germany, may be even cheaper on eBay)
- Chishm's GBAMP FAT driver enables CF reading and writing, which opens up possibilities for a lot of applications.
- The code is loaded into RAM instead of running directly from the card. This limits the maximum size of the binary to 4 MiB in Nintendo DS mode or 256 KiB in GBA compatibility mode. This is not so bad considering that the actual data can be stored as separate files on the CF card.
M3 Adapter (Slot 2/GBA Slot)
The M3 (often called M3 perfect) is the successor of the GBAMP. The homepage can be found here. There are versions for CF, SD and mini-SD cards. Also freshly available is the M3 perfect lite that fits into the DS lite and supports MicroSD cards.
- Storage space is only limited by the card
- Has internal 32 MiB RAM that allows launching of games that are larger than 4MiB
- Chishm's GBAMP FAT driver works on it (but not yet on M3 perfect lite micro. See Chishms Website for details and/or updates.)
M3 Simply (Slot 1)
This card works like the other ones, but you can get it not only for CF cards, but also for SD, mini-SD and micro SD card. The micro SD card version is the latest and fits flat in the DS lite. The cost can vary widely on it, depending on where you purchase it from and which version you purchase (regular, mini, lite, etc.)
- Storage space is only limited by the CF/SD card
- Has internal RAM that allows for launching games that are larger than 4MiB
- The FAT driver works with this.
- More expensive than GBAMP
- Homebrew has to be converted to a special format before it can be run from the supercard
- Can execute programs of arbitrary size
- (Mostly) Doesn't protrude from NDS casing
- expensive (About 70 for 256Mib, 200$ for 4Gib)
- incompatible to homebrew software that uses the CF driver
- Only limited memory (the largest card seems to be 4Gib = 512MB)
Max Media Player
- lots of storage space
- Built-in MP3 player
- Includes Max Media Launcher (PassMe)
- ROMs need patching
- bad homebrew support
- High battery consumption rate (can be reduced by using CF cards instead of microdrive)
- Often needs donor carts
- Fairly large compared to other adapters
- Not bootable in GBA mode (uses Max Media Launcher)
Max Media Dock
The Max Media Dock is a CF-adapter for the DS that has multimedia functions and is (according to the homepage) able to run homebrew software. This product is identical to the Max Media Player but without the included 4 GB HDD. It instead comes either without a CF card or with a 1GB or 2GB CF card.