[Review] Famicom/NES Everdrive ENGLISH

Discussion in 'Everdrive N8' started by aleomark, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. aleomark

    aleomark Spirited Member

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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
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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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_(nesos-s3m5).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
     
  2. Chewieshmoo

    Chewieshmoo Spirited Member

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    Great review!
     
  3. wilykat

    wilykat Site Supporter 2013

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    Needs a typo fix, there's an extra 'e' in your "requires".

    Great review otherwise!
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
  4. sonicdude10

    sonicdude10 Insane redneck retro gamer...

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    Doesn't it also play FDS (Famicom Disk System) games too? I know the Russian one does.

    EDIT: Nevermind. I see that you have SMB 2 loaded in one image there. I also didn't see where you talk about the FDS function. How'd I miss that???
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  5. aleomark

    aleomark Spirited Member

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    there was
     

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    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013

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