View Full Version : Have you seen this ?
09-08-2009, 11:12 PM
USB cartridge reader for emulators. Good idea ?
09-09-2009, 12:19 AM
My opinion is mixed. Emulators such as Pasofami have had integrated dumper support for a very long time.
Emulators need ROM in memory for speed so there's no way this kind of thing can communicate back and forth at a CPU rate (emulating the control bus protocol) which would be necessary to have a "universal" cart interface (losing the necessity for mapper and IRQ emulation on many consoles) in real time. USB can only send 1000 packets/second at most, granted they can have a large payload, but most consoles will need memory fetches in the millions per second because data can't be buffered.
Anyways, this obviously doesn't claim to do that, but that would be the progression of the product if it were possible. (And it will be possible with external PCIe.) So yeah, this thing just "dumps" games on demand to a virtual file. That is the only really cool thing about the project IMO--that you don't need custom dumping software. Thinking back though this has been done before... I believe first on a GBA product and I'd guess now it's widespread on NDS stuff.
Anyways, the HID concept only works with consoles with little cartridge variation because there's a big tradeoff--all the dumping algorithms need to be in the microcontroller firmware which for systems like NES isn't remotely possible.
He is going to run into big problems when he gets carts with invalid (or no) internal headers; a SNES for example doesn't understand the concept of HiROM or LoROM, but this dumper however needs to know because the ROM files are expected to be laid out linearly despite the data not being mapped linearly in memory. Also different boards for the same configuration (same field in header) can have non-overlapping address decoders which will require more hacks.
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