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Thread: [Review] Everdrive 64 V2 -English-

  1. #1
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    [Review] Everdrive 64 V2 -English-


    Click to enlarge

    Hello forum! After reading the headline you may be thinking: “a new review?, wait a minute, Aleomark has already done a review for the Everdrive 64, hasn’t he?”. Well, what happens is that a new version of the Everdrive 64 has quietly been launched into the market without previous notice and since this new version came out with several and improved features, a new review was required. Also, I’d like to advise you that the V1 of this flashcart is sold out, but don’t worry if you want to get one, the V2 offers you the same and even more for the same price so you won’t miss the V1 at all.

    Introduction
    Last year (2011), the world witnessed the birth of a new Everdrive, the Everdrive 64, a device that, in short, allows you to play in the console itself the roms that are usually played only in emulators. It met the expectations of the retrogamers due to the fact that the other flashcart available at that time was not well assimilated by most of the users who’d rather wait for a new flashcart, even without knowing that a new version was going to be launched. The Everdrive 64 was quickly accepted by the audience and whenever a new batch goes on sale it gets sold like hot cakes, that is why it is rarely seen in the official retailer’s stocks. However, this device is not perfect but approaches to it, the suggestions proposed by users were heard and the manufacturer krikzz came up with an enhanced V2 giving no place for real competition.


    Old Everdrive 64 V1, Click to enlarge

    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.

    What is the Everdrive 64?
    A flashcart is usually a PCB device with several components and widely developed primarily to load roms (console games in digital format) in the actual console by using some kind of storage mean such as SD; therefore, it is basically a cartridge equipped with some extra features: customized menu, loading of games or translations not officially released, never seen before!


    Why should you get a flashcart and stop playing with emulators?
    Because if you are a true retrogamer and if you really like enjoying a game in all its glory, you may know that an emulator is never enough (aside from the fact that, in this specific case, the N64 does not have good emulators which can work 100%). The feeling of playing one of the games considered “essential” in the very console with a tube TV or a crt monitor and the original joysticks is simply incredible, not only because you are playing the games in the way the developers meant it to be played, but also because you will get thrilled and nostalgic, which leads you to a whole experience beyond the simple usage of an “old console”.


    Click to enlarge

    How does it look like? Is it a big ugly device like Dr V64?
    The appearance of the flashcart is another of its advantages, it is a green PCB with the “Everdrive”, “ED64”, http://krikzz.com, "2.00" and "Front Side"/"Back Side" inscriptions, which has been designed to perfectly fit into an official cartridge case with the option for you to customize it and post or share the result in the forum.


    Click to enlarge

    Anyway, if you are not good at handcrafting, there are resellers like Stoneagegamer that sell the full version, case with nice finish included.

    In my case, I customized mine, first I got a case that I took from an official cartridge (Rest in peace Duke Nuken 64), the PCB is standard size so it will fit into any official case; nevertheless, you will have to take the case off an official game because there are no empty cases on sale anywhere, obviously you will also need bitgamer de 3.8mm screwdriver. Next, you will have to cut out a slot at the top of the case for the SD. It is up to you to come up with a good finish or not (based on your effort and patience).

    When you open the case you’ll see:
    2 plastic covers
    2 external screws
    2 internal screws
    2 aluminum plates
    1 plastic piece

    Click to enlarge

    You will need to assemble the case the way it is meant to, otherwise, the PCB will be loose. The aluminum plates are usually bent at the top thus you will have to flatten them with a hammer or cut them up, then level the borders. Once done:

    Click to enlarge

    To decorate the card, you can search in the assembler official forum for cover designs, download labels and inserts, I used a label created by 8bitplus:

    And an insert I did myself xD:


    I also got some “universal cases” for this which perfectly fits in as you can see:

    Click to enlarge

    Final result:

    Click to enlarge

    *There are resellers who sell the flashcart with case and label, but it is more expensive.
    *You can use a rs-mmc so you do not need to cut up a slot in the case, but take into account this might be a little inconvenient because if you want to use the card for other purposes, you will have to open the case again.

    What does the product include?
    The product is just the Everdrive 64 PCB with the corresponding CIC chip installed, when buying it you have to properly choose the CIC region type (CIC-6102 for the NTSC system and CIC-7101 for the PAL system) or you can buy the flashcart and then weld the chip yourself. There is no need of buying memory drives with rare formats just to find out they are not compatible at the end, nor other accessories to read the SD or unstable client PC softwares with bugs. Basically, when receiving the cart, you just need a case, a SD (8GB-recommended). No written instruction manual included; however, it is very simple and intuitive to use. There is a version with a USB port available , useful for programmers who could send their homebrew to the cart without connecting/disconnecting the SD, although this version is a bit more expensive, you may not need it unless you are a programmer.

    You will receive a package like this:


    Click to enlarge

    Manufacturer’s Specifications
    -64Mbyte (512mbit) SDRAM for ROM data (max size 64Mbyte).
    -SD, SDHC compatibility.
    -FAT16/FAT32 compatibility. Limitless partitioning for fat32.
    -Data transference from SD to SDRAM, 12 Mbyte/s speed.
    -Emulation options.
    -Saves (SRAM, SRAM128Kbyte, EEPROM16k, EEPROM4k, FLASHRAM) compatibility.
    -Region free, you can play PAL roms in NTSC systems and vice versa.
    -CIC boot emulator with cic6102/7101, enough to play all the games without extra cartridges or PC software.
    -byteswoped and no byteswoped ROMs compatibility.
    -USB port 800k - 1Mbyte/s (optinonal, recommende for developers)

    Updates and support
    In this section the creator of the Everdrive 64 has done a great job, some users were afraid to update the V1 because they would have to use jtag cables, a programmer, headers and they could come up with a brick even though it was said that this will be impossible and in case that the update comes incomplete, they could try again. Anyway, to avoid those kind of inconveniences the firmware gets updated, silently, through the SD; the firm is in the same file in which you can find the OS thus the user do not notice when the firm updates.
    The support provided by Krikzz, is exemplary, there already is an official forum in which many users, and the creator himself, answer questions (in English only). Also, if the flashcart requires to be repaired or exchanged for another unit, I have witnessed that you can send the flashcart back to Krikzz for him to take care of it.

    The new menu
    You need to download the "OS64.v64" file from the official everdrive webpage http://krikzz.com/ and move it to the "ED64" folder that should be created in the root of the SD. Just when starting the console, you will see a message advising that the OS is starting up:


    Click to enlarge

    Something remarkable is that the menu now looks elegant and you can even customize the background, you only need to save the picture in 640x480 16bit format, then browse to it and load; For instance, in my background I have a customized wallpaper of a N64 and its control:


    Click to enlarge

    In this assemblers' section you can download background wallpapers ready to load with the everdrive, such as:

    If you press the “Z” button the menu is displayed.


    Click to enlarge

    In "Favorite", you can save quick access to the games previously classified as favorites, just browse to the rom you like as favorite and press “C down” and select “yes”.
    In "Options" you can change functions such as: SD speed (25 or 50Mhz), Font size and the TV mode according to PAL, NTSC or automatic.


    Click to enlarge

    In "Device Info" you will find information such as the firmware version, OS, SD interface type and the type of system you are using.


    Click to enlarge

    Finally, in "About" you will see the credits and in “Help” you will watch the menu controls:
    Up/Down: Select file
    Left/Right: Select page
    Start: load game
    C-Up: reload game from previous session
    C-Down: File functions
    L/R: Force the save type
    A: Apply/Open folder
    B: Return
    Z: Menu


    Click to enlarge

    The menu in this version of Everdrive64 has nothing to envy to other carts.

    What about the compatibility with the games?
    All the N64 games can be perfectly played with the only exception of 2 titles: Jet Force Gemini, which requires a patched rom to be played with no issues, and Banjo-Tooie, which cannot be played at all unless you weld a CIC-6105 chip or equivalent (according to region) yourself; however, if you do that it is possible that games that worked fine with the CIC-6102 may face problems, so I’d rather keep the CIC-6102 or CIC-7101 and buy a second handed Banjo-Tooie.

    Some screenshots using the Everdrive64:

    Donkey Kong 64


    Click to enlarge

    F-Zero X


    Click to enlarge

    Mario 64


    Click to enlarge

    Super Smash Bros


    Click to enlarge

    Cruis'n World


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    Here you will find a video showing the flashcart and the extremely fast loading times!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Szl9M...oexternalembed

    Emulators
    With the new menu you can automatically load NES and GB games in the N64,you just need to rename the emulator neon64 to emu.nes and the emulator gblator to emu.gbc within the "ED64" folder which should be located in the root of the SD. Therefore, you just need to browse to the rom and load it, the OS will match it to the emulator itself.


    Conclusions
    This flashcart was very good from the very beginning, but now, all the improvements done and its ultra-fast loading times (it can be even faster with future updates) make it simply wonderful. Now, the firm updates can be done unattendedly and with no need of extra accessories, the menu is pretty elegant, it loads any type of saves and all the games (although if you want to play Banjo Tooie you will have to weld a cic-6105chip or equivalent according to your region). No need of client softwares in the PC which are usually full of bugs and very annoying, or extra accessories for using the SD, basically, you only have to care about finding/adapting a case (in case you buy the PCB only) and using a SD with all the roms and files required. Furthermore, it’s compatible with a couple of Nintendo system emulators: NES y GB. Unlike the NES emulator which is very stable, the GB emulator does not ring the game sounds but a bothering audio track after some minutes instead.

    Pros
    -Nice price
    -Factory SD support
    -Ultra-fast loading speed
    -Compatible with emulators
    -No need of PC software
    -Region free
    -Updates and support
    -Plays 99% of the catalog without using patches
    -Work with any type of saves
    -Elegant menu
    -Unattended and silent firmware updates

    Cons
    -No written user guide
    -If changing the CIC to play BT other games may not be played

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


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    this review is also in:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    http://www.bo-anime.com/Foro/index.p....html#msg13259
    http://www.underground-gamer.com/for...0234&page=last
    http://www.bitgamer.su/forums.php?ac...7186&page=last
    http://www.elotrolado.net/hilo_revie...-64-v2_1728555
    http://www.bo-anime.com/Foro/index.p....html#msg13258
    http://cosplaypartycr.com/foro/index.php?topic=7452.0

  2. #2
    Insane redneck retro gamer... ASSEMbler Elite
    sonicdude10's Avatar

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    I got one from the Rertogate store. Still waiting for it to show up. Very helpful info on how to set it up. Now I need to get the custom label I modified for it printed out. Need to know the label dimensions to do this. :banghead:
    Classic hardware collector and modifier. Currently focused on Sega, Xbox, and Nintendo stuff. New Xbox project:
    What ever you do, DON'T CLICK HERE!!!
    I'm now on Sega-16

  3. #3
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    6,4cm x 5,65cm

  4. #4
    Insane redneck retro gamer... ASSEMbler Elite
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    Quote Originally Posted by aleomark View Post
    6,4cm x 5,65cm
    Thanks dude.
    Classic hardware collector and modifier. Currently focused on Sega, Xbox, and Nintendo stuff. New Xbox project:
    What ever you do, DON'T CLICK HERE!!!
    I'm now on Sega-16

  5. #5
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    Great review!
    I cannot get the gameboy emulator to work?
    How do you do it?
    And do you think my everdrive pcb can overheat if I have left out the back-metal casing?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Madsmaten View Post
    And do you think my everdrive pcb can overheat if I have left out the back-metal casing?
    I guess it's used for electromagnetic shielding, not for cooling purpose. ^^

    greets saturnu

  7. #7
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    The thing is, when I put the back metalcase into the cartridge, and turns on the N64, it won't turn on, the light on the front and the screen is just black.
    But when I take out the back-metal case, it works perfectly?
    Do you think I will experience any problems in the future, or does it not matter?

    - Mads (Denmark)
    Last edited by Madsmaten; 09-07-2012 at 01:57 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Madsmaten View Post
    The thing is, when I put the back metalcase into the cartridge, and turns on the N64, it won't turn on, the light on the front and the screen is just black.
    But when I take out the back-metal case, it works perfectly?
    Do you think I will experience any problems in the future, or does it not matter?

    - Mads (Denmark)
    Maybe there is a short circuit, if you put the back metalcase in. I don't think it's a problem, if you use it without the shielding.

    greets saturnu

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by saturnu View Post
    Maybe there is a short circuit, if you put the back metalcase in. I don't think it's a problem, if you use it without the shielding.

    greets saturnu
    okay, that's great to hear, so far it works perfect. But I'm only on my second day with the everdrive system.
    thanks for the help!

    - Mads.

  10. #10
    I have an everdrive 64 its probably one the best investments in my gaming collection, that and my GC to N64 controller adapter + wavebirds ;)

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