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  Acekard 2 Official Review
Posted by spengo on Sat, May 3rd, 2008 at 22:22 - 16 Comments
 
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spengo United States

 
Acekard 2 Official Review
Manufactured by Acekard

Introduction and Packaging





Kick Trading sent the Acekard 2 today in a bubble envelope. The bite I took tasted good. The packaging on the acekard is a generic blister package with a paper insert containing some basic instructions. On the back is a list of features:
- Perfect Compatibility. No need to convert, No need to flash.
- Write save file directly to TF card. No more save type selection.
- Auto patching DLDI. Run homebrew programs without convert.
- Support Soft-Reset. Support Download play. Support Wi-Fi.
- Support SDHC microSD card. No maximum file limit.
- Support Action Replay. Built-in editor.
- Low power consumption. Long playing time.
- Easy operation. Support pad and touch screen control.
- Multi-languages. Support Customize Skin.
- Support launch slot-2. Support expand package.
- 4 level brightness adjustment.
- Support reading text files, listening mp3 and watching movie.
The products can bounce around in the packaging, but not too much and it seems to secure them well enough to avoid any damage. Personally I prefer this type of packaging to the usual style plastic packaging that electronic devices come in that requires a hacksaw to open.


Hardware








Overall the construction does not feel very sturdy. It is easy to open by carefully popping open 5 little tabs that hold it together. It is spring loaded though, which is always nice to see. The micro SD card fits neatly inside and is easy to pop in and out. It's not like it's particularly fragile, but it does feel more cheaply made than regular DS cards. The sticker is very shiny though. I opened it up and found something kind of interesting, there is a hole in the top half covered by the sticker that a chip fits into. After I saw this, I noticed there was a slight bump where the chip pushed out against the sticker. I guess they didn't have enough space otherwise. There is also no plastic in between the connectors, and though I don't think this will affect performance, it is another sign of cheap construction.






The SD reader it came with is okay. It's nice and small and though the plastic is pretty cheap it feels solid. You'll notice that the card does stick out a little, and it is not spring loaded, but other than that, it's not too bad.




The acekard itself fits flush with the DS in slot 1 and is the same size as any DS game card. The outer edge does feel a little sharp, but this will quickly dull after sitting in a pocket for awhile.




Software

The software included is excellent. I am using v4.07a12 for this review. To get the latest version, simply download it from acekard's website and extract the contents to the root of your SD card. Cheats can be installed as either dat or xml files in the cheats folder. There is automatic DLDI patching for homebrew games, and it's easy to change any settings in the various ini files. The card does not override your auto-boot settings and it loads in about a second after choosing it from the DS menu. The main menu allows you to choose either to explore the SD card or boot a slot 2 device in PassMe mode. It even saves what folder you were in if you restart your DS.




It's easy to skin and there are some pretty nice ones included, I just used the default "Zelda" for this review. The top screen presents a calendar and time that also can be skinned to whatever you like.




There are a lot of options in the menu of different things you can do that include the usual file actions, changing global settings, as well as choosing the patches to apply to each individual game. It has built in rom trimming too. It also allows for changing the brightness and is fully compatible with either touch screen or buttons. Overall all the menus are very responsive and quick and barely take any noticeable time to load.






Game Compatibility and Game Patcher

You can choose how to patch each game with the patch options menu. The games load in about 4 seconds the first time you play and afterwords only take 1-2 seconds because it has to create the savegame file. Rom compatibility seems to be almost 100%, as does download play support and soft-reset support; portrait of ruin does experience the occasional lock up but it is a known problem game. Tony Hawk's downhill jam seems devoid of slowdowns or lag though!

- Super Mario 64 DS
- Tetris DS
- Elite Beat Agents
- Zelda Phantom Hourglass
- Dementium
- Contra 4
- Geometry Wars
- Mario Kart DS
- Metroid Prime Hunters
- Hotel Dusk
- Final Fantasy 3
- Dragon Quest Heroes - Rocket Slime
- Nanostray
- Nanostray 2
- Sonic Rush

- Castlevania Portrait of Ruin (after playing for awhile noticed a few freeze-ups)

- Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam (no slowdowns!)
- Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow (no problems here either)
- Brain Age
- Brain Age 2
- Call of Duty 4
- Lego Star Wars II
- Mortal Kombat
- Ninja Gaiden
- Create & Race
- Dead and Furious


Homebrew Support

As stated before, this flashcart has auto DLDI patching, and so far everything I've tried has worked great. Although it says you can view text documents, play mp3s, and watch movies, you do have to download moonshell to do this. There is a pre-set up copy of moonshell available on the acekard site that you only need to extract to the root of your SD card to run. After all, what good would a flashcart be if it didn't enable you to listen to music and view porn on your DS?

- DSOrganize
- Pocket Physics
- DS Linux
- Moonshell
- OpenTTD
- Shooting Watch DS
- AmplituDS


Saving

Acekard appears to use a 512kb save with the name "<name>.nds.sav" that looks just like the Supercard and R4 saves.


Conclusion

The Acekard 2 is definitely a decent card, and not a bad deal for the price. It can be had for $39.95 at kick gaming. I feel the construction could be a little more sturdy though.

Pros
+ File operations in menu
+ Skins are cool
+ Interface is customizeable
+ Menus are quick
+ Can use cheats
+ nearly 100% ROM compatibility
+ 100% Download Play compatibility
+ 100% Soft-reset compatiblity
+ Auto-DLDI patching
+ Can be used as a PassMe and boot to slot 2 card
+ Comes with a good SD reader

Cons
- Hardware is not very strong
- Does not include slow-mo
- Does not include real-time saving

Overall Score


90%


DS-Scene would like to thank Kick Gaming and Acekard for sending us a sample of the Acekard 2 for reviewing purposes.


 
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#1
 
Vengeful Stick United Kingdom

  Sat, May 3rd, 2008 at 23:26
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The calender etc. looks nice, but I don't particularly spend enough time in my flashcart's menu to really appreciate something like that.

Shame about the lack of slowmo or RTS, and the spring loaded card reader (After using an M3 Simply, I was really put off the fact that the spring only lasted about 6 months) or this could have possibly swayed me a little from my good old CycloDS (The shiny sticker would have easily won it for me :lol: )

This post has been edited by Vengeful Stick, Sat, May 3rd, 2008 at 23:27
 
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 » Comment on: Acekard 2 Official Review
#2
 
bhlaab United States

  Sun, May 4th, 2008 at 00:52
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The freezes in portrait of ruin might be because of your brand of microSD card, not the Acekard. I had the same problem with my R4 until I switched microsd's
 
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 » Quoting: Comment on: Acekard 2 Official Review
#3
 
spengo United States

  Sun, May 4th, 2008 at 03:51
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Quote 
bhlaab on Sun, May 4th, 2008 at 00:52 [¬Ľ]

The freezes in portrait of ruin might be because of your brand of microSD card, not the Acekard. I had the same problem with my R4 until I switched microsd's


Hmm, that could be the case, though I was using a Corsair, and those are usually pretty high quality. I have an old kingston around here somewhere, I'll have to give it a shot.
 
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#4
 
Subaru Poland

  Sun, May 4th, 2008 at 08:57
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Portrait of Ruins is matter of microSD card... I tried on SanDisk 2 GB - freeze on talking second time with wind (trimmed and worked a lot better freezes was sometimes only at teleport) with Kingston 1 GB Japan no need to trim - works perfectly
About "Cons" what do You mean by "Hardware is not very strong" because other 2 minuses doesn't make for me something very big but this one I would like to get explain :P
The rest looks very good...good to know the menu is customizable because I would not like to see that Windows START button any more =_=
 
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#5
 
ShinMike Mexico

  Sun, May 4th, 2008 at 18:49
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what flash carts have slow mo? and what do you mean with real time saving?

thanks, nice review looks like a decent one.

and yes that castlevania game is a hog one, gonna buy an ocz microsd to be able to play it.
 
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 » Quoting: Comment on: Acekard 2 Official Review
#6
 
aparoid_x United States

  Sun, May 4th, 2008 at 21:06
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Quote 
ShinMike on Sun, May 4th, 2008 at 18:49 [¬Ľ]

what flash carts have slow mo? and what do you mean with real time saving?

thanks, nice review looks like a decent one.

and yes that castlevania game is a hog one, gonna buy an ocz microsd to be able to play it.


AFAIK, only the CycloDS has slow-motion support. Real Time Saving means you can save whenever you want in a game and load it whenever you want, like save states.
 
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#7
 
spengo United States

  Mon, May 5th, 2008 at 17:43
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Quote 
Subaru on Sun, May 4th, 2008 at 08:57 [¬Ľ]
About "Cons" what do You mean by "Hardware is not very strong" because other 2 minuses doesn't make for me something very big but this one I would like to get explain :P
The rest looks very good...good to know the menu is customizable because I would not like to see that Windows START button any more =_=


It doesn't feel like it will break apart in your hand or anything, it's just that official game cards seem much more sturdy compared to acekard. It is held together with clips instead of a screw; I guess they couldn't find room to fit a screw anywhere.
 
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#8
 
verythrax Brazil

  Mon, May 5th, 2008 at 17:55
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Are you sure that those missing features arent avaliable at the latest firmware, or that custom one?
 
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#9
 
dai_uk United Kingdom

  Mon, May 5th, 2008 at 20:12
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When talking about problem games can you confirm if Final Fantasy - Crystal Chronicles has the Moogle of Death screen ?

Also not being picky but the supercard doesn't default to 512kb saves, it uses a database which they update periodically, of course the fail safe is to choose the largest (512kb / 4megabit) which is what the R4/M3 Simply and by the sound of your review this card does too :-)
 
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