The Hottest DCEmu Posters
X-ROM 512Mbit Kit
The X-ROM 512Mbit Kit from HERE
Thanks to GBATemp
for the review.
Easybuy2000.com were kind enough to send me one of their
new X-ROM 512mbit Kits to test and review here at GBAtemp.
So let's get on with the review.
The X-ROM 512mbit Kit, currently retailing at $139.00 (£75/€113)
available from easybuy2000.com, is a new addition to the ever-growing
line of Game Boy® Advance flash linkers.
The X-ROM is fully GBA and GBA SP compatible and connects
via USB, it is also USB powered so there is no need for an
external power source.
The first thing you'll notice is the price of this flash cart,
for a 512Mbit cart, it's much cheaper than the competition.
So does it compare? That's what we're about to find out!
The "X-ROM 512Mbit kit" compromises of the following:
1x X-ROM 512Mbit flash cart
1x USB Linker/cable
Packaging and Looks
The kit that was shipped to me was inside a BusinessPost/FedEx
package and both the linker and cart were wrapped in bubble
wrap. There wasn't any fancy packaging or box which was a
small disappointment, but hey, you're not going to be putting
this piece of kit away very often, are you?! Also, there wasn't
a manual or driver CD included, instead, these are available
online at the Easybuy2000.com product page. This is quite
understandable, as the software and drivers are updated so
much it's not worth including CDs or disks that are going
to become obsolete in a month or so.
The cart is exactly the same size as an official Nintendo
game pak, and the design is also identical. The casing is
a clear transparent colour and you can see straight inside.
There's no label on the cartridge, and no imprinted words
anywhere on the casing. The cart actually looks quite nice
for its simplicity and will definitely stand out from all
your Nintendo game paks.
The cart looks great inserted into my silver GBA SP, when
inside it actually blends in; as if it were part of the GBA
(Click on images for larger version).
The linker is a dark green/teal colour, with a male USB plug
on the lead end of the cable, and a Game Boy Advance EXT/EXT1
socket on the linker end.
There are two things that struck me about the linker. First
was the length of the USB cable; it's pretty short. Actually
it's only 56 centimetres long, that's 22 inches (not including
the bulk on the end). As my PC case isn't on my desk, I personally
can't keep the linker and GBA on my desk while flashing the
cart. As they recommend you don't use USB extension cables
or hubs, the shortness of the cable is an inconvenience. The
second thing that I noticed about the linker; was the size
of the bulk at the end... it's bulky. Hehe! It's much bigger
compared to my EZFA cable, and it's almost exactly the same
height as my GBA SP. If you're using a GBA SP, this brings
another inconvenience when the linker is plugged into
your GBA SP, the EXT2 port is partially blocked by the linker.
So you won't be able to charge your GBA SP while flashing,
or at anytime the linker is connected. So if you've got a
flat battery, you're going to have to wait for it to charge
Let's take a look at what the manufacturer promises from
this flash cart kit:
(The following information was taken directly from the Easybuy2000.com
product page on 8th March 2004).
512Mb of space to save your ROMS
2Mb of SRAM for saves
100% RTC (real-time clock) compatible for games like
Unified driver that works with ALL versions of Windows
that supports USB
USB-to-GBA Link programmer
Cheat software* incorporated into the GUI (*= Ours
is the first device where you will be able to program a cheat
code into the ROM and transfer it to the cartridge)
2 choices of client software both supporting auto-patching
Software diagnostic tools for testing the XROM hardware
Let's take a look at each of these points in a bit more detail...
So there is 512Mbit of space on the cart, which equals to
64 megabytes of space. That's plenty of space for ROMs! The
biggest commercial ROM to be released so far was 256Mbit (32
megabytes) and that's half the size of this cart. So you're
not going to have a problem fitting ROMs onto this flash cart!
Also with 2Mbit SRAM for saved games and support for different
and future save types through Dadycool's Littlewriter, you're
covered for saving games.
On board is an RTC (real-time clock) which has now become
a standard among flash carts. The RTC is necessary when playing
games such as Pokemon Sapphire/Ruby and other RPGs, games
or applications that feature and require a real-time clock.
It enables the in-game clock to continue ticking over accurately
whilst playing and when the GBA is turned off or the flash
cart is removed.
How accurate is the RTC? Well, I set it the day I received
the linker, and a two weeks later after much use of the flash
cart and having been removed from the GBA for long periods;
it's still ticking over perfectly to the second!
The "unified driver" as mentioned, supports all
versions of Microsoft Windows that support USB themselves.
So you shouldn't have a problem installing the drivers. I'll
talk more about the drivers and software installation later.
The USB to GBA link programmer - in other words the physical
linker/cable. This connects to a spare USB port on your PC,
and then the other end with the bulk, into the GBA EXT(1)
port. Note that the manufacturers can't stress enough that
the USB plug shouldn't be plugged into a USB hub or any kind
of abnormal USB extension. This is so the voltage flow remains
at the correct level to avoid damaging the GBA or flash cart
They claim the X-ROM is the first flash cart with cheat software
incorporated into the GUI. While that's true, it's actually
done through Dadycool's Littlewriter but is only supported
on X-Rom carts. I'll go into a bit more detail on this in
the Software section of my review.
Two choices of clients? Yep! You can either use Dadycool's
Littlewriter which I personally recommend and is the software
they encourage you to use. Everybody should have heard of
Littlewriter before, it's a fantastic piece of software for
flashing various types of flash carts, and the X-ROM is the
newest to be supported by Littlewriter. Littlewriter makes
it very easy to flash and dump ROMs and saved games to and
from the cart. Alternatively you can use a command line based
client (usbcable.exe included in the X-ROM Testing Tools kit),
this is really intended for troubleshooting the cart and linker
but you can also flash and dump ROMs through it (note you
will need the X-ROM drivers installed to use either pieces
Installation of Drivers and Software
OK, now we've got all the features of the cart and linker
explained and out of the way, how about we actually give this
linker and cart a go?
To be honest, I had a lot of trouble when I first tried to
install the drivers but it's neither the manufacturers fault
nor the cart and linker. I already had an EZFA, and that used
the same USB port, and it was conflicting with the X-Rom when
trying to install the X-Rom drivers. But once I sorted that
out the installation couldn't have been smoother!
Step one: DO NOT plug the USB cable into your computer yet!
Wait until you have installed the drivers first. This saves
Windows having to fanny around trying to locate drivers itself.
Step two: Download and extract the drivers from the Easybuy2000.com
X-Rom 512Mbit product page.
Step three: Launch the "X-Rom Drivers.exe". This
will start the drivers' installation process. Follow the standard
installation instructions on screen, it's recommended you
leave the target directory as default. When the installation
starts copying files, and if you are using Windows XP Home/Pro,
Windows should prompt you telling you that the drivers that
are being installed haven't passed the 'Windows Logo testing',
and that they may not be safe to install on your system. Ignore
this warning and click "Continue Anyway" to install
the drivers. (See the screenshot below). The drivers are perfectly
safe, and shouldn't cause any problems.
Step four: When the installation process has completed fully,
connect the USB linker (without the Game Boy Advance connected)
to a spare USB port. Make sure you use the same USB port in
the future to avoid having to install the drivers again or
Step five: When the USB linker is connected, Windows should
prompt you that it has found new hardware and will try to
install drivers. You can either select the automatic option
which will take a while longer to find the drivers, or you
can tell Windows which drivers to install yourself which will
be quicker. If you choose the latter option, point the driver
directory to "C:Program FilesX-Rom Drivers" or to
whatever directory you installed to in the drivers' installation
Step six: Windows should now find the drivers and install
them. Now the driver installation is complete! You can make
sure your USB linker was installed correctly by going into
"Device Manager", and expanding 'Universal Serial
Bus controllers'. When the USB linker is connected to a USB
port you should see "XROM GBA Link Port Cable" listed.
The drivers have worked fine for me. I'm using Windows XP
Professional and I haven't encountered any problems. Every
time I've inserted the linker, Windows just recognises it
as the X-Rom Linker and loads the drivers instantly and I
can load Littlewriter straight away and begin flashing. Disconnecting
the linker - Windows unloads the drivers. No problems whatsoever!
Other USB devices are still working fine on the same USB port
(digital camera, webcam, memory sticks, etc...).
I followed the easy install steps and after 5 minutes I was
playing with the cart, very user friendly to me, worked at
the first try.
I hadn't any other USB cart device installed previously, just
a parallel port F2A.
Now the drivers are installed! That was simple enough, eh?
Now we can try flashing ROMs to the cart, the recommended
software to be used is Dadycool's Littlewriter (http://mapage.noos.fr/dadywriter/).
Make sure you are using Littlewriter version 184.108.40.206 or later
for full X-Rom support.
There are two ways to get Littlewriter to detect your X-Rom
cart, and they are both very easy.
Option One: Plug the USB linker into a free USB port, then
the other end into the EXT/EXT1 port of your GBA/GBA SP. Power
ON the GBA, and immediately hold down both the Start + Select
buttons simultaneously. The Nintendo logo should disappear
and you should hear a non-standard jingle from your GBA. The
GBA is now waiting in multi-boot mode. Now, simply start Littlewriter.
It should detect your X-Rom cart automatically at start up
and your GBA screen should be filled with a black-blue gradient.
Option Two: You can start Littlewriter first in this option.
And simply click 'Refresh' in Littlewriter when your GBA is
waiting in multi-boot mode (described in option one).
Littlewriter is a great piece of software, and makes flashing
and dumping ROMs very easy. It can also easily backup and
write saved games. And can even automatically patch games
that need their save method changing, trim ROMs, remove intros,
edit headers, patch ROMs using IPS files (so you can apply
ROM hacks or translations if they're available), and can automatically
backup saved games on your flash cart.
Littlewriter automatically creates and flashes its own Boot
Menu to the cart when you begin flashing ROMs. By default
the boot menu looks like this...
But using the options in Littlewriter you can completely
customise the look of the menu, including colours, background
gradients, fonts and font sizes. Here's a customised example...
Very cool. The boot menu is simple to use on your GBA as
well, just select a ROM using the D-Pad up and down and start
the ROM with the A button.
I haven't had any problems using Littlewriter; it's been very
stable and has flashed my cart flawlessly every time. Unfortunately,
the flashing process takes quite a long time; it has taken
around 15 minutes to flash an entire 512Mbit's to the X-Rom
cart. And about 3 minutes to flash 128Mbit. This seems quite
slow, but I've been told it's a speed limitation of the actual
flash ROMs on the cart and not Littlewriter's or the linkers
I won't go into detail on how to flash ROMs using Littlewriter,
as there's an excellent tutorial included with Littlewriter.
I recommend you read it if you haven't used Littlewriter before.
I used Littlewriter and it worked GREAT! It takes quite a
bit of time to flash, as shaunj66 said, but it never failed
for me once (flash errors occurred quite often with my F2A).
When you want to flash a game you don't have to flash the
whole cart again, just remove the previous game and flash
the new one.. Very easy.
Official X-Rom Software:
You can download the official software from the easybuy2000
product page. This software isn't really meant for permanent
use when flashing ROMs; use Littlewriter for that. The X-Rom
software is very primitive, but it can be used for flashing,
dumping and anything else with the X-Rom. It's actually called
X-Rom Testing Tools, and is all DOS based. So you'll have
to run it from a command line. It can also be used to test
the linker and make sure it's installed and connected properly.
Don't get confused or 'put-off' by this software if you aren't
very computer literate, you don't even have to use this software
but it can be used for troubleshooting.
Here are a couple of screenshots...
The only thing you should really need to use this software
for is setting the default date and time on the RTC on the
X-Rom cart, but even that isn't necessary as most games or
applications that use the RTC will ask you to set the time
within them. If you need to set the RTC anyway, you can do
this by sending the small RTC multiboot ROM to the GBA by
typing 'usbcable.exe m rtc.mb' it will send the multiboot
ROM and you can then set the time and date manually on your
This software is quite nice and has a few useful features,
but it could be much better if it had a GUI. I hope they make
an official GUI for it soon.
Cheat Codes / X-Code
With an X-Rom cart, you can apply special cheat patches to
any ROM using Littlewriter (providing a cheat patch is available
of course). This is called an "X-Code"! This is
a great addition for all you cheaters out there! I won't go
into immense detail on this in this review though, as an official
guide is available here. There is a large database of GBA
codes compatible with Littlewriter's cheat function here.
After testing the X-Code patches, I must say they work flawlessly
and they're so simple to use. For example, in the game 'Mario
& Luigi: Superstar Saga'; you can enable the cheat options
to have infinite health in battles, have infinite coins or
even have Mario or Luigi have infinite health/bros. points.
And that's only a few cheat options! You simply cheat during
game play by pressing a specific button combo, unless it's
an option such as infinite health which remains enabled throughout
Yep! That's right! Now the latest version of Pogoshell (version
2.0 beta 3) supports X-Rom carts! Here's Kivan's short take
on Pogoshell on the X-Rom:
Pogoshell is a piece of software that when flashed on your
cart allows you to do a multitude of new things with your
GBA, like listening to music, reading text files, playing
old NES games through emulator plugins and more!
On the 8th March 2004, Sasq (the author) released v2.0 Beta
3 and Pogoshell now supports the X-Rom!
You can get this release at the following address: http://www.obsession.se/pocket/
After a quick test, the program proved to be fully working,
but as Sasq stated, only the first 256Mbit of a cart can be
used by Pogoshell.
This major flaw makes Pogoshell rather useless for now...
but it's almost sure that Sasq is working on a new version
which will support bigger carts... we just need to be patient!
This new feature will make the X-Rom even more performing
and one step ahead than other flash carts!
If you didn't already know; flash carts consume more battery
power from a Game Boy Advance than official Nintendo game
paks. This is because of the different flash chips used on
I tested both my EZFA cart and the X-Rom cart to see which
lasted the longer. I used a fully charged Game Boy Advance
SP (UK version) with the standard Li-Ion battery pack (AGS-003),
and let them both loop the same game on demo play mode until
the GBA SP's battery died.
The EZFA cart lasted approximately 7 hours, and the X-Rom
also lasted approximately 7 hours.
There was no noticeable difference in battery consumption.
They were both virtually equal.
Comparing the X-Rom to my F2A, I havent noticed substantial
differences... the times are almost the same.
Note that when you're flashing a ROM to the cart, it will
draw a lot more power from the Game Boy Advance than it would
during normal game play.
The X-Rom 512Mbit cart is a great flash cart. Especially
for the price it's selling at - $139 for a 512Mbit cart
I have to recommend this cart; it does everything a flash
cart should do plus a few nice extras (unique cheating system,
- Very cheap price
- 512Mbit of space
- Supported by the great Littlewriter!
- Smooth driver installation
- Real-Time Clock
- Unique X-Code cheat system
- Supported by Pogoshell
- Short USB cable
- Bulky linker
- Fairly slow flashing time
- DOS based official flashing software/diagnostic tools
Those cons are the only things that stop the X-Rom getting
a perfect review. If they would correct/improve these problems
then the X-Rom would indeed be one of the best flash carts
on the market.
In conclusion, the X-Rom 512Mbit kit is definitely worth
considering if you are looking for an easy to use, reliable
USB flash cart but don't want to spend a fortune.
I personally found this cart a great piece of hardware!
Very easy to install and well supported by important software
such as Littlewriter or Pogoshell.
With 512mbit of space you can store a LOT of games, and you
will never feel the need to have a bigger cart.
The only cons I found are:
-The linkers cable is a little too short, but I am lucky to
have the USB port on the front side of the computer^
-The flashing process takes a while, 20 minutes for the full
The price is VERY good, and the Easybuy2000 shop seems to
be very good also!
I would definitely recommend this cart!
Thanks for reading!