If you are familiar with the Everdrive 64 cartridge, it is a device that allows you to run N64 games from backups on a real N64 console. The good news is that there is now a product that despite its somewhat questionable origins and initially low quality when it first came out, has routinely remained popular due to its low cost. We are going to be discussing the ED64 Plus cartridge today. After all, it is about time that we discussed it.
What is ED64PLUS?
There is no doubt that the ED64Plus is indeed a Chinese bootleg of the high quality Everdrive 64, as suggested by the name. In spite of that, the product has seen improvements of its own since its introduction, and I consider it a competitive product from a technical standpoint. The product is even still available to be purchased new.
First of all, it should be noted that the ED64Plus is by now a fairly old product which has seen quite a few revisions over the years. Early ED64 Plus cartridges had a slot and a dust cover, which were for the purpose of adding a retail game on top, along with an authentic security CIC chip. As far as we know, those early cartridges were not capable of backing up original games (just in case you were curious about that). From what I’ve seen, it doesn’t appear that these older ED64Plus cartridges are available for purchase from places like eBay or Amazon any longer.
All versions of this product, including European, American, and Japanese models, are compatible with it. If you have a European version of your game machine, please insert the chip into the P position, and you can then play it. You have to put the chip in N position if your game machine is an American or Japanese version, and then you can use it.
Features of ED64PLUS
N64 games can be loaded either from Secure Digital (SD/SDHC) or MultiMediaCard (MMC). The ED64plus has 512mbit of RAM, which is the maximum size of a N64 game. Rips can be loaded either from Secure Digital (SD/SDHC) or MultiMediaCard (MMC), with a maximum storage capacity of 32 gigabytes. The integrated microUSB slot can also be used to load additional ROMs. It must be said that one major flaw in the ED64plus design is that it has to be removed from the N64 every time the SD card needs to be removed. It would have been better if it had been installed on the opposite side of the microSD slot.
In comparison to the previous ED64 Plus, the current ED64 Plus has a somewhat less elaborate packaging, although it does come with a software CD and instructions.
Software for the SD card is included on the CD. As with the Everdrive 64, you’ll need one of these to load the OS software and ROM files.
- Multi CIC chip compatible (note.1)
- Supports all games in the region of the console
- Region-free (will play PAL ROMs on NTSC systems and vice versa)
- Stores cartridge-based saves directly on the CF/MicroSD card (note.2) Supports all save types, including FlashRAM saves
- Compatibility with homebrew ROMs
- The majority of games load within a few seconds. Larger ones take longer.
- Support for drag and drop directly to SD cards
- There are no proprietary extra adapters required
- Multi-ROM support up to the capacity of the SD Card
- Supports subfolders
- Storage of ROMs is indefinite until files are deleted or SDCards are formatted
- Development support for menus, firmware, GUIs, and hardware
- Onboard memory of 64MBytes of high quality Micron RAM
- High quality printed circuit board with 4 layers and SMD components
- Flash games do not require any special hardware or software to be played
- With the gamepad, you can navigate the N64 menu
- SDCard is used to store ROMs
- The Reset button takes the user back to the main menu of ED64Plus
- It is easy to use once you have set it up correctly. It is recommended for beginners
- The majority of commercial ROMs backups work (*some CIC6105 ROMs backups require the patched versions to work)
- It is safe to assume that most games that require a patch for old copiers work with or without a patch
- Support for byte swapped ROM images
How the ED64plus saves the games?
When a game uses on-cart saving (SRAM, EEPROM, FLASHRAM), the ED64Plus works exactly like the Everdrive 64 2.0 and 2.5. After saving progress in the game, press the reset button, wait for the ED64plus to return to the file viewer menu, and then you can turn it off. Just save the game and turn off the console before saving games that use the controller or memory pack.
The ED64plus will detect the type of save if the game you play has internal saving. However, in order for the ED64plus to make the save file, you will need to press the RESET button after every game you play, or else, the save file cannot be written to the SD card, which means that if you power off, you will lose your save, so you should be aware of that.
ED64Plus Official OS or Alt64?
The answer to this question is difficult, in my opinion. I believe both have their advantages and disadvantages in different ways. It works well with retail games, hacks, and translations of all kinds as well as saving works well with everything and everything loads quite fast with the Official OS software. One major downside is the lack of support for Aleck64 or 64DD ROM conversion. There is also no controller or memory pak manager, and no gameshark code support.
In addition to Gameshark support, controller pak management, 64DD, and Aleck64 support, Alt64 is really feature rich; however, some hacks/translations and even retail games do not save properly, and there is sometimes difficulty finding ROMs that work specifically with Alt64. This is still a great alternative menu to have for the ED64plus, however, it is buggy in some areas and probably could do with a little more polishing. Additionally, it is a bit of a downer how much slower the loading is for the Alt64 menu and the game files.
If you are looking for just retail games, hacks, and translations without the bells and whistles, then the official OS menu would be the best place for you. For the most part, Alt64 runs most software pretty well, but it’s really best at running the games that it was designed for, those being the 64DD and Aleck64 games. Alt64 is a good choice for you if you don’t mind the longer load times and need your 64DD games.
For the best of everything, you’ll need to have two different SD cards you can swap out on occasion, each with different OS menus and games. This is not the most elegant solution, but it does mean that the ED64Plus actually has better compatibility than the Everdrive 64 2.0 / 2.5, for a much lower price.
The ED64Plus is a very compelling option that can offer the flash cart lifestyle at a very affordable price and with a wider range of options on the market today. Furthermore, the build quality of this cart is quite impressive as well. This custom firmware for the Alt64 offers a lot of additional functionality and features over the ED64Plus menu software stock version, but in some areas it feels a bit unfinished in terms of its compatibility, since some games do not seem to save properly. For most users, we recommend using the stock menu software that comes with ED64Plus. Despite the fact that it may be a bit spartan and lacking in features, it has the most complete compatibility with retail games. Although neither menu OS is perfect, so try both and see which suits your needs best.