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3DS Game Card Sizes

wsippel

Banned
May 25, 2006
14,534
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Erfurt, Germany
I don't think the 3DS cards are mask ROM. Back in the DS days there were two types of cards: mask ROM (written using lithography) and 1T-EPROM (written by flashing the EPROM). Mask ROM was only available for cards up to 512MBit: 1Gbit cards and up had to use 1T-EPROM and were reported as having smaller transfer rates than M-ROM cards.
You're right, it's not mask ROM. It's NROM (Nitride ROM) - whatever that's supposed to mean:



4Gbit MXIC NAND interface XtraROM. Here's the datasheet. And here's a press release about the technology:

Macronix announces a new nitride-based multiple bits/cell technology - NBit(TM), starting with 2bits/cell solutions. This trap-charge technology stores two bits of information in each cell which provides double the storage capacity for the same die size in comparison to conventional technologies. This technology is utilized to provide highly cost-effective NOR Flash and Mask ROM solutions across a wide range of densities.

Conventional silicon-based floating gate NOR Flash memory products can physically store only one bit of information in each cell. NBit(TM) technology physically stores 2 bits of information in each cell as shown in the diagram below. The nitride-based cell "traps" the charge on one side of the cell and the charge does not flow to the other side of the cell unlike floating gate cells. Hence another charge can be stored physically on the other side of the cell providing two bits per cell.

Since there is no floating gate, the process is simpler and easier to scale down to smaller geometries, and the process development time is shorter. The cell size is compact and the data is stored reliably in the device.

Programming of each bit is performed by hot electron injection, erase is performed by band to band tunneling, and read by the reverse read mechanism.

"As Macronix develops the NBit(TM) family of NROM-based products, the storage side of the non-volatile market opens up to them," states Alan Niebel, principal analyst at Web-Feet Research. "This expansion into the storage market validates the NROM-type of Flash offered through Spansion, Infineon and Saifun, and positions Macronix as a world-class memory manufacturer."

To store two bits of information in a cell, other solutions offer a Multi Level Cell (MLC) with voltage dividers to store multiple bits in the cell. The MLC technique requires several more layers of processing and is not as scalable as the NBit(TM) technology. NBit(TM) technology is much more cost effective and easily scalable compared to the MLC technology.

"NBit(TM) is the technology of the future for the company and we are offering our high density flash and ROM products starting with 32Mb going to 1Gb and beyond," said Dr. C. Y. Lu, Senior Vice President and CTO of Macronix.

For details on NBit(TM) technology refer to the White Paper & Technology Paper at the Macronix website, http://www.macronix.com.
 
Aug 14, 2006
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One other thing that's interesting is that Nintendo's cart/card game sizes typically end up surpassing what Nintendo state is the maximum.

N64 was supposed to top out at 32MB, it went to 64MB. DS was supposed to top out at 128MB, it went all the way to 1GB! (IIRC only two games ever used this card, one of them being Love Plus)

So 3DS games could possible go higher than 8GB in theory... (though considering that this is ludicrously large for a handheld game, perhaps it wont happen this time around)
 

Starwolf_UK

Member
Dec 5, 2008
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Are these still encrypted. I guess so as I hear it using a homemade dumper (i.e. they ripped out the cartridge port from a 3DS and done some circuitry work).

Getting resident evil 2 on an n64 cart was pure witchcraft
If you've not already read this article on the games development down at gamasutra; do it.
Yup, even with those gifi "videos" it's my preferred version of the game.
The worst thing about that is they did a lot of work getting the balance right of the videos looking decent and when a good mix was found it wouldn't fit. So you get what you see today :(
 
May 22, 2010
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I too find it pretty staggering that Pilotwings is so small.
Isn't Mighty Switch Force bigger that it?
Regarding eShop content, how many blocks = 1MB?
 
Aug 6, 2006
13,049
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www.blackfalcongames.net
One other thing that's interesting is that Nintendo's cart/card game sizes typically end up surpassing what Nintendo state is the maximum.

N64 was supposed to top out at 32MB, it went to 64MB. DS was supposed to top out at 128MB, it went all the way to 1GB! (IIRC only two games ever used this card, one of them being Love Plus)

So 3DS games could possible go higher than 8GB in theory... (though considering that this is ludicrously large for a handheld game, perhaps it wont happen this time around)
No, N64 wasn't supposed to top out at 64MB;l before it came out I think I remember Nintendo Power saying something about "900 megabit" games... maybe? Anyway, whatever that actually said, what did happen was that over time, they gradually increased the size available -- first 8MB only, then 8 or 16, then 32, then 64, then 40 (there was also a 4MB size used by like two games). Many other cartridge-based systems have similar paths, with the early games all being small, and then over time larger sizes becoming available -- it's the same with the NES, Game Boy, etc, etc, all the way to the DS. And it makes sense, because over time making larger size carts gets cheaper, so they can afford to make sizes they couldn't reasonably afford before. Sure, it must have been very frustrating for those people having to squeeze their N64 games into 8MB in, say, early 1997, when by the end of the year a 16MB size would be available, but it does make sense.
 
hardcastlemccormick said:
Question for smart people: Super Mario Galaxy rips to about 3 GB, a bit over. Super Mario Galaxy 2 rips to half that. Did they massively improve their compression? What's up with that? Not to mention that Galaxy 2, to me, looks more consistent overall (less randomly blurry textures here or there).
They may not seem to play a giant role, but while playing around with Dolphin's ability to rip out files I remember being surprised at how much of the 3D Mario games' file size were taken up by things like FMV. I don't have the specifics around right now, but I imagine SMG2 just does a lot less of that.
BurntPork said:
... Which would in turn cause 3DS to have the same problems with getting third-party software that PSP has.
I for one would be fine with 3DS having the same problems getting third-party support as DS had.
Starwolf_UK said:
That is the Wii Block sizes. DSi uses a different sizing. Also unsure about 3DS but I think the Wii sized blocks make sense.
Yeah, pretty sure Wii and 3DS share the 8 blocks = 1 megabyte standard.
 

Ryoma-Echizen

Member
Mar 19, 2007
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Lima, Peru
These are the rom (or card) sizes. Evidently 128MB/256MB/512MB cards do exist. 4GB is the current maximum, though they'll undoubtedly go larger in the future.

Largest commercial game rom sizes for previous cart/card based Nintendo systems:

NES: 1MB
SNES: 5MB
N64: 64MB

GB/C: 2MB
GBA: 32MB
DS/i: 512MB
The current maximum is 8GB (available in near future).
 

Ryoma-Echizen

Member
Mar 19, 2007
468
0
0
Lima, Peru
One other thing that's interesting is that Nintendo's cart/card game sizes typically end up surpassing what Nintendo state is the maximum.

N64 was supposed to top out at 32MB, it went to 64MB. DS was supposed to top out at 128MB, it went all the way to 1GB! (IIRC only two games ever used this card, one of them being Love Plus)

So 3DS games could possible go higher than 8GB in theory... (though considering that this is ludicrously large for a handheld game, perhaps it wont happen this time around)
No DS game reached 1GB, Ninokuni and Love Plus+ tops at 512MB.
 

FoxHimself

Member
Mar 15, 2006
4,239
1
1,185
Take out the 20% tax and prices in Europe ain't that much different
It's 449 NOK here in Norway. Including 24% tax. That's $75.

$39.99 + 20% tax = $48.

That's almost 30 dollars more. Game prices are much, much cheaper in the US compared to parts of Europe.

Even the Euro MSRP of 45€ is $58. Ten dollars more.
 

M3d10n

Member
Aug 28, 2006
11,468
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Are these still encrypted. I guess so as I hear it using a homemade dumper (i.e. they ripped out the cartridge port from a 3DS and done some circuitry work).
Pretty much everything is either encrypted or digitally signed on 3DS games. Change one single bit in the ROM and the system will refuse to run the game. Some people managed to decrypt the saves in some carts (there's even a tool for backing up and restoring saves using a standard DS), but Nintendo already pushed a new more secure save format which is used by games starting with Mario Land 3D (this is why it requires a firmware update).

Didn't Ash reach that size?
Bits and bytes. Ash was 2Gbits (256MBytes). Ninokuni and Love Plus+ are 4Gbit (512Mbytes).

You're right, it's not mask ROM. It's NROM (Nitride ROM) - whatever that's supposed to mean:



4Gbit MXIC NAND interface XtraROM. Here's the datasheet. And here's a press release about the technology:
Ah, nice find. These are more like Flash/EPROM than mask ROM.

Another advantage over mask ROM is that you can easily change which game is being "pressed". With
mask ROM you first need to produce the mask to be used in the lithography. That's expensive and takes some time, making it impractical to produce small print runs in a short notice.
 

abasm

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Mar 5, 2011
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With regards to GBA cartridge size, wasn't that almost entirely determined by the amount of "sampled" music in the game? Mother 3 had a 32 MB cart, despite having almost no FMV and no voice acting...the only attributable factor would be the wide variety of samples used in the music.

Some games, like the Megaman Battle Network series, mixed sounds synthesized on the Gameboy hardware with sampled percussion tracks. Mother 3 was all samples, I believe.
 

Vazra

irresponsible vagina leak
Sep 12, 2010
44,197
1
0
Nah
Games that will not get remake on 3DS which would be easy to port down (Most could work on 2GB Cards including improvements and extra content) (Obviously this is a wishlist)

Lost Kingdoms 1: 4.29MB
Lost Kingdoms 2: 1.10GB
Tales of Symphonia: 1.98GB
Wave Race Blue Storm: 810MB
1080 Avalanche: 954MB
Sonic Adventure 2 Battle: 977MB


There are more games but I'm not gonna flood this place with my list. There are some HD games I would like to see port down on 3ds like

Bayonetta
Resonance of Fate
Alice Madness Returns
Dark Souls
Virtua Fighter
and more.
 

wsippel

Banned
May 25, 2006
14,534
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0
Erfurt, Germany
Ah, nice find. These are more like Flash/EPROM than mask ROM.

Another advantage over mask ROM is that you can easily change which game is being "pressed". With
mask ROM you first need to produce the mask to be used in the lithography. That's expensive and takes some time, making it impractical to produce small print runs in a short notice.
The chips also seem to be erasable, so unsold cartridges could theoretically be "recycled" from what I understand.
 

lunchwithyuzo

Banned
Jun 20, 2010
11,040
0
0
No, N64 wasn't supposed to top out at 64MB;l before it came out I think I remember Nintendo Power saying something about "900 megabit" games... maybe? Anyway, whatever that actually said, what did happen was that over time, they gradually increased the size available -- first 8MB only, then 8 or 16, then 32, then 64, then 40 (there was also a 4MB size used by like two games). Many other cartridge-based systems have similar paths, with the early games all being small, and then over time larger sizes becoming available -- it's the same with the NES, Game Boy, etc, etc, all the way to the DS. And it makes sense, because over time making larger size carts gets cheaper, so they can afford to make sizes they couldn't reasonably afford before. Sure, it must have been very frustrating for those people having to squeeze their N64 games into 8MB in, say, early 1997, when by the end of the year a 16MB size would be available, but it does make sense.
The first N64 game was actually 6MB (Japanese version of Mario 64). There were also lots of 12MB games (KI Gold being the first iirc) but only one 40MB game (Ogre Battle 64).


Whoever was boggling that Ocarina of Time went from 16MB to 512MB overlooked that Star Fox 64 went from 12MB to 1GB! Rayman 2 went from 16MB to 256MB, though that's actually shaved down from the DC version (793MB).
 

Starwolf_UK

Member
Dec 5, 2008
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With regards to GBA cartridge size, wasn't that almost entirely determined by the amount of "sampled" music in the game? Mother 3 had a 32 MB cart, despite having almost no FMV and no voice acting...the only attributable factor would be the wide variety of samples used in the music.

Some games, like the Megaman Battle Network series, mixed sounds synthesized on the Gameboy hardware with sampled percussion tracks. Mother 3 was all samples, I believe.
Samples eat up CPU to process them as well as space in the soundbank on the cart. For music the Mother 3 soundbank (for the music anyway) is about 4 megabytes (the devkit has a tool to downsample instruments which is why they sound a bit muffled and crackly if you're not careful). I don't know what the other sound effects add up to. The game had a lot of sprites too.

In the DS era due to cart sizes becoming bigger it was more a matter of synthesised using samples (otherwise you get GBC quality) or straight streamed became more popular. Lots of the best DS music is streamed as the sound drivers didn't have that many channels available or something. Curiously some games steam and then use sequenced for mutiplayer download as these fit in the RAM (e.g. Chotto-Aima no Colpile DS)

A surprise is Chrono Trigger was sequenced (at about 12 megabytes while its iOS release was streamed at...over 500!).

Given the OOT 3D mandate of must sound like the N64 streamed could have been used there but without being able to see the data we have no way of telling.

Star fox is not a surprise as the voice acting is not being compressed/sotred to low-bitrate mono anymore and other bits of it seem to be very high quality.
 

Celine

Member
Oct 4, 2009
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These are the rom (or card) sizes. Evidently 128MB/256MB/512MB cards do exist. 4GB is the current maximum, though they'll undoubtedly go larger in the future.

Largest commercial game rom sizes for previous cart/card based Nintendo systems:

NES: 1MB
SNES: 5MB ToP and SO are 6 MB. Fun stuff is that rumors said that FF7 for SNES targeted a 8MB cartridge
N64: 64MB

GB/C: 2MB ( DQ3 is 4MB )
GBA: 32MB
DS/i: 512MB
I believe the bolded is true.

One other thing that's interesting is that Nintendo's cart/card game sizes typically end up surpassing what Nintendo state is the maximum.

N64 was supposed to top out at 32MB, it went to 64MB. DS was supposed to top out at 128MB, it went all the way to 1GB! (IIRC only two games ever used this card, one of them being Love Plus)

So 3DS games could possible go higher than 8GB in theory... (though considering that this is ludicrously large for a handheld game, perhaps it wont happen this time around)
From what I remember, the 128MB limit for DS given by Nintendo at launch was for launch games ( comparable to the 2GB limit for 3DS launch games ).
Also DS max size was 512MB.

I don't think Nintendo ever give the max size for N64 cartridge at the time.

The first N64 game was actually 6MB (Japanese version of Mario 64). There were also lots of 12MB games (KI Gold being the first iirc) but only one 40MB game (Ogre Battle 64).


Whoever was boggling that Ocarina of Time went from 16MB to 512MB overlooked that Star Fox 64 went from 12MB to 1GB! Rayman 2 went from 16MB to 256MB, though that's actually shaved down from the DC version (793MB).
Never knew that jap Mario 64 was on a 6MB cart.
Paper Mario was also a 40MB game.
 

lunchwithyuzo

Banned
Jun 20, 2010
11,040
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I believe the bolded is true.
You're right! For SNES I was thinking Genesis (5MB SSF2 being it's largest).

Never knew that jap Mario 64 was on a 6MB cart.
Paper Mario was also a 40MB game.
I forgot Paper Mario. Double checking Mario 64 was actually 7MB (56Mbit) for the Japanese original. It had no voice samples, which is the major difference from the western version, but they were added in (along with rumble support) for a later reprint. Wave Race 64 also had a JP reprint with rumble added I believe.
 
Nov 26, 2006
24,196
2
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goldmetalsonic.wordpress.com
Nice job updating the OP!

I found the source of the rips and it has a full list of all the details, I don't know if it's safe to post.

Kid Icarus is 2GB and Nicktoons MLB 3D is 128MB, I think those are the only two missing that I saw?
 

lunchwithyuzo

Banned
Jun 20, 2010
11,040
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Updated!

Has Vita gone beyond 4 GB, or is it fitting the MGS2+3 bundle into a card of the same capacity?
Vita hasn't gone beyond 4GB yet, but it'll have to in order to fit MGS2&3 on a single card without major cuts. And if they go 8GB, I wonder if we'll also be looking at a higher pricepoint for it?
 

Gospel

Parmesan et Romano
Dec 22, 2008
10,155
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830
Nice job updating the OP!

I found the source of the rips and it has a full list of all the details, I don't know if it's safe to post.

Kid Icarus is 2GB and Nicktoons MLB 3D is 128MB, I think those are the only two missing that I saw?
Kid Icarus at 2GB is just remarkable.
 
May 22, 2010
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You're right! For SNES I was thinking Genesis (5MB SSF2 being it's largest).


I forgot Paper Mario. Double checking Mario 64 was actually 7MB (56Mbit) for the Japanese original. It had no voice samples, which is the major difference from the western version, but they were added in (along with rumble support) for a later reprint. Wave Race 64 also had a JP reprint with rumble added I believe.
Yep.
 

StatsChu

Neo Member
Jun 17, 2012
172
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Anybody have any info on cart sizes for some of the newer released games (Luigi's Mansion, Dragon Quest VII, Virtue's Last Reward)?