Road to hell

I’ve been getting more and more emails from people who bought and tested 64GB+ cards.Β  It occured to me that rather than having to retype this every time I should just make a public post.

Yes, I know SDXC cards work. If formatted to FAT32 that is, preferably with SD Formatter. However, GDEMU was not designed with that in mind and while it seems to work for most people, for some it just might not. I cannot test every brand and model of SD cards, and there are some that don’t behave nicely (like the Transcend Class 10’s) and there’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t want people buying expensive high-capacity cards only to learn they don’t work well, or at all. Therefore the official support ends with 32GB SDHC cards and it’ll stay that way. If you feel lucky and want to try something bigger, you’re on your own.

Obviously for bigger cards the current limit of 64 folders is too low. I’m going to skip the usual rant on design choices I’ve made – you want the limit to be 99+, you can get it. For a price. Right now GDEMU does a prescan of the card folders and can gracefully skip holes in numbering. With more folders both the prescan and the storage of results get too costly, so will have to go. Scanning on keypress would introduce too much lag with many folders, so basically it would become a dumb “try N+1, wrap back to 1 if it doesn’t exist”.

USB support, long filenames, breakfast making – not coming in foreseeable future. Don’t bug me about it.

16 thoughts on “Road to hell

  1. I understand your position, its difficult to please everyone.

    If I understood your post you’re offering 99+ Folders just at the cost of losing the graceful prescan (therefore all folders must be properly number 1-99 no “holes”). I for one can live with that. I didn’t even realize that it’d work with holes, I would have thought it would have failed. I assume we’ll need to wait for some firmware update?

    As to the question of the larger cards: for me I’m willing to take a gamble, worst case scenario I have a large card that I can re-purpose for my camera, best case scenario I’ve got a convenient card with all the games I want.

    Frankly I’d just go the Microsoft Route: advertise support for 32GB SD Cards, and silently add the ability to go up to 99+ Folders, if it works for you it works, be greatful, if not, well then it wasn’t advertised now was it? (This seems to be what you’re saying)

    The rest of the requests (USB, Long Filename Support, Breakfast Making, etc) I have no interest in, there are other solutions that provide what those people want and tools that make the long file name issue moot.

  2. Can i make a suggestion i dont know much but lets say GDEMU scans in chunk so you can store N+10 and N-10. (again dont know if this will help)

    and the another solution coming to my mind is an index file to the sdcard

  3. Ashamed to say – I was one of the people that emailed on this very subject.
    My unskilled mind however had no idea of the possible problems that could arise from the change – which DK graciously included in his reply.
    I have to be honest though – what I love most about the GDEMU is the compatibility, the speed and the reliability. After reading DK’s response to me I decided I am more than happy as things are (I only need 2 SD cards for all the games i’ll ever want to play – and the GDEMU works flawlessly) πŸ™‚

  4. arrg i bought 2 transcend 32 class 10 and, indeed, i have problem with them (freezing, …). I did not want to bother you until i made more tests, but you confirm the problem.

    One work pretty decently but i have to remove the ini file with gdmenu (and i have to run some more tests on the other). I imagine that the open_time or detect_time value are in cause. You do not have any idea of what can be the cause, it is a problem of speed or because transcend cards are counterfeited (and not of good quality)?

    • These cards have big latency spikes (read -> data) of more than 50ms. That happens randomly, persists for a while, then goes away. Repeats every few hours and after being disconnected for some time. My theory is the card is doing some internal housekeeping – but whatever the cause, I can’t wait that long for data from the card. Even if I did, it would completly screw up GDEMU response times, which makes many games unhappy. Crazy Taxi is one good example of that.
      Nothing I can do to fix that though, it’s a card issue. You can see it on PC as well, not during reads because that is buffered by Windows, but writing or deleting many files when the card is in the “latency spikes mode” will be visible as very slow operation.

      EDIT: To clarify, this issue seems to only affect Transcend Class 10. Other classes seem fine (?), but I’d pick a different brand anyway.

      • Thanks for the reply, if your theory is correct, i’m screwed πŸ˜‰ I imagine that adding a reading buffer is not possible.

        I’ve contact transcend support (yes i like to throw bottles in the sea) for further information but i doubt internal operations can be disabled like that!

        And another thing, i’ve tried with another microSD card (with a transcend adapter) and i experienced the same freezing (even worse), but with samsung brand (16g do not remember the class, at least 6).

      • I have 36kB of RAM and most of it is used for internal buffers. Nothing else can be done.

        Card adaptors, and extension cables, can have poor quality (brand or no brand it’s all made in China with different logo on it), so try another one.

        If all cards seems to misbehave then maybe your Dreamcast PSU has lost good contact with the motherboard pins and is not giving clean output on 3.3V line. There was a case or two where the voltage was still high enough not to trip GDEMU brownout reset, but too low for the cards to work properly. Solution: clean PSU contact springs and motherboard pins.

  5. Ok i will try that (I have another dreamcast candidate, so i can isolate this problem), thanks. And keep the good work for the saturn and pce ODE πŸ™‚

  6. After checking everything out on a 32GB class 10, I ended up using Sandisk 64GB class 10 cards With those formatted to FAT32, everything is running smooth, and my folder count for GDIs is actually full at 54. I’m happy with things as they are, honestly, because really the only issue I’ve had is in swapping cards (it’s a little hard to get the card in and out of that socket at that angle & with the cover on). I happen to like the menu and prescan and everything as it is, because IT JUST WORKS… so I’d vote to leave it alone DK.

    Also want to say a public Thank You for your work, and for the really fast shipping! I might be looking for another one of these when you get into the next run, as my nephew would love to have his DC revived.

  7. “It’s a little hard to get the card in and out of that socket at that angle & with the cover on”

    Easiest thing to do is pick up a SD Connector Cable from Amazon. It’s a SD card with a ribbon cable that extends to another SD card reader. Makes it easy to extend the SD card reader to where ever you want inside the case. Double stick tape or Velcro it down once you select a spot.

  8. did not know you pre scanned, for what I saw as a personal project thats pretty nice usability functionality πŸ™‚ with more folders rather than store whats there can you just store whats not and the largest one you find, obvioulsy with lots of gaps there gets a point you cannot store the numbers and you stop the pre scan and where the device gets to, but that is down to the user. might help people who miss one by mistake (possibly write a log to the card if that happend?)

    • I haven’t noticed any change in scrolling, but having 0GDTEX.PVR presentation is a nice bonus. Thanks for sharing.

    • Very nice! Love these improvements to the Menu! What would be amazing to see is a WiiFlow -esq interface for the Dreamcast but this is the next best thing πŸ™‚

  9. Well I tested a Transcend SDXC card (64gb) formatted as Fat32 and it kept losing files after the 9th or 10th folder when writing data to it. Anyway it was a royal pain in the ass and a waste of time trying to get it working.

    I am happy to settle for swapping my 32gb SDHC cards that’s more than enough for all the games I want to play(will probably use an SD extender with it). I can definitely see good reasons why you don’t support SDXC.

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