which flashcart should I buy, Gateway 3DS or Sky3DS?

For some new users to the 3ds flashcards, before you get one 3ds flashcard, you need to konw the features of flashcards. Now there are two most popular 3ds flashcard: Gateway 3DS and Sky3ds. there are some konwledge about these two cards and wish to give you some help when choosing them. You can get a cheap one from digitopz.



It is compatible with the following:

Original 3DS – Any Firmware version up to 9.5 (current)
Original 3DSXL – Any Firmware version up to 9.5 (current)
2DS – Any Firmware version up to 9.5 (current)
New 3DS – Any Firmware version up to 9.5 (current)
New 3DSXL – Any Firmware version up to 9.5 (current)

There are two variants of the Sky3DS:
1.  The original release which allows up to 10 ROMs to be used, however this tool provides a workaround, enabling it to work much like the second revision.
2.  The second revision which allows an unlimited number of ROMs to be cycled through by adding/removing them from a micro SD and will allow up to 31 ROMs to be stored on each micro SD.
The two versions can be identified by the color of the button on the cartridge (blue for the newer card, red for the older) and most sites selling the Sky3DS will indicate which version it is.

The Sky3DS works by emulating a real cartridge. As a result it will not allow the use of eShop titles or Homebrew. (It should be noted however that due to being able to update the SYSNAND to 9.5 you can still access the eShop and purchase games)
The button on the cartridge is used to cycle through the ROMs stored on the micro SD inserted into it, the delay between game swaps is a couple of seconds and varies depending on the speed of the micro SD used.

Online play – ROMs are copied to the Sky3DS using the DiskWriter tool from their website. The tool will inject a public header into the ROM allowing online play. The template used in this process can be modified to include a private header. This tool or this one is recommended for this purpose.
A discussion around reports of players being banned for online play with flash cartridges is posted here.

Sky3DS is ideal if you:

–  Own a New 3DS
–  Own an Original 3DS or 3DSXL or 2DS with firmware over 9.2
–  Are either not interested in homebrew or you have the ability to use ninjhax to launch homebrew (ninjhax does not require a Sky3DS but does require firmware <9.2)
–   Do not mind paying for eShop games (and DLC) or do not wish to play them
–   Do not wish to play out-of-region games or have the ability to play them using a combination of Sky3DS and RegionThree

Gateway 3DS

It is compatible with the following:

Original 3DS – Any Firmware between 4.x and 9.2
Original 3DSXL – Any Firmware between 4.x and 9.2
2DS – Any Firmware between 6.x and 9.2 (Numerous reports of compatibility issues however eg. here)
New 3DS – Not compatible
New 3DSXL – Not compatible

The gateway ships with two cartridges:

1.  The Blue Card – An Ace3DS+ clone which allows DS ROMs to be played on a 3DS that has firmware below 6.1.
It has not been successfully upgraded to work on higher firmware however it is capable of running a modified 1.62 Wood kernel. Modifying the white-list file in the SYSNAND of your 3DS will allow the blue cartridge to run on firmware 6.1 or above. See the guide here.
It’s primary purpose is to install the DS-mode exploit which was the entry point for gateway prior to the gateway ‘go’ exploit used for newer gateway firmware (3.x , not to be confused with the 3DS firmware itself)
The ‘Go’ exploit relies on internet connectivity but can also be run with just WiFi (no internet) hosting the website on a PC or Android

2.  The Red Card – The other is the gateway cartridge itself. This needs to be inserted to launch Emunand and is where the 3DS ROMs are stored (on a micro SD)

The Gateway ‘mode’ (launcher) once launched either via the DS exploit (on 4.x systems) or the GO exploit provides the following options:

*  Emunand – A copy of the NAND is run from a partition created on the SD card inserted in the 3DS (can be updated to 9.5)
*  Classic Mode – Emunand with the ROM loader and signature check hacks disabled, used to play retail carts requiring a higher firmware version than the ‘real’ SYSNAND has
*  Dump Cartridge – dumps the game cartridge inserted into the 3DS onto the SD inserted in the 3DS.
*  Backup SYSNAND
*   Downgrade SYSNAND (can be used to downgrade SYSNAND to 4.5 using these packs.
*   Format Emunand – (re)creates the Emunand by copying SYSNAND to the SD card

Note that launching Emunand will request that the Red cartridge be inserted if it is not already. All other options will work without the Red cartridge even if you don’t or have never owned one.
Pushing the ‘Select’ button in Emunand homescreen brings up a menu to select from one of the ROMs on the micro SD in the Gateway cartridge.

It is possible to install eShop titles (CIA) on the emunand using BigBlueMenu, however this tool is derivative of Nintendo’s IP/Dev tools and should not be linked on these forums.
A guide to converting .3DS ROMs to CIA is posted here. Note that CIA format games do not contain or require a header.

Online play is possible using either the CIA or 3DZ method. A guide to 3DZ is posted here.
A discussion around reports of players being banned for online play with flash cartridges is posted here.

Gateway 3DS is ideal if you own an older-style 3DS or 3DSXL with firmware below 9.2 and:

*  Would like to load homebrew
*  Would like to run copies of eShop games (and DLC)
* Would like to play out-of-region games
* You have 2 or more 2DS/3DS systems that can share the cartridge


All other cartridges are clones of these main two.
Those known are as follows:

Known Sky3DS clones:

K3DS – http://www.k3ds.com/
QQ3DS – http://www.qq3ds.com/
R5 SDHC – http://www.r5sdhc.com/

Known Gateway 3DS clones:

MT Card – http://www.mt-card.com/
R4i Gold 3DS Deluxe – http://www.r4ids.cn/r4ids-e.htm
3DS Link – http://www.3dslink.com/
Orange 3DS – http://www.orange-3ds.com/
Evo 3DS – http://www.evo3ds.com/

More details about the differences between original and clone cartridges can be seen in the GBAtemp.net Wiki Flashcart comparison chart

Custom firmware

There are multiple public custom firmwares which can allow most ROMs and CIAs to be loaded without a flash cartridge. They are currently all based on older (4.x) firmware and are not 100% stable.

Further information is beyond the scope of this guide. An guide on how to load custom firmware is posted here

About 3dsflashcart

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