EFA Linker II - EFA2
EFA II Price: ~ $ 130 USD
Tested & Reviewed: YES
Extreme Flash Advance Linker II (EFA 2) is a GAMEBOY ADVANCE flash card with a potential of becoming a NDS flash card. At the moment it can be used on GBA / SP and on Nintendo DS but only for playing GBA ROMs and Emulated Roms - Not for NDS ROMs.
The EFA Linker 2 comes from the makers of EFA Linker - dispite similar in names it has no relation to EZ-Flash, EZFA or Xtreme Flash Advance. We would like the manufacturers to be a little more imaginative with the names of their products instead of just using permutaions of the most popular brands but anyway - EFA2 is not a copy of any card / linker that we have seen before!
What we have in EFA-Linker II is uniqu GBA Flash Card with its main selling points being the ease of use (No drivers need / Drag and drop GBA roms), compact size and good compatibility with GBA game roms and various Save Game formats RTC etc. We were a little disapointed about the lack of NDS ROM support, but the EFA stuff has prommissed to release an update for EFA II Loader that would make it work with NDS roms.
Go here to view more pictures and read our EFA Linker 2 - Review
Buy GBA Extreme Flash Advance at Jandaman - Price: $ 99.95 USD
Both Original EFA Linker and EFA Linker II can play GBA ROMs, Emulated games and NDS ROMs. Both version I & II can be used on GAMEBOY ADVANCE, GBA SP, GB Micro and Nintendo DS consoles. EFA can boot DS roms directly when as EFA II has a little trick to do it until the new updated version of the Loader is released.
How to run NDS ROMS from EFA II cards. (the unofficial way)
- Rom has to be in patched with NDS Patcher - in *.nds.gba form
- Copy the gamename.nds.gba file to the EFAII
- Put the card into DS and run in GBA mode
- Copy the NDS rom from Storage to Current ROMS (EFA NAND to NOR)
- Now RUN the game in GBA mode -> You will get a white screen
- Plug mini-USB cable into the card (has to be connected to PC)
- Turn the DS OFF
- Turn it back on with SuperPass / PassKey in the DS slot
- If all done correctly -- DS game will load.
NOTES: What happens is that plugged in USB cable supplies power to the cartridge so when the DS is turned OFF - the cart stays ON -> because of this when console is turned back ON it doesn't load the EFA menu but skips right to running the nds rom. As soon as the update the loader to be fully DS you will not have to use this trick to play NDS Roms. First generation EFA Linkers had an option to disable the menu altogether so they can load directly.
Here we have a list of reatures from the EFA website with notes from GBAnet:
- Very small. It uses mini USB connector to PC, has internal USB control chip.
- Power saving. Use 1.8v memory and saves you GBA/NDS battery. Consumes 60% less power than many other flash kits (with 3.3v momory).
- Works with GBA / SP/ GB Micro and NDS in GBA mode.
(Support for NDS ROMS - NDS_Mode promissed in near future)
- 1Gbit storage. (2Gb EFA II cards will be released later on)
Plus to 1G storage you get 256M from where to play the games.
- Real Plug&Play U-disk (USB Storage Device)
- Drag & Drop files directly to into the EFA-Linker II.
- Write the ROMs direct from NAND FLASH to NOR FLASH.
(NOR - the fast memory you play the games from. 256M of it is in the cart)
- Ultra fast writing speed (from NAND to NOR) (same as on EFA Linker).
- Instant save.
- RTC (Real Time Clock).
- RTS (Real Time Save / Like Quick Save in PC games) and normal save function.
- SMS (Super Memory Stick) for backup of save files.
(with the built in menu you can backup Game Saves to the NAND and from there to PC)
- Soft-reset for reboting to EFA Menu withotu turning off your GBA.
- Cheat function.
- Custom backgrounds. (NOT at this time. Maybe will be added later on)
- Does not need external writer or linker (bridge).
Go here to read more about Using EFA 2 Card NAND NOR etc
Questions and Answers session with LiDi from EFA.
Q: Is there some way to DISABLE the boot menu of the EFAII so that we could load homebrew NDS roms from it?
For EFA I read there was function to not write multiboot menu, but as I understand now the menu is ON the card permanently?
A: We will give a new loader when EFA II sopport NDS ROM. You could copy this file into U-disk and pull the card into your GBA then open your GBA. I think the new loader could be used.
Q: Can Game Saves be backuped from EFAII to PC?
A: Yes, first you could keep you saver in U-disk then copy the "SAVEFILE" into you PC.
Q: Do you plan on updating client software so that:
- can write directly to Flash memory from PC
A: we have not plan that write files directly to FLASH Memory.
- can erase files from Flash and U-disk from within the Client
A: You should format the FLASH memory on GBA with next version.
Q: How can I change / customize the background of the EFAI
A: You can't change the packground for EFA II.
Q: will you integrate PocketNES, FooN and all the rest of the emulators into the client software so new users could add NES roms with ease? TXT, JPG, WAV, MPEG etc support?
A: We want to direct support TXT, JPG, WAV, MPEG in the furture.
Q: What is the progress of getting commercial NDS ROMS to work on EFAII ?
A: We will through software to work all of EFA series on DS-ROM.
Q: Do you plan on making EFA PassMe - any info on that?
Q: Has EFAII been tested with Mac OS X?
(many Mac users looking for a Flash card they could use. EFA Client for Mac?)
A: Our EFA II should be used on Mac OS X because our EFA II is a U-disk on the PC. But they couln't use software to patch ROM and could only direct drag ROMs into U-disk.
GBAnet: We also tested EFA II with LINUX and it worked just like any USB Disk!
EFA Linker II has some of the fastest write speed (PC-to-Card) we have seen but that is in part canceled by the fact that you have to make another write INSIDE the cart from STORAGE flash (NAND) to the GAME flash (NOR)...
The cart and software works stable and there were no problems with it. Can even choose not to use the Software, but than the games that need Save Patches will not save correctly. Packaged was exelent and great as present. Would like to see users manual and CD with software included in teh package, but we can make up for it posting all that here on our site.
The EFA Client software is straight forward and easy to use. It has good support and new versions of the software come out regularly fixing any bugs that users have found.
EFA-Linker is NOT for making your own ROMs.
All in all, the EFA-Linker 2 kit is a very stable, fast and easy to use GBA flash backup kit that we can recomend for GBA/ GBASP and GB Micro users, but its Nintendo DS ROM compatibility will have to be tested later. Check back for an UPDATE soon!
+ WinME / 2000 / XP OS or above NO Drivers necessary. True Plug & Play.
+ Works with LINUX and Mac OS.
+ Very fast write times - but need additional transfer to NOR flash.
+ Rechargeable battery + Built in Game Save backup utility
+ Reduced GBA battery power consumption = longer playtime
+ Can Drag-and-Drop files into the card
+ Cartridge Loader / Firmware can be upgraded
- Manual driver installation
- EFA 2 Client software requires Window so Linux and Mac users use another sav-patch soft.
- Cannot backup ROMS and SAVe Games from original Nintendo cartridges
- To play games the ROMs in the cartridge have to be moved from NAND to NOR flash
- Only 256M of memory you can play from + 1G of storage space for roms
New Nintendo DS Flash Linkers and NDS ROM backup tools:
NDS Neo Flash : MagicKey2 MK2 : G6flash 3 G6 : EZ4 : M3 Adapter : DS SuperCard