The CD64 is a game backup device made by UFO/Success Company for the Nintendo 64 that allows to run ROM files off a CD-ROM attached to the system. Similar to the Doctor V64 and the Z64 units for the N64, it is most commonly used for playing backups of Nintendo 64 games. Since it has a built-in communications port that is accessible from the N64 program, it can also be used as a rather versatile development/debug device. Contents
The CD64 sits underneath the N64 unit, making use of the EXTension port on the bottom of the console. Once connected and plugged in, a game cartridge is taken out of the N64 and one is placed into the slot on the face of the system, just underneath the N64 and just above the CD-ROM drive, to act as a kind of boot disk.
When the unit is turned on, via the N64 power button, a GUI is shown where you can choose to launch the game in the slot, or run the ROM file on the CD in the CD-ROM. The ROM file is loaded into the PC RAM found within the system.
The first version of the unit was solid black, like the N64 itself, and had only 128Mb of RAM. While upgradeable, the RAM was usually glued into place with a hot glue gun. The second version, known as the CD64+ (or 'Plus') was apparently more stable than the first and was transparent grey. This unit came with 256Mb installed, again glued in place, but still capable of being upgraded.
Earlier CD64 models were able to power themselves directly from the N64's expansion bus, but later models require an external power adaptor.
The inserted cart acts as a 'boot' cartridge. The N64 boots the CD64 BIOS using the 6102 CIC in the boot cartridge. The CD64 then boots a program from its cartridge emulator memory using a built-in boot emulator. This presents problems for running programs which have secondary protections against boot emulators, because unlike the V64 and V64Jr, and due to the necessity of the CD64 BIOS to launch a program, it is impossible to use a cartridge with a different boot CIC than the 6102 with the CD64.
The CD64 supports .v64 and .z64 files. After burning the ROM files onto a disc they can be launched from the GUI. There is an embedded cheat and hex editing function, the former of which uses Gameshark format codes, the latter requiring a search of the ROMs code for implementation of cheats. The CD64 unit has SRAM support and can connect with a PC to dump the ROM image from the inserted cart and transfer save files and ROM files back and forth.
The unit was very cheaply made and shipped with a 9VDC power supply. The 9V input is connected directly to the 12V input of the internal CDROM drive. A voltage regulator is used to obtain a 5V input voltage supply for the mainboard. This converts the unused energy to excess heat, often leading to premature failure. Due to the overheating issues some users have modified their units with small cpu processor fans to keep their units cool. Others that used aftermarket power supply units rated for 12V, 1A did not have issues.
The unit frequently suffers from an incomplete connection between the N64 and the flanges on the top, leading to a black screen at bootup.
The PC parallel port function requires a special adaptor (PPA, Parallel Port Adaptor) and a DB25 Parallel Port cable that are sold separately. This method is notoriously difficult to set up as the DOS run PC program is difficult to interpret. Software such as cd64comm.exe and ucon64.exe can be used to transfer save files or game images back and forth from the PC to CD64.
The SRAM function saves to the CD64 RAM, and so if power is lost, the save will also be lost. To store a save permanently requires turning the CD64 back on, selecting the built-in memory manager from the main menu, and then transferring the save to a controller pak. Saves can also be transferred to a PC using Ghemor. If the unit is unplugged the ROM image must also be loaded into the RAM again.
The CD-ROM control software is poorly written. It treats any operation as a failure if it takes more than a few seconds, which often does not give the drive adequate time to spin up. Successfully reading a disc can take a few well-timed attempts. Long file names are not supported, and it may not read all files from a disc.
Two games, Conker's Bad Fur Day and Perfect Dark, cannot be read the system unless a Protected Cartridge Decoder (PCD) is used. This cartridge plugs into the slot in the front and has two connectors, one for a boot cartridge such as Super Mario 64, and the other for either the Conker's or Perfect Dark Game Pak. Given the rarity of this accessory, it is often hard to find and expensive when found.
The unit's design makes it impossible to upgrade beyond 32MB of RAM, which means it cannot play larger ROM images such as Paper Mario or Conker's Bad Fur Day. (These games can still be copied to a PC, however.)
8x ATAPI CD-ROM (Can be replaced, later firmware allows high speed access to CDs and improved loading times)
128 to 256 Mbit (16-32 MB) EDO RAM
Pro Action Replay/Parallel Comms Link DB25 port (8-bit dual register with handshake)
the manufacturers new link is now www.superufo.com and www.success-hk.com
they still manufacture and sell the Decorder cart for the CD64 here
including the DS1 Save Card here
General description of the unit can be found here.
Information about backup units @ supermagi.com
Emulators that run on the CD64
Robb Webb's site A site for buying ROM backup devices
NEO N64 Myth Cart
Hex Editor function: You can edit the program by using hex editor feature. So you can modify the game,write you own program. Crack the software protection , etc. X-Terminator function ( cheat-code ) those code are compatible with Action Replay, Game Shark cheat code. Enter any of the cheat-codes before starting the game, to gain extra lives, energy or power and discover the secret too !! Cheat code's parameter saved function. New cheat code that you edit by yourself now can saved into the flash ROM bios. EMULATOR function. This is for the very able and knowledgeable programmer. It enables the programmer to have the ability to actually add their interpretation or program to a game, but it is a very skilful process. For professionals! Build-in CD ROM Drive ( 8x speed ) ( the CD operation system is compatible for 2x - 32x speed IDE CD ROM. ) 128 Meg-bit RAM on board, expandable to 256 Meg. We use the most common RAM Module for the computer ( EDO TYPE,72 pin SIMM 4Mx4 Ram Chip -60ns ). So the end-user can up-grade or replace the Memory as for their convience.) Transfer SRAM function (Battery Save ). SRAM save data can be transferred between cartridge that used by CD64 and Ram Pack of controller.One standard Ram Pack can store 15's save data or 256's save data by using compression method. Multi-files function ( Can access V64 & SP64 format - swap byte ) Backup Function Game cartridges download function. Low power consumption. (Use ordinary AC adapter. DC9V 800ma ) I/O PORT for PC-Computer .it can upload and download from PC by connection the: Parallel Port adaptor: With the connection of Parallel Port adaptor to the printer port of your PC,you can communicate with you PC. Universal console compatible. Direct Joypad control. You can use the Game Console's controller to access the CD64.So CD64 has the ability to have more powerful features & function under the future up-grade.
De-protect card: Recently , N64 's release a lot of cartridge that they have software protection. ( Like Banjo Kazooie, F-Zero64, Pocket Monster, Zelda64 ) . So it let the user cannot download the games directly. Even you can download the data, but the game will start in Blank Screen. So the user usually need to wait for the PATCH to release. Otherwise they cannot play the game directly. An additional function for DECODER is you can make the sram save of those card. You need to insert one normal original card ( like mario ) for boot card, and another protected card ( like 1080, F-zero ) for the sram save. For permenant save, you need to using CD64COMM.EXE Version 2.10 to Grab or Transfer sram save data from/to N64 game card to your PC computer. Grab sram save data from N64 game card (256Kb): cd64comm -g -fsave.dat -sa8000000 -l8000 Transfer sram save data to N64 game card (256Kb):cd64comm -t -fsave.dat -sa8000000 Now we have just release a PROTECTED CARTRIDGE DECODER for the CD64's user. It allow them to download the game immediately and play the game without patch. ( old user need to upgrade to Bios 1.23 ). It is a big advantage over the other copier. On the PROTECTED CARD ADAPTOR , there is 2 slot. One slot is for ordinary boot cartridge , and the other is for the Protected Cartridge ( e.g. Snowboard 1080 , Banjo Kazooie ).