How to Avoid Fake R4 and R4i Cards!

The R4 has many imitations / clones with the same or similar names.

We have a list of recommended retailers for different countries, which you can see in our "Where to Buy" section. We base links on that page on consumer feedback, reputation and quality. Websites listed on our "Where to Buy" page are reliable, and only sell top quality cards and provide exceptional service.

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R4i Gold Card

R4i Gold Card Menu

  1. What is an R4i Gold card, and do I need one?
  2. How does an R4i Gold card work?
  3. What hardware do I need to use an R4i Gold card?
  4. Step by step installation instructions
  5. Where do I download R4i Gold software?
  6. Where can I buy a genuine R4i card?
  7. R4i Gold Frequently Asked Questions

What is an R4i Gold card, and do I need one?

When the Nintendo DSi console was first released, the R4i SDHC became the first card to be released (now known as the R4i 3DS).

R4i cards have been around since the Nintendo DSi console was released, as a different card to the original R4 was required to work on the newer consoles. Cards such as the original R4v2 and the R4 SDHC card were fundamentally incompatible in terms of hardware. The original R4 SDHC team decided not to immediately pursue an R4i card, and therefore a different team entirely came along (with the help of the original R4 SDHC team, as several members of that team worked on this project) to create the R4i SDHC card.

When the Nintendo 3DS was released, the R4i team worked on a new card that would also be compatible with the new 3DS console. The R4i SDHC was then renamed the R4i 3DS, which is the card you see for sale today. It is manufactured by the same genuine factory that produced the R4i SDHC, the name has simple been updated.

The R4i card allowed people to not only play games on their Nintendo DS / DSi / 3DS console, but also to play media such as music / MP3s and even video. Using homebrew media reading software it’s even possible to view documents such as PDFs and eBooks using an R4i card.

The success of the R4i card was sufficient that a number of clone cards were produced in an attempt to take some of the business the original factory. This is how the R4i Gold was born – it was the first ever ‘fake’ version of the original R4i card. It was produced by a rival factory and packaged similarly to the original R4i 3DS but in a gold coloured packaging, to try and make it stand out. Unfortunately, though, at the end of the day this card is not authentic.

We would not recommend buying an R4i Gold card as it is less well supported than the official card and isn’t likely to be updated with new Nintendo firmware updates – however, it was still a card that worked, and therefore we talk about it here :-) If you are looking for an official R4i card, we recommend the genuine R4i 3DS as opposed to the fake R4i Gold.

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How does an R4i Gold card work?

The R4i Gold card works in the same way as the R4i 3DS, by basically changing your Nintendo DS, DSi or 3DS console into a handheld multimedia center. It is the same size as a regular Nintendo DS game cartridge, except it also sports a slot on the top of the R4i Gold to insert a Micro-SD card, which come in varying sizes. As well as playing backups of regular Nintendo games (very handy because of not having to take all your games on holiday!), the R4i Gold can also play movies and music, and even browse through photos and eBooks.

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What hardware do I need to use an R4i Gold card?

We occasionally get e-mails asking exactly what is required to use an R4i Gold card. See the following checklist below:

  • A Nintendo DS, DS Lite, DSi, or 3DS console
    NDS console – OR –   – OR –  DSi Console  -OR- 3ds console
  • The R4i Gold adapter card itself in addition to a micro-SD card reader. Note that there are many micro SD card reader designs and the one you get may not be exactly the same as the photo below – this is perfectly fine.
    – AND –
  • The actual memory itself – a micro SD card. Most stores that sell the R4i Gold will also offer these for sale. The smallest size typically sold are either 2GB or 4GB. Most people buy 8GB cards, and for those with a large number of applications, games and music/video, a 16GB card may be used.R4 micro sd – OR –R4 micro sd – OR – R4 micro sd – OR –r4 micro sd
  • As for the question Which Micro SD Card for my R4i Gold? – we’d recommend using a 2GB or 4GB card for the more casual users who mainly play some games and applications on their R4i adapter, and the 8GB or 16GB micro SD card for those that have a lot of audio and video files, or a very large games collection.

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Step by step installation instructions

Setting up an R4i Gold card can be somewhat difficult for those buying and using their card for the first time. If you have not already bought an R4i Gold, we don’t recommend buying one – the R4i Gold is a fake card (try the R4i 3DS instead for a genuine R4i card). However, if you already have bought one, you may as well attempt to set it up. Following the guide that follows should help with the first steps you take using your new R4i Gold.

  • STEP 1 – Buy the R4i 3DS card and micro SD memory
    This is the most obvious first step – obtain the hardware you need to set up! If you haven’t already bought an R4i Gold card we recommend you buy a genuine card instead of the R4i Gold card (whcih is a clone / fake card). Visit our Where to Buy R4i page, where you should find a list of reputable vendors that have earned our quality seal of approval for genuine products and efficient customer service.
  • STEP 2 – Check to make sure you are in possession of all the necessary equipment
    Before you continue, make sure that you have everything you need, which will include:

    • R4i Gold card
    • Micro SD to USB adapter (to plug the R4i into your computer)
    • micro SD memory card
    • computer that is running Windows XP or later
    • Working internet connection
  • STEP 3 – Download the newest R4i Gold software
    Now that you have everything you need to set up your new R4i Gold card, you need to download the latest firmware. The manufacturers are always updating the software, and therefore it’s useful to periodically check in to see if there are any updated R4i firmware downloads available. There are many different websites claiming to be the ‘official’ one for the R4i Gold since it’s a fake card and there are many copies – look for a website on the front of the particular card you have to see what website you should visit. Once you have downloaded the software, save the ZIP file to somewhere on your computer (usually the desktop is the most visible place). Right click the ZIP file and choose the ‘Extract All’ option. Follow the user prompts, choose the default options and make sure you know where the files inside the ZIP have been extracted to. You should then see the files and folders inside the ZIP file, which is what we’ll be transferring over to your micro SD card in the next step.
  • STEP 4 – Setting up your micro SD card for use with your R4i Gold
    Insert the micro SD card into the USB adapter supplied with your R4i card. Then, place the USB adapter into your computer. When using Windows, you will be automatically prompted to choose what to do with the micro SD card when inserted. Simply select “Open folder to view files” or equivalent.

    Now, take the files that you extracted from the ZIP file earlier when you downloaded the R4i Gold firmware. Select them all, then drag and drop them into the folder window for your micro SD card that popped up when you selected ‘Open folder to view files’.And you are now ready to go. Simply add games and multimedia files as you wish onto the micro SD card from this point, then right click on the drive from My Computer and choose “Safely Remove”.You can now place the micro SD card inside the R4i Gold, and boot it up with your Nintendo console!

  • STEP 5 – Booting up your R4i Gold card
    Now that everything has been set up as in the previous steps above, your R4i adapter should be ready to use! Boot it up in your Nintendo DS / DSi / 3DS console, and the start screen should look something like this (this is the screen for the official R4i card, most R4i Gold fake softwares attempt to emulate the screen below to some degree, but some may be different):And you’re good to go!

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Where do I download R4i Gold software?

In order to make the most of your R4i Gold, you need to download the latest firmware, which is also known as the software or the kernel. Unfortunately, there are many websites claiming to be ‘official’ R4i Gold websites. The simple truth is that many rival factories have made their own fake versions of the original R4i 3DS card. To see what website to download your firmware from if you unfortunately have a fake R4i Gold, look for a website displayed on the front of your card somewhere.

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Where can I buy a genuine R4i card?

There are lots of different places online where various Genuine R4i cards are available for purchase. We have conducted surveys of many of these online stores to find out who sells genuine cards and where customer service is the best. Check out our Where to Buy R4i page for the results of this survey and the best places to buy from.

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R4i Gold Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the more commonly asked questions about the R4i Gold card will go here. This list may grow over time.

  • Is my R4i Gold card genuine?
    The R4i Gold card is a FAKE / CLONE card, unfortunately. It was the first clone of the successful R4i SDHC card (now rebranded the R4i 3DS card after the Nintendo 3DS was released). Many rival factories attempted to latch on to its success and therefore there are several different versions of “R4i Gold” on the market – none of them genuine, unfortunately. We would recommend buying a genuine card.
  • What is the biggest micro SD memory card size I can use with my R4i Gold?
    Some R4i Gold cards, if manufactured well, can take up to 32GB Micro-SD cards. However, some of the cheaper fakes can only take up to 4 or 8GB.
  • What consoles is the R4i Gold compatible with?
    Different versions are compatible with different consoles; but generally most R4i Gold cards are only compatible up to Nintendo DSi consoles, and not all of them support the latest Nintendo firmwares either.
  • I have updated my Nintendo console to the latest firmware and now my R4i Gold card doesn’t work. What can I do?
    Unfortunately it is impossible to reverse a Nintendo console update. Check the manufacturer’s website to see if there is a patch / fix out for the console update you have just applied. If there is, you can download and update the console (although you’ll need to use a DS Lite / pre-patch DSi or 3DS to apply the patch, you can’t use the same console to apply it). Otherwise, since most R4i Gold cards are fake with little support, it’s probably best to buy a different card that is compatible. See our Where to Buy R4 page for stores that have other cards for sale that could be compatible with the latest Nintendo console firmwares.

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