Different / Fake Versions of R4 and R4i Cards


Summary of Clone / Fake R4 and R4i Cards

The original R4v2 has many imitations but not typically by the same name. Since it was the first ever DS card to be released on the market, the R4 can claim to be the grandfather of all DS cards. The first cards to appear after the original R4 came onto the market include the DSTT and M3DS, but no other cards by the name “R4″ (without accepting Micro-SDHC cards, anyway).

However, the R4 SDHC has many imitations/clones with the same or similar names. Some of these include :

  • R6 Card
  • R4 Advance
  • R4 Ultra
  • R4v3
  • R4 SDHC Upgrade (different from the original R4 SDHC)

To see photos of all of these cards (specifically clones of the R4 SDHC), see the R4 SDHC section below or visit the R4 SDHC page here. You will also find information on how to differentiate these cards from one another.

The R4i SDHC, sporting a red box, was the first DSi card to come onto the market in the third quarter of 2009 after Nintendo released the DSi console. However, here is where the waters get muddied: many manufacturers of R4i cards also manufactured an old R4 SDHC card or clone. Therefore (ironically), the original R4 SDHC card’s manufacturers also make a clone R4i – and the original R4i manufacturers actually also produce a clone R4 SDHC! Confusing, we know – visit the R4i SDHC page or look for the “Manufacturers Explained” heading on this page to hopefully make things a bit clearer.

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R4 SDHC Clones

Because the R4 SDHC was so popular when it first came out, many rival factories acted quickly to try and produce their own versions of the R4 SDHC. A few clone cards made some impression on the market (i.e. quality was above acceptable) and therefore managed to sell a fair number of units.

Some of the R4 SDHC clones that did not end up being popular / were of low quality, include:


The R4 Advance no longer exists and suffered a rather short-lived life owing to poor firmware. The R4 SDHC Upgrade was a ‘clone of the clone’, stealing the box design of the ‘R4v3 upgrade’ card described below (one of the ‘successful’ clones). Because of how similar they were, consumers did not buy the newer card simply out of confusion. It still exists but is less reliable (and popular) than the original.


The R4 Ultra was a 100% complete copy of the R4 SDHC card albeit with poorer firmware. The exact copy of the box design (with the exception of the website being different on the bottom of the box) meant it was immediately branded as a ‘fake’ and it died a rather spiteful death. The R6 card did a good job of differentiating itself, but suffered from too similar a name to the R4, and losing the exposure of the R4 brand.

There has been one more popular R4 SDHC clones on the market that actually have firmware that is acceptable (although still inferior to the original). It is known as the R4v3.

Of all the clones of the original R4 SDHC, the R4v3 appears to have stable firmware. It is still not produced in nearly as many numbers as the R4 SDHC, but the firmware for it certainly seems playable.

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Is My R4 SDHC Card a Clone? (Which Software to Use?)

The most common problem many people have is figuring out which type of R4 SDHC card they have. Usually they are given one as a gift, and do not know the original from the clones. To tell the R4 SDHC Original, R4 SDHC Upgrade (Clone) and R4v3 (Clone) apart, first tell the following:

First, check to see if your R4 SDHC card has the word “Upgrade” on it, as below.

If the card itself says “Upgrade” on it, then your R4 SDHC card is either an R4 SDHC Upgrade, or an R4v3 – not the original R4 SDHC card. So one option can be eliminated.

If you are sure that your card is either the R4 SDHC Upgrade or the R4v3, then perform the following test. Insert a blank Micro-SD card into the card, then put it into your DS or DS Lite. You will get an error message.

The R4 SDHC Upgrade clone is based on the DSTT software, so the error message you will see is “Menu?” like the DSTT card. However, the R4v3’s software is based on the original, and it will show “Loading”.

These two tests combined should tell you whether you have an original R4 SDHC card – and if you don’t, it should tell you which clone you have (of the main two types).

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R4i SDHC Clones

Other companies, many of which were involved with the old R4 SDHC original and clone cards, also attempted to copy the R4i card soon after it was released on the market. To date, there are several noticable clones of the R4i card, but only one of them has made any impact on the market – and sadly, that was temporary.

The R4i Ultra is, naturally, from the same manufacturer that produced the R4 SDHC Ultra – while the R4i Beige, ironically, is made by the same team that produced the ORIGINAL R4 SDHC card! Neither of these cards appear to be very popular, attracting rather little in the form of software updates as a result.

The “R4i White” and “R4i Black” come from the R4i RTS team, who attempted to make an R4i card with its main feature being the ability to use the real time save function. However, very few units are actually around and it’s difficult to find stores that sell it – therefore, support for these cards are not likely to continue much longer.

The R4i Gold card was released shortly after the original R4i SDHC, and was hyped as a card that would “beat barriers” if Nintendo released a new firmware for the DSi – and be completely updatable. Unfortunately, this claim fell flat on its face when the firmware really was released – the R4i Gold was not updatable! Therefore, it died a rather painful and sudden death in the eyes of the public. Even though the R4i Gold has since released a new card that is 1.4 compatible, the lack of public confidence has made software updates rather seldom – and it is no longer much of a contender. Originally, it wasn’t bad, though – which is why we also have a page on it! :-)

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Which Manufacturer Makes Which Card?

Since it’s so difficult to actually remember which manufacturer makes which card, here is the list of what’s technically accurate:

Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.r4i-sdhc.com
Produces: R4i SDHC (Original), R4 SDHC Upgrade (Clone)

Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.r4iii.com
Produces: R4v3 (Clone)

Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.r4sdhc.com
Produces: R4 SDHC (Original), R4i Beige (Clone)

Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.r4ultra.com
Produces: R4 Ultra (Clone), R4i Ultra (Clone)

Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.r4ids.com
Produces: R4i Gold (Clone)

Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.r4rts.cn
Produces: R4i White (Clone), R4i Black (Clone)

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Avoiding Clone R4 and R4i Cards

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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