WiiD review, Special thanks to Mod-Chip.com 28th of April 2007
UPDATE - 11th of January 2008
I've recently used this chip in a research paper about Wii DVD media compatibility. In that pdf file I test how well this chip compares to other chips when it comes to compatibility with DVD media (and I don't mean just + or - rw support) by using a scientific approach. As this chip is included it is an interesting read for those interested in this modchip. Naturally it is also just interesting to read the PDF even if you don't plan on using this chip ;).
To go to the download location of the research paper (pdf) click here:
Like many of you I was first quite surprised by the name of this chip. The WiiD! I tried to think about what the name could mean / symbolize but I couldn't come up with anything. That was until I saw the logo of the WiiD...
This is of course a very well known symbol. It did however further make me think of this chip as strange. So I took a look at the feature set:
- Non Swap/Direct Boot for Wii backups.
- Non Swap/Direct Boot for GC backups
- Non Swap/Direct Boot for Homebrew in GC mode
- Non Swap/Direct Boot for NTSC region Wii games/backups on US and JAP consoles
- Boots PAL Backups/Originals on NTSC WII consoles (partially without swapping)
- Boots NTSC Backups/Originals on PAL WII consoles (partially without swapping)
- Boots different region GC Games Original/Backups Imports (partially without swapping)
- EUROPE/USA/JAPAN Wii Console Supported
- Double soldering option, 6 wires or Quicksolder (No wires Required)!
- Compatible with all the WII Console Versions/Drive currently available
- Full D2B Drive Support
- Built-in audio fix
- Full support for DVD-R/DVD+R and DVD+RW/DVD-RW without Booktype
- Supports Multi-Disc games for both Wii and Gamecube
- Recovery Mode for incomplete/Bad Upgrades
- Stealth mode
- Firmware fully Upgradable by DVD!
It boasts all the features we would expect from a current mod-chip from region patching to rewritable media support and of course the GameCube audio fix. Looking at the PCB got me more interested as it seemed to be a PIC in a SOIC packaging (something I suggested to the Wiinja team) (the PCB does however look like it was cut out really rough). The fact that a PIC was used got me wondering what kind of microcontroller the WiiD team had chosen to use (thinking it might be the 12F629 shared by many mod-chips). Well, my good friends at mod-chip.com were kind enough to once again send me a sample so I could check it all out. So without further introduction let's get on with the review.
The packaging is, sadly, once again just a simple ESD secure bag. Yes it is still (as I always state with this kind of packaging) a good packaging for (exposed) electronic products as it prevents static discharge damage, but I still feel a boxing is much nicer. Especially considering that these products are often sent via normal envelopes (sometimes even without bubble wrap!). Another con, as with many other chips, no wires were delivered. Although I have enough thin wire lying around it is nice to send wires together with your modchip.
Inside the packaging there is the really small PCB (especially when considering how big the ESD bag is) with the SOIC PIC stuck on it. The PIC is a 12F683 which is quite a lot more powerful then the 12F629 mainly used. Of course of how much influence this exerts is open to discussion.
As I hinted in the introduction I don't think very highly of the build quality of the WiiD, though I wouldn't write it off just yet. The PCB is nice and thick and the solder points for wires are quite big (even the solder points meant for quicksolder are quite big) so on that the WiiD team did a good job.
The quicksolder pads are however only on the front of the PCB and are not connected to the side (which wouldn't have been a problem if the WiiD team hadn't used a thick PCB). This means that you will encounter similar problems as with many other mod-chips (like the first WiiKey batches) when doing a quicksolder install (it being quite hard to do a quicksolder install resulting in using wiring anyway).
Personally I don't think that it much of a problem as I prefer doing wired installs anyway (I recently had to remove a chip and I was very thankful I did a wire install, it is very easy to remove!), and for that the design is very good. Also I prefer a thick PCB as that makes the chip stronger.
As always I haven't opened up my Wii to install a mod-chip but have used my 9-pins DSUB connector on the back of my Wii. Installing the WiiD should be the same as any other mod-chip on the Wii side (when using a wired install, for quicksolder see my comments at build quality) so there is no loss in me using my module system.
- Official DVD's (Wii sports, Wii Play, Zelda TP, etc.)
- Verbatim DVD-R (Wii games)
- Imation DVD-R (Wii games)
- Hema DVD+R bitset to DVD-Rom (Gamecube and Wii games)
- Hema DVD+R non-bitset (Wii USA and E, and Gamecube and GameCube homebrew)
- Philips DVD+R non-bitset (Wii and Gamecube)
- Imation DVD-RW (Wii games USA and E, Gamecube games)
- Hema DVD+RW (Wii games USA and E, Gamecube games)
As for connecting wires to the WiiD, I have to say that it was very easy thanks to the use of very big solder pads both on the quicksolder spots and on the spots created especially for a wired install. Because there are two pads of everything (aside from vss and vcc) you can spread out your wiring making it even easier to hook it up.
Using the WiiKey
Just to make this clear, everything I write here is either tested by me or by a VERY reliable source who has tested for me. I am however unable to test every title released because I simply do not own every title.
First off I have a PAL wii with the DMS chipset, updated to the latest available European firmware (never ran the US version of spm). Here I was surprised again. The name WiiD really put me off at first thinking this wouldn't be a worthwhile product, but after extensive testing this thing can really compete with the top. After installing the chip I noticed nothing different with normal use. Every single DVD I tested (although I do not have very �bad� media) worked without problems official or not. Also other region games worked as expected (nothing that didn't work with the PC patching applications and etc.), but also on both types of rewritables. Here is a list of DVD's I've tested (and thus found working);
Also when testing gamecube games that used audio-streaming (i.e. Eternal Darkness) I didn't notice any problems. Wii problem titles such as WarioWare didn't give me any problems either (no slowdowns/glitches), no matter what DVD type I used.
Updating the Wiid however is another matter; I am very unimpressed with the feature. First you download and burn the iso file from the WiiD webpage (which is quite small) which you then insert in the Wii. Then you go to the disc channel which after a short time gives you the error the disc could not be read. I was informed of this and knew that that was the desired outcome but I was still wondering if the update had been done successfully. So I popped in a different region DVD (that I knew worked with the patching method used by the WiiD) which booted (as seen above). So yes the update feature works but it is very annoying not to have a small Gui showing you the update was performed successfully. Updates have however been put out pretty quick showing a (for the time being) good support.
The Wiid chip surprised me in a pleasant way. Although it has some flaws such as those with the quicksolder pads not also being on the side of the PCB, it performs as you would expect from a current Wii mod-chip. All DVD's I used (including rewritables), the update feature and the region patching (even with rewritables from both � and + R) worked correctly/as expected.
However region patching of course isn't flawless (as it works in the same way as the current methods used by all chips and PC iso patchers) and the update feature could have been done much neater. Currently updating is done purely via the disc channel producing a �disc could not be read� message if the update was successful (and probably also if it was unsuccesful, hence my problem with it). Also the PCB, though thick and sturdy, seems to be cut out very crudely and also roughly made (as is also evident from the above mentioned quicksolder pads).
No slowdowns with games like WarioWare, good region patching with every type of DVD including rewritables, good support (for the time being) and easy wire install result in the following advice; If you can get this pretty cheap (for 25 euro's at mod-chip.com) this is a nice chip, but just don't quicksolder it ;).
|Overall rating for the WiiD Wii drive-chip|
(out of 10)
Boxart, manual and product appeal
Hardware design, durability and features
What this products future looks like
(Built in) extra features of the unit
I hope you all enjoyed my review and found it useful.
-Simon van de Berg