SD/Optical drive replacement

to preface: since switching over to everdrives on the cart based systems years ago, its admittedly rare that i get up to switch out carts from the shelf when i play…no doubt some of this came from the inevitable heart break of seeing childhood save games disappear to dying batteries.
the other common complaint i’ve seen about flashcarts is the idea that having entire libraries at your hand causes some to lose focus, and i get that! i recommend writing your backlog on a marker board with COFFEE IS FOR CLOSERS or something similar, it sometimes works for me

still, optical drives have given me such shit over the years - i’ve gone though numerous PlayStation 1&2s, my duo-r drops music when it likes, my local repair shop gave up on OG Xbox and is like “just softmod it, man”…oh and my dreamcast pots need adjusting

so i was pretty excited when this satiator showed up, and it does exactly what i want! i don’t even gotta burn a disc when new fan translations drop, and the saturn scene has been lovely for those in recent times. its so cool, and got me thinking about others:

  • PSIO - so my chipped PSX lacks a serial port, and i know it needs a single wire installed, but i don’t see anything else on the horizon at the moment, and this is one of my favorite libraries to dive into - theres a metric fuckton of crazy weird japanese games i wanna try out

  • HDD loader - i’ve had this with a dying hard drive on PS2 forever, debating a new drive and resetting it…the load time decrease on some compatible titles alone makes it cool for me (unsure what other options the scene has?)

  • DC Mode - i need to research this one, i know the install isn’t hard but losing disc use means i’d almost rather have it on a backup dreamcast. also not sure how compatibility is at the moment so please post here if you use it!

  • i know there’s a Turbo option that doesn’t work on said duo-r, but with the last model genesis everdrive offering sega-cd playback sans hardware, i can’t help but wonder if a similar device could work for pc-engine, or is that not really feasible?

i’m sure the scene will get around to gamecube one day, but i’ve personally had little problems with those. anyway what do y’all think?

Another alternative for PS2 is to load your games over Ethernet from an SMB network share. I do this on my slim.

For PSX have you looked into XStation? I like mine. It currently only works on certain models.

I haven’t used my gdemu (clone) a ton but it’s an easy solderless install. You can reinstall the gd rom drive too later if you want to.

Both Xstation and gdemu remove the optical drive completely so you’re not able to use discs with them installed.


Having recently installed an x-station I can say that it is a pretty slick piece of kit if you have the hardware that is compatible with it. I think k I’ll be installing one myself soon.

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i have not! can you please break this down like i’m a child, haha - legit interested

oh man never heard of this one! gonna look it up now - the option to still use my discs is nice, but if my model is compatible here, that’d be mighty tempting…

and thank you, i said MODE with dreamcast but clearly meant GDEMU, hope to hear more about that one!

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so it turns out my late model PSX isn’t Xstation compatible either…i love that this unit is chipped, but i’m leaning towards the PSIO just to have the option for discs. bit of a longshot but does anyone know of a PSX for sale preinstalled with that kit? cheapest (of the right model PSX) on ebay is like $50, plus kit cost and my shop wants $75 just to install it…

the MODE has worked superbly for me on the DC. I think I’ll get one if my Saturn’s reader goes to crap too

I love how easy the Wii is to softmod and doubles as a GC as well. 1 thumbstick for each console does the trick

but my favourite would have to be the fat PS2 with FMCB card and an HDD

this close to just pulling the trigger on a PSIO unit on ebay…

few questions about GDEMU for dreamcast real quick, for any users here!

  1. is it really just as simple as unscrewing the optical drive and tossing in a new one or am i gonna need a local modder?

  2. amazon sells “clone” units that can’t be updated. is this a bad idea for me if i enjoy the ongoing DC homebrew scene? i’m thinking yes but not sure where to get a proper unit, ebay has several models at widely different prices so direct links are welcome here!

  1. Yes, it’s pretty simple. Depending on if you get an SD card extender it’s a little more, but certainly doable if you’ve opened consoles before.

2’10 mark when he opens the console if the timestamp doesn’t work embedded:

  1. I bought a clone because I didn’t think the original creator was ever going to release more. I wanted to buy an original. He has sold some since then, but I haven’t been following the scene so I’m not sure about current plans. Buying from him is the only way I know to ensure you get a real one:
    Ordering GDEMU – GDEMU
    Some notes from his April 1, 2022 blog post:

No GDEMUs yet though – I’m not sure if it’s Intel doing after they gobbled up Altera or what, but the FPGAs I’ve been using are unobtainium. I was considering a HW refresh, with more modern (and capable) parts that were actually cheaper, but it looks like these are gone now too. 50 – 80 weeks for delivery is not a time I’m prepared to wait. So there’s yet another idea, another redesign, but that one exists mostly in my head so far. I would like to try and make some more though, even if it takes another 6 months to finish and test the prototype.

There was a firmware update in 2020 that essentially made the og 100% compatible. I bought mine in 2019 so I’m not sure if the newer clones have this or not.

I’m not very involved in the ongoing DC homebrew scene outside some of the Atomiswave games trickling out so I can’t provide a good recommendation on if a clone will suffice or not for your plans there.


Sad to hear the trouble the creator has been going through, I really want an original GDEMU. I bought an old clone (not fitted it yet) to hold me over since I think I’d been waiting forever, looks like nothing will happen this year.

If you go the clone route look for a v5.20, it doesn’t have the issues with the 4 or so games that the older clone did, and apparently, these updated clones also let you update the firmware now.


so would this be a solid option, and is it okay for the price? looks petty through, not sure what else i’d need besides a big ol compatible SD card

V5.20 is around $200 on Aliexpress, prices have certainly gone up! I think they were around $80-100ish at one point. It’s a good price compared to Aliexpress.

Personally I wouldn’t pay this much as it costs more than the original ($138) I’m just going to wait and see if the original creator can bring something out in 2023.

depending on how you might feel about the guys at Terraonion, the MODE might be a good fit. I’ve had absolutely zero issues, very easy to install too

yeah i’ve looked at that one too, it’d be $65 more before shipping…seems like similar compatibility and speeds, no? unless i’m missing something, beyond what looks like a nicer UI

i do enjoy their neo sd plus though!

probably just availability and reliability. plus the ability to use it on a Saturn or PS1 if needed

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PSX with PSIO came in the other day! been having an absolute blast with it, just need to get the optical drive swapped out on my next day off. diving into this library is always a joy - need more weird import games to mess with!

gonna likely take a friends dreamcast with dying optical drive & grab the latest revision of GDEMU, and 512 SD cards for both systems. its less ideal but this lets me keep my chipped dreamcast for disc use

gonna set up swiss/etc for gamecube & update my PS2 HDD loader, that should about do it for this project - just gonna wait & hope for either an everdrive/etc that can run disc games (like the latest mega one does for sega-cd) or something like terraonions product, but compatible with my duo-r

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okay one more question for y’all: i have the right model DC, does this auction include everything i’d need (outside of an SD card)? just wanna make sure i’m getting the right thing here, can’t wait to have it setup!