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Wii

Wii System Update 3.4 Released

by Aaron Kaluszka - November 18, 2008, 3:53 am PST
Total comments: 39 Source: Nintendo

The new firmware drastically increases SD card transfer speeds.

The blue lights, pulsating on the front of Internet-connected Wiis worldwide, mimicking the call of the Japanese bush warbler, mean one thing: a new system update has arrived. Version 3.4 doesn't add any new features, but it makes a highly desired improvement as well as some smaller updates.

The enhancement that will affect users most, particularly those who download a lot of WiiWare and Virtual Console games, is the significant speedup of reading from and writing to SD cards. Wii owners have long griped over the inexorably long transfer times, particularly from Wii to SD. The update reduces copy times of larger files from minutes down to seconds.

The Wii's Parental Controls have also been enhanced. Furthermore, though it's not very text-centric, USB keyboard support has been added to the Mii Channel. Nintendo claims that the update also improves disc reading.

It appears Nintendo is now on the offensive against Wii hacking. Version 3.3 made an attempt to block the "Twilight Hack" method of homebrew loading, but a couple of bugs in their approach led to a second compromise days later. This update patches that exploit as well as the newer exploit, the PatchMii hack. Furthermore, Nintendo has changed their Terms of Service regarding Wii updates, allowing for future automatic updates of the console without notification:

We may without notifying you, download updates, patches, upgrades and similar software to your Wii Console and may disable unauthorized or illegal software placed on your Wii Console to ensure that your Wii Console is operating properly and efficiently, comply with applicable laws, assist law enforcement, protect us and our customers, or prevent the use and distribution of software obtained through improper channels.

Talkback

AVNovember 18, 2008

i just updated like Friday. Oh well I'll update again whenever I'm home for Thanksgiving.

So it seems like this is the first major step toward that SD card space solution. I hope so because I am at less than 100 blocks left.

The important thing to take from this is that Nintendo's so-called storage solution is more than just increasing transfer speeds, unless they're releasing it a lot earlier than they said they would and without saying they did it.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusNovember 18, 2008

Well the storage solution may be making things more transparent for the user. While things may not be read from the SD Card, perhaps they can be "loaded" from it as if it were. Essentially a new channel could drop that consumes the maximum a WiiWare game can be and then copies the file over and runs it. So the game would copy and start somewhere in the ball park of 10 seconds later.

This seems like it would have been one of the biggest challenges to overcome for Nintendo. Perhaps it will take several more months for Nintendo to simply throw a save-to-SD link on the shop channel. But I'm hopeful that this means they're doing a tad more.

What Mr. Jack mentions has been suggested by others in the past. I'm not convinced Nintendo is going that route. However, the ability to move a file within the shop channel from internal storage to the SD card, upon encountering a "not enough space" message, would do wonders.

AVNovember 18, 2008

i'm still hoping for saving and reading from sd card. Moving it back and forth might be easier now but still why not just go all the way.

don't punish me for all the pirates. I pay for all my games and i have a SD card, why can't i just read and write to that. Have like a little tab that pops up on the wii menu with SD card saved games and have channels like that too. That way I can have several SD cards and buy more games.

They can force you download wiiware/ virtual console KEYs to the system hardware that cannot be copied onto anything, and to use x game you need y key. You can have x game on SD card or on Internal Memory, but you need the keys. The keys would be tiny maybe just a single block size.

is my idea that far fetched ? I'm no computer nerd but I think it makes sense in theory.

VanceNovember 18, 2008

Quote from: Mr.

i'm still hoping for saving and reading from sd card. Moving it back and forth might be easier now but still why not just go all the way.

don't punish me for all the pirates. I pay for all my games and i have a SD card, why can't i just read and write to that. Have like a little tab that pops up on the wii menu with SD card saved games and have channels like that too. That way I can have several SD cards and buy more games.

They can force you download wiiware/ virtual console KEYs to the system hardware that cannot be copied onto anything, and to use x game you need y key. You can have x game on SD card or on Internal Memory, but you need the keys. The keys would be tiny maybe just a single block size.

is my idea that far fetched ? I'm no computer nerd but I think it makes sense in theory.

That sounds great in theory... except for the people who have more than one Wii in their household. I'm considering getting a second Wii for my room, but if I can't bring my virtual console games from the living room to my room, that's $249 Nintendo will never have.

KDR_11kNovember 18, 2008

AFAIK the Wii already encrypts anything you throw on the SD card with its own key.

Finally, a useful system update!  I was pretty shocked last night when I tried copying Tetris Party to the SD card, and it only took eleven seconds.

I'm not surprised they have taken this step first, as it's probably necessary for them to later implement the Shop Channel's "download to SD" option.  Otherwise, that feature would take an incredibly long time to finish (download + transfer).

This update makes copying games to the SD Card a TON faster.  I ran this test before and after I updated...

Secret of Mana (32 Blocks)

Before update: 71 seconds (1:11)
After update: 25 seconds

DAMN.

BranDonk KongNovember 18, 2008

Don't download this update if you care about homebrew. Wait for a patched update that installs everything, without deleting anything.

KDR_11kNovember 18, 2008

Haven't taken any times but still seems to take a long time to copy a 100 or 300 block file.

I've installed the HBC before updating, Gecko OS works fine still so I can run Blast Works.

Keep in mind that the transfer speed depends heavily on the type of SD card you have.  The system update should improve speeds for all types of cards, but the actual speed will still be better if you have a high-speed SD card.  For instance, my card is pretty fast, and I was able to copy Tetris Party (244 blocks, quite large) in only 11 seconds.  Lindy just said that it took him twice that long to copy over Secret of Mana, which is a much smaller file.  We can infer from these data that his SD card is much slower than mine.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusNovember 18, 2008

I use a run of the mill Kingston 2.0GB SD card that costs about 5 - 10 dollars and tested it with one of the biggest file sizes on WiiWare, World of Goo 320 Blocks.  From Wii memory to SD  2:30 (m:ss), from SD to Wii memory  40 seconds. 

Before this update a game with more than 250 blocks would take about 8 - 10 minutes, and from SD to Wii Memory 2 - 3 minutes.

Yeah, my card is one of the cheapy Kingstons as well, but still, the time to copy files have been cut by two-thirds.

kraken613November 18, 2008

Yeah its a lot faster! Faster than redownloading it for sure!

I also saw that this is supposed to help disc read times. I haven't actually checked though!

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusNovember 18, 2008

Discs boot up faster as well, I think booting up games in general got a bump, my guess Nintendo optimized the coding on the Wii OS and the encryption process.

GoldenPhoenixNovember 18, 2008

Yeah for Nintendo from going from the stone age to the bronze age in SD card copying.

vuduNovember 18, 2008

Like a few others in this thread I decided to test the improved functionality.  Here are the times I recorded while copying World of Goo (320 blocks)



Copy time           
To Wii      
To SD


Pre-update
1:21
9:16


Post-update
0:47
4:00


Percent faster
72%
132%

kraken613November 18, 2008

Yeah its actually bearable to use the SD card! Still not amazing but it is better!

Nintendo why did it take so long to optimize a line of code!?!?!?!

CalibanNovember 18, 2008

Half-hooray for Nintendo. The other half happens when I can load a game from my SD card through a VC channel of some sort.

RABicleNovember 19, 2008

Well they're on the way to earn fist which is good to see.

KDR_11kNovember 19, 2008

Quote from: Caliban

Half-hooray for Nintendo. The other half happens when I can load a game from my SD card through a VC channel of some sort.

HBC?

I did each transfer twice to reduce the likelihood of running into some bizarre exception. Based on my speeds, I guess I have a faster SD card in my Wii than most. Still, the increase in speed is dramatic.

Sin & Punishment – 287 blocks
Wii -> SD: BEFORE – 2:43, 2:45
                  AFTER –  0:32, 0:32 (80% faster!)
SD -> Wii: BEFORE – 1:08, 1:08
                  AFTER – 0:40, 0:40 (41% faster)

Super Mario Bros 3 – 27 blocks
Wii -> SD: BEFORE – 0:47, 0:46
                 AFTER – 0:04, 0:04 (91% faster!)
SD -> Wii: BEFORE – 0:10, 0:10
                  AFTER – 0:07, 0:07 (30% faster)

Mega Man II – 17 blocks
Wii -> SD: BEFORE – 0:15, 0:14
                  AFTER – 0:04, 0:04 (72% faster!)
SD -> Wii: 0:08, 0:08
                 AFTER – 0:06, 0:06 (25% faster)

I imagine that in general, the smaller the file, the less dramatic the improvement due to initialization and clean-up steps, which are constants.

LuigiHannNovember 19, 2008

Maybe I need a faster SD card. I didn't do a "before" test, but moving SBCG4AP episode 1 to the SD card took a while, albeit a shorter while than it probably would have.

CalibanNovember 19, 2008

Quote from: KDR_11k

Quote from: Caliban

Half-hooray for Nintendo. The other half happens when I can load a game from my SD card through a VC channel of some sort.

HBC?

You lost me. What's HBC?

kraken613November 19, 2008

Homebrew Channel

CalibanNovember 19, 2008

Hm. Thanks for the answer kraken613.

EasyCureNovember 20, 2008

Quote from: Caliban

Quote from: KDR_11k

Quote from: Caliban

Half-hooray for Nintendo. The other half happens when I can load a game from my SD card through a VC channel of some sort.

HBC?

You lost me. What's HBC?

I still prefer Hot Buttered Camels, oh well.

This update is meaningless to me since i don't have enough vc/wiiware games to transfer to/from my SD card, but i guess it'll be useful down the road.

Now how about something useful like SDHC support?  Homebrew does it, but not Nintendo.

decoymanNovember 20, 2008

Quote from: MegaByte

Now how about something useful like SDHC support?  Homebrew does it, but not Nintendo.

Maybe that's Wii System Update 3.5?

/hope

AVNovember 20, 2008

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Finally, a useful system update!  I was pretty shocked last night when I tried copying Tetris Party to the SD card, and it only took eleven seconds.

I'm not surprised they have taken this step first, as it's probably necessary for them to later implement the Shop Channel's "download to SD" option.  Otherwise, that feature would take an incredibly long time to finish (download + transfer).

I'm confused. I thought all the online games can't be copied because online data or whatever. That's why Brawl saved data can't be copied. Or is that just saved data ?

LuigiHannNovember 20, 2008

Quote from: MegaByte

Now how about something useful like SDHC support?  Homebrew does it, but not Nintendo.

Oh, so it's not a hardware issue? That's a good sign, I guess. SD cards keep getting cheaper, so I could buy a huge one if I thought I'd have a use for it.

KDR_11kNovember 21, 2008

Quote from: Mr.

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Finally, a useful system update!  I was pretty shocked last night when I tried copying Tetris Party to the SD card, and it only took eleven seconds.

I'm not surprised they have taken this step first, as it's probably necessary for them to later implement the Shop Channel's "download to SD" option.  Otherwise, that feature would take an incredibly long time to finish (download + transfer).

I'm confused. I thought all the online games can't be copied because online data or whatever. That's why Brawl saved data can't be copied. Or is that just saved data ?

I don't think it affects the game files even if the savegames are locked.

vuduNovember 21, 2008

Quote from: KDR_11k

I don't think it affects the game files even if the savegames are locked.

This is correct.  I can copy the game World of Goo to my SD card, but I can't copy the save file.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusNovember 21, 2008

The reason why saves from an online enabled game can't be moved to SD card because the friend code data is in that save.

vuduNovember 22, 2008

World of Goo doesn't use friend codes.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusNovember 23, 2008

I have to thank Nintendo for giving me the impetus to finally install the HBC. You guys rock.

Chozo GhostNovember 27, 2008

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

Yeah for Nintendo from going from the stone age to the Chalcolithic age in SD card copying.

Post fixed. :)

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