Wii CycloWiz Modchip Review
This review was done by Maxconsole.net
Now, in just a weekend, two chips have been anounced, and youíre just about to read our review of the one that has the best chances to survive : CycloWiz by Team Cyclops.
Letís open it!
We received our chip in a pink ESD bag. Weíve been told this is not the final packaging so we wonít comment on it. At first sight, you can see that it was designed and produced in a very professional way.
The mod itself is quite small, its surface not much bigger than the surface of a 2Ä coin. The printed circuit board is the thinnest we have ever seen, yet it seems very solid.
Soldering made easy
One of the very interesting aspects of the CycloWiz is how you donít need any wire to install it. Simply fill the holes with solder, and the installation is done! Nothing revolutionary here, Xbox chips offered this possibility for ages, and XenoGC offers it on Gamecube. Still, itís a very handy feature that will save you some installation time.
Near the quick-solder pads you have small solder pads, so if for some reason you prefer to install your chip using wires, you can do it. The five quick-solder pads on CycloWiz are very well designed. The chip is very easy to align and you have enough space to manipulate your soldering iron without worrying about damaging components.
Opening the Wii
This is not specific to the CycloWiz installation, but of course we had to open our Wii. There are a lot of great tutorials around, itís very easy as long as you have the proper material, a philips screwdriver and and a tri-wing screwdriver. The tri-wing screwdriver must be inserted deeply, so not every tri-wing bit might work. It seems that some Wii (new ones?) use only philips screws, so check yours before ordering any unnecessary opening tool! Once the case is open there are just four more screws on the drive to remove. It took us less than five minutes for the whole operation.
Shhhhhhhhh... Installation In Progress!
Installation was as easy as it could be. We used a regular small-tip soldering iron. It took us exactly one minute and ten seconds to solder and we were not trying to beat a record!
Thanks to the well designed quick-solder pads the solder goes automatically where it has to, without creating any short. The mod was the covered with tape, as specified by the install procedure. An LED lets you check if there is an installation problem, but everything was fine for us.
Thanks to the very thin mod printed circuit board, there was no problem putting the drive back at its place and reassembling the Wii.
Testing that little wizard...
Of course we had a couple of our own Wii and GC backups ready for testing. They were burnt on 12cm TDK DVD-R and DVD+R media. Guess what, they boot just fine, like original discs. Nothing changes in the Wii behaviour. We were told that thanks to the stealth feature, the Wii main CPU receives the exact same data from a Wii backup than it would from an original disc, not even one byte differs, so CycloWiz is totally transparent.
We also tried an original, and a backup Wii import. As expected, they didnít work, only Wii games from the same region as your system will work.
We also tried a GC JAP and PAL import. We used our own backup of Freeloader to make them run on our NTSC Wii. The JAP import booted without any problem but the PAL one had no picture on screen, yet the game was running with sound. It seems that NTSC console can't display PAL signals at all, so that video mode must be changed by the boot disc. We successfully run this PAL backup using GCOS, more to follow.
Regarding the lack of swap-less GC import support, we were told it was not built-in otherwise the chip would have been too easy to detect. It makes sense: to play swap-less GC import the chip would have to send some region-free code to the Wii main CPU, and this code could be easily detected by Nintendo in a future Wii upgrade. CycloWiz is totally transparent to the Wii main CPU.
GCOS is an homebrew open-source operating system for GC, and the first version for Wii was just released by emu_kidid. It works just fine on CycloWiz, and it allows you to run GC imports easily. It works like Freeloader, but it's free and has better support. Simply boot with GCOS, the disc will stop spinning, hit BOOT DVD, remove the disc, insert your import and press A. It will run just fine, and you can even change the gameís display mode! It looks like changing display mode is needed, as NTSC system canít display PAL graphics at all. GCOS was not able to fix the display mode of a couple of PAL games we tried, but we except that a new GCOS version will fix that soon!
The fact that we were able to run GCOS demonstrates that GC homebrew code is working fine with CycloWiz!
What about those special GC games ?
It was not enough for us to test this chip with standard GC games. There are two kind of games that were not supported by early GC modchip bioses, those are multi-disc games and audio streaming games. Lets try them on CycloWiz!
For multi-disc games, we tried Tales of Symphonia. An easy way to test the support for multi-disc games is to boot from disc two, without any game save, so itíll ask you to put disc one instead. This is what we did. We then pressed eject, inserted disc one, and... Yes! It worked just fine.
For audio streaming games, we tried 1080 and a few others. It worked just fine, with crystal clear sound. Around 30% of GC games use audio streaming, and without audio-fix there would be no background music, or they would sound like noise. While it is clearly a must-have feature, itís yet unknown, but unlikely, that wiinja offers this feature.
CycloWiz is a dream come true for many Wii owners. While it still doesnít allow you to run Wii imports or Wii homebrew it has all the features youíd expect from a drivechip and can not be easily detected by the Wii. We probably already have a winner in the Wii modchip competition that just started! With the chips expecting to hit resellers on Friday, what are you waiting for? Pre-order CycloWiz at your local reseller before they are all gone!
- Wii and GC backups working exactly like original discs
- Support for GC homebrew and imports
- Full GC compatibility (including audio streaming games)
- Works with multi-disc games
- Very well built and great quality
- No Wii imports or homebrew