Dan Mons

Darksoft CPS3 SIMM ROM replacements

Darksoft has shown a very short work-in-progress video on the arcade-projects forums of a new Capcom CPS3 modification:

This kit replaces the RAM SIMMs in a standard arcade CPS3 kit with flash ROMs.  This offers two distinct advantages:

  • ROMs cannot corrupt, unlike RAM chips can.
  • ROMs are instantly accessible, and avoid the very lengthy process (between 30 and 45 minutes depending on the game) of copying data from the CPS3 SCSI CD to RAM when games are changed or the RAM chips lose power.

The CPS3 is renowned for having very slow CDROM read speeds, even when connected to SD2SCSI or faster SCSI CDROM devices (as the bottleneck is not the SCSI device, but elsewhere in the CPS3 hardware).  Changing games on existing CPS3 “SuperBIOS” or Generic SH2 CPU modifications can be quite painful.  While existing modifications meant that “suicide” boards could be resurrected and used again, the existing solutions were much slower to load new games in than flash carts or other arcade multi-kits available.  This new ROM based solution offers a welcome speedup and near instant game loading.

The kit requires loading in all 8 CPS3 games (6 official and 2 hacks) once ever (around 6 hours of flash/loading time in total), and then all games are instantly available from that point forward, even after power loss or game switching.  Darksoft does mention he’s investigating a separate flashing device that could bring the initial flash process down to 9 minutes, although that might not be available permanently.  Either way, it’s a once-off process and then no flashing is required ever again.

Work continues on BIOS modifications to enable proper switching, flashing and compatibility with the ROM chips, but Darksoft mentioned in a post just today that pre-orders would be starting “soon”, with an estimated price of US$500 for the kit (not including extra modification on the existing BIOS).