News Article

Wii Firmware Update Makes Transferring to SD Faster

Posted by Darren Calvert

If you haven’t already seen an inviting blue flashing light emitting from your Wii then you might like to know that Wii firmware version 3.4 is now available.

This update vastly improves the time taken to transfer WiiWare or Virtual Console games to a SD card. Some have said it is now around 5x faster with a 320 block game such as World of Goo taking around 20 – 30 seconds to transfer (depending on what brand your SD card is).

Transferring back to the Wii was pretty speedy to begin with, it is hard to say if it is now any quicker. Maybe with the next update Nintendo will add one-click functions to transfer games from the main Wii interface. If this is the case then we might forgive them for not yet releasing a HDD solution.

So one step closer to a storage solution and another step taken to thwart fans of the homebrew channel!

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User Comments (54)



gameking23 said:

Ya for faster speed. At least this is a step in the right derection. Now Nintendo now fix the memory problem.



calculon said:

Transferring to SD is definately faster Darren - I'm getting around 4x. Transfer speed to Wii doesn't seem to have had a major impact though - just a few seconds quicker. I'm curious as to whether or not the update allows us to use bigger cards too. Shame I've formatted my 16Gb card to NTFS.....



Ptolemy said:

I hope this is just a step towards the "storage solution" and not THE "storage solution" itself.

Anybody who didn't do the update able to give us a comparison time for transferring WoG? I actually haven't filled my internal sorage yet so I don't need to do this yet. I may get there soon though if I keep taking so many screen shots in Metroid Prime 3.



PALgamer said:

Any SD card bigger than 2GB is SDHC, and the current Wii Firmware doesn't support it yet.



Muzer said:

PALgamer is correct, in fact, homebrew even gained SDHC support before Nintendo did!

This does not block the HBC itself, just the TP hack. So it is not "another step taken to thwart fans of the homebrew channel" (that was the IOS update on October the 23 which suffice to say failed yet again, miserably). It just means that new adoptors can't yet use homebrew, until Twiizers release the new exploit (which does exist).



thewiirocks said:

Transferring back to the Wii was pretty speedy to begin with

On what planet? Wii transfers are so incredibly slow that a 4x increase in performance is still unimaginably poor. To put this into perspective, standard SD Card transfer rates hover about 10-20 Megabytes per second.

World of Goo bumps up against the (officially non-existent, but we all know better) limit of 40MB* for a WiiWare game. Given the transfer rates of SD Card technology, World of Goo should take between 2-4 seconds to transfer. Even if we double that to account for bookkeeping overhead and slower transfers due to hardware differences, we should still be seeing WoG transfer in under 10 seconds!

I'm glad to see that Nintendo has optimized the SD Card from its previously atrocious showing, but let's be realistic about the transfer rates. The Wii's SD Card performance is not anywhere near "speedy" and still has quite a ways to go.

@Angelic Lapras King - Amen

* One block appears to be 128K



Starwolf_UK said:

@ thewiirocks. There is still encryption of the item being transfered to the SD card and decryption once it is off the SD card (thats right inside the memory of the Wii it is in unencrypted form...well mainly*).

For someone like me going from 5 minutes to 30 seconds (I've not been able to test the speeds yet) or even 1 minute is a huge enough improvment for me to sit up and care about and not go into "it can still be faster". Also, who is to say there won't be more updates (Iwata said Spring was whwen we would see download to SD and speed improvements and its not Spring yet)

*-Modern VC releases tend to compress the games (it only saves a handful of blocks but when you have at least 10 a handful becomes a number worth caring about).

Edit: I would have also loved Nintendo to start actually informing its customers about what updates contain. Fine in America the e-mail mentions USB keyboard support in Mii Channel and Enhanced parental controls and files this under "system functions have been improved" but then the UK one mentions nothing. I think the only reason the SD card improvement was noticed was the Japanese Wii Shop mentioned it in passing...



thewiirocks said:

@Starwolf_UK - It's definitely worth noticing. However, the "pretty speedy to begin with" statement is... hmm... best way to put this... must have been before Darren's coffee.



Wiiloveit said:

I got an official 2GB one off recently for just a fiver (with free delivery, of course).

Anyways: time to take it for a spin with the new update.

Test: Copy Brain Challenge from the Wii to the SD card.
Blocks: 291
Time: 35:59 seconds. WOAH.

Test 2: Copy Brain Challenge from the SD card back to the Wii
Time: 32:07

Compared to before, that's pretty damn fast.

Now, we just need seamless streaming, so that we can play games directly off the SD card. Guitar Hero World Tour can do it with songs (pretty well, in fact), so why's Nintendo making us wait for the same feature with WiiWare? And also: why wasn't the thing this fast in the first place? Hmmmmm...



blackknight77 said:

Edit: Ok I just tested it and I am noticing much faster tranfer times for Gyrostarr, Family Table Tennis and Star Soldier R



MarkyVigoroth said:

Copying a Nintendo64 game lasted about 1.5 minutes well before this upate.
I wil check the new speed soon.

(At least Nintendo is trying to be helpful...)



Terra said:

Good to see things are improving on the Wii. Just updated myself.

At least you guys get to try the test with Gyrostarr. PAL releases with HVS is a real sore spot for me but this isn't the right place to start that argument again.



lockelocke said:

Well, its definitely faster, but is it just me or does this not solve the storage issue whatsoever?? My intelligence is officially insulted; does Ninty think they can just throw any software update at us INVOLVING an SD card and we'll be like, oh problem solved! This is a bit of a red herring, I mean, thanks for the update, but what about the storage issue?



Ricardo91 said:

Well, works for me. The only problem I ever had with the storage solution was the slow-as-dirt SD copying speed.
Too bad I can't get the update because my Wii's STILL offline.



calculon said:

@lockelocke - where in the update message did Nintendo refer to this update being any sort of solution to the storage problems we all complain about?

It's a step towards a better storage solution and a significant one at that. SD transfer times were my main concern about the whole idea, but now they're being resolved I'm quite looking forward to it. I'm sure when the complete solution arrives, transfers will be even faster than the 3.4 update (likely 1.5 - 2x but no faster) and SDHC will be supported.



Killraven said:

with faster SD speeds i would be happy jsut to have a little sd button down the bottom, kinda like the messaging and menu buttons, that that just opens a little side menu, that you could then drag and drop games from the SD to the wii, without having to go through so many menus.



Boringman54 said:

Are you kidding me? A game like World of Goo could probably take 5 seconds to transfer for me.



Peznaze said:

Faster is good, first step towards their first solution... Make the transfer faster, then make the transfer seamless. (download directly to the SD card, "buffer" a game on the card in the internal memory when you want to play it again...) Every Wii will soon have a 2GB card in it.

They optimized their encryption, that's good. I don't expect it'll get any faster than this, though. Unless they actually remove layers of encryption...



Cipher said:

"Or they could just let us play games off the damn cards... T.T"

It was announced at Nintendo's Fall 2008 conference that Wii System Software 4.0, to be released in Spring 2009, would somehow allow us to do this. Have patience.



Ricardo91 said:

"Are you kidding me? A game like world of goo could probably take 5 seconds to transfer to me."

Many people aren't that fortunate.



Homer_Simpson said:

Interestingly, this is also a huge step towards allowing us to play games from our SD cards, in that transfer speeds are probably now quick enough for this to happen....



calculon said:

There are a number of ways the speed could improve, such as pre-loading data prior to a requested transfer which could be quite easily implemented.



Ark said:

This update makes me happy. Not the perfect solution, but if they decide to never give us a true solution, I think we can live with this.



Twilight_Crow said:

Woah, thanks for the news, this is nice, not a solution but still nice, I haven't transfered a thing from/to my 1GB SD card for a long time, I should try this out.



Stuffgamer1 said:

@zzs_shadow: Don't say that too loud; Nintendo might hear you. They do have a history of stopping corrective measures if they think their customers have lost interest...



Ark said:

In that case,stuffgamer, this update is horrible. Give us a solution, Nintendo!



Most-Excellent said:

Still... like it doesn't even matter at all to Nintendo... you still have to transfer games back and forth; and you think most of the whinners shut up now and can consider that in their smart little heads!!!



ness said:

Better than before, but still not the best solution.

The best would be if i can see all of my VC- and WiiWare-Games as a channel on the main menu, no matter where they are, even if i have to wait for a transfer in the background.



LinktotheFuture said:

Like a few people before me, this is probably a necessary update to make playing games from SD cards possible. Spring isn't too far off now, really. We'll be playing games from our SD cards in no time.



Wiiloveit said:

@PalGamer: That didn't work for me. Hmph. I'm gonna be trying to work this one out all night now...

Oh, and has anybody else seen that the Nintendo Channel has been updated? All the update appears to do though is download the highlights movie every time rather than save it to the Wii memory. Why can't Nintendo tell us what's going on?!?



kitroplious said:

@Wiiloveit - One thing that I noticed from the Nintendo Channel update is that the music doesn't skip anymore on the start screen.

Back on topic, it's nice to see that files can go to the SD card faster!



Stuffgamer1 said:

@Wiiloveit: I noticed that the videos on the Nintendo Channel seem to buffer better now. They used to pause partway through to load as I watched them, but now they run straight through smoothly!



Wiiloveit said:

@Versus22: What do you mean by music skipping?
@Stuffgamer1: After reading this and watching a few videos this evening (namely the CUBELLO trailer, C64 interview and Smash Bros Tutorial 5/10), I see what you mean, although there is still a noticable loading time to begin with, and if you skip through parts of a video, it still needs to load.



Most-Excellent said:

@Calculon & linktothefuture...
"Who don't understand my comment"

I was just stating the obvious like everyone else does... if its the WAY SMARTER thing to do and if it gets rather annoying all the freaking time!!!

Nintendo clearly stated that's is nearly impossible to read and play off the SD card; haven't they?!

Now why can't people just think smart and live with things that you always can't get?!



SuperMarioX said:

Well at least doesn't take as long now I can actually copy a game to the SD Card without having to wait 15 mins. Hopefully in Spring the whole Wii memory problem will be non-exisent



Jens said:

I still don't see, WHY direct download to sd card and faster copy speed ist better then increasing the amount of the internal memory or not having the option to play directly from a sd card. Better than nothing, ok, but it's not what's possible!

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