NeoGeo SD loader logo

NeoGeo CD optical drive replacement - SD card game loader

Quick links:
NEWS - Support

"EP" revision loaders are made and sold by third parties. I can't and won't provide support for them. If you have any issues, contact the seller. See this note.

 

NeoGeo SD loader pcb picture

Features:

The Neo CD SD Loader could be called an ODE (Optical Drive Emulator) because the benefits are similar, but technically speaking it isn't really one. It doesn't simulate an optical drive. It provides the console with a direct interface to an SD card and patches the BIOS to load games from it instead. From an user standpoint though, the functionality is the same !

 

Compatible models:

Front-loader
NeoGeo CD front loader
NeoGeo CD front loader
Top-loader
NeoGeo CD top loader
NeoGeo CD front loader
CD-Z
NeoGeo CD-Z
NeoGeo CD front loader
Maybe one day
Beautiful photos by Evan Amos.

 

 

Ordering:

Production is finished. I (furrtek) won't be making and selling new Neo CD SD Loader.

However, the following shops have picked up production:

 

All hardware and firmware files are now open-source and free to use by anyone for their own use or for profit. Check it out on Github and make sure to read the rules !

 

 

Q&A:

How hard is it to install ?

Installation requires some soldering, but nothing too hard except one delicate part (see instructions). There's no need to cut the plastic shell of the console.
If ever needed, the whole kit can be cleanly removed and the console restored to its original form.

Can it run games I have downloaded ?

Yes, just like you could run them by burning CD-Rs. The loader doesn't circumvent any anti-piracy features since the NeoGeo CD doesn't really have any. However, some games implement copy-detection measures that may be triggered. Patched versions of the games do exist.
If you like indie games, please buy them :)

Can I keep the original CD drive ?

Yes. The original CD drive can be kept operational if needed but you will only be able to use microSD cards, not full-size ones.

Can it run AES/MVS games which didn't have a CD release ?

No, except if a conversion exists. A few games have been converted by enthusiasts, but not all.
The loader can't automatically split a cartridge game to add in loading screens. This is a very complex process which can't be done automatically.

Is it compatible with the Unibios ?

No, however the loader's menu itself brings similar features such as cheats, region and DIP-switch settings.

What SD card do I need ?

The full NeoGeo CD library fits in a 64GB SD card. Speed (class) isn't important, any will do.
Installs on which the CD drive is kept in place only allow microSD cards.

Only SDSC, SDHC and SDXC cards are supported. WiFi-capable and other weird SDIO cards may work but are NOT tested.

How is the firmware and menu updated ?

Both can be updated by placing an update file on the SD card. Updates are provided for everyone and for free.

Can it run the game I'm creating ? Other homebrew ?

Yes. If you burn it to a CD and it works on an un-modded console, then it will work with the loader.
No guarantees that it'll work perfectly if you only tried it in an emulator. Making it work on the real console is up to you !

The firmware doesn't rely on a list of known games. It will load any CD image as long as its file structure matches the one required by the console's original BIOS. This means existing and future homebrew games can be loaded without having to update the firmware.

Does using an expensive SD card make loading even faster ?

Using an ultra-fast luxury SD card won't improve loading times. The speed is limited by the console's memory. Even my oldest and slowest 128MB card currently isn't maxed out.

Does this product have something to do with existing ones for cartridge-based systems ?

No. The devices may serve a similar purpose (replacing a storage medium with a more modern one) but the companies and people involved are different. The NeoCD SD Loader only works on CD systems.

Is it serial-locked or are there any firmware DRM ?

No. I only keep an anonymous list of the serial numbers of the kits I built. This is used to keep track of which hardware version is each kit to make customer service easier.

Are the design files and source code available ?

Yes, see https://github.com/furrtek/NeoCDSDLoader. Make sure to read the rules !

What if a game has problems ? How can I suggest improvements ?

Send me an e-mail: addr.
If a valid game/rip has problems loading or running, please indicate which one it is, where did you get it (ripped it yourself, what website...), and what is the problem (doesn't load, freezes, glitches...).
I will investigate and provide an update as soon as possible.

About improvements, depending on the usefulness and the effort needed to implement, I will try to include them in a future update.