SNES PowerPak vs Game Doctor SF7

A basic comparison of the load-time between the Game Doctor SF7(PC parallel port uplink) vs retroUSB:s SNES Powerpak (Compact Flash upload)

Update, March 2014:

I’d like to point two things out:

ManuLöwe has written an unofficial firmware for the powerpak. Although it doesn’t address the “issue” of manually creating savestates, it drastically improves the usability and readability of navigation. I highly recommend you check it out at and the demo video at

The other thing is that I have a hacky Bash script for generating save files for game roms which lack them. It might be useful for others:


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  • Can anyone help me? I want to know which pins on the wildcard are used for ROM transfer on parallel port

  • SF7 for the win! Sure the PowerPak is more convenient, but the SF7 wins in my book because it has stood the test of time with its reliability and because I've had a Star Ocean repro from retroUSB go bad in just over a year's time (it uses a virtually identical board to the PowerPak)

  • Replying to myself just moments after having written the initial reply above, but I just went to website and indeed saw that retrogate as well as stone age gamer are planning on selling assembled units: that's exciting news! I see retrogate is out of stock but the price is 190 dollars.

  • As far as I know the SD2SNES isn't a finished product: rather it's an open source variant of the Powerpak. Everything from the PCB layout to the FPGA code is freely available. It's particularly interesting to me as I'm a programmer with some electronics experience, however one needs some pretty fancy equipment to cobble it together. The main benefit with the SD2 is that anyone can modify the code whereas the Powerpak receives few if any updates from RetroUSB: SD2SNES is the more interesting one.

  • What about the SD2 SNES? Isnt that the best out?
    I know its like $300, so whats the difference between that and these?

  • SNES PowerPak = $155
    Game Doctor SF7 = $ 30

  • Games operate as normal(no lag). The Pak contains a chip(a FPGA) which essentially implements the mappers "in hardware", so it's as close as you can get to original cartridges but with modern hardware. As for the accuracy of the mapper implementation I can't say, since it's proprietary; see the manufacturer website for details.

  • @millsmoney No, I did not know this, nor can I find anything documenting this feature – please point me to it! Maybe it's new? The method I've described is in accordance with the documentation I have. If what you say is correct(I presume you're not lying of course) then why does one need to create the .SRM at all? What is the meaning of creating a pre-formatted file; why can't this be automated entirely upon loading the game? Ie why not automate a step which you *always* have to perform anyway?

  • @johneymute In many ways it is superior(big surprise; the SF7 is ~16 years older!). However, you can't connect the powerpak directly to a computer for debugging or realtime development, and you obviously can't create game backups. I also think the SRAM store could be much better on the powerpak than it is now. Manually having to save the game state is tedious, especially as there is no builtin savefile-rom mapping.

  • the powerpak is way more easier and faster to setup.
    1 no parallel cable,2 no extra power suply ,3 no regio incompatibility issue,4 no external memory needed,5 no slow loading times,6 no need swapping extra floppy,s to load a big game or swapping for another game,,7 no need wurry about dust,a broken ring belt,8 no confusing software,9 no bulky ugly oversized design sticking out,10 no more power issues on later snes models,11 no external cd rom needed.
    12 no incompatibility with dsp1 games,

  • @zedrein18 Hehe, yes you're correct :). The Powerpak is really handy, although I do wish the "battery store" solution was more intuitive – it still forces you to write down which save file relates to which game (ie save state files are always in a silly format such as "save_XXX" instead of an arbitrary name), which is quite a stupid design!