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17 April, 2024

The FlippyDrive is a Stunning Solderless GameCube Mod Chip

For many years, GameCube modding was a niche and mostly quiet community of dedicated fans. Now, thanks to recent mods like WebHDX’s Picoboot, the GameCube mod scene has seen a renaissance in popularity. Now, Nintendo fans have their pick of the litter, with a slew of impressive mods available and many more in development. However, there have only been a few choices when it comes to optical drive emulators, but that’s all about to change. Thanks to some hard work from a couple of very talented designers, I might be looking at the best mod chip for the GameCube ever made.

Today, I’m taking a look at the FlippyDrive, a solderless mod chip solution for the GameCube that should go above and beyond your expectations. Not only is the FlippyDrive incredibly easy to use, but thanks to its non-destructive installation, your console will retain complete use of its original functions. Additionally, the FlippyDrive holds some impressive software, making your game-loading experience feel like a first-party feature. Without any further ado, let’s check out this masterful GameCube mod and see just what the FlippyDrive has in store.

The FlippyDrive is a Stunning Solderless GameCube Mod Chip

I’ve checked out other GameCube mod chips in the past, including the PicoBoot and GC Loader, but the FlippyDrive definitely takes the cake as the premiere GC chip of 2024. This fantastic project was created by ChrisPVille and Trevor Rudolph, who combined their powers to whip up something truly special. While ChrisPVille tackled the hardware side of the chip, while Trevor developed the custom cubeboot loader software. The FlippyDrive is the result of exceptional research, innovation, and impeccable design, and I couldn’t be more impressed.

To give you an idea of the blissful simplicity of using the FlippyDrive, I’ll explain the basic installation steps and provide you with a rundown of its features and my overall thoughts. As always, if you want to see the FlippyDrive in action and hear my complete thoughts on this product, be sure to check out my full FlippyDrive breakdown video on YouTube.

How to Install the FlippyDrive

The FlippyDrive kit comes with most of the parts you’ll need to perform this mod, with the FlippyDrive board being the most important piece of the puzzle. This custom board is powered by an RP240 microprocessor, while the onboard ESP32 provides Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support. The board also holds a micro USB port for additional programming, along with a MicroSD card slot to load your data and custom software. To connect the FlippyDrive board to the GameCube, the kit also comes with a truly unique ribbon cable, which retains the use of the original optical drive. The kit also comes with a mounting bracket to secure the drive, as well as a connector cap, which you will use if your console lacks an optical drive. Of course, you’ll also need a donor GameCube console to perform the mod, with all models supported.

FlippyDrive Gamecube
Gamecube FlippyDrive

To say the FlippyDrive installation process is easy would be a complete understatement. As long as you’re comfortable fiddling around inside a game console, you should be well-prepared to perform the mod. The only tool you’ll need is a screwdriver, as your first step will require removing the optical drive assembly by removing all the attached screws. This exposes the motherboard connector, which is where you connect the ribbon cable to the FlippyDrive. Although the ribbon cable requires a bit of fanciful folding to connect properly, it’s an ingenious way of providing a solid connection without the need for soldering.

Once you’ve connected the ribbon cable correctly, you can reattach the optical drive, but be sure to slip the end of the ribbon cable through the visible slit in the RF shielding. From here, place your bracket on the side of the optical drive and screw it in place with two screws. Now, you’re ready to connect the FlippyDrive to the exposed ribbon cable, before finally mounting it on the bracket with two smaller screws. Before you close up the system, insert a microSD card with your games loaded onto it, and you’re good to go!

Gamecube FlippyDrive

FlippyDrive Features and Final Thoughts

Following the trend of easy installation, the FlippyDrive is also a joy to use, with smartly designed features and functionality. The star of the show is the cubeboot custom loader, which automatically starts when you boot your system. Although completely created by Trevor, the cubeboot loader uses existing Nintendo assets to create a menu that feels just like the original GameCube’s, allowing you to access stock options in addition to loading your game backups. If you want to use a disc instead, you simply hold down the Left Trigger button while starting the console, which will bypass cubeboot and command the CameCube to work as if it was just taken out of the box.

Flippy Drive
FlippyDrive Nintendo Gamecube

In truth, the FlippyDrive might lack some of the more specific options that other mod chips offer, but it’s hard to overlook the simple install process and the perfect visual design of the cubeboot loader. Additionally, the FlippyDrive contains a few “hidden” features as well, including region-free game loading. Finally, this mod chip is far more affordable than any of its competitors, with a current target price of around $40.

While there are a few bumps to speak of, including the fact that the MicroSD card is inaccessible once you’ve closed up the console, the FlippyDrive is a must-own mod chip for any GameCube fan. Chris and Trevor both have plans for various updates, including added Blue-Tooth functionality and USB gamepad support, and other GUI-based updates. As it stands, the FlippyDrive is one of my favorite GameCube mods and I fully recommend picking one up when it launches in just a few months.


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