The N64 is the only current system that uses cartridges. There are advantages and disadvantages to this approach:
- Fast load times - Sections of a game are transferred almost instantly from the cartridge's ROM to the system's RAM.
- Additional performance features - Since the cartridge contains a circuit board that is plugged into the main system, it can contain special hardware-based enhancements that augment the processing power or special effects of the system.
- Durability - Cartridges are not as easily damaged as CDs, which can be ruined by a simple scratch.
- Small capacity - Cartridges, ranging from about 8 MB to 96 MB, hold significantly less data than CDs (650 MB).
- Expense - Because of all the hardware, the cost per unit to manufacture cartridges is quite a bit more than to make CDs.
- Audio - Even though the N64 has near-CD quality sound, it is not utilized to the same degree as in CD-based games because of the enormous amount of storage required.
Although the N64 had only a few games available when it first came out, the number of titles has grown to a considerable library. Used games can be found for less than $15. Many of the new games can cost between $50 and $75.