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Drivechips (a.k.a. DVD modchips) are used to inject code into the Panasonic MN10200-based microcontroller in the disc drive. The firmware on this chip is stored in mask ROM, but is loaded into RAM before execution; these chips use debug commands to patch the firmware in RAM upon boot, generally to defeat the protection against recordable DVD media.
These chips are most commonly used for run copies of original games (most of the time illegal ones), but they did also play an important role in the early stages of Wii homebrew development. A drivechip can be used to run GameCube homebrew on the Wii, and if you haven't updated to system menu 3.3, fakesigned Wii homebrew.
Most drivechips are hard to find nowadays, since most of the functions for a drivechip can now be emulated via homebrew. However, a drivechip may be needed if you have a banner-bricked Wii with no BootMii or Priiloader.
Types of Drivechips
There are two types of drivechips. These include solder ones and solderless ones. Solder ones will need to be soldered on to the solder points next to the insert for the ribbon cable. However, every drivechip varies so the steps can be different for other drivechips. The solder ones include WiiKey and WiiKey V2.0.
Solderless ones are the fourth generation of drivechips. Solderless drivechips will be intercepting the connection between the Wii's Disc Drive and the Wii. These include WiiKey Fusion, DriveKey, FlatMod, FlatWii, Wasabi DX and WODE Jukebox.
As the drivechips would read from backup discs some games would not play properly as the games were written in 3X speed. However WiiKey Fusion ran the games from the SD Card so that dilemma was solved.