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Games room set-up


Joyrex-J9
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Firstly apologies for a slightly long and meandering post but I have a number of things I want to discuss and obviously don't want to create multiple topics :lol:

Background

I've finally got my games room set-up. The room is multi-purpose so a mixture of storage space and somewhere for me to play anything retro. It's not a massive room, and I'm planning on buying a 26" LCD to serve as the display in there. I *know* LCD isn't ideal for retro stuff, but I'm fucked if I'm getting a CRT in there.

Clear Out

I've made the slightly painful decision to ditch a few of my machines. Based on the cold hard facts that I will never play them and have zero interest in the machine. Definite so far are: Saturn, Master System, NES and the Jaguar (all PAL). Feel free to convince me to keep them, otherwise expect a thread in trading in the next few days for me to get rid.

Now for the questions...

RGB & 60hz - aka making old consoles look as good as possible

The majority of consoles I'll have in there (PS1, PS2, GC & Dreamcast) all output a decent RGB signal for me to be happy with. The exception being the older machines such as SNES, Megadrive and N64, I want these to be looking as good as possible. I'm thinking of ditching the ageing PAL machines I've got, for some nice modded ones from consolepassion.co.uk. That covers the 60hz issues, but what about RGB? How would I get a decent picture (or best as possible) from those three machines? Don't the N64 and Megadrive require modding for RGB? Any advice on this whole topic gratefully received.

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I'm sure any MD1 will output RGB over the A/V connector with a RGB scart lead. N64 requires a NTSC model IIRC. Snes just needs a rgb scart connected (the Snes differs slightly from the N64 and/or GC with regards to colours so should use a specific lead for each - either add or remove capacitors. For Pal at least)

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You must have room for at least one of the good 14" Sony TV's. Get a AV switchbox as well, the Joytech ones are recomended. The only machine you should keep is the Staurn, but only if you have import games and like arcade style games.

RGB will look shite on a LCD screen, Megadrive and SNES will do it out of the box, just get the cable. You'll need a Megadrive RGB cable that connects to the headphone port on the front if you want stereo sound and only Have a Megadrive v.1

Get a nice little stereo amp for the sound as the TV speakers wont be as good.

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Right so it's just a matter of getting the right cable for the MD1 and the SNES. OK cool.

For the N64 I have decent selection of PAL games, so switching to a NTSC model will be a major pain. I'll need a Passport won't I? They don't seem to be cheap.

I've got a SCART switch box (push button job) which I think will do me OK, I had a Joytech SCART AV switch which I stupidly got rid off :lol:

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I also want the screen to double up as a monitor (have a VGA in) and I really, really can't afford the space for a CRT

What about one of those up-scaling doofer boxes? Won't they help?

seriously, a 14" TV takes almost no space. Make it work.

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seriously, a 14" TV takes almost no space. Make it work.

I could maybe fit one of those in. Maybe at a later date, I dunno. But what you gain in picture quality, you lose in size. I don't think my ageing eyes could cope with 14" these days :lol: :lol:

Yeah I know - I can't have it all ways

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What about one of those up-scaling doofer boxes? Won't they help?

I'm hoping to start putting my findings online from tomorrow night (if time allows).

I've found that it smooths the picture, rather than giving a CRT type of image quality. It's more akin to an emulator filter. Better than what my Panasonic does with a bog standard RGB picture, but still not up to CRT quality by any means.

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I'm hoping to start putting my findings online from tomorrow night (if time allows).

I've found that it smooths the picture, rather than giving a CRT type of image quality. It's more akin to an emulator filter. Better than what my Panasonic does with a bog standard RGB picture, but still not up to CRT quality by any means.

Shame, if it was say £50 I'd probably go for it, for that sort of "fix". But £99 seems too steep for just that.

Still I'll be interested in reading your full findings

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If your getting an lcd i suggest you try your consoles on it first before you buy.

I've seen countless people complaining that the older systems either don't work at all or the picture has so much flicker its unbearable.

Regarding the snes and megadrive, the uk snes has two variations, a 1 chip version which requires capacitors on the rgb channels and a 2 chip version which requires a 47ohm resistor.

The megadrive is more straight forward, it just requires a 75ohm resistor on the rgb channels.

The N64 doesn't support rgb so its either a mod or use s-video.

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If your getting an lcd i suggest you try your consoles on it first before you buy.

I've seen countless people complaining that the older systems either don't work at all or the picture has so much flicker its unbearable.

This is good advice, my tv won't even lock onto a 60hz ntsc signal from anything pre ps1

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i point everyone to the reply i made yesterday

if you have real retro consoles in a 'retro room', you simply have to use the TV they were made for.

Its all part of the retro experience - otherwise just give up and use a software emulator on a pc

at the moment i keep a 30" wide-screen CRT on the dining room table, much to the chagrin of everyone involved

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I could maybe fit one of those in. Maybe at a later date, I dunno. But what you gain in picture quality, you lose in size. I don't think my ageing eyes could cope with 14" these days :lol: 8)

Yeah I know - I can't have it all ways

Given that a lot of your stuff will be outputting in 4:3 in the centre of a 26" widescreen, the picture size will be comparable to the viewing size of a 14" 4:3 TV anyway.

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I've tried all the machines with my current main LCD TV (Sammy 40") all produced a picture. The Dreamcast is worthy of note - as it looked fucking perfect. The PS2 and PS1 were pretty good (dependant on cable used). The TV I'm getting for the room is also a Sammy so I'm hoping for similar results.

This is not just a retro gaming den, that it one of it's functions - but I also have all my RPG, CCG, boardgaming and wargaming stuff in there. So I'm not after the 100% perfect retro experience.

Maybe I'll just ditch the SNES and MD and just for 32-bit and later consoles...

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My couple of years old Samsung 32" LCD is a right old pain for RGB on the SNES or a SFC, I gave up and use s-vid now and it's still pretty good luckily. My MD needed a bit of messing around with it to get the picture to sync properly, it was wavey at 60Hz, I had to open it up tinker around inside cutting and adding a resistor to get it to be steady.

PCE was a definate no-no with the same telly, as is the Master System, even the Master System converter plugged into a MD is a no-no! But PS1, Saturn onwards is great on it.

Pete

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For the N64 I have decent selection of PAL games, so switching to a NTSC model will be a major pain. I'll need a Passport won't I? They don't seem to be cheap.

I bought a passport III for my PAL N64, what a waste of time. It doesn't play the games in 60Hz, it just runs the import games at 50Hz. Its a well dodgy piece of kit as well, not at all plug-and-play.

Then I bought a NTSC N64 and some games, what a waste of time. It is cheap as all you need is a base unit from the US and some carts, it will work with your UK PSU and controllers etc. But I wouldn't bother, because it turns out the majority of PAL N64 games you want to play were well PAL optimised anyway (IMO), bar a few early stinkers like wave race. Also the s-video signal from a PAL N64 is really nice and is fine for LCD/Plasma.

So all this stuff you read about an NTSC N64 for RGB, 60HZ etc being vastly superior is, IMO, bollocks.

So personally I would stick with your PAL unit and games. If you really want you could borrow my NTSC unit to try.

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I bought a passport III for my PAL N64, what a waste of time. It doesn't play the games in 60Hz, it just runs the import games at 50Hz. Its a well dodgy piece of kit as well, not at all plug-and-play.

Then I bought a NTSC N64 and some games, what a waste of time. It is cheap as all you need is a base unit from the US and some carts, it will work with your UK PSU and controllers etc. But I wouldn't bother, because it turns out the majority of PAL N64 games you want to play were well PAL optimised anyway (IMO), bar a few early stinkers like wave race. Also the s-video signal from a PAL N64 is really nice and is fine for LCD/Plasma.

So all this stuff you read about an NTSC N64 for RGB, 60HZ etc being vastly superior is, IMO, bollocks.

So personally I would stick with your PAL unit and games. If you really want you could borrow my NTSC unit to try.

Would agree with you on the rgb point, the mods are inferior to the native s-video of the N64.

Btw, did you have trouble getting your passport III to work, mine just gives a black screen.

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RGB & 60hz - aka making old consoles look as good as possible

The majority of consoles I'll have in there (PS1, PS2, GC & Dreamcast) all output a decent RGB signal for me to be happy with. The exception being the older machines such as SNES, Megadrive and N64, I want these to be looking as good as possible. I'm thinking of ditching the ageing PAL machines I've got, for some nice modded ones from consolepassion.co.uk. That covers the 60hz issues, but what about RGB? How would I get a decent picture (or best as possible) from those three machines? Don't the N64 and Megadrive require modding for RGB? Any advice on this whole topic gratefully received.

If you're set on ditching CRT then get them connected to a Micomsoft XRGB2 device or similar. N64 will need an RGB mod though I don't think that MD does. Someone else feel free to verify that.

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Passport III's given me no problems - I'd have said it's an essential accessory for a PAL N64, but I've no idea how much they'd be to obtain now. I thought they were about 12-13 quid.

Definitely forces an output of 60htz too, at least with Sin & Punishment, Bangaioh and the few other JPN games I have.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Especially if you are going to be using a SNES/SFC. The SNES does weird things with an RGB signal that some LDC TVs just do not like. Thread about it here:

http://ntsc-uk.domino.org/showthread.php?t=88845

I've revisited this issue recently as Snes just doesn't like my tv at 60hz over scart. 50hz is fine, but at 60hz the image just wobbles from side to side constantly and the top (30 lines?) of the screen is slanted. I had previously attributed it to forcing a Pal console to do 60hz, but it does it on a Super Famicom too. 60hz MD is fine in comparison, as is a Pc Engine and 60hz Saturn.

I'm going to reattempt to gain pernament access to the 14" crt that still survives, but I dropped a previous one so we'll see :) Annoyingly it doesn't reach the right edge of the screen currently and the remote is MIA, but the image is far better in general. I could happily play MD and everything else on LCd, but the Snes is too fussy which is why I'm reluctant to buy a small LCD for it

Even if it worked fine on the existing LCD, I'm planning to use games with plenty of japanese text to improve and practice my Japanese but it's hard to read on a 37" lcd due to the low res text :) FFIV is nice in not using Kanji (FFV is not so kind) but I'm having trouble seeing some characters clearly.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yes it did! I'll omit the weeks of painting, DIY, shopping at Ikea and stress putting the whole thing together!! :P

I have lots of boring pics too!

CIMG0100.JPGCIMG0105.JPG CIMG0108.JPG CIMG0103.JPG

If you're really interested, there's more pics in the gallery, including some before and after shots. The room doesn't photograph that well, due to the small size.

So in the end I settled on a 26" Sammy (The LE26B450C4) which is great. The picture for most of the consoles is really nice, that's the PS2, PS1, Xbox (via component), Gamecube, Dreamcast. The SNES and MD don't look good, but for now I'm happy with what I've got, I'll tackle that problem another day. I run everything other than the XBox thought a RGB SCART switch box, and have enough ports and plugs to have the consoles listed above permanently plugged in.

I've also found room to store all my games, boxes to store all my old consoles (that's Ikea boxes you see at the bottom of the shelves) plus all my RPG, Magic: The Gathering, boardgame and wargaming stuff too :D

I'm fucking really chuffed with it, I finally have a room with all my geek shit in at my fingertips, rather than having it all stashed the loft.

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