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PC Engine newbie advice


Jazz Glands
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A big old blind spot in my retro collection is the PC Engine/Core Grafx as I was always a MD kid growing up. 
 

I’ve decided to pick one up but have a few questions for the knowledgeable folk on here.

 

1. I understand the PCE doesn’t do RGB, but can be converted? I’ve also read there are different options for this, including a plug and play solution? What are peoples thoughts on this? 
 

2. What are peoples experiences with an Everdrive solution, as I mostly want to play shmups and of course the prices are eye watering now?

 

3. Is there a best system to get? The white PCE looks the best to my eyes, aesthetics wise, but is the Core Grafx an improvement in any tangible way?

 

Anything else I need to bear in mind? And does anyone have a set up to sell me? :D

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On a PCE/Core there’s rgb available on the rear connection

 

image.thumb.jpg.1f08798972180a6c4f52169a1349533e.jpg
 

apparently there’s an HDMI version now

 

my TED is flaky as hell, wiped the card a couple of times. It’s why I can’t remember the last time I turned it on. 
 

the core/coreII WAS to fix some issues withe video output, iirc…

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43 minutes ago, Jazz Glands said:

And does anyone have a set up to sell me? :D

 

A friend sent me these over Telegram last month asking if I was interested and still has them. He's not on here but I can get him to get in touch with you if you're interested.

 

image.thumb.png.dcef22824f618cf97f7f214dfb690297.png

 

image.thumb.png.f45b60c385d5e81ea238ab9d31b370f5.png

 

image.thumb.png.24b5b6a7cd2f3493538d2037fb903400.png

 

 

 

I think he said the Turbo Duo wasn't reading discs, though. The PCE-CD setup is probably best bet. 

 

He has games, too. Both Hu-card and CD stuff. But you're probably better off going the everdrive/CD-R route in that regard.

 

 

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I used one of these RGB adapters for a little while, with a Mega Drive 2 RGB cable:

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/123883726129?hash=item1cd80ba531:g:FRoAAOSwflJdX6Sz

 

It gave a beautiful display, but I can't vouch for its longevity at all, and obviously having an exposed board sticking out of the back of the console probably isn't ideal. As a cheap quick-fix solution it was great, though. I upgraded to a Terraonion SSDS3 soon after, which is superb and has RGB-out itself, but I've mostly been playing on a Mister since I bought it, so this was a fairly wasteful/needless trajectory.  If you want to play on original hardware in the long run, I'd say a Core Grafx II and SSDS3 are your best bet, in terms of display quality, reliability and access to the full library. (This stuff costs a bomb up front, but will save you thousands on shmups alone...)

 

Edit: sorry, Lyrical Donut's PCE CD might well be a good deal, too! BTW, any idea how much your friend wants for the SuperGrafx, Lyrical? It's unlikely I'd be able to take them up on it at the moment, but it'd be good to know! :)

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There’s quite a lot of info to understand when you’re buying a PCE.

 

The white PCE and grey (with orange or blue writing) Core Grafx are the default systems. These play hu-cards only and are region locked. They do need to be RGB modded. There is plug and play option like you say but this plugs into the slot where you plug the CD drive into, so you won’t be able to use this AND plug a CD unit in.

 

The PCE with a CD unit plays CD-ROM games (CD is region free and has no copy protection so you can burn backups) so you’ll need to buy an expansion card to play Super CD-ROMs and Arcade CD-ROMs

 

You can also buy a Duo, a Duo R or a Duo RX. These are the hu-card and CD units combined and also play Super CD-ROM games as default. Again these need to be RGB modded. The default Duo units were notorious for having capacitor failure, so if you went for this option, make sure it’s been recapped.

 

I’m not sure if the Everdrive plays CD games on the core unit but I wouldn’t have thought it would. So if you go for a default white unit with an ED, you’ll only likely be able to play hu-card games.

 

As mentioned, another option is the Super SD System 3. This is a terraonion product that plays hu-cards and all CD games on the base unit. It also outputs RGB, so you don’t need to worry about a mod. These are expensive though. Also to note, buying an SSDS3 2nd hand, if you previous owner has registered the system then you won’t be able to. This means you won’t be able to DL software updates if they release any (although to be fair there haven’t been that many)

 

Depending on how much you get into the system, I’d say the CD based games are an essential part of the library. It’s not like the Mega CD where there’s the odd game you’d like to play. Probably half the library you’ll want to play will be CD based.

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The PC engine is a minefield when it comes to hardware, look at all the replies you had.

 

PC engine RF out only (will display b/w unless you get an RGB adapter in the back.

Core Grafx Composite out ( not sure about b/w but again use the RGB adapter on the back.

To play cd games on these you need the IFU (briefcase) and the CDROM2. You lose the option of the RGB adapter and have to use composite. The cd drive is very temperamental.

Also you will need the system card (looks like a hu-card with more memory) (min 3.0 , money no object get the arcade. Looks gorgeous though :)

You could just stick the terraonion SSD3 or the SSd3+ of HD whatever it is and play CD games that way. No need the system cards and if you get the HD i think that does SuperGrafx (follow up system) games

Everdrive was fine but doesn't play cd games and cant replicate the system cards.

 

Duo is cd based. Make sure it has been recapped as they are a nightmare. Not sure what system card in in these, RGB mods are around for these as well as region mods.

I dont own one of these

 

Duo-R again cd based. Does not suffer the nightmare capacitor problems. I think this comes with system card 3.0 built in. I did have to buy the arcade card for mine

Duo-RX not sure what the difference is.

 

RGB mods and region protection like the Duo are available.

 

There is also the core-grafx mini available as a convenient alternative with some of the best games. Do not put a strong amperage PSU on these as you will blow out the USB chip on board. TV usb will power it fine.

 

I was just like you about 5 years ago. Brilliant system and looks nice as hell. Rondo of blood is worth it alone. LRG are at some point releasing a reissue of rondo in english which should be popular.

 

I'm sure I've made a few mistakes on here but most of the above is what i learnt

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Jazz GlandsI spoke to him yesterday and he said he's going to double check the PCE-CD setup to make sure it's all working.

 

@KlatrymadonI also mentioned your interest in the SuperGrafx. I don't think he's in a mad rush to sell stuff on as he's quite busy at the moment.

 

As I mentioned previously, he has a fair amount of Hu-card/CD/SuperGrafx stuff which I've asked him to list for me when he has the time, if anyone's interested.

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3 hours ago, Jazz Glands said:

Thoughts on this? Seems to be recapped and sorted for RGB. Anything I need to be wary of, or does this look like everything I’ll need?

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PC-Engine-DUO-R-Scart-RGB-settable-Csync-75-TTL-CVBS-Region-Free-Jailbar-fix-LPF-/194705224513?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&_trksid=p2349624.m46890.l49286&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0

 

Looks pretty good. I might have missed info about a suitable PSU though.

 

Some background info: The seller was notorious for low grade modding jobs many years ago. Poor soldering, lots of hot glue & epoxy, suspect home-made breadboard PCBs, spiders nests of wires etc. 

 

He was pretty much the only JPN seller consistently churning out these refurbed / modded units for a long time though, and his reputation started taking a beating once his customers started seeking out other modders to fix up his poor work.

 

HOWEVER - he clearly took notice of the criticism and acted appropriately by thoroughly improving his game in recent years. His YouTube channel showed off some nice looking improvements to his modding repertoire. Gone was the amateurish use of hot glue and weird black epoxy resin and in came much better professional work.

 

I spent years lusting after one of his Duo-R refurbs and almost pulled the trigger many times, so have witnessed his entire story arc. 

 

I don't personally know anyone who's bought any of his recent and excellent looking modded Duos though. But he's been at it for a very long time at this point.

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On 26/12/2021 at 20:24, bwi said:

The PC engine is a minefield when it comes to hardware, look at all the replies you had.

 

PC engine RF out only (will display b/w unless you get an RGB adapter in the back.

Core Grafx Composite out ( not sure about b/w but again use the RGB adapter on the back.

To play cd games on these you need the IFU (briefcase) and the CDROM2. You lose the option of the RGB adapter and have to use composite. The cd drive is very temperamental.

Also you will need the system card (looks like a hu-card with more memory) (min 3.0 , money no object get the arcade. Looks gorgeous though :)

You could just stick the terraonion SSD3 or the SSd3+ of HD whatever it is and play CD games that way. No need the system cards and if you get the HD i think that does SuperGrafx (follow up system) games

Everdrive was fine but doesn't play cd games and cant replicate the system cards.

 

Duo is cd based. Make sure it has been recapped as they are a nightmare. Not sure what system card in in these, RGB mods are around for these as well as region mods.

I dont own one of these

 

Duo-R again cd based. Does not suffer the nightmare capacitor problems. I think this comes with system card 3.0 built in. I did have to buy the arcade card for mine

Duo-RX not sure what the difference is.

 

RGB mods and region protection like the Duo are available.

 

There is also the core-grafx mini available as a convenient alternative with some of the best games. Do not put a strong amperage PSU on these as you will blow out the USB chip on board. TV usb will power it fine.

 

I was just like you about 5 years ago. Brilliant system and looks nice as hell. Rondo of blood is worth it alone. LRG are at some point releasing a reissue of rondo in english which should be popular.

 

I'm sure I've made a few mistakes on here but most of the above is what i learnt

 

 

 

 

I think the RX comes with a six button controller, which the R doesn't.  But that controller isn't very good, from what I've read.

 

Apart from that I don't think there's any difference in terms of performance.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yep and it’s excellent from what I can tell. Haven’t opened it up, but Immaculate cosmetic condition and the RGB output on my B&O tv puts my Super Famicom and Megadrive to shame. Loads both CD games and Hu Cards quickly and without a hitch. So far, so good 😊 

 

Now I just need to pick up a few more games and an Everdrive 

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