VOGONS


First post, by held

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Well the title says it all.

I'm interested and I am seriously considering buying one. I've seen some video's however they seem all too happy with it. It sounds too good to be true

Let me know if you own one, and whats great and whats not.

Thanks guys

Reply 1 of 24, by BraveToaster

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I've had my eye on it for a while, too - and it looks like a really awesome solution overall.
The consolized variant from RMC is coming out very soon though, and I'm waiting for some feedback on that before I make a decision - it sure looks like a nice package.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vDIz8WY6zLE

Reply 3 of 24, by matze79

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anyone runs AO486 Core on this Thingy ?

https://dosreloaded.de - The German Retro DOS PC Community
https://www.retroianer.de - under constructing since ever

Co2 - for a endless Summer

Reply 4 of 24, by will1384

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I have one, and yes it works very well, I would say it's worth getting, but there are a few downsides to it, one is the cost, I spent around $400+ on my MiSTer FPGA

here was the cost break down:

$61 ---- Mister FPGA IO Board v6.1 XL
$64 ---- Mister FPGA SD Board XSD v2.5 128MB -- Memory
$51 ---- MiSTer FPGA 7 Port USB HUB V2.1
$80 ---- MiSTer MT32-Pi Package -- MIDI sound
$135 ----DE10-NANO CYCLONE V -- back when it was cheap

and then about $100 in parts for a custom case.

Another downside to the MiSTer FPGA is that it is very fragile, the ports and connectors on the DE10 Nano can very easily break right off with little to no force, the DE10 Nano was not made to be a consumer product, and is not a durable has a cell phone or something like that, I would say it's slightly less durable than a raspberry pi, so I spent that extra $100 or so on a case for it that extends the ports out to plugs on the outside of case that can be easily replaced if damage happens.

The other downside is that the ao486 is kinda slow, you are not going to play Quake with this, and Duke Nukem 3D is also too slow, it will play other older games just fine however, and I have Windows 3.1 running on it, it runs kinda like a fast 486SX, basically no math co-processor.

The retro game systems seem to run perfect, or at least every game I have tried, however and here is the last downside, most of retro game systems running on the MiSTer FPGA don't have "save states" or "cheats" like you would have on a emulator that runs on a PC, so when you play a game that you want to beat you basically have to pause it and leave it running until you are ready to finish it, and yea I am just not doing that.

Reply 5 of 24, by SScorpio

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100% worth it right now, and its value will continue to increase over time.

The Analogue consoles are $190 for the SNES/Genesis and are a single system. Or $500 for the NT Mini that supports additional systems, but not as many as the MiSTer.

You can start out with just a DE-10 Nano ($180), 128MB SDRAM $60, and a cheap OTG USB Hub ($5). Use whatever USB controllers and keyboards you have laying around. This will run every core and have HDMI output. Or wait for the RMC consolized version, that will give you the IO board, 128MB SDRAM, USB Hub, and a case for somewhere around $200-250 while you supply your own DE10-Nano.

I'm not going to try listing all the cores, but if you haven't seen the project's wiki, you should go through it. https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/Main_MiSTer/wiki

The hardest thing with MiSTer to trying to explain why it's better than just running an emulator on your PC. Maybe you are fine with a Pi hooked up to your TV. But I and others can tell a difference. People have said they have sold parts of their retro hardware collections after getting a MiSTer because it was accurate enough.

ao486 is the core with the biggest disclaimer, it works great, but it's limited to a 486SX at 33Mhz. You might read on the wiki you can clock it up to 90Mhz. But even at those speeds, it doesn't perform as well as a real 66Mhz chip. If you keep that in mind it works great, and it lets people explore MIDI on those olds games they previously only hear the Adlib music back in the day.

Another limitation is the menu system is very basic as it was written to work with the analog so it has to support 240p. It works just fine but people keep trying to convince the devs they know better and they really need box art on the game selection menus.

If it seems interesting go for it, just be aware that the in-development Saturn and original Playstation cores might hit some limit in terms of bandwidth and turn out to not be feasible on the current hardware in case that's one of the only reasons you want to buy it.

Reply 6 of 24, by leileilol

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SScorpio wrote on 2021-09-22, 21:48:

The hardest thing with MiSTer to trying to explain why it's better than just running an emulator on your PC. Maybe you are fine with a Pi hooked up to your TV. But I and others can tell a difference. People have said they have sold parts of their retro hardware collections after getting a MiSTer because it was accurate enough.

A lot of it is due to certain... marketing people that deny it's a form of emulation. This often leads to misinformation and arguments as well as dismissing hobbyist software-based emulator's research (despite many authors of the cores themselves likely utilizing them in reference and not personally engaging in that discourse)

However, when you have these guys as the rival fanbase, then..... yeah

apsosig.png
long live PCem

Reply 7 of 24, by Shreddoc

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Accuracy doesn't matter to the majority of people, who have spent very little time with actual 20-40yo hardware.

They do not have the frame of reference to appreciate what the difference means.

The differences are objective, technical realities, but the enjoyment and appreciation of those things is often very much subjective!

Reply 8 of 24, by canthearu

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leileilol wrote on 2021-09-22, 21:57:

However, when you have these guys as the rival fanbase, then..... yeah

Uggghhh, people actually fought over this .... like which emulated solution is better?

Both were so inexpensive that I got them both. Then I hacked the SNES mini for good measure and put the games I wanted onto it 😀 And I got a USB to SNES mini controller converter to plug the superior SNES mini controllers into the RetroPie.

Reply 9 of 24, by SScorpio

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canthearu wrote on 2021-09-23, 00:13:

Uggghhh, people actually fought over this .... like which emulated solution is better?

Both were so inexpensive that I got them both. Then I hacked the SNES mini for good measure and put the games I wanted onto it 😀 And I got a USB to SNES mini controller converter to plug the superior SNES mini controllers into the RetroPie.

Somewhat, but Hard drive is a gamer version of The Onion with fake but funny articles.

If you have the chance try Punchout on the NES on a software emulator and the MiSTer. Regular people have noticed a difference sure to the low latency.

Reply 10 of 24, by leileilol

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Yes it's satirical, but it's also grounded in reality. When those mini classics were announced, there's always been at least a few haughty "just get pi all games etc" people in the comment sections, and before the Pi became popular, it was the Gameparks / Pandoras / Modded Xboxes / Pentium(core)andor Phenom laptops, etc. disregarding copyright/IP laws from pre-loaded SDcards and all vs legit and licensed publisher rereleases.

apsosig.png
long live PCem

Reply 12 of 24, by held

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@BraveToaster,Shreddoc and everyone on the fence:
Welcome aboard! Take a chair, there is lots of space.

will1384 wrote on 2021-09-22, 20:53:

Another downside to the MiSTer FPGA is that it is very fragile, the ports and connectors on the DE10 Nano can very easily break right off with little to no force, the DE10 Nano was not made to be a consumer product, and is not a durable has a cell phone or something like that, I would say it's slightly less durable than a raspberry pi, so I spent that extra $100 or so on a case for it that extends the ports out to plugs on the outside of case that can be easily replaced if damage happens.

That's some proper intel mate, I was on the fence buying a case, but now I will.

Many console users are freaking out about authentic button placement, but I was a PC owner. I did everything with the keyboard back in the day, so I figured that not being a problem. I'm probably getting either PS4 or Xbox One controllers. What do you use?

will1384 wrote on 2021-09-22, 20:53:

The other downside is that the ao486 is kinda slow, you are not going to play Quake with this, and Duke Nukem 3D is also too slow, it will play other older games just fine however, and I have Windows 3.1 running on it, it runs kinda like a fast 486SX, basically no math co-processor.

Yeah, the AO486 core is nowhere near DOSBox, that needs a ton of work as far as I'm concerned. You have to put in a lot of work to make it work, thanks but no thanks. Until they have ZIP and OVERLAY support I'm not interested. The devs are even unpacking ZIP's into some VHD harddisk with batch files and a DOS launcher, what a nightmare.

will1384 wrote on 2021-09-22, 20:53:

The retro game systems seem to run perfect, or at least every game I have tried, however and here is the last downside, most of retro game systems running on the MiSTer FPGA don't have "save states" or "cheats" like you would have on a emulator that runs on a PC, so when you play a game that you want to beat you basically have to pause it and leave it running until you are ready to finish it, and yea I am just not doing that.

That really depends on the core you are running, TurboGFX and the Gameboy core have save states. There are probably more cores that have them, but I saw these in the video's I watched trying to get to know the system:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn2pQB4jsCTLUtx2NIkCvUg

SScorpio wrote on 2021-09-22, 21:48:

The hardest thing with MiSTer to trying to explain why it's better than just running an emulator on your PC. Maybe you are fine with a Pi hooked up to your TV. But I and others can tell a difference. People have said they have sold parts of their retro hardware collections after getting a MiSTer because it was accurate enough.

The PI emulates software directly, the MISTer emulates the software indirectly by emulating the hardware. People seem to find that confusing and are hesitant to use the word 'emulation', weird.

SScorpio wrote on 2021-09-22, 21:48:

If it seems interesting go for it, just be aware that the in-development Saturn and original Playstation cores might hit some limit in terms of bandwidth and turn out to not be feasible on the current hardware in case that's one of the only reasons you want to buy it.

That PlayStation core is coming along quite nicely, the first games are running, albeit no sound at the moment. This is important to me, but it can easily wait.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oxJ1xvkrm4

deepthaw wrote on 2021-09-24, 05:23:

I’m a CRT snob and found the Ao486 core to be insufficient. Then again, I’m *unreasonably* picky about crt support. (It only supports certain resolutions and forces 60Hz)

Yeah I'm not, but I see where you're coming from. I think I would be the same if I was into CRT's. Lets hope they get it to run 70hz in the future.

Reply 13 of 24, by deepthaw

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The reason emulation (or simulation, or whatever you want to call it) in FPGA is often viewed as more accurate than software emulation is because it handles instructions in parallel rather than in sequentially. This makes it easier to recreate the timing nuances of the original hardware. You can do it in software, but it gets tougher and you need to throw more and more CPU at it to do it accurately. Of course - this matters only if getting those timings incredibly right mattered on the original hardware, which becomes less of a necessity as you get to more and more recent hardware and people tended to write to bare metal less often.

I love my MiSTer for arcade/classic consoles, less so for MS-DOS. Ao486 just isn't on par with DOSBox right now, and I'm not sure that it ever could be (no fault of the developers, emulating a wide range of vintage PC stuff is ridiculously complex.)

Reply 14 of 24, by Shreddoc

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held wrote on 2021-09-24, 08:18:

@BraveToaster,Shreddoc and everyone on the fence:
Welcome aboard! Take a chair, there is lots of space.

Chair firmly balanced on fencetop plateau! I've had half an eye on the MiSTer for a long time.

The main reason I haven't bought yet is due to suspicion that I'm not actually in the target demographic. Most of the people I've talked to about MiSTer are proud hardware collectors who see MiSTer as an accurate and lag free alternative or even replacement. But me? I love the games, but apart from PCs I've barely used real 16-bit hardware this century - software emulation has handled all my needs there, and still does.

That probably makes me the gaming equivalent of a cloth-eared git 🤣. My point is that people long-term accustomed to software emulation - which I assume is quite a few of us - literally don't know what we are missing (years of old memories from 19xx don't really count!) and so the ignorance-is-bliss principle applies.

So on one side of the fence it's a very tempting prospect and a fun technical wonder in it's own right, and on the other side, it's a $500 ticket to an experience you're not missing yet. 🤣

Reply 15 of 24, by deepthaw

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The reason I love my MiSTer is it supports my vintage 27” Sony Trinitron perfectly. Games look identical to how they did growing up (technically better) with none of the downsides of upscaling for HDTVs (although upscalers are getting damned good…)

Reply 16 of 24, by SScorpio

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deepthaw wrote on 2021-09-25, 02:48:

The reason I love my MiSTer is it supports my vintage 27” Sony Trinitron perfectly. Games look identical to how they did growing up (technically better) with none of the downsides of upscaling for HDTVs (although upscalers are getting damned good…)

You touched on a great point. One of the major benefits is all the available outputs.

Out of the box in a minimal setup, the DE10-Nano has an onboard HDMI output. The MiSTer framework has scalers and filters supported in it, you can fine-tune this per core getting a close look to a CRT or even the passive LCD screen used in the portables. The embedded scaler matches $150-300+ units as it's able to take a pure digital signal to work on while the external devices from real hardware take an analog signal and even with good shielded RGB cables there will be some signal degradation.

If you want to connect to a CRT TV you can get a very inexpensive HDMI to VGA adapter, and then VGA to RGB or Component cables and get a direct unfilterd/scaled image just like an original console. This will give you the cleanest analog picture and it's something some of the consoles needed to be modified to do. And in the case of the PC Engine/Turbo Graphics 16, using RGB out of a real console gives you wrong colors versus the stock composite output.

With the IO board you get an onboard DB15 analog out. With this you can connect vga to RGB or component cables and play on the original signal to a CRT TV while also having a scaled and filtered image going out the HDMI port which gives easy connections to modern capture hardware for streaming. IE play the game on a CRT, while streaming it live to a Youtube or Twitch channel.

The IO board also lets you take the original console video signal, and changing one configuration setting line double it from 15Hz to 30Hz. This doesn't modify the image in any visual way, but you can connect any PC CRT monitor with a standard VGA cable and get a crisp analog image that's just as good as the Professional/Broadcast Video Monitors (PVM/BVM) that collectors are paying hundreds for.

Finally if you are using an IO board with analog video to a CRT, you also have a direct serial user IO port. You can get adapters to connect original lightguns and the games will play just how they used to back in the day.

But you don't have a CRT anymore, and a lightgun for each system? Well you could just use a Wiimote and play the lightgun games that way on a CRT or HDTV. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBoZDGn0e3U

Reply 17 of 24, by held

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Shreddoc wrote on 2021-09-24, 22:59:

The main reason I haven't bought yet is due to suspicion that I'm not actually in the target demographic. Most of the people I've talked to about MiSTer are proud hardware collectors who see MiSTer as an accurate and lag free alternative or even replacement. But me? I love the games, but apart from PCs I've barely used real 16-bit hardware this century - software emulation has handled all my needs there, and still does.

That probably makes me the gaming equivalent of a cloth-eared git 🤣. My point is that people long-term accustomed to software emulation - which I assume is quite a few of us - literally don't know what we are missing (years of old memories from 19xx don't really count!) and so the ignorance-is-bliss principle applies.

So on one side of the fence it's a very tempting prospect and a fun technical wonder in it's own right, and on the other side, it's a $500 ticket to an experience you're not missing yet. 🤣

Its the portability and convenience that drew me in. Grab a beer (or two), RMC had a new MISTer video yesterday (95 mins). Presale was sold out within 12hrs 🤣 , so I'll be waiting on the next batch I think : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzbuHErNQGs

It looks great, but portability is out of the question

Reply 18 of 24, by SScorpio

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held wrote on 2021-10-02, 14:04:

It looks great, but portability is out of the question

If you are looking for something smaller, Porkchop Express from MisterAddons posted a teaser for a new project I can't find an image of right now.

But it takes the DE10-Nano with either the digital or full IO hat, and replaces the USB hub with a custom board that sits along the side, this gives you IO in the front and back of the case. So it will be slightly larger than two DE10-Nano sitting side by side. And could support the digital IO board with dual memory modules if that ends up being necessary in the future for the Saturna and PSX cores.

Reply 19 of 24, by Joseph_Joestar

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deepthaw wrote on 2021-09-25, 02:48:

The reason I love my MiSTer is it supports my vintage 27” Sony Trinitron perfectly. Games look identical to how they did growing up (technically better) with none of the downsides of upscaling for HDTVs

A couple of years ago, it was possible to achieve something similar with RetroArch running on a Win7 PC with certain ATI graphics cards (e.g. a Radeon 5450) using a VGA to SCART adapter connected to a CRT TV.

If it was possible back then, I imagine it can still be done now. Naturally, using an FPGA-based device will result in more accuracy.

EDIT - here's a video showcasing this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dDAT4fsTXY

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