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Upergrafx arrived today!

First impressions—decent build quality (people seem to hate the vertical design, but it looks much nicer and compact than the SSD3, which doubles the depth of the system...), nice looking menu, CLUNKY TO THE MAX!


It arrived with the latest firmware, so at least I didn't have to deal with updating the unit itself.  The application for adding/removing games is a nightmare lol.  Once you get it all set I suppose it's not a problem, but testing this thing is a pretty awful process.  The game menu lists games only in the order you added them, so you literally have to add everything in alphabetical order (i.e. if you add a new game, it will be displayed at the end of the menu).  You can reorder games as you add them, but it's kind of clunky.  Removing games requires you to hit "shift - del" two times for some reason (there's no button in the application itself just to delete a game).  If you delete a game in position 1 or 2, it tells you that you need to format the whole card and start over again.  That seems pretty excessive!

 

The Upergrafx also does not seem to support folders?  So you just get a single massive list of games.  If you throw the entire library of Hucard roms on here, you are not gonna have a good time scrolling through to find the game you want to play.  That may not even be possible, actually, as Upergrafx uses an index system to store and access games on the memory card, and there seems to be a maximum index number?  Does anyone know if there is a maximum limit?  It might be better to just use the Upergrafx as an ODE only, and rely on an Everdrive for the Hucard games.

 

None of the games I converted from my original imageburn bin/cue rips work with the Upergrafx (converted by mounting the CUE with DAEMON Tools Lite and then ripping that using CD Manipulator).  The games show up in the menu, and boot to the System Card menu, but pressing RUN just drops me back to the Upergrafx menu.  I'll have to rip everything again from my CDs, but CD Manipulator is UNBEARABLY slow and it might be quicker to just download a torrent of Clone CD rips and edit the text files.

 

Games that I converted that did not have separate CD audio tracks boot fine, so I'm not sure what's up.

 

If I were to sum it up, you have to a MAD PC ENGINE FAN if you want to deal with this thing haha.  Of the few CD games I could boot, I noticed immediately the more accurate seek time and better quality CD audio, but I'm a MAD PC ENGINE FAN ;).

Edited by newtmonkey
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Upergrafx arrived today!

 

First impressions—decent build quality (people seem to hate the vertical design, but it looks much nicer and compact than the SSD3, which doubles the depth of the system...), nice looking menu, CLUNKY TO THE MAX!

 

It arrived with the latest firmware, so at least I didn't have to deal with updating the unit itself.  The application for adding/removing games is a nightmare lol.  Once you get it all set I suppose it's not a problem, but testing this thing is a pretty awful process.  The game menu lists games only in the order you added them, so you literally have to add everything in alphabetical order (i.e. if you add a new game, it will be displayed at the end of the menu).  You can reorder games as you add them, but it's kind of clunky.  Removing games requires you to hit "shift - del" two times for some reason (there's no button in the application itself just to delete a game).  If you delete a game in position 1 or 2, it tells you that you need to format the whole card and start over again.  That seems pretty excessive!

 

The Upergrafx also does not seem to support folders?  So you just get a single massive list of games.  If you throw the entire library of Hucard roms on here, you are not gonna have a good time scrolling through to find the game you want to play.  That may not even be possible, actually, as Upergrafx uses an index system to store and access games on the memory card, and there seems to be a maximum index number?  Does anyone know if there is a maximum limit?  It might be better to just use the Upergrafx as an ODE only, and rely on an Everdrive for the Hucard games.

 

None of the games I converted from my original imageburn bin/cue rips work with the Upergrafx (converted by mounting the CUE with DAEMON Tools Lite and then ripping that using CD Manipulator).  The games show up in the menu, and boot to the System Card menu, but pressing RUN just drops me back to the Upergrafx menu.  I'll have to rip everything again from my CDs, but CD Manipulator is UNBEARABLY slow and it might be quicker to just download a torrent of Clone CD rips and edit the text files.

 

Games that I converted that did not have separate CD audio tracks boot fine, so I'm not sure what's up.

 

If I were to sum it up, you have to a MAD PC ENGINE FAN if you want to deal with this thing haha.  Of the few CD games I could boot, I noticed immediately the more accurate seek time and better quality CD audio, but I'm a MAD PC ENGINE FAN atariage_icon_wink.gif.

 

I believe it's 99 blocks (pages) of 99 titles each... so presumably around 10,000 titles. In older FW you can jump to a particular block of 100 by incrementing the block number in the main menu (outside of the game list) but I haven't tried with later firmware since I can browse the list quickly enough You may not be able to make folders but you can skip forward and backward a whole page at a time using D-pad Left and Right, exactly like an Everdrive. From there, it's just about smart sorting, which is a bigger pain than it should be due to the limitations of the set up program but I do understand them. It has to delete everything after the title you delete in order to reclaim the free space since there is no file system. You can give up the free space and delete it without removing everything that came after but it will still occupy one of those 100 slots, IIRC.

 

To get the sorting how I wanted it I did some commandline-fu to get a text file with the path to every game in my working directory, then I put that in a spreadsheet with another column for Title as I want it displayed on the UGX. Then I made other columns I could sort by to get the arrangement I wanted. This is what I ended up with:

CD BIOS ROMs

 

Full American CD library interspersed with Japanese exclusives and HuCard titles that are part of a series that includes an American CD release

 

Translations and hacks

 

Japanese selections with English options or fully-playable without needing to speak Japanese

 

CD BIOS ROMs + Games Express CD BIOS ROMs

 

Unlicensed games (Games Express, Bikinis girls, etc)

 

Japanese selections (basically, anything else you might care about)

 

CD BIOS ROMs

 

The rest of the Japanese library

 

CD BIOS ROMs

 

Arcade Card titles

 

Test ROMs (tools, utilities, etc)

 

Select HuCard ROMs

 

I pruned out most Japanese titles that have an English release, all the Karaoke and visual novel stuff, all the demos, etc. I got pretty much everything that remained onto my 320GB SanDisk SD card and I can quickly navigate to just about anything.

 

At the very top of the list and want to play Akumajou Dracula X Chi No Rondo? Just pick your fast-patched Super System Card BIOS if it isn't already selected and press right a few times until you are at the beginning of the list of Japanese selections.

 

Want to try Gate of Thunder without the fast-patch? Jump back up to the top, change your selected CD BIOS ROM, and the 3-in-1 disc should be right there near the top.

 

Want to try an Arcade Card title? Insert an Arcade Card Duo, leave System Card 3.0 BIOS ROM selected, and press Left from the top of the list to jump to the bottom of the list where you will find Arcade Card titles.

 

Even just pressing right or left repeatedly with no consideration for the relative positions can scroll through my whole list in no time.

 

...but I glossed over how you get the spreadsheet order into the UGX. The application, Ikaebi, accepts Comma Separated Value files to automatically load up all your games with the correct titles and whatever else you specify. Any spreadsheet application will let you export selected columns to CSV, tabbed-separated values, etc. You just import your CSV into Ikaebi and go.

 

I had a similar problem with some rips not working. I recall that ripping with CloneCD solved that for me but, then again, I was mostly dealing with files from the ReDump set which didn't have separate audio tracks, IIRC. I recall Addams Family still reported some errors but it was the only one and, well, it works despite the error. I believe it is because the game incorrectly points to a CD audio track that does not exist since the game does not use CD audio.

 

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Very interesting info!  The official Japanese site is a mess (even for someone who reads Japanese fluently...), so it's been a slow and painful process of figuring it out.  I'll try using separate pages as "categories"... that should help a lot.  I'm thinking the complete Hucard library split into 2-3 pages, Japanese CDROM library split into XX pages, and then a final page for the exclusive US CDROM games (and a few games with hilarious dubbing that I enjoy... namely Final Zone II and Last Alert lol).

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Wanted to edit my post, but ran out of time...

 

The CD audio from this sounds FANTASTIC.  Playing Akumajo Dracula X on the Upergrafx was a thing of beauty, it sounds phenomenal!!  It's worth dealing with the interface headaches just for that, never mind the accurate seek time emulation.

 

I understand that the final revision of the SSDS3 sounds fine, but I was one of the fools that bought the device somewhat early before the design flaw was discovered, so you have to dial the CD audio down to 60% to prevent clipping.  But doing that makes CD audio way too quiet (and you still get clipping even at that volume in certain games).  The terrible CD audio may not be as noticeable on TV speakers or a sound bar, but when playing on high end stereo equipment, it sounds like absolute garbage.  Even when it's not clipping, it's akin to listening to 256kps MP3 file compared with an actual CD or FLAC file on high-end headphones.

 

@CZroe

I read somewhere (either the Upergrafx twitter or SHMUPS forum) about compatibility issues between the Everdrive and Upergrafx.  I can't seem to find it and searching Twitter is obviously a nightmare.  Do you recall if it's safe?  I'd rather just stick my HuCard roms on the Everdrive and simply use the Upergrafx as an ODE if possible.

Edited by newtmonkey
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Sorry to keep posting...

 

The Everdrive doesn't seem to work (just shows a white screen and never loads the menu when the PCE is started).  The UperGrafx only supports HuCARDs up to 512k, which is very disappointing as there are some very decent games >512k (Street Fighter II, PC Genjin 3, Neutopia II, and Raiden).

 

I'm kind of averse to unplugging the UperGrafx just to use the Everdrive as I feel like something is gonna break every time I remove/attach it lol.

Edited by newtmonkey
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My ongoing UperGrafx adventures...

 

I tried swapping out my power supply to see if that was causing the problem with my Everdrive, but no good.  I'll just have to go without Neutopia II for now (I can always play the CD versions of Bonk III and Raiden).

 

I decided on a scheme to keep things separated.  The first two index #s are filled with the Super System Card and the TurboDUO System card.  That means I'll never stupidly delete index #1 or #2, which would require the entire SD card to be reformatted.

 

Next, the entire JPN + US HuCARD library with duplicates and other sundries (baseball games, mahjong games, etc.) removed came to 273 games.  Including the two system cards, that's 275 items, which is just 22 items short of completely filling up the third page of memory.  I then created 22 dummy PCE files all called XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX and added them to the end of the list.  The CD ROM games thus start cleanly on page 4.  Whew!

 

Next up is to place the US CD games on page 4 (with 84 dummy PCE files), then the JPN CD games will start from page 5.

 

---

 

I have to admit, I was initially very disappointed with the UperGrafx and was regretting spending so much on such a quirky device, especially when I have a SSDS3 that "works."  Like others have said here, once you get used the quirks and come up with a sorting system that works for you, it's fine.  And you almost can't put a price on getting quality CD audio and accurate seek time emulation!

Edited by newtmonkey

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It's more that the Turbo Everdrive is a wildcard that the UGX creator does not officially support. He doesn't have one and can't test or guarantee it will work.

 

He said it wasn't officially supported when we were dealing with a UGX unit that was DOA and the replacement only worked for a day. He wasn't singling out the Turbo Everdrive though... he was saying that anything untested/unverified could be to blame, from the Radio Shack Adaptaplug power supply and the Old Skool-brand controller to the American console he had never tested with... it was just way too many variables.

 

He was certainly right about the PSU and the controller. The PSU was causing games to corrupt on the TED when copied to memory, even without the UGX involved, and some of those Old Skool controllers have a factory production error (wrong resistor values) and draw way too much power. I recalled GameTechUS' issues with older versions of the TED when used with a simple region mod and conceeded that his concern was valid but I have not shied away from using it with the UGX after addressing the other two points (PSU and controller).

 

...I won't use the TED as a Super System Card anymore though!

 

Back when I got my DOA UGX I had about 6 or 7 American consoles but no Japanese ones, so it definitely wasn't a problem with a particular American unit. He never said it worked with American systems back then, so I bought a cheap white PCE to verify that the first UGX was DOA before requesting a replacement, then the replacement UGX only worked for a day. A lot happened in that day, though.

 

After verifying that the replacement unit was working on the white PCE with an F-1 Circus '91 HuCard, I switched back to an American console. It seemed to work there too, but I had not yet set up my SD card for the virtual Super System Card. UGX works with original Super System Cards in the slot but I did not have a region mod or a rare American-region Super System Card like I have now, so I used the TED with patched Super System Card BIOS ROMs. I found Super CD-ROM² games would sometimes glitch out, so I moved it all back over to the white PCE. It would still eventually glitch out though it seemed to take longer. Remember, I was using that PSU that caused problems with the TED, so it's hard to blame the TED.

 

As it turns out, I still get similar glitching when I play on an American console without the TED (takes about an hour). Since then he promoted UGX on an American console for days on end at Portland Retro Gaming Expo (even making a new FW with an Exhibition Mode that cycles through games at some time interval), I assume that American consoles are supported now and it's just some earlier units like mine that don't play well with them. Either that or I still have marginal power issues. The American console always had a higher-amperage PSU but he suggested that I stay away from the original after the replacement UGX died later the same day. I have some Trident PSUs around now so maybe I should try again with those.

 

When the replacement UGX died he and David Shadoff suggested that I get a PSU with lower amps in case something else was drawing too much and burning out the UGX (like the early Old Skool controllers?), so I got a quality one for the PC Engine that's only 20mA over the original Japanese PSU rating (670mA Dunlop ECB-003). I often wonder if that PSU is just not enough to drive the American console, UGX, and Turbo Everdrive... or even certain configurations of the UGX with original cards in Japanese consoles. I really wish he designed the UGX to power the system so we wouldn't have to worry about marginal power delivery through the console from a random PSU.

 

So the issue with certain configurations of original cards is another reason not to blame the TED: I get very similar glitching when I play Super CD-ROM² games with an Arcade Card Pro or Duo inserted. The only Arcade Card-enhanced title I've seen this with is Popful Mail, which works fine with the virtual Super System Card but eventually glitches and freezes if you play with a Pro or Duo Arcade card inserted. It is one of the Arcade Card-enhanced titles that uses the extra RAM to reduce load intervals but there is no need with enhanced loading speeds on the fast-patched virtual Super System Card. I haven't had an issue with any titles that require the Arcade Card. That said, even Dracula X glitches and freezes after playing around an hour with the Arcade Card Pro or Duo inserted but will run all day without issues if you stick to the virtual Super System Card. Maybe it's just my unit (third defect?).

 

So I still use the TED for larger HuCard games that the UGX does not support and I haven't had an issue with that, but that is not to say that I haven't had any weirdness with the combination of TED and UGX. I have three v2.5+ TEDs but only tried two of them. At first I was moving the same SD card between them and one TED simply would not see the SD card when used with the UGX. It was weird because it was the same TED and SD card I used with the UGX that died and it didn't have the issue back then. I suspected that he had changed something to keep it from dying again, and this change affected the TED, but I guess not:

When I prepared a second SD card for the other TED I realized that BOTH TEDs were working fine with the UGX when used with that SD card. I moved the files off and and back on the original SD card and suddenly it was working with both TEDs in the UGX. A faster SD card likely never would have shown an issue but it has been fine ever since I essentially manually defragged it.

 

I have no idea what other engineering concerns there might be with the TED as a Super System Card but it seems to work perfectly now for just playing HuCard titles. Maybe there's memory bus fighting when used as a Super System Card even with the patched BIOS ROMs? I dunno, but I didn't see any issues I didn't also see with the original Arcade Card Pro or Duo inserted (officially supported).

 

 

 

 

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A white screen usually means the Turbo Everdrive is set to the wrong region. Have you switched between consoles? What version TED do you have?

 

I haven't tried the latest FW but my TED 2.5s are working fine. Even when I had that issue with it not seeing the system files/SD card contents when used with a UGX, it wasn't giving me a blank screen. I was getting the same message I would get from the TED if I had a blank SD card.

 

 

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Thanks for all that information!  It gives me a lot to think about.  Worst case scenario, I'll just get a Neutopia II HuCARD (I already have a physical copy of SFII if I ever want to play it).

 

The TED is 2.5 and is set to PCE (I verified it works fine on my CoreGrafx with the UGX unplugged).  I tried a couple different SDcards, but same result.  I do have the latest FW on there, I wonder if it might cause a problem?  If you get a chance could you check which FW version is on your working 2.5s?

Note: By white screen, I mean the UPX menu doesn't even show up.

 

Other than that, I've got nothing out of the ordinary.  I'm using an official controller, official AV cables, and have tried several power supplies including the official NEC supply that came with the CoreGrafx.

Edited by newtmonkey

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Alright, probably my last update on the UperGrafx for a while!

 

It was taking FOREVER ripping my library of games with CD Manipulator.  I'm talking 30+ minutes per game.  I had 12 games left and didn't want to spend potentially 6 hours ripping them, so I just torrented what was left... took 20 mins lol.

 

While I was waiting for the torrent to download, I also laboriously transferred my SSDS3 save files for Ys Book I&II and Tengai Makyo ZIRIA to my Ten no Koe Bank, which I then transferred to the UGX backup banks 1 and 2.  I can set the games separately to look at each bank, so that will make things very easy.

 

I'm curious @CZroe if you have got the MMC backup setting to work?  It's supposed to store game saves on the memory card rather than the UGX backup banks, but whenever I set it to that I get an error when I RUN+SELECT back to the menu from a CD game.

 

-----

 

Overall impressions now that I've got used to this thing:

- If you just want to throw the redump set on an SD card and play the entire library of Turbo and PC Engine games with no fuss, and don't really care about subpar CD audio quality and glitches ranging from desynced audio all the way to game breaking stuff, get the Super SD System 3.

- If you are willing to spare no expense (both in terms of money and time) to get the most accurate optical drive emulation experience possible, and are willing to waste an entire day learning its quirks, get the UperGrafx.

Edited by newtmonkey

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This maybe a controversial opinion, but I replayed Silent Debuggers and it really doesn't seem that bad of a game, only a bit slow and repetitive. if they made it so the character didn't move step-by-step on a grid it'd be closer to a traditional FPS game and be much faster paced. The indicator when you get hit is a nice touch for an early (console) game of this type, as well as the mapping system.

 

I think the biggest issue is again, the repetitive design with color swap backgrounds and the grid-like movement, which becomes a burden when you're under attack and can't move fast enough, though turning is rather quick at least.

 

 

Edited by Leeroy ST

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I have the newest SSDS3 revision with the blue PCB from November. I've never noticed low audio quality that people seem to be talking about here, but I'm also just using my monitor's built-in speakers. I use studio monitor headphones for professional musicians (Sony MDR-CD900ST), so maybe I'll use those with my monitor's headphone jack to listen to some stuff to see how it sounds. It's an older headphone model (1989, I think), but there is a reason that they are still the industry standard here in Japan 31 years later.

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The manufacturer corrected the design flaw in the final revision of the hardware (more accurately, the fan community corrected it for them), so it probably doesn't clip/distort anymore.  Their "fix" for previous hardware revisions was to allow you to set the CD audio volume lower prior to it being mixed within the SSDS3 to avoid clipping, but you have to lower the CD volume to 60% to avoid clipping which results in very quiet CD audio; even then, the audio would still clip in games with very loud CD audio (such as Ai Cho Aniki).

 

Like I said, it's supposed to have been resolved in the final revision of the hardware, so your SSDS3 should be fine, at least when it comes to CD audio anyway.

Edited by newtmonkey

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CastleMania is hinting at HD Retrovision PC Engine DUO adaptor. Not sure how the hell that happens without a mod since the thing doesn't have native RGB output, but they definitely have my attention.

1 hour ago, newtmonkey said:

The manufacturer corrected the design flaw in the final revision of the hardware (more accurately, the fan community corrected it for them), so it probably doesn't clip/distort anymore.  Their "fix" for previous hardware revisions was to allow you to set the CD audio volume lower prior to it being mixed within the SSDS3 to avoid clipping, but you have to lower the CD volume to 60% to avoid clipping which results in very quiet CD audio; even then, the audio would still clip in games with very loud CD audio (such as Ai Cho Aniki).

 

Like I said, it's supposed to have been resolved in the final revision of the hardware, so your SSDS3 should be fine, at least when it comes to CD audio anyway.

Yeah, I'll find out eventually. Saturn is connected right now and I don't feel like rearranging my entire desk to fit the gigantic SuperGrafx, but maybe I'll try it.

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(Broken) PC Engine DUO Monitor found on ebay!

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/PC-Engine-JUNK-DUO-MONITOR-Only-Not-Working-Ref-24L27491-PI-LM1-NEC-JAPAN/313034618854?hash=item48e25137e6:g:qCgAAOSwETBedFNs

 

So this thing is even more rare than the LT, correct? I have never seen this monitor in real life, but I have seen a few LTs and even the Linguaphone Education Gear. This is really not something that I find useful, but it's cool as hell and I'd like to have one if I could find a functional one for less than $800!

Edited by Steven Pendleton

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5 hours ago, Steven Pendleton said:

(Broken) PC Engine DUO Monitor found on ebay!

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/PC-Engine-JUNK-DUO-MONITOR-Only-Not-Working-Ref-24L27491-PI-LM1-NEC-JAPAN/313034618854?hash=item48e25137e6:g:qCgAAOSwETBedFNs

 

So this thing is even more rare than the LT, correct? I have never seen this monitor in real life, but I have seen a few LTs and even the Linguaphone Education Gear. This is really not something that I find useful, but it's cool as hell and I'd like to have one if I could find a functional one for less than $800!

$800???? A bit steep isn't it?

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9 hours ago, Steven Pendleton said:

I have the newest SSDS3 revision with the blue PCB from November. I've never noticed low audio quality that people seem to be talking about here, but I'm also just using my monitor's built-in speakers. I use studio monitor headphones for professional musicians (Sony MDR-CD900ST), so maybe I'll use those with my monitor's headphone jack to listen to some stuff to see how it sounds. It's an older headphone model (1989, I think), but there is a reason that they are still the industry standard here in Japan 31 years later.

I had an older revision of the SSDS3, sold that, and got the new one (revision B). I can vouch for the fact that the audio is definitely improved. The only issue that seems to remain is the noise made during SD card access, especially through my sound bar. It can be quite annoying. If I reroute the audio to a more basic pair of speakers, it is much more tolerable.

 

I didn't notice how the audio can get out of sync due to that seek time issue. I believe it exists though, and I am not going to go looking for it. Sounds like the UperGrafx is great for the hardcore fan. At that price and the limited time I have for messing around, it is probably not for me though.

 

I wish TerraOnion would do some more firmware updates to fix some remaining issues. Could they fix the seek time issue if they wanted to? (I don't know the answer). I wonder if they have washed their hands of this product...

 

They really need to stop advertising the ability to do an in game reset. I know they gave reasons why it will never be reliable. That's fine... but just pull it and stop advertising it as a feature.

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37 minutes ago, cybercylon said:

I had an older revision of the SSDS3, sold that, and got the new one (revision B). I can vouch for the fact that the audio is definitely improved. The only issue that seems to remain is the noise made during SD card access, especially through my sound bar. It can be quite annoying. If I reroute the audio to a more basic pair of speakers, it is much more tolerable.

 

I didn't notice how the audio can get out of sync due to that seek time issue. I believe it exists though, and I am not going to go looking for it. Sounds like the UperGrafx is great for the hardcore fan. At that price and the limited time I have for messing around, it is probably not for me though.

 

I wish TerraOnion would do some more firmware updates to fix some remaining issues. Could they fix the seek time issue if they wanted to? (I don't know the answer). I wonder if they have washed their hands of this product...

 

They really need to stop advertising the ability to do an in game reset. I know they gave reasons why it will never be reliable. That's fine... but just pull it and stop advertising it as a feature.

Yeah, I'll look into it more tomorrow, maybe, if I decide to test the audio quality with my headphones to see if I notice anything. They do claim to be working on some more fixes for the SSDS3, or at least changing the menu because people keep complaining about the font of all things. I see nothing wrong with the font at all, and if anything, they should change the way the controls work, not the font. Pressing Run to do everything instead of I like normal is weird and even now I still sometimes press the wrong button.

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I think Terraonion is just sick of the SSDS3 to be honest.  They had a very bad experience with the SSDS3; part of it was their fault for releasing a very poorly designed product and then having to be convinced to fix it... part of it was because of the typical obsessed nutcases you get on forums.

 

The guy running TO has said that dealing with all the SSDS3 fallout made his life miserable.  I think he gets flashbacks to that when he sees people raising legitimate issues.  He's very cool on his own forums, completely different from the rude hothead he plays on shmups forum and places like that.  I've never seen him belittle anyone on his forums or shut down legitimate criticism, but I have seen him just stop responding when an issue seems to be becoming something major rather than an isolated case or whatever.

 

I don't recall 100%, but I think it's been at least a year since there was any official presence on the TO SSDS3 subforum and of course no firmware updates have been released in quite a while.

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Through his custom software, you can set a 'per game' settings that overrides most or all of the main profile settings (including which BRAM option to use). I used it with my SuperGrafx, so I'm glad that the device stand vertical. I don't want the SGX to be any longer than it already is. While the support for HDMI is nice, I still mainly use the composite output. I plan to build a 'real' s-video output with SamIam's design - not that crap out there that does s-video from RGB, or the ones that attempt to make s-video by doing a poor man's CVBS separation but leave Luma in the C signal (why???!!!!). The PCE/SGX/TG16 has a custom set of Y/U/V colors in a rom inside the VCE. It's a digital conversion with emphasis on skintones and certain other color ranges. I can't stand the RGB mods out there because it makes the colors look worse for some games. And there's no RGB mod that converts it using a table right now, so it's definitely not an option for me. S-video looks pretty damn sharp already, so I'm fine with that. Why am I mentioning all of this? Because the UperGrafx HDMI encoder can take YUV values, and since we've recently dumped the 512 YUV table from the VCE's rom, the author is in the process of making that palette as an option. That will make HDMI output a more attractive option.

 

I'm very interested in Samlam's method but my Google-fu is turning up nothing. Got a link?

 

I assume it will have the same colors as the composite output and not RGB, right? Thanks!

 

 There is one catch though if you have an SGX; apparently the dumbasses who design the SGX took the VDC 1 pixel bus pins to the expansion bus rather than taking them from the video priority controller. So without a mod, you can't see the 2nd VDC in HDMI output. Not the upergafx's fault, but I will be doing the 9 wire mod sometime soon on my SGX.

 

Yeah. I used that to see what graphical elements were added by the second VDC.

 

twitter.com/CZroe/status/1213203391402385413?s=19

 

Darius Alpha does not appear to have any additional graphic elements and may not actually be SGX-enhanced, despite the detection code that Chris Covell discussed. Darius Plus is definitely and demonstrably SGX-enhanced.

 

Thanks for all that information!  It gives me a lot to think about.  Worst case scenario, I'll just get a Neutopia II HuCARD (I already have a physical copy of SFII if I ever want to play it).

 

The TED is 2.5 and is set to PCE (I verified it works fine on my CoreGrafx with the UGX unplugged).  I tried a couple different SDcards, but same result.  I do have the latest FW on there, I wonder if it might cause a problem?  If you get a chance could you check which FW version is on your working 2.5s?

Note: By white screen, I mean the UPX menu doesn't even show up.

 

Other than that, I've got nothing out of the ordinary.  I'm using an official controller, official AV cables, and have tried several power supplies including the official NEC supply that came with the CoreGrafx.

 

I have not yet explored the latest firmware that syncs one bank of the FeRAM backup/save memory to the MMC/SD card so I will try that and get back to you. That said, turboxray was definitely on that firmware and it sounds like his Turbo Everdrive works.

 

The creator of UperGrafx (Unagi Dev Team/Kazo) is very wary of using original PSUs and always recommends a quality modern PSU. I already know that's what he will suggest even if you already tried multiple PSUs, because that's what he told me when I approached him with my issues. Maybe he knows the UGX is a bit much for those.

 

Actually, he suggested that I stick with one close to the original specs including the mA output (amperage) so he must think the original 650mA is enough to power both. His concern is probably related to voltages, stability, noise, etc. This is the adapter I'm using:

www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ECB003--dunlop-ecb-003-9-volt-ac-adapter

 

The original PAD-105 and PAD-106 adapters from NEC output 9v 650mA from 100v source where this Dunlop ECB-003 does 9v 660mA from 100-240v source using modern switching electronics. Sweetwater actually says it's 670mA but a little extra headroom is supposed to be a good thing.

 

Since it's intended for musical equipment and Hi-Fi (guitar pedals and such) I expect low noise and low ripple, but I see on eBay that there are many other versions of ECB-003 including ones that only have less than a third the amperage of the original. For the version still shown at Sweetwater you can tell it is the same quality manufacturer that Videogame Perfection brags about for their power supplies that they sell separately (when they want to distinguish them from the "clone" products that include one).

 

I do have an extra of that variant in the box if they start shipping some other version.

 

The game menu lists games only in the order you added them, so you literally have to add everything in alphabetical order (i.e. if you add a new game, it will be displayed at the end of the menu).  You can reorder games as you add them, but it's kind of clunky.  Removing games requires you to hit "shift - del" two times for some reason (there's no button in the application itself just to delete a game).  If you delete a game in position 1 or 2, it tells you that you need to format the whole card and start over again.  That seems pretty excessive!

 

I forgot to mention that you can reorder games within the same page/block of 100 using the Ikaebi app. Their number stays the same but they will sort how you want them on the game list. This gives you some flexibility for sorting/organizing when adding new games.

 

None of the games I converted from my original imageburn bin/cue rips work with the Upergrafx (converted by mounting the CUE with DAEMON Tools Lite and then ripping that using CD Manipulator).  The games show up in the menu, and boot to the System Card menu, but pressing RUN just drops me back to the Upergrafx menu.  I'll have to rip everything again from my CDs, but CD Manipulator is UNBEARABLY slow and it might be quicker to just download a torrent of Clone CD rips and edit the text files.

 

Yeah, another thing I forgot to touch on: It may be that you need to install the more advanced virtual SCSI/IDE drivers for Daemon-Tools like turboxray was talking about. This is what I did and ripping from D-T seemed to work for me... at least it did with CloneCD. LMK if your CloneCD trial expires and you need to try ripping with CloneCD.

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5 hours ago, newtmonkey said:

I think Terraonion is just sick of the SSDS3 to be honest.  They had a very bad experience with the SSDS3; part of it was their fault for releasing a very poorly designed product and then having to be convinced to fix it... part of it was because of the typical obsessed nutcases you get on forums.

 

The guy running TO has said that dealing with all the SSDS3 fallout made his life miserable.  I think he gets flashbacks to that when he sees people raising legitimate issues.  He's very cool on his own forums, completely different from the rude hothead he plays on shmups forum and places like that.  I've never seen him belittle anyone on his forums or shut down legitimate criticism, but I have seen him just stop responding when an issue seems to be becoming something major rather than an isolated case or whatever.

 

I don't recall 100%, but I think it's been at least a year since there was any official presence on the TO SSDS3 subforum and of course no firmware updates have been released in quite a while.

 

But because of that whole fiasco, I'm leery to buy anything from them. I mean, we're retro gamers so we own more than just the PCE (even if its your favorite). So that kinda of attitude hurts them for things not related to the PCE experience. 

 

1 hour ago, CZroe said:


I'm very interested in Samlam's method but my Google-fu is turning up nothing. Got a link?

I assume it will have the same colors as the composite output and not RGB, right? Thanks!


Yeah. I used that to see what graphical elements were added by the second VDC.

 

 


Darius Alpha does not appear to have any additional graphic elements and may not actually be SGX-enhanced, despite the detection code that Chris Covell discussed. Darius Plus is definitely and demonstrably SGX-enhanced.


I have not yet explored the latest firmware that syncs one bank of the FeRAM backup/save memory to the MMC/SD card so I will try that and get back to you. That said, turboxray was definitely on that firmware and it sounds like his Turbo Everdrive works. :(

The creator of UperGrafx (Unagi Dev Team/Kazo) is very wary of using original PSUs and always recommends a quality modern PSU. I already know that's what he will suggest even if you already tried multiple PSUs, because that's what he told me when I approached him with my issues. Maybe he knows the UGX is a bit much for those. ;)

Actually, he suggested that I stick with one close to the original specs including the mA output (amperage) so he must think the original 650mA is enough to power both. His concern is probably related to voltages, stability, noise, etc. This is the adapter I'm using:
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ECB003--dunlop-ecb-003-9-volt-ac-adapter

The original PAD-105 and PAD-106 adapters from NEC output 9v 650mA from 100v source where this Dunlop ECB-003 does 9v 660mA from 100-240v source using modern switching electronics. Sweetwater actually says it's 670mA but a little extra headroom is supposed to be a good thing.

Since it's intended for musical equipment and Hi-Fi (guitar pedals and such) I expect low noise and low ripple, but I see on eBay that there are many other versions of ECB-003 including ones that only have less than a third the amperage of the original. For the version still shown at Sweetwater you can tell it is the same quality manufacturer that Videogame Perfection brags about for their power supplies that they sell separately (when they want to distinguish them from the "clone" products that include one).

I do have an extra of that variant in the box if they start shipping some other version.

 

 

 

 

Here's the link for SamIam's project: https://pcengine.proboards.com/thread/879/designing-video-mod-ypbpr

He's was on discord recently talking about it (the '240p test Suite' server, in the PCE channel).

 

There's also the possibility of making component video from the VCE's Y, R-Y, B-Y output pins. They just need to be converted from amplitude modulation to line levels for use with component. That's a little bit more work than a simple set of amps for Y and combined R-Y + B-Y (for C).

 

 

 

I read somewhere that the rated voltage of newer power supplies tends to be under load, so don't try to run a much higher mA PS than what your system was spec'd for it, else you'll get a higher voltage rating from the PS. I honestly don't know how true that is, but slightly over voltage should only make your voltage regular run a little hotter. I always ran my SGX+SCD with a single PS, and a homemade pass through, but I also ran it with a slightly higher mA PS than the original SGX.

 

 Do you have a link to where CCovell had said that? I don't remember anyone confirming D Alpha had SGX code in it (just Plus).

 

On 9/4/2020 at 7:06 AM, newtmonkey said:

Thanks for all that information!  It gives me a lot to think about.  Worst case scenario, I'll just get a Neutopia II HuCARD (I already have a physical copy of SFII if I ever want to play it).

 

The TED is 2.5 and is set to PCE (I verified it works fine on my CoreGrafx with the UGX unplugged).  I tried a couple different SDcards, but same result.  I do have the latest FW on there, I wonder if it might cause a problem?  If you get a chance could you check which FW version is on your working 2.5s?

Note: By white screen, I mean the UPX menu doesn't even show up.

 

Other than that, I've got nothing out of the ordinary.  I'm using an official controller, official AV cables, and have tried several power supplies including the official NEC supply that came with the CoreGrafx.

You tried both Neutopia II JP and US roms?

Edited by turboxray
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...

 

Thanks!

 

I don't recall where I first read him say it but he said it again in response to the video tweet I linked above. Probably on his website somewhere, since he seems to be the source for the info that those two are SGX-enhanced.

 

Old linear PSUs like the originals are the ones known for having a higher voltage when they aren't under load. Modern switching PSUs are supposed to be better at regulating regardless of load but, in practice, the cheap ones get all kinds of issues when you approach their maximum rating, assuming their rating was true at all (they often aren't)... issues from ripple to noise to voltage drops, to out-right shutting down.

 

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2 hours ago, CZroe said:

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks!

 

I don't recall where I first read him say it but he said it again in response to the video tweet I linked above. Probably on his website somewhere, since he seems to be the source for the info that those two are SGX-enhanced.

 

Old linear PSUs like the originals are the ones known for having a higher voltage when they aren't under load. Modern switching PSUs are supposed to be better at regulating regardless of load but, in practice, the cheap ones get all kinds of issues when you approach their maximum rating, assuming their rating was true at all (they often aren't)... issues from ripple to noise to voltage drops, to out-right shutting down.

 

Ohh I forgot. Do you have the patch file for the fast system card image?

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Looks like he has a newer one on his blog who h skips the "Press Run" part (intended for Exhibition Mode)...

https://na6ko.hatenadiary.jp/entry/2019/12/15/062327

...along with patches for System Card 2.0 and Game Express cards.

 

The older one I'm using for Super System Card 3.0 is here:

https://na6ko.hatenadiary.jp/entry/2019/07/21/032956

 

I patched with Lunar IPS. Also, what is he saying that his Game Express card patches do?

 

On a related note: I finally understand that Naruko and Na6ko are the same, since "Ro" is 6 in Japanese... not that it makes it any easier to know what to call the guy! He also goes by Kazo, UperGrafx, and unagidevteam. It's difficult to keep track of all his names! That's why I just call him "the creator of UperGrafx" most times.

 

He also made the open source Kazo dumper used for the Infinite NES Lives cartridge dumping tool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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