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Tempest

GDEMU Questions

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I'm considering getting a GDEMU for my DC.  My DC works just fine, but having all the games on an SD card would be nice, plus the drive noise of the DC has always been way too loud for my tastes.  Before I buy one though, I have some questions:

 

1. As it seems to be impossible to get one from the creator (the last batch seems to have sold out in less than 24 hours), I see there are tons of clones out there.  Other than not being able to update the firmware, are there any issues with these clones?

 

2. Do all the games except SoA and RE: Veronica work?  I have SoAL for my GC so I don't care about that one and I don't play the RE games anyway.

 

3. Any issues with the GDEMU?  I hate to remove the drive from a perfectly good and working DC, but the GDEMU seems too good to pass up.

 

4. I see TerraOnion has a competing product out there but it's rather pricey (MODE).  Any reason to go with MODE over GDEMU for the casual DC player?

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I recently got one of the clones.  My Dreamcast was working, but it's sure easier to store 300 games on a micro SD card rather an 300 CDs.  The only issue I am having, is finding a card > 32GB that works.

 

Like you, my original drive was working.  But I had no qualms taking it out.  It's sealed and stored safely and the mod is non-destructive.  If I want to use the original drive again, just plug it back in, so no harm there.

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Good to know.  Are all the clones pretty much the same?  

 

So what brand of SD card did you end up using?

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The cheap chinese clones off ebay work fine, just don't try and update the firmware.

 

Get a proper Sandisk card off somewhere like Amazon, not ebay. I had a 128GB before which was clearly fake as I kept getting corruption over 32GB. Got a couple of sandisk off Amazon which are fine, 128 and 200

 

Then get the SD Card maker program, it is literally drag and drop, see on this page for a guide https://retrogamesultra.com/2019/02/17/sega-dreamcast-gdemu-installation-and-setup/

 

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BTW do you need to do the power mod to avoid burning out the DC?  Also, do you need those 3D printed inserts to help with cooling?

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2 hours ago, str0m said:

The cheap chinese clones off ebay work fine, just don't try and update the firmware.

 

Get a proper Sandisk card off somewhere like Amazon, not ebay. I had a 128GB before which was clearly fake as I kept getting corruption over 32GB. Got a couple of sandisk off Amazon which are fine, 128 and 200

 

Then get the SD Card maker program, it is literally drag and drop, see on this page for a guide https://retrogamesultra.com/2019/02/17/sega-dreamcast-gdemu-installation-and-setup/

 

Well, I tried that - including the SD Card Maker.  It seemed any card over 32GB I tried, the GDEmu just refused to boot the menu, it acted like there was no card installed.  PC could read the card just fine.

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@Stephen  could still be a fake card I guess although with my one the SD Card Maker would randomly fail writing data. Did you make sure your card is formatted as FAT32? Most larger ones come as exFAT which won't work in the DC but would explain why the PC could view it fine. Try one of the card formatters here https://www.retrorgb.com/sdformat.html

 

@Tempest Well, I have read of lots of people who don't do anything to the PSU and it is OK, my link above shows how to fit a resister to help. The problem is with nothing using the 12v the voltage gets higher as it isn't pulled down.

 

You can remove the 12v bit from the PSU but RGB Scart requires that, probably not an issue in the USA as I don't think you have it. The 3D printed insert will help a bit with cooling.

 

In both of mine I have swapped the main jet engine loud fan for a Noctua one. In one of them I have a Pico PSU so that is smaller and cooler. In the other I have the standard PSU so I fitted another 12v quiet fan to keep it cool and make sure there weren't any PSU heat issues.

 

The inserts also help with getting to the card. The one of mine with twin fans and no insert is a pain to reach in and get the card out without dropping it

Edited by str0m
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10 minutes ago, Stephen said:

Well, I tried that - including the SD Card Maker.  It seemed any card over 32GB I tried, the GDEmu just refused to boot the menu, it acted like there was no card installed.  PC could read the card just fine.

My thought on this is that the SDcards are fine but that your OS is formatting them using ExFAT or NTFS and not FAT32 as is usually required by these devices. There is a program out there to force format large capacity SD and flashdrives to FAT32 format. That is how I got my 128GB SDcard working in my RHEA on my Saturn.

 

I own the MODE and yes it is expensive. But you know what? I really like how darn simple the thing is to use. Like the GDEmus it is a reversible mod as it just literally plugs in place of the original GDrom drive. I also like the fact that the MODE can use an actual 2.5" HDD and SDcard media at the same time. It is easier to update in most cases etc. So it is expensive, but its cost shows in how it all works, the options it has, and overall ease in its use. So far it seems to work with every game as well and I don't have to mess with Region changing the images or any of that jazz as I still have to do with my RHEA on my Saturn for instance.

 

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5 minutes ago, str0m said:

You can remove the 12v bit from the PSU but RGB Scart requires that, probably not an issue in the USA as I don't think you have it. The 3D printed insert will help a bit with cooling.

Actually I do use RGB SCART for my DC.  I use an RGB to Component converter for all my systems.  So I guess I'll have to do the resistor trick.

 

I've seen a few different types of inserts.  Will this kind help with the cooling or does it have to be one of the more open ones?  https://www.ebay.com/itm/SEGA-Dreamcast-GDEMU-3d-Printed-Tray-Insert-with-SD-Extender-SD-Cover/283756958217

 

I've got a 256GB SD card coming, I hope I can format it so it works with the GDEMU.  I hear there are programs you can use for that as Windows won't do FAT 32 if it's over 32GB.

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Just now, -^CrossBow^- said:

My thought on this is that the SDcards are fine but that your OS is formatting them using ExFAT or NTFS and not FAT32 as is usually required by these devices. There is a program out there to force format large capacity SD and flashdrives to FAT32 format. That is how I got my 128GB SDcard working in my RHEA on my Saturn.

 

I own the MODE and yes it is expensive. But you know what? I really like how darn simple the thing is to use. Like the GDEmus it is a reversible mod as it just literally plugs in place of the original GDrom drive. I also like the fact that the MODE can use an actual 2.5" HDD and SDcard media at the same time. It is easier to update in most cases etc. So it is expensive, but its cost shows in how it all works, the options it has, and overall ease in its use. So far it seems to work with every game as well and I don't have to mess with Region changing the images or any of that jazz as I still have to do with my RHEA on my Saturn for instance.

 

I may get a MODE for my Saturn as the RHEA seems to be impossible to get.  But at the moment my Saturn is chipped to play CDRs and that works for me.

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10 minutes ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

My thought on this is that the SDcards are fine but that your OS is formatting them using ExFAT or NTFS and not FAT32 as is usually required by these devices. There is a program out there to force format large capacity SD and flashdrives to FAT32 format. That is how I got my 128GB SDcard working in my RHEA on my Saturn.

 

I own the MODE and yes it is expensive. But you know what? I really like how darn simple the thing is to use. Like the GDEmus it is a reversible mod as it just literally plugs in place of the original GDrom drive. I also like the fact that the MODE can use an actual 2.5" HDD and SDcard media at the same time. It is easier to update in most cases etc. So it is expensive, but its cost shows in how it all works, the options it has, and overall ease in its use. So far it seems to work with every game as well and I don't have to mess with Region changing the images or any of that jazz as I still have to do with my RHEA on my Saturn for instance.

 

I'll try again - I did use an external SD card formatter, and according to that program, it was forcing FAT32.

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2 minutes ago, Tempest said:

Actually I do use RGB SCART for my DC.  I use an RGB to Component converter for all my systems.  So I guess I'll have to do the resistor trick.

 

I've seen a few different types of inserts.  Will this kind help with the cooling or does it have to be one of the more open ones?  https://www.ebay.com/itm/SEGA-Dreamcast-GDEMU-3d-Printed-Tray-Insert-with-SD-Extender-SD-Cover/283756958217

 

I've got a 256GB SD card coming, I hope I can format it so it works with the GDEMU.  I hear there are programs you can use for that as Windows won't do FAT 32 if it's over 32GB.

I forgot that the MODE has dummy loads built in so you don't have to worry about the +12regulator if you have one. I still ended up removing my +12regulator off the PSU since I have the DCDigital installed I wasn't worried about not having RGB in place. But the point being that you don't have to worry about doing anything with the PSU with a MODE installed.

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12 minutes ago, Tempest said:

I may get a MODE for my Saturn as the RHEA seems to be impossible to get.  But at the moment my Saturn is chipped to play CDRs and that works for me.

I have a spare Saturn that was my main Saturn for years that had an old racketboy mod board installed into it. I replaced that out with a Phantom chip about 2 years ago and it is now a spare unit. The one I use now is was gifted to me with the RHEA already in it as thanks/payment towards some local console service I did several years ago. I like the RHEA but it hasn't received an update in I couldn't tell you how long and it is finicky with images. I find that I have to use Imgburn, Alcohol120, and even DJ still to get working images off my originals. Fantastic Pinall! I thought I would never get a working image from but eventually go it ironed out. I've thought seriously on getting another MODE to put into it so I don't have to mess with it as much.

 

I do advise getting a mount kit for whatever you end up doing. Just having easy access to the SDcard alone is worth it. I bought my mounts for my RHEA and MODE from laser bear industries. They have other mod kits as well for these systems. May not be the cheapest prices as I've not done much research into that. But they have been my one stop shop for the stuff I needed.

 

 

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Is there any harm with doing the resistor mod with the three resistors?  As I can't remove the 12V regulator due to using RGB I want to do something.  I hear the resistors get pretty hot but it works.

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That insert above looks fine. Yer Windows 10 can't do FAT32 over 32GB but there are a couple of programs which will. If it is definitely formatted to FAT32 then it should be fine although I have read of the odd incompatible card but my Sandisk have been ok, one is a full size SD the other a Micro.

 

I plan to get a Mode/Fenir for one of my Saturns as it just makes life so much easier.

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17 minutes ago, str0m said:

That insert above looks fine. Yer Windows 10 can't do FAT32 over 32GB but there are a couple of programs which will. If it is definitely formatted to FAT32 then it should be fine although I have read of the odd incompatible card but my Sandisk have been ok, one is a full size SD the other a Micro.

 

I plan to get a Mode/Fenir for one of my Saturns as it just makes life so much easier.

My Saturn is the wrong model for the Fenir unfortunately.

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10 hours ago, Tempest said:

My Saturn is the wrong model for the Fenir unfortunately.

But you were asking about the RHEA earlier? The RHEA is the ODE for model 1 20-pin Saturns. The Fenir I thought was also a 20-pin ODE or at least I could have sworn I saw it listed that way the other day on FB? If you have a model 2 Saturn, then the RHEA isn't what you want. You would need the Phobe but it is just as scarce as the RHEA.

 

I guess my point being that if you have a model 1 Saturn you should be able to use the 20-pin Fenir ODE? Or are there model 1 units with 21-pin cables? I thought those were only found on the model 2 units?

 

https://shop.fenrir-ode.fr/?fbclid=IwAR1bkBPYBcptH6OXSJQQYU_2Cr_3fGgcuWyyqHw6_LqHqE83Flhlh9XLbq4

 

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Sorry yes I need a phobe, I get them mixed up.

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One advantage of the MODE is that you can use it on both the Dreamcast and the Saturn. If you don't want to buy 2 of them, you could leave the systems' top covers unscrewed to make it easier to swap between the Saturn and Dreamcast. From what I understand, the installation process is extremely easy. Apparently you just plug it in and it works or something like that. Might be annoying to move it between systems every time you want to change, but it's an option.

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10 hours ago, Steven Pendleton said:

One advantage of the MODE is that you can use it on both the Dreamcast and the Saturn. If you don't want to buy 2 of them, you could leave the systems' top covers unscrewed to make it easier to swap between the Saturn and Dreamcast. From what I understand, the installation process is extremely easy. Apparently you just plug it in and it works or something like that. Might be annoying to move it between systems every time you want to change, but it's an option.

The only different is that the DC side of things just plugs in ontop of the original socket the GDRom used, on the saturn you have to insert the ribbon cable from the CDrom and possibly the power wire as well. I would have to go back into the current MODE manual to make sure on this but either way, it is pretty simple. You can even use the same SDcard and HDD between systems as all of the game files are stored in their own main folders on the root of the storage devices. Dreamcast for DC stuff and Saturn for Saturn. So you don't even need to keep separate storage media if the ones you are using are large enough to house all the games between both systems you intend to play.

 

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I've got a Chinese GD-EMU and it works fine (though can take quite a bit of effort to get to that state vs the Mode). The software for building the card was a bit iffy when you got over a certain size or you hit some problematic images. Because of this I used to run multiple cards. However this works much better: https://github.com/sonik-br/GDMENUCardManager and I now have everything working properly on a 200GB SD. Also try different versions/regions of SOA and RE:CV, I've found ones that work on my machine.

 

Mode I find annoying. Not only the cost, but the portability of it is inconvenient. Yes it can work in multiple consoles, but you need to dismantle them to move it. The GD-EMU might take some effort, but it's cheap as chips and once it's done, it's done and it works. As far as I'm aware the Fenrir is in the works to connect to currently non-compatible Saturns (my bizarro Asian one included), I'm holding out for that.

Edited by juansolo
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7 hours ago, juansolo said:

I've got a Chinese GD-EMU and it works fine (though can take quite a bit of effort to get to that state vs the Mode). The software for building the card was a bit iffy when you got over a certain size or you hit some problematic images. Because of this I used to run multiple cards. However this works much better: https://github.com/sonik-br/GDMENUCardManager and I now have everything working properly on a 200GB SD. Also try different versions/regions of SOA and RE:CV, I've found ones that work on my machine.

Thanks - I will give that a try.

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I had an official GDEMU and had a bunch of issues with it. Occasionally I'd boot it up and it would give me just a black screen. There was a time I got fed up with it, cracked open the DC and reseated it. There were many ISO incompatibilities for me as well. Some games would show a name in the list but not load. Others would show up as something it couldn't recognize (it's been a while, but it would give a message like "Unrecognized Disc Image" or something, I don't remember). These are the same ISOs that worked fine in emulators and then later worked fine as CDr burns. The way it sorts games in the gdmenu program is unintuitive as well. People that have been using Everdrives for a while (where, you know.. they have no trouble alphabetizing ROMS automatically) will be scratching their heads on first use.

 

I don't know, the thing just seemed too finicky to be worth the cost of an original. I switched back to CDr media for the time being (Taiyo Yuden) and have had zero issues. I still want a good ODE for it and plan on investing in a MODE in the future. It's more expensive but it also looks much more user friendly and feature-rich. I've heard from plenty of people that have had no issues with the GDEMU, but that wasn't my experience unfortunately.

Edited by Austin

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