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RevEng

MiSTer FPGA - 7800 Core

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Since I have no idea how long order fulfillment at misteraddons will take, can anyone tell me if it's okay and stable to run the 7800 core without a heatsink or fan?

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As far as "ok", the de10 nano is warrantied up to 100 degrees celsius, and shouldn't exceed that during normal operation, so you're unlikely to break things any time soon running this way. However silicon longevity is always inversely related to the temp you're running at over the lifetime of the device, and I don't think we have the data for a specific answer here. i.e. I don't think we know the mean time before failure rate with any mode of cooling, let alone MTBF rates for different cooling scenarios.

 

There are certain cores that are known to be less stable on some systems, and active cooling seems to improve the situation. This mainly seems to be the SNES and ao486 cores, from what I read.

 

Being much simpler, the 7800 core shouldn't have the same problems. I could be entirely wrong here, but I also get a feeling these cores with thermal instability issues may be due to race conditions being won differently, after a temperature differential shows up between different parts of the fpga. I wouldn't expect problems with the 7800 core on this count either.

 

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2 hours ago, John Stamos Mullet said:

top search result that wasn't a link to other people on other forums asking "Where can I buy all this stuff?"

 

https://www.retrorgb.com/mister.html

 

cool, a list of all the stuff I'd need to buy!

Wow, that's a long list of stuff.

$175 for the basic board, with none of the other stuff? yikes.

here, let me get some ram:

image.thumb.png.033162d3fd77b784f286b60f882e10f1.png

 

So I can buy the board, but I can't buy ram?

 

Never mind.

 

If you're really interested (can't tell if you want one, or just having some fun trolling peeps) misteraddons seems to have it all in stock, currently, so you can buy just the basics, or the extras, including that ram board, from one place.  Currently showing in stock, at least, unless the site needs updated.

 

https://misteraddons.com/

 

I ordered from them recently and had no issues at all.

 

If you really wanna take the guesswork out, they have a preconfigured bundle as well, including board, ram, and extras.  That turns the "90's myst level puzzle" into a nice, modern game, that says "would you like to skip this section?" when things get rough.  😁

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Razzie.P said:

 

If you're really interested (can't tell if you want one, or just having some fun trolling peeps) misteraddons seems to have it all in stock, currently, so you can buy just the basics, or the extras, including that ram board, from one place.  Currently showing in stock, at least, unless the site needs updated.

 

https://misteraddons.com/

 

I ordered from them recently and had no issues at all.

 

If you really wanna take the guesswork out, they have a preconfigured bundle as well, including board, ram, and extras.  That turns the "90's myst level puzzle" into a nice, modern game, that says "would you like to skip this section?" when things get rough.  😁

 

 

 

I was/am genuinely "kind of" interested. I love tinkering with DIY tech. I have like 4 RPis right now all dedicated to different kinds of emulation/purposes strewn about my house. I have 5 computers and 6 original classic gaming consoles.

 

As for the MiSTer - damn is that price prohibitive. $455 for a pre-configured bundle? w/ case? $370 w/o a case? Yikes.

 

I get that accuracy in emulation is the key to these, versus more conventional emulation from a PC or Pi. But is it really that much better? Having a scant read around, it seems like it has the potential to be, but in many cases it just isn't quite there yet, depending on the core. It sounds like the 7800 core so far is great, which is really cool, because Prosystem in Retroarch on the PI is... not. I mean - it's passable, but not really complete. It's still running an outdated version of Prosystem, which really kind of sucks.

 

But I have a fully working, S-video modded 7800 with a Concerto cart, so it's kind of hard to justify dropping $500ish for something that is going to do what I already have in original console format.

 

What I would be really interested in this for would be to replace the RPi 3b+s that I use in my two Arcade cabs, but only if the accuracy is noticeably better for the games I like - and it turns out that two of my favorite games - Donkey Kong, and Phoenix are poorly done on a MiSTer. Whereas, I spent a good solid month trying every permutation of MAME/FBNeo, etc. to get all my curated games on these cabs to be damn near perfect - including DK and Phoenix. I wouldn't want to take a step backwards in that regard.

 

The other thing is - the apparent lack of a front end/gui is a real bummer. One of the things I love about Retropie is the completely customizable Emulationstation front end that can be tweaked to be completely professional Kiosk style arcade CAB looking. MiSTer's interface looks like someone half-finished a Commodore 64 launch program. Admittedly it's completely nit picky on my end and that's on me entirely. But for just shy of $500, this thing ought to look professional as hell. As is - it looks like an unfinished beta.

 

I think I might just wait until the price comes down a bit and/or the emulation gets better on the specific things I would be buying it for.

 

But really - thanks for asking honestly and not biting my head off. That's a welcome change.

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@RevEng

 

Thanks for the info. Yes 100C does seem to be the most common standard. When some parts come in perhaps I'll fire up the 7800 core without a heatsink and take a few readings with my el cheapo IR thermometer.

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Mouser.com is selling the de-10 for 171 plus tax plus 2 day FedEx is $195 to my door arriving tomorrow. Ebay has $20 32mb sram board, that was held up by Los Angeles post office (seller location) for a week but arriving shortly. $7 USB hub from Amazon, and I guess you can add an el cheapo aluminum stick on heatsink from anywhere and you are done. So around $225 total. 

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My set-up cost about $200 US (DE10-nano, 32MB SDRAM, OTG USB hub), although it looks like the DE10-nano price went up a bit (ignoring the controller, which cost me way more, for several good and bad reasons).

 

This is my "Zimba 3000" system... loads of console/computer/arcade games, all used with the same controller. Great for the family room.

 

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46 minutes ago, John Stamos Mullet said:

I get that accuracy in emulation is the key to these, versus more conventional emulation from a PC or Pi. But is it really that much better? 

 

In my opinion, no.  Not yet, at least.  Don't wanna get into specifics here, to not completely derail the "7800 core" thread, but most of my reasons for feeling that way mirror a lot of what you've mentioned already.  I do love it, and am very excited to see what it grows up to be, but in its current state, my personal feelings for "is it that much better" is "not yet."

 

 

 

 

 

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From the perspective of latency, it's night and day.

 

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3 hours ago, john_q_atari said:

Since I have no idea how long order fulfillment at misteraddons will take, can anyone tell me if it's okay and stable to run the 7800 core without a heatsink or fan?

It's really very simple. It runs hotter with some cores. Get a fan and never worry again.

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5 hours ago, John Stamos Mullet said:

top search result that wasn't a link to other people on other forums asking "Where can I buy all this stuff?"

 

https://www.retrorgb.com/mister.html

 

cool, a list of all the stuff I'd need to buy!

Wow, that's a long list of stuff.

$175 for the basic board, with none of the other stuff? yikes.

here, let me get some ram:

image.thumb.png.033162d3fd77b784f286b60f882e10f1.png

 

So I can buy the board, but I can't buy ram?

 

Never mind.

 

I ended up buying a prebuilt MiSTer from Ricardo at Ultimatemister for mostly these reasons. It came already loaded with all official cores and update scripts and I only had to add roms and adjust a few settings in my .ini file to support my CRT. It took almost 4 weeks arrive because of covid but I was up and going within minutes of receiving it.

 

https://ultimatemister.com/product/ultimate-mister-pro/

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1 hour ago, Razzie.P said:

In my opinion, no.  Not yet, at least.  Don't wanna get into specifics here, to not completely derail the "7800 core" thread, but most of my reasons for feeling that way mirror a lot of what you've mentioned already.  I do love it, and am very excited to see what it grows up to be, but in its current state, my personal feelings for "is it that much better" is "not yet."

Pretty much this. The major advantages Software Emulation has over MiSTer at present is versatility, menus, and options. And perhaps the ease of installation on commodity hardware. That all comes about because SE has a rich heritage of development 25+ years in the making.

 

MiSTer is quite new to the scene. But it is making progress. And being open-source is a huge plus. People really want to see more arcade cores.

 

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Lag can be generated in the source (emulator box) and the display. Today's displays still introduce lag because they are still geared toward streaming sources. So, yes, the display is still a problem. Gaming monitors introduce much less lag than your typical TV. Some may have a gaming mode, which turns off additional lag-inducing processing. Each mfg. is different.

 

And USB interfacing still has to go through the OS polling process. On some PCs, just processing the keyboard input adds 100ms additional lag straight away. Bluetooth is considerably less.

 

 

Edited by Keatah

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44 minutes ago, John Stamos Mullet said:

Isn't this largely dependent on your display method, and the lag of your input devices/controllers?

Sure. But using the same display (hdmi TV) and the same controller that I was using on retroarch for RPi and Android, to me the latency difference is night and day.

 

On those systems I wasn't able to play Caverns of Mars (A8) with any level of skill approaching what I used to have. I had written it off as just getting old, until I fired it up in MiSTer and played like my old self. Then the same experience repeated itself over and over with a number of games.

 

But honestly, if you're happy with software emulation, for sure stick with it - to each his own, and I'm the last person to be slagging software based emulation.

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I had exactly the same experience with the Amiga. Specifically ShufflePuck Cafe and Virus which I used to be good at back in the day but just could not gel with them at all on Amibian. I thought I'd just lost my mojo until I got an A1200 and it just worked and all came back. Odd games it's an issue with, most games you don't notice it. FWIW I can play them on the MiSTer just fine also.

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12 hours ago, Keatah said:

Do it right and they become complimentary to each other

This.

 

I have a RPI4 (and a RPI3 and a couple of RPI0's doing various things). I like the Pi4 for MAME/RetroPI and the PiMiga build, when I want to run a stupid fast Amiga for shits and giggles. 

 

My reasons for getting the MiSTer were not so much as a Pi replacement, but so that I could have something like a real NTSC 7800 for testing on and also for the bunch of other home computer and console cores. I was thinking of buying an NTSC 7800 so the MiSTer conversation here and the 7800 core came along at the right time (thanks @Kitrinx & @RevEng for your work). For me, the cost of an NTSC 7800 + mods + shipping to the UK + tax and duty was probably the same, if not more than the MiSTer + bits.

 

Reason #2 is that I have a little collection of retro computers in my office but I've effectively run out of space with them stacked 3 high in a custom shelf unit (C64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad 6128+, 65XE, BBC Master, STE, CD32.

 

I wanted to add an MSX and an Archimedes and I simply don't have the space and I also didn't want to mess about with emulation, so added to my 7800 requirement, the MiSTer just fit the bill nicely.

 

Reason #3 - It's just a nice piece of kit.

 

1 hour ago, RevEng said:

I wasn't able to play Caverns of Mars (A8) with any level of skill approaching what I used to have.

54 minutes ago, juansolo said:

I thought I'd just lost my mojo until I got an A1200 and it just worked and all came back

Yep, some of the games via emulation just don't feel right.

 

I found some just felt better running on the MiniMig core or on my pimped CD32 vs emulation. But seriously, Virus? I could never get the hang of that (or Xarch as it was on the Archi).

 

 

 

 

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Nice thing about these tiny systems (Nuc, R-Pi, MiSter) is that they're so much more accessible than full-size vintage systems. They'll fit just about everywhere. And should you want to transport them they'll fit in a backpack. I keep mine in my Battlestar Galactica lunchbox.

 

The original systems are nice for nostalgia or collectors. But they can be delicate and tedious at times.

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4 hours ago, RevEng said:

Sure. But using the same display (hdmi TV) and the same controller that I was using on retroarch for RPi and Android, to me the latency difference is night and day.

 

On those systems I wasn't able to play Caverns of Mars (A8) with any level of skill approaching what I used to have. I had written it off as just getting old, until I fired it up in MiSTer and played like my old self. Then the same experience repeated itself over and over with a number of games.

 

But honestly, if you're happy with software emulation, for sure stick with it - to each his own, and I'm the last person to be slagging software based emulation.

Well the problem is that you're using a RPi, not that the RPi is using software emulation.  A real PC or a high end phone can achieve just as low lag as an FPGA setup.  

 

Comparing Mister with SE running on slow, cheap, entry level SBC isn't exactly fair.

 

I know you're not doing it, but the constant slandering and misrepresentation of SE coming from the FPGA crowd is really annoying and drives me away.

Edited by zetastrike
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35 minutes ago, zetastrike said:

Well the problem is that you're using a RPi, not that the RPi is using software emulation.  A real PC or a high end phone can achieve just as low lag as an FPGA setup.  

 

Comparing Mister with SE running on slow, cheap, entry level SBC isn't exactly fair.

 

I know you're not doing it, but the constant slandering and misrepresentation of SE coming from the FPGA crowd is really annoying and drives me away.

 

This just isn't true, even my Groovymame setup in my arcade cabinet still has 3-5 frames display of lag. If I run Groovyarcade, the Linux based Groovymame OS, I get 4-6 frames of lag. Older DOS versions of MAME that ran in real mode could do better, but the quality of emulation on those versions of MAME is pretty poor.

 

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42 minutes ago, zetastrike said:

Well the problem is that you're using a RPi, not that the RPi is using software emulation.  A real PC or a high end phone can achieve just as low lag as an FPGA setup.  

 

Comparing Mister with SE running on slow, cheap, entry level SBC isn't exactly fair.

 

I know you're not doing it, but the constant slandering and misrepresentation of SE coming from the FPGA crowd is really annoying and drives me away.

There are those of the FPGA crowd who simply misunderstand. 110KLE doesn't come close to allowing any kind of "per transistor" duplication - which they so much like to believe is what's happening and the source of perceived superior accuracy & performance.

 

It's still higher-level interpretation. Simulation. Let alone all the different delays between nodes and temperature and speed sensitivities - which are characteristics of original hardware lost in translation. It's all still an approximation.

 

SE gets a bad rap from running (and stuttering) on low-power hardware - or running in environments that constantly interrupt the processor with frivolous tasks, like downloading updates and background defragging. Even dealing with stacks of bloated APIs is a hindrance. With SE you really want premium hardware. But it doesn't have to be expensive either. Just below GaMeRZ level is going to be more than sufficient.

 

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50 minutes ago, dmckean said:

 

This just isn't true, even my Groovymame setup in my arcade cabinet still has 3-5 frames display of lag. If I run Groovyarcade, the Linux based Groovymame OS, I get 4-6 frames of lag. Older DOS versions of MAME that ran in real mode could do better, but the quality of emulation on those versions of MAME is pretty poor.

 

Run FB NEO or any emulator that supports savestates in retroarch with runahead.  You rarely need to run ahead more than 1 frame.  Add hard GPU sync and/or frame delay on top of that and you're golden.  FPGA is not the only way.  

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2 hours ago, zetastrike said:

Well the problem is that you're using a RPi, not that the RPi is using software emulation.  A real PC or a high end phone can achieve just as low lag as an FPGA setup.  

 

Comparing Mister with SE running on slow, cheap, entry level SBC isn't exactly fair.

 

On that note - an RPi properly configured with minimal/no shaders nor plugins can effectively run at FPGA comparable lag levels on pretty much every Arcade game up through 1990. and every console up through 94. The speed/CPU lag issue really only comes into play with later, more advanced gaming platform emulation - mostly from the mid-90's polygon phase and upward.

 

I mean yeah - if you want to run KI at full speed, with shaders - you don't want to use an Rpi. But this is ATARIage. We're mostly an early-to-mid 80's crowd. so for this audience...

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9 hours ago, Muddyfunster said:

I found some just felt better running on the MiniMig core or on my pimped CD32 vs emulation. But seriously, Virus? I could never get the hang of that (or Xarch as it was on the Archi).

DPI is everything. The original ST and Amiga mice were 200DPI, the best mice back in the day (Naksha) were 400DPI. I got one for the Amiga but found I could no longer get on with ball mice. I now have this horrible cheap laser thing but it's a 400DPI Amiga laser mouse and it's utterly perfect for playing games. For emulators I use a Logitech G500s (I have many) as you can adjust the DPI of those. I have them set and 200 and 400DPI so can swap and change. As well as other settings for lots.

 

The lag with Amibian was still the killer on SPC and Virus, but with the right mouse and either the A1200 or MiSTer, I still rule (relatively speaking... I'm old now) at those games.

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9 hours ago, zetastrike said:

A real PC or a high end phone can achieve just as low lag as an FPGA setup.  

 

7 hours ago, John Stamos Mullet said:

On that note - an RPi properly configured with minimal/no shaders nor plugins can effectively run at FPGA comparable lag levels on pretty much every Arcade game up through 1990. and every console up through 94. The speed/CPU lag issue really only comes into play with later, more advanced gaming platform emulation - mostly from the mid-90's polygon phase and upward.

So, you guys have some links to proper, comprehensive tests to validate these statements? I'm genuinely interested.

 

 

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