Newbie questions

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BigMac740p
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Re: Newbie questions

Postby BigMac740p » Fri Mar 06, 2020 8:15 pm

I've got some instability issue on my MisTer setup, sometime when I load a core or switch rom on an already loaded core the screen glitches with flashes and weird visual corruption.

Does I'm the only one? I suspect some power issues and/or my TV being lazy to sync when switching frequency.

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby Chris23235 » Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:00 pm

Happens now and then, maybe every 100th time I change a core. A cold reboot always solves the problem.

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby TobyRieper » Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:35 pm

I am new to Mister and can't wait to get started. A couple of questions:
How is it compared to say an ODROID XU4 (which I've just sold towards MISTer) I'm particularly interested in NeoGeo and Megadrive (Genesis) emulation. I was never happy with the whole emulation station retro pie setup. Too much fluff. ..

Last question, I'm pretty good at SMD soldering, not the best by a long shot but am quite happy doing little boards. I've read though the SDRAM is a bit finiky. I'd rather solder my own as it's half the cost.

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby BigMac740p » Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:50 pm

TobyRieper wrote:I am new to Mister and can't wait to get started. A couple of questions:
How is it compared to say an ODROID XU4 (which I've just sold towards MISTer) I'm particularly interested in NeoGeo and Megadrive (Genesis) emulation. I was never happy with the whole emulation station retro pie setup. Too much fluff. ..

Last question, I'm pretty good at SMD soldering, not the best by a long shot but am quite happy doing little boards. I've read though the SDRAM is a bit finiky. I'd rather solder my own as it's half the cost.


The whole FPGA retrogaming vs Classic emulation is very subjectives for many, but here is some advantage I've found about FPGA gaming.
    • No frame shuttering: No screen tearing or vsync issue, no frame skip or micro-pauses, no lag inducing frame buffer. Once the core is running, it's smooth as butter.
    • No audio lag and shuttering: It plays like the original hardware, unbuffered.
    • Low input lag: you can hook original controller like Lighguns with a SNAC adaptor for a zero lag input solution.
    • Amazing built-in HDMI scaler: The number of preset available is amazing and lag free.
The whole solution HPS (ARM-Linux)/FPGA hybride hardware offer the best of both world: A rich and instant-on housekeeping OS with full USB, Bluetooth, and network stack coupled with a Standalone FPGA for running the simulation uninterrupted by the operating system.

Of course, classic software emulator still has some advantages over their FPGA core counterpart like Saves states, rewind and fast forwarding, which are very hard to implemented in FGPA, but if you don't care much about cheating this is a non-issues.

About soldering a SDRAM module yourself, I would start with an IO Board or the USB Board first. The SDRAM module need very strict alignment and the L bended connector need to be solder flush underneath the SDRAM chips which make it tricky to solder. Also, a lots of things like component misalignment and flux residue can affect the SDRAM performance in the memtest. I've found this interview ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_598L49Qrs ) on youtube with Zerohimself talking about the process for making those memory module, it's very insightful.

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby TobyRieper » Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:11 pm

Thank you for your detailed reply. I am even more excited to get started with Mister. I took your advice and ordered some 128mb ram today. I'll wait and get the bare PCB for IO board and USB hub to practice on. For now I'll do with an otg micro usb one.

The thing that broke emulation for me (on retropie, anyway) was being constantly taken away from the gaming experience once I was in a game. Often I was reminded that I was indeed playing on an emulated system. My favourite way of playing games in the 32 bit era has been with FPGA optical drive emulators.

I sold my Megadrive and Snes years ago so it will be nice to play the games again. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for MiSter.

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby BigMac740p » Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:44 pm

TobyRieper wrote:The thing that broke emulation for me (on retropie, anyway) was being constantly taken away from the gaming experience once I was in a game. Often I was reminded that I was indeed playing on an emulated system. My favourite way of playing games in the 32 bit era has been with FPGA optical drive emulators.


I'm very sensible to uneven frames rate which are exacerbate by smooth background scrolling found in most game of the 8Bit and 16bit era. Like those panning camera shoot in a 24fps movie played at 30fps, the result is a jerky pan shoot. This is what killed emulation for me, none of this is an issue on FPGA recreation which run uninterrupted like the real hardware.

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby Chris23235 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:11 pm

I have a MiST and a MiSTer, both are great devices and I like the subjective "feel" of having a hardware simulation instead of an emulation, but from my experience uneven framerates or tearing in an emulation are the result of weak hardware and/or bad configuration.
On a Windows PC from the last 10 years the emulation should be not different on visual level then on any FPGA.

Lag is something different, but at least to me, it was always not noticable. You can throw an infinite compute power to the emulation to reach a level of accuracy that you can achieve with a FPGA, but it is up to anybody if the difference is noticable.

What I like about FPGA simulation is, that it is relatively hassle free and comes without much overhead. I use the 8-Bit and 16-Bit Computer cores most of the time and here I like how elegant FPGA simulation is, you get to the original computer in almost no time, just like it was back in the day, instead of booting a computer and launching a program that opens a Window (or Fullscreen) and then behaves like the computer.

But as I said, on the level of visual accuracy Emulation and FPGA Simulation are on par.

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby BigMac740p » Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:41 pm

Chris23235 wrote:From my experience uneven framerates or tearing in an emulation are the result of weak hardware and/or bad configuration. On a Windows PC from the last 10 years the emulation should be not different on visual level then on any FPGA.

Agree! I know the way I presented my arguments was as if software emulator doesn’t have constant frame rate.

Mostly because of the operating system, you can miss a frame now and then, yet most software emulation issues are resolved by adding buffers: video sync problem? Add a double or triple frame buffer, audio cracking? Set a bigger audio buffer, etc.. From my humble opinion this where most of the overall sluggishness felling of software emulation comes from. it’s like watching video with a very minor out of sync audio, you don’t know for sure if the audio is too soon or too late but you instantly feel something is not right. Beside Windows always try to find a new way to screwup the user experience with updates running as background task...

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby ijor » Tue Mar 10, 2020 2:28 am

BigMac740p wrote:Mostly because of the operating system, you can miss a frame now and then, yet most software emulation issues are resolved by adding buffers: video sync problem? Add a double or triple frame buffer, audio cracking? Set a bigger audio buffer, etc.. From my humble opinion this where most of the overall sluggishness felling of software emulation comes from. it’s like watching video with a very minor out of sync audio, you don’t know for sure if the audio is too soon or too late but you instantly feel something is not right. Beside Windows always try to find a new way to screwup the user experience with updates running as background task...


That's very true. But those problems and drawbacks aren't intrinsic of software emulation per se, but rather to the OS and the PC hardware. Nowadays,if you want, you could build a dedicated retro console with a fast enough CPU that could emulate most legacy systems and would perform as accurate and as lagless as an FPGA recreation.

As a matter of fact, we are close to reaching a hard limit of what we could recreate with a low cost FPGA. Low cost FPGAs aren't really getting any faster since years because the manufacturers are not interested in producing them (they sell you the high and mid end families if you really want high speed). OTOH, PCs and CPUs in general, are of course constantly becoming faster and more powerful.

Don't get me wrong. I love FPGA systems. But I'm more an FPGA developer than a user :)
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Re: Newbie questions

Postby Sorgelig » Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:45 am

With wise use FPGA + HPS can push the limits much further. Retro CPU emulation is better on HPS while video and other parts of chipset is better on FPGA. So i don't agree that we a close to limits, especially on hybrid systems. The problem is in lack of developers.
Actually, since Altera was bought by Intel it start to lag more and more behind the Xilinx which moved much further in hybrid system. They not only provide a traditional ARM, but also smaller and more realtime oriented additional hps which is exactly should be great for CPU emulation.

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby TobyRieper » Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:59 pm

I just got my MiSTer today and wow, was blown away by how simple and straightforward it was to set up. No confusing menus, convoluted settings menus. Super happy with it. Took an hour to get the gist of it but was playing Metal Slug in no time. It felt very responsive and not at all choppy. :D

Loading times were so fast too, just awesome.

Quick question, is my 5v, 8a Power supply overkill? The only other one I have came with the Nano and thats a US plug 5v, 2a. I mean the DE10 will only draw the Amps it needs right?;)

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby Threepwood » Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:55 am

TobyRieper wrote:Quick question, is my 5v, 8a Power supply overkill? The only other one I have came with the Nano and thats a US plug 5v, 2a. I mean the DE10 will only draw the Amps it needs right?;)


Correct, it is no issue. Your PSU just has a very generous reserve in power it can provide. You are using a quality PSU by a reputable brand?
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Re: Newbie questions

Postby ijor » Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:02 pm

Sorgelig wrote:With wise use FPGA + HPS can push the limits much further. Retro CPU emulation is better on HPS while video and other parts of chipset is better on FPGA. So i don't agree that we a close to limits, especially on hybrid systems.


Yes, hybrid emulation is a very interesting area.
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Re: Newbie questions

Postby djsquare » Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:40 pm

Threepwood wrote:
TobyRieper wrote:Quick question, is my 5v, 8a Power supply overkill? The only other one I have came with the Nano and thats a US plug 5v, 2a. I mean the DE10 will only draw the Amps it needs right?;)


Correct, it is no issue. Your PSU just has a very generous reserve in power it can provide. You are using a quality PSU by a reputable brand?


Where does one buy one of these monster power supplies? Mine currently has 4amps but would there even be a need for anything more than that? I use Wifi and Bluetooth

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby BigMac740p » Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:51 pm

djsquare wrote:
Threepwood wrote:
TobyRieper wrote:Quick question, is my 5v, 8a Power supply overkill? The only other one I have came with the Nano and thats a US plug 5v, 2a. I mean the DE10 will only draw the Amps it needs right?;)


Correct, it is no issue. Your PSU just has a very generous reserve in power it can provide. You are using a quality PSU by a reputable brand?


Where does one buy one of these monster power supplies? Mine currently has 4amps but would there even be a need for anything more than that? I use Wifi and Bluetooth


For what I have experiences myself, the De10Nano have a very bad power management with very little power reserves with the provided PSU, on my setup the PSU voltage keeps fluctuate between 3.9 and 4.7 volts. A 4amps power supply should be much stable voltage wise, a 8amp is overkill ;-)

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Few newbies questions

Postby Atohmdiy » Fri Mar 13, 2020 7:13 pm

Hello all,
I am very new to Mister :D I want to build my setup, so i am slowly ordering some parts. I am reading the doc but not everything is clear to me. I will do DIY as much as i can (i am not afraid of soldering) and i will probably do my own case...

First is about the SNAC interface thing. The best for me should have be two SNAC port with HDMI in my top panel, plus a few usb. I guess it's possible to have more than one controller in the user IO port as blisster and lljoy board are doing it, but how can i do it with the SNAC board ?

Also a few minor questions, as it is not very clear. I read the direct video section and i am curious. What core should benefit from the 24 bit color output ? If some core use the 24 bit, what not directly integrate a better quality dac with io board ? I mean these AG6200 seems a little bit low end, so what is the point of using a chip to have better color if it's not able to offer the full thing... I am no specialist but it appear to have some better quality DAC video chip that can convert hdmi to analog, like some TI or Analog device (ADV7125) chips. I guess it's too expensive ?

Also what is doing the SOG switch ?

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Re: Few newbies questions

Postby DrOG » Sat Mar 14, 2020 4:29 am

Atohmdiy wrote:Hello all,
I am very new to Mister :D I want to build my setup
...
Also what is doing the SOG switch ?

Sync On Green (merges composite sync to green/luma line).

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby TobyRieper » Sat Mar 14, 2020 11:24 am

Threepwood wrote:
TobyRieper wrote:Quick question, is my 5v, 8a Power supply overkill? The only other one I have came with the Nano and thats a US plug 5v, 2a. I mean the DE10 will only draw the Amps it needs right?;)


Correct, it is no issue. Your PSU just has a very generous reserve in power it can provide. You are using a quality PSU by a reputable brand?


I got my power supply from acadaptersrus.co.uk. a very hefty piece of kit, I got it for around £14 I believe. I wouldn't even bother using the one supplied with the Nano.

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby Atohmdiy » Sun Mar 15, 2020 4:31 pm

Ok thank you.

I have another question more related to all these video connection.

I have the chance of buying an old sony bvm (a 2010 p) which is a pal monitor for a very good price. In the back there is two add-on card (all in bnc connector), one is pal decoder board with 2x in/out and an in/out EXT SYNC . The other board is a component analog input with RGB in / out.

However i am starting to have some headache with all these ntsc and pal thing. Most Mister core are recreation of NTSC hardware, and output 240p with 15.5mhz/60hz. But my bvm have pal input so it's suitable for 50hz horizontal sync. The monitor could stand the 60hz as an addon-card to decode ntsc exist.

So the question is can i plug my mister with it's ntsc output to my pal bvm monitor with rgb input ? Apparently if i believe this guy that have the same monitor : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdnC1mx7E0U
RGB is compatible. In the other hand the two pal input connector are composite so i would need a pal thing to connect here, but of course i don't care as i will stick with RGB.

What bother me a little is that the EXT SYNC bnc connector is located in the PAL decoding board... So is it support the 60hz ? Also the manuel of the 2010p not tell if their is some kind of sync on green in the RBG analog board, especially as sony apparently like this configuration a lot, but again it's an old monitor.

I am a little confused and i need a fast answer on this. The seller wait for my answer for the sony bvm and i won't buy it if it's not compatible.

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby jca » Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:18 pm

Can adf be zipped (as long as they are used as read only) or do they have to be unzipped to be usable?

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby acephd » Thu Mar 19, 2020 12:12 pm

Good morning!

I'm having a hell of a time getting any of the arcade roms to run since the change to the MRA backend.

I ran the updater script this morning so I have all the latest updates. I have a zipped, merged, mame 0.217 romset in: _Arcade/mame. I could not find a guide other than this one: https://www.jackenhack.com/mister-fpga- ... mra-files/. As far as I can tell I have done everything correctly but when I go to boot any arcade games they don't boot, and I have to power cycle the mister as the video signal cuts out when I try to launch anything.

Any help would be appreciated!

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby BigMac740p » Thu Mar 19, 2020 12:27 pm

acephd wrote:Good morning!

I'm having a hell of a time getting any of the arcade roms to run since the change to the MRA backend.

I ran the updater script this morning so I have all the latest updates. I have a zipped, merged, mame 0.217 romset in: _Arcade/mame. I could not find a guide other than this one: https://www.jackenhack.com/mister-fpga- ... mra-files/. As far as I can tell I have done everything correctly but when I go to boot any arcade games they don't boot, and I have to power cycle the mister as the video signal cuts out when I try to launch anything.

Any help would be appreciated!

The easiest route is to use the Retrodriven Mame script where it download all rom from its repository.

Check their Git page: https://github.com/RetroDriven/MiSTerMAME

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby acephd » Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:25 pm

BigMac740p wrote:
acephd wrote:Good morning!

I'm having a hell of a time getting any of the arcade roms to run since the change to the MRA backend.

I ran the updater script this morning so I have all the latest updates. I have a zipped, merged, mame 0.217 romset in: _Arcade/mame. I could not find a guide other than this one: https://www.jackenhack.com/mister-fpga- ... mra-files/. As far as I can tell I have done everything correctly but when I go to boot any arcade games they don't boot, and I have to power cycle the mister as the video signal cuts out when I try to launch anything.

Any help would be appreciated!

The easiest route is to use the Retrodriven Mame script where it download all rom from its repository.

Check their Git page: https://github.com/RetroDriven/MiSTerMAME


So I did that now. Unsure if it's working because whenever I launch a core it still drops the video signal. Console cores are working fine. I did a clean install of mister files on the sd card and i'm having the same issue: no video signal! very confused.

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby Chris23235 » Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:57 pm

acephd wrote:
BigMac740p wrote:
acephd wrote:Good morning!

I'm having a hell of a time getting any of the arcade roms to run since the change to the MRA backend.

I ran the updater script this morning so I have all the latest updates. I have a zipped, merged, mame 0.217 romset in: _Arcade/mame. I could not find a guide other than this one: https://www.jackenhack.com/mister-fpga- ... mra-files/. As far as I can tell I have done everything correctly but when I go to boot any arcade games they don't boot, and I have to power cycle the mister as the video signal cuts out when I try to launch anything.

Any help would be appreciated!

The easiest route is to use the Retrodriven Mame script where it download all rom from its repository.

Check their Git page: https://github.com/RetroDriven/MiSTerMAME


So I did that now. Unsure if it's working because whenever I launch a core it still drops the video signal. Console cores are working fine. I did a clean install of mister files on the sd card and i'm having the same issue: no video signal! very confused.


HDMI or VGA?

Have you enabled vsync_ajdust 1 or 2 in the mister.ini? If so try value 0.

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Re: Newbie questions

Postby BigMac740p » Thu Mar 19, 2020 6:17 pm

acephd wrote:
BigMac740p wrote:
acephd wrote:Good morning!

I'm having a hell of a time getting any of the arcade roms to run since the change to the MRA backend.

I ran the updater script this morning so I have all the latest updates. I have a zipped, merged, mame 0.217 romset in: _Arcade/mame. I could not find a guide other than this one: https://www.jackenhack.com/mister-fpga- ... mra-files/. As far as I can tell I have done everything correctly but when I go to boot any arcade games they don't boot, and I have to power cycle the mister as the video signal cuts out when I try to launch anything.

Any help would be appreciated!

The easiest route is to use the Retrodriven Mame script where it download all rom from its repository.

Check their Git page: https://github.com/RetroDriven/MiSTerMAME


So I did that now. Unsure if it's working because whenever I launch a core it still drops the video signal. Console cores are working fine. I did a clean install of mister files on the sd card and i'm having the same issue: no video signal! very confused.

Be aware, most arcades are using funky refresh rate, like Chris23235 pointed out before me, the some settings for mister is to sync the HDMI refresh rate with the core, in that setup most monitor will have sync issue with some arcades and console core.


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