Discuss Your Gaming Environments and AV Setups
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racketboy
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Using PC VGA Monitors for Classic Console Gaming?

by racketboy Thu Nov 26, 2020 7:57 am

With many traditional CRT TVs not necessarily having quality video inputs and PVMs becoming more expensive and illusive, what is everyone’s thoughts on using class PC VGA monitors as display for retro consoles?

I should also add quickly that the MiSTer hardware can output VGA natively with zero lag
http://www.racketboy.com/retro/mister-f ... eservation

I have a basic knowledge of video formats, but I’m not fully educated in all the current signal Convertors and everything and I know a lot of people either focus on outputting to component or HDMI. But what type of options are there for outputting to a VGA signal and what downsides are there in the process?

Are there still nice upsides to using a good quality VGA monitor compared to CRT TVs and maybe even PVMs?

I’m hoping this thread can spark multiple conversation points.
I like the idea of re-using all sorts of old equipment, not to mention having more potential sources to shop :)
thanks!
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Ziggy587
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Re: Using PC VGA Monitors for Classic Console Gaming?

by Ziggy587 Thu Nov 26, 2020 10:05 am

Jagosaurus posted his results using an XRGB3 to go into a VGA monitor...

SNES: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=49940&start=210#p1158295

PS1: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=49940&start=220#p1158933




The Retrotink may be a good option. I know the 2X-SCART model inputs RGB over SCART and outputs 480p over HDMI. And it's specifically designed to input 240p form retro game consoles. It also has a scanline option you can toggle on/off. You could then use a cheap HDMI-to-VGA adapter, I believe you can get inexpensive ones that work well and don't add lag, though I don't know which ones specifically.

https://www.retrotink.com/product-page/ ... k-2x-scart


I'd be interested to hear of other more accessible/cheaper options.
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Anapan
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Re: Using PC VGA Monitors for Classic Console Gaming?

by Anapan Thu Nov 26, 2020 8:01 pm

I don't know about accessible, but I think GBS Control - Custom firmware for the Gonbes GBS8220 is the cheapest route to get SD signals into a VGA monitor with scanlines.
https://www.retrorgb.com/gbs-control-in ... rview.html

I have all the stuff now to flash this firmware, but I haven't had a chance to try it yet.
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racketboy
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Re: Using PC VGA Monitors for Classic Console Gaming?

by racketboy Mon Nov 30, 2020 1:58 pm

I was starting to get my hopes up that it would be super cool to get one of these Apple Studio CRTs with the translucent case.
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R ... studio+crt
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However, after a little research, I was reminded that they were designed to go along with the Apple Cube and had that special cable that combined the video, audio, and power in the ADC connector. It seems like you could get an Apple adapter plus a DVI-to-VGA adapter, but I'm guessing more work/expense than it's worth?

Apple Adapter: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R ... eo+adapter
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isiolia
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Re: Using PC VGA Monitors for Classic Console Gaming?

by isiolia Mon Nov 30, 2020 6:12 pm

You likely wouldn't want to use one of those on anything but an appropriate era Mac. Part of what ADC did was integrate the monitor with the computer, to the point that the array of controls a CRT monitor would typically have were accessed through the Monitors control panel in Classic MacOS ( https://manuals.info.apple.com/MANUALS/ ... elines.PDF ). They don't actually have physical buttons for any of that. It wasn't just the Cube, all the desktops of the era had ADC connectors. I've got a Quicksilver G4 and a 15" ADC LCD for it, for instance.

The adapters there were introduced later on for connecting the ADC LCDs to laptops, and still used the USB connection for enabling brightness controls and the like. May still work for the CRT, but it may also have been something they didn't take into account.

If you go back to the blue and white or graphite Apple CRTs, they may not look as nifty, but in addition to having a regular old VGA connector, they have actual buttons on them. Or there are likely plenty of Dell branded Sony displays around from that time period.
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racketboy
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Re: Using PC VGA Monitors for Classic Console Gaming?

by racketboy Mon Nov 30, 2020 8:47 pm

isiolia wrote:You likely wouldn't want to use one of those on anything but an appropriate era Mac. Part of what ADC did was integrate the monitor with the computer, to the point that the array of controls a CRT monitor would typically have were accessed through the Monitors control panel in Classic MacOS ( https://manuals.info.apple.com/MANUALS/ ... elines.PDF ). They don't actually have physical buttons for any of that. It wasn't just the Cube, all the desktops of the era had ADC connectors. I've got a Quicksilver G4 and a 15" ADC LCD for it, for instance.

The adapters there were introduced later on for connecting the ADC LCDs to laptops, and still used the USB connection for enabling brightness controls and the like. May still work for the CRT, but it may also have been something they didn't take into account.

If you go back to the blue and white or graphite Apple CRTs, they may not look as nifty, but in addition to having a regular old VGA connector, they have actual buttons on them. Or there are likely plenty of Dell branded Sony displays around from that time period.


Yeah, I might end up tracking down a Sony.
It's a shame those particular Apple ones are so pretty....

Thanks for the info -- that complemented my research nicely.
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elvis
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Re: Using PC VGA Monitors for Classic Console Gaming?

by elvis Sun Dec 06, 2020 9:00 am

racketboy wrote:Are there still nice upsides to using a good quality VGA monitor compared to CRT TVs and maybe even PVMs?

I absolutely think good quality VGA monitors can meet and even exceed PVM quality. Depending on make and model, these where designed to output incredibly high resolution for sharp picture and text accuracy with very high vertical line counts and very low dot pitches.

Plug in MiSTer with scandoubling mode, and you get a perfect 2x scale with exact refresh (more frequently not a perfect 60.00Hz, which is important). Throw in a hardware scanline generator if you don't like the double lines. (These are very cheap to buy or make).

If you don't have MiSTer, a RetroTink or OSSC into a VGA DAC can achieve something similar from real hardware.

These are starting to become popular, and thus expensive, thanks to a few recent popular YouTuber videos. However they're not yet at the insane price point of PVMs. My advice is get yourself a couple before everyone else figures if out.
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Jagosaurus
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Re: Using PC VGA Monitors for Classic Console Gaming?

by Jagosaurus Sun Dec 06, 2020 8:30 pm

I've been happy with my little VX765 VGA CRT from images Ziggy posted above 8) . Really good value for the price.

6th gen 480p games look amazing as well. Halo 2 on VGA CRT:
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I currently run a XRGB3 for composite, s video, RGB into VGA. I use a Mayflash for 480p component and up to VGA. MF is surprisingly solid but IMO you need to invest another 15-20 bucks in a better power supply. I do plan on getting an OSSC and using a HDMI to VGA (see below link) as mentioned above. Buttt... no S video input without a Koryu is a bummer.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01B7CEOVK/re ... UTF8&psc=1

So while the VGA monitor itself is less expensive than a studio CRT monitor, there's still some spend in the surrounding set up. We didn't even get into audio...
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