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samsonlonghair
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Re: N64 HDMI Clone on the Way - Hyperkin Ultra Retron

by samsonlonghair Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:07 pm

Ziggy587 wrote:I love that this exists, but I don't want one personally. At least not at this point. But I am really interested in their controller. Their clone console has 4 controller ports for OEM controllers. But will the bundled controller work on a real N64? Will they sell that controller separately? It looked pretty sweet in that video.

Melek-Ric wrote:I'll pass on this. I want an HDMI N64, but with FPGA-based hardware or using the patented hardware design as the base.


Are FPGAs currently powerful enough to replicate the N64?


There are certainly Field Programmable Gate Arrays powerful enough to emulate the N64 (and much more powerful hardware for that matter). The problem is that FPGAs are expensive. An FPGA powerful enough to emulate the N64 hardware might be cost prohibitive to the consumer. The question becomes how much money is the consumer willing to spend for an FPGA-based N64 solution?
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Re: N64 HDMI Clone on the Way - Hyperkin Ultra Retron

by BoneSnapDeez Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:37 pm

bmoc wrote:
BoneSnapDeez wrote:Yeah, I'll be getting this eventually, especially since the Polymega won't support the N64.

Polymega has said in the past that they would make an N64 module when it is legal to do so. I suppose that the patents have finally expired given that Hyperkin is making this clone system presumably without fear of being shutdown by Nintendo. I would not be shocked if Polymega formally announces their intention to make an N64 module at E3.


Interesting -- the Polymega website says they have no intention of supporting the system. But who knows when their FAQ was updated.
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Re: N64 HDMI Clone on the Way - Hyperkin Ultra Retron

by bmoc Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:44 pm

WILL POLYMEGA™ SUPPORT PLAYSTATION 2, N64, GAMECUBE OR THE WII?
We have no intention of supporting most of these systems at this time.


The devil is in the details. :wink: They've also said that Dreamcast is the most recent system that they would potentially support. Though I suppose that could change now that the CPU is upgradable.
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Ziggy587
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Re: N64 HDMI Clone on the Way - Hyperkin Ultra Retron

by Ziggy587 Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:35 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:The problem is that FPGAs are expensive. An FPGA powerful enough to emulate the N64 hardware might be cost prohibitive to the consumer.


That was in fact going to be my second question. But I'm sure there will be a time that an FPGA powerful enough to replicate N64 hardware will be cheap enough for this to be feasible.
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Re: N64 HDMI Clone on the Way - Hyperkin Ultra Retron

by Jagosaurus Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:08 pm

I keep hearing how costly 64 HDMI mods run. Also, doesn't it have to modded to output RGB in the first place? Can you guys verify how steep all this runs?

With some googling... seems like $165 Ultra HDMI kit + $50 console + mod service + shipping = sooo let's say roughly $300?

Of course, the casual user will pick up this system instead of complex and more expensive methods. If you watched the video I posted though, some emulation hiccups were pointed out. Wondering if a modded console would still be cheaper than a future FPGA solution for nutters like us all.

You'd then have the benefit of flash carts as well in both scenarios (realizing the FPGA is hypothetical now) vs the Hyperkin unit.
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Re: N64 HDMI Clone on the Way - Hyperkin Ultra Retron

by Ziggy587 Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:12 pm

Jagosaurus wrote:I keep hearing how costly 64 HDMI mods run. Also, doesn't it have to modded to output RGB in the first place? Can you guys verify how steep all this runs?


Only certain revisions of the N64 can easily be modified for analog RGB output. I say "easily" because there's mods out there that will let you add RGB output to any revision N64, but it beginner friendly. The "easy" revisions have analog RGB some where on the board that can be tapped. The mod only amplifies the signals to proper levels, which is done with simply circuitry. Thus, easy.

https://github.com/borti4938/n64rgb/tre ... eralRGBmod

The above linked mod would be the harder RGB mod, but it can be done to any revision N64 (I think). This is because, while some revisions don't have analog RGB that can be tapped, this mod will take the digital signals straight from the ICs and turn it into analog RGB.

The HDMI mod, UltraHDMI, has no prerequisites. It is similar to the above "hard" RGB mod. It takes digital signals from the ICs and converts them into an HDMI output. So it doesn't matter if the console is RGB modified or not.
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Re: N64 HDMI Clone on the Way - Hyperkin Ultra Retron

by pierrot Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:48 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:The problem is that FPGAs are expensive.

I guess "expensive" is kind of relative. From my perspective, FPGAs tend to be cheap for smaller batch implementations of custom ICs, and sometimes even high-volume. The alternative is usually an ASIC, which requires a lot more in development (actually laying out the transistors), and production resources; Only really becomes effective in high volumes, since the first chip is so exorbitantly expensive to manufacture. The FPGA is really most valuable when reconfiguring designs, since you can't really change the dies on an ASIC once they've been cast.

It's conceivable that someone could actually make a custom IC that replicated the N64, if he wanted to. The N64 used 350 nanometer transistor technology, and a lot of processes now are 10-nm, which is sort of nebulous in that there are a lot of factors that go into transistor densities in these processes, and that's partly controlled by the layout. Anyway, even nearly ten year old, 35-nm processes should be more than enough to replicate the N64 on a single chip. Xilinx uses 45 to 16-nm technology, although that's not quite analogous, and won't perform as well as similar ASICs, in terms of "density" and speed, due to the overhead from the functions that make the transistor interconnects reconfigurable, but distributors sell FPGAs with microprocessers preloaded into a fraction of the chip. I can hardly conceive of an FPGA these days that couldn't handle the almighty power of the N64.

I realize this isn't entirely germane to the topic, and not everyone necessarily cares all that much about these kinds of technical details, but I guess FPGAs are getting more common in these niche consumer products. They can be kind of mystifying devices for anyone who hasn't worked with them before, but they're not quite as amazing as they might initially seem. Although, yeah, a lot of the typical FPGAs out there will run you $100 or well more, per chip.
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