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Author Topic: Questions about monitors (GM setup)  (Read 1037 times)

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B2K24

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Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« on: March 14, 2018, 10:57:40 pm »
The last couple days I've had an itch to build a PC strictly for GroovyMAME usage. Everything I've read suggests to use an HD 6000+ or greater AMD Radeon card.

I'm having difficulty deciding on monitor/display to use with this setup. I see people talking highly about Sony PVM/BVM or Arcade monitors but those can be quite expensive. I'm not totally against buying one though.

I saw a cheap Sony Trinitron NTSC TV that had component inputs on it. Would this be halfway decent for a GM setup?  What about an old CRT computer monitor designed to be used with computers like some viewsonic?

Ultimately, I'd probably like to be running at 15 khz. Is that only possible with the high end stuff like PVM/BVM or actual Arcade monitor?

Could someone please explain the different display/monitor choices that are available and what cables or hardware would I need to connect it to a PC with an AMD Radeon that's supported by CRT Emudriver?

What's the best choices I can make and what are the worst? I've never actually attempted this before but this is something I'd like to get done and have a decent end result.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 12:06:41 am by B2K24 »

buttersoft

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2018, 04:53:56 am »

Calamity

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2018, 05:18:36 am »
Hi B2K24,

Basically, your choices are:

- SCART consumer grade TV + UMSA or custom VGA->SCART cable
- Component consumer grade TV + VGA->component transcoder
- Professional grade monitor (PVM etc.) + VGA->BNC cable
- Arcade monitor + VGA or custom cable (depends) + video amplifier (depends)
- PC CRT monitor + VGA cable

All these options will produce true 15 kHz graphics except the last one (PC monitor). Notice I've left out composite video because we don't have and probably won't ever have tools to do custom video through composite. In short, you must use RGB. Or RGB transcoded to component. Never composite.

IMHO PVMs are somewhat fetish objects, they're extremely sharp and their picture looks close to what you get on a 31 kHz PC CRT monitor with hardware scanlines rather than the real thing. Their appeal comes from their robustness, easy connectivity, good geometry, etc. and they certainly look cool on your desk.

The best option quality/price is a consumer grade TV. If you live in the SCART part of the world then the choice is clear. If you happen to live in the component zone then you need to get a transcoder. Don't get intimidated.

An arcade monitor is the best option if you are going to build a cabinet. Otherwise, having a naked CRT sitting on your desktop only looks cool at the beginning.

In terms of accuracy, a consumer grade TV through RGB looks 100% the same as an arcade monitor, and usually good brands (Grundig, Philips, Sony, Blaupunk, etc.) have much better electronics than what you find on the average arcade monitor, and you can get one nearly for free.

As for the cons part, TVs are more difficult to get the geometry right. GroovyMAME's 'crt_range' feature was designed for arcade monitors that are basically dumb devices that just take whatever signal and output it raw, so results are deterministic. Most TVs, however, have active circuits that adjust geometry depending if the input signal is PAL or NTSC. This masks GroovyMAME's efforts to get geometry right and usually leads to random results, requiring manual adjustments.

Besides, arcade monitors usually have knobs you can use to adjust geometry (specially vertical geometry) easier. TVs usually require you to enter service menu to do the same, which can be cumbersome.

Stay away of multisync arcade monitors, unless you get a very good deal and it's from a high quality brand.

Finally, don't overlook other interesting options like the Commodore Amiga monitors.

And make sure to check this blog: scarthunter.blogspot.com
Important note: posts reporting GM issues without a log will be IGNORED.
Steps to create a log:
 - From command line, run: groovymame.exe -v romname >romname.txt
 - Attach resulting romname.txt file to your post, instead or pasting it.

CRT Emudriver, VMMaker & Arcade OSD downloads, documentation and discussion:  Eiusdemmodi

B2K24

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2018, 10:24:54 am »
Thank you buttersoft. Your guide is really informative and I'll probably have to read it many times to memorize and fully understand it.

Thank you so much Calamity for breaking down all the choices and explaining them in a way I could visualize it and understand. Your post alone was better than any videos or anything I've googled so far. This explanation of differences was exactly what I was looking for and I really appreciate your post.

I live in West coast USA so I think a SCART consumer grade TV will be hard to find, but I will add it to the list. It seems like at this point Component consumer grade TV + VGA->component transcoder might be what I'll start with before moving on to something more exotic. Does anyone have any ideas on a good component transcoder? I'll also do a lot of googling on this.

Thanks again guys for pushing me in the right direction. I really appreciate it.




Dacasks

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2018, 06:44:26 pm »
Just recently I had the opportunity to test Gmame/Crt-Emudriver with a simple PC CRT capable of 120hz, and geez, Calamity is right: It does look like one of the sharpest BVMs available. Itíll cut your eyes out! No need for spending a kidney on these things if you plan to use Gmame/Crt-Emudriver only.
 For Mortal.K games I would suggest a scanline generator tho, since it has weird, higher resolution than most games and the scanlines will be gone (less apparent) if your crt has problem with its native resolution (mine does that, at least). The problem so far I've found using PC CRT (running at native res doubling its refresh rate) is that it renders some screen tearing/waving near the bottom of the screen, but not having the time for further testing right now, probably it's an issue with the crt itself, but hey, PC crts are dirty cheap (often free, if you live in a decent country where people are not killing for money, not like mine lolz), and the image is great (if you like the "sharp scanline" look, of course).
I would suggest that if you don't have room for a 21 TV with RGB/Component, itís ridiculous how good it looks for its cheapness.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 06:54:22 pm by Dacasks »

B2K24

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2018, 02:01:23 am »
I decided on buying a Sony Trinitron KV-27FS100, MSI Radeon HD 6450, and a Key Digital KD-VTCA3 (Component Transcoder)

The setup is damn near perfect. MAME looks absolutely beautiful. The only issue is there's a geometry issue where the picture needs to be shifted to the left about 1 CM.
After a fresh Windows 7 X64 install there's a bit of flickering at the top of the screen and the same flicker is present in GroovyMAME's Internal UI when picking a game.(I can live with this) 

Once GM launches a game the flicker is gone and it looks absolutely beautiful other than the offset of the picture.

What's a simple way to correct this? Is accessing the Service Menu of the TV the only way and if so, what specific option do I look for?
Is this something that can be changed in mame.ini or by using arcade_osd? I figured I'd ask before messing with stuff I didn't really understand.

here's a pic of what the desktop looks like on the TV
https://imgur.com/5EDnCCU

ZoOl007

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2018, 03:29:29 am »
Hi, I have a Trinitron too and yes it looks stunning:) . If you just follow the instructions in the service manual using the service menu you should be good. It is no rocket science.
That being said as I understand it there is a way to move the picture left or right using a monitor preset.
You need to use the
   // Arcade 15.7 kHz - standard resolution
   arcade_15
      crt_range0  15625-16200, 49.50-65.00, 2.000, 4.700, 8.000, 0.064, 0.192, 1.024, 0, 0, 192, 288, 448, 576
as a base. I once read a post from buttersoft? as I recall where he wrote that changing one of the values near the end results in a picture shifted left or right.
I don't recall the exact one. I did bookmark it on my crt test setup in the attic. If nobody answers I'll try to find it again. 

buttersoft

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2018, 07:49:50 am »

      crt_range0  15625-16200, 49.50-65.00, 2.000, 4.700, 8.000, 0.064, 0.192, 1.024, 0, 0, 192, 288, 448, 576
as a base. I once read a post from buttersoft? as I recall where he wrote that changing one of the values near the end results in a picture shifted left or right.

No, it's the values in bold. However, the easiest way to do it is to open ArcadeOSD, select the mode you want, then adjust horizontal geometry. The front porch, sync pulse and back porch are the ones to alter for right side, center and left side, respectively. Lower the line count to move that element left, higher for right. ESC to go back if you push too far. Save the modeline once it's right, of course. And write down the three timings in milliseconds to three decimal places.

You then open MAME.ini, and paste your numbers over the ones in bold for the line above.

You can also open your monitor.ini file in the crt_emudriver directory, and paste the timings into there for whichever monitor preset you've chosen. That way if you ever need to redo VMM, your timings are already there.

Most consumer TV's had a bit of overscan, and this will fix that. But if you can't make your raster reach the edges of the screen, then you need to adjust the set geometry.  And also remember that this is for horizontal elements. Vertical sizing and positioning have to be done through the monitor or TV set, you cant do it with modeline timings.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 07:52:40 am by buttersoft »

B2K24

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2018, 01:15:46 pm »
Thanks a lot for the replies guys. I'll mess around today and hope I can get it improved  :)

Yardley

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2018, 11:26:54 pm »
IMHO PVMs are somewhat fetish objects, they're extremely sharp and their picture looks close to what you get on a 31 kHz PC CRT monitor with hardware scanlines rather than the real thing. Their appeal comes from their robustness, easy connectivity, good geometry, etc. and they certainly look cool on your desk.

In terms of accuracy, a consumer grade TV through RGB looks 100% the same as an arcade monitor, and usually good brands (Grundig, Philips, Sony, Blaupunk, etc.) have much better electronics than what you find on the average arcade monitor, and you can get one nearly for free.

Hi Calamity, can you please clarify your comments on the PVMs? I am completely new to this and I'm not sure if what you said is good or bad. Specifically the bit about the picture looking close to a "31 kHz PC CRT monitor with hardware scanlines rather than the real thing". I was considering picking one up that is for sale in my area as I have been wanting to put together a GM setup for some time. I'm a younger guy and this is all way before my time but I have a real interest in it  :)

B2K24

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2018, 12:59:15 am »
Not trying to speak for Calamity here, but I believe it's as exactly as he says. While some people may enjoy 31 kHz look, it's not what you'd see if walking into a real arcade and looking at original unmodified cabs. There's a bit of a difference.

See specifically the video here:
https://youtu.be/WLXy0u-i708

The look you'd get seems to be much different than using an arcade monitor or RGB/SCART 15 kHz equivalent.

If there's one for sale locally and the price isn't insane, it's definitely worth it to pick one up as PVMs/BVMs are either becoming more and more scarce or some people are asking insane prices.
You'd probably want to make sure it's got RGB on the back of the unit. Most do but some I've browsed on ebay do not depending on model #

Anyway, I'm very happy with the final outcome of this project. I messed around in service mode of my CRT TV and got all the geometry issues corrected.

Thanks to buttersoft, rCadeGaming, all the regulars and especially Calamity. Without any replies to my post I'm pretty sure I would've never been able to accomplish this or know what to look for. Thanks to all your work and support over the years. You're truly legendary and I appreciate everything you've done.



« Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 01:03:49 am by B2K24 »

Franko

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2018, 09:11:29 am »
While some people may enjoy 31 kHz look, it's not what you'd see if walking into a real arcade and looking at original unmodified cabs. There's a bit of a difference.

See specifically the video here:
https://youtu.be/WLXy0u-i708

The look you'd get seems to be much different than using an arcade monitor or RGB/SCART 15 kHz equivalent.

Do note, however, that the author of the video is using vanilla MAME with software scanlines. We should be comparing 15 kHz arcade or professional monitors with 31 kHz PC monitors actually running at 240p with naturally occurring scanlines, which I'm personally pretty happy with.

Then again, I'm not saying that there is no difference; just that the video does not do PC monitors justice.

Yardley

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2018, 07:05:57 pm »
What did he mean by "with hardware scanlines rather than the real thing"?

Paradroid

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2018, 12:46:34 am »
What did he mean by "with hardware scanlines rather than the real thing"?

As in the monitor 'draws' every second line black (31 kHz) as opposed to black lines naturally appearing in between the actual lines of video data (15 kHz).

There should be no visible difference between the two approaches on a properly calibrated monitor.

Sent from my SM-G955F using Tapatalk

My MAME/SCART/CRT blog: SCART Hunter

Yardley

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2018, 09:51:05 am »
What did he mean by "with hardware scanlines rather than the real thing"?

As in the monitor 'draws' every second line black (31 kHz) as opposed to black lines naturally appearing in between the actual lines of video data (15 kHz).

There should be no visible difference between the two approaches on a properly calibrated monitor.

Sent from my SM-G955F using Tapatalk

Got it, thanks.

Yardley

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2018, 03:03:05 pm »
According to the seller of the PVM-14L5, one composite bnc is not working. Would this be a problem?

B2K24

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2018, 09:06:59 pm »
According to the seller of the PVM-14L5, one composite bnc is not working. Would this be a problem?

Seems like it would be irrelevant as you'd only care about RGB/Component.

Damn things are crazy prices on ebay ($300+) If the seller is asking a reasonable price then snag that sucker quick.

If you already have the proper VGA to BNC cable then I'd bring a PC along with you and test out the PVM assuming the seller is local to your location.
You can search YouTube on connecting PC to PVM

Yardley

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Re: Questions about monitors (GM setup)
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2018, 11:06:23 pm »
According to the seller of the PVM-14L5, one composite bnc is not working. Would this be a problem?

Seems like it would be irrelevant as you'd only care about RGB/Component.

Damn things are crazy prices on ebay ($300+) If the seller is asking a reasonable price then snag that sucker quick.

If you already have the proper VGA to BNC cable then I'd bring a PC along with you and test out the PVM assuming the seller is local to your location.
You can search YouTube on connecting PC to PVM

He's asking even more than that for it but the listing expired. Hoping he puts it back up so that I can ask for his bottom line.

  
 

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