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Author Topic: Getting started with GroovyArcade and ATOM-15  (Read 968 times)

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pocketpal

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Getting started with GroovyArcade and ATOM-15
« on: January 09, 2020, 12:52:10 pm »
I am looking to change from my aged WinXP-based arcade computer using the old ArcadeVGA video card (with AGP interface) to one based on GroovyArcade and a regular video card.  From what I've gleaned, it appears that I need to get an AMD video card that can have the BIOS modified by ATOM-15, so my 15kHz arcade monitor isn't fried by the POST at boot.  Is this really a concern, or is it more of a "best practice", or is it just for if you want to be able to alter your BIOS settings and such on the arcade monitor?

Also, Calamity's site is currently hosed, so I don't know how to figure out what I need to look for to get an ATOM-15 compatible AMD card, should I need to purchase one.

buttersoft

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Re: Getting started with GroovyArcade and ATOM-15
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2020, 12:34:44 am »

I'm assuming you meant GroovyMAME, for windows, and not the Linux-based GroovyArcade? Linus has aother ways to manipulate modelines, you can get away with many different video cards, though there may be other concerns.

Atom-15 is probably a good idea for a cab, or some other form of boot protection, though it ultimately depends on the monitor. A decased TV/chassis combo from the 90's owards is probably fine, the rolling way it tracks sync is pretty forgiving. But an older arcade monitor might be pretty sensitive, and you're best off protecting it. Something like a universal chassis from aliepxress or whatever i really don't know about.

There isn't much of a list for ATOM-15, just people reporting problems occasionally on there forums. Search for Atom-15, Atom15, Atom 15, etc. and then try finding your proposed card. It looks like newer cards like the R9 370 and 380 have issues, and stuff like the 7870's don't, and in between is in between.

Calamity

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Re: Getting started with GroovyArcade and ATOM-15
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2020, 03:02:48 am »
ATOM-15 has only been tested on cards with analogue outputs. I wouldn't use it on digital-only cards. This limits its use to somewhat old AMD models (this shouldn't be a big issue for an arcade cabinet as of 2020, but it'll be in the future. BIOS is being deprecated so ATOM-15 won't work).

For those cards that have analogue outputs, it should be compatible with all of them. However, in practice, vendors have bloated their BIOSes more and more recently, to a point where there's virtually no free space for the required hook, which is tiny but still needs a few bytes of white space below the 64K boundary. Thus, you more often than not get an error on ATOM-15 because the hook is not possible. It's impossible to tell which model is going to work until you actually try. Even one model that previously worked might not work after a BIOS revision. It's a matter of luck. However, in maby cases you can succeed by using a compatible BIOS from the same gpu which has a smaller size.

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

krick

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Re: Getting started with GroovyArcade and ATOM-15
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2020, 11:37:44 am »
From what I've gleaned, it appears that I need to get an AMD video card that can have the BIOS modified by ATOM-15, so my 15kHz arcade monitor isn't fried by the POST at boot.  Is this really a concern, or is it more of a "best practice", or is it just for if you want to be able to alter your BIOS settings and such on the arcade monitor?

ATOM-15 isn't strictly required.  An alternative solution for protecting a monitor from out-of-range signals is the Ultimarc JPac.  This is an encoder board with a video passthrough to a JAMMA harness.  The JPac has a video amplifier as well as circuitry that protects the monitor from out-of-range signals.   This is what I'm using in my arcade cabinet.

https://www.ultimarc.com/control-interfaces/j-pac-en/j-pac-jamma-interface/
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 12:45:03 pm by krick »
Hantarex Polo 15KHz
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CRT Emudriver & CRT Tools 2.0 beta 13 (Crimson 16.2.1 for GCN cards)
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pocketpal

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Re: Getting started with GroovyArcade and ATOM-15
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2020, 11:49:33 am »
No, I intend to install GroovyArcade onto an SSD in the hopes of gaining a speed boost and finally throwing off the shackles of Windows and the headaches of using such an old, unsupported OS.  I expect all new headaches in getting things the way I want them with Linux, but at least I have some experience with Ubuntu and my RetroPie, so I kinda know what I'm getting into.  So far, judging by the LiveCD, GroovyArcade seems pretty slick.

I bought an older AMD graphics card on eBay, which arrives today, so I'll be attempting the ATOM-15 install tonight.  This is what I got:  https://us.msi.com/Graphics-card/R6450-MD1GD3LP.html  It has a D-sub connector in addition to the DVI and HDMI, so hopefully it will work.  I would really hate to have to worry about powering my monitor on and off separately from the rest of the cab.

pocketpal

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Re: Getting started with GroovyArcade and ATOM-15
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2020, 08:58:41 am »
I bought an older AMD graphics card on eBay, which arrives today, so I'll be attempting the ATOM-15 install tonight.  This is what I got:  https://us.msi.com/Graphics-card/R6450-MD1GD3LP.html  It has a D-sub connector in addition to the DVI and HDMI, so hopefully it will work.

Apparently, not "older" enough for the age of the motherboard I'm using.  The card is PCIE 2.1 and the motherboard chipset is 1.0a, which turns out to be just a step too far apart.  I should have done a little more homework before pulling the trigger; now I've wasted $10 on a card for which I have no use, and I have the setback of waiting for another to arrive before I can proceed.

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Re: Getting started with GroovyArcade and ATOM-15
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2020, 09:07:45 am »
I don't understand what's the problem with this gfx card ? What did you expect from it ? 15k vbios patching ?
GroovyMAME / GroovyArcade discord: https://discord.gg/YtQ6pJh
GroovyArcade doc: https://gitlab.com/groovyarcade/support/-/wikis/home

pocketpal

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Re: Getting started with GroovyArcade and ATOM-15
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2020, 09:35:31 am »
I don't understand what's the problem with this gfx card ? What did you expect from it ? 15k vbios patching ?

Yes, I was hoping to patch the video card bios with ATOM-15, but I never got that far, because this card apparently won't work with my motherboard.

To go into more detail:  prior to receiving this card, I updated the bios of the motherboard to the latest version, hoping to avoid any issues like this.  With the card inserted, video continues to come out of the onboard nVidia graphics only.  I could find no bios setting that would be keeping the card from working.  The chipset on the motherboard supports PCI Express v1.0a and the video card is v2.1.  According to Wikipedia:

Quote
The increase in power from the slot breaks backward compatibility between PCI Express 2.1 cards and some older motherboards with 1.0/1.0a, but most motherboards with PCI Express 1.1 connectors are provided with a BIOS update by their manufacturers through utilities to support backward compatibility of cards with PCIe 2.1.

So it appears that mine qualifies as "some older motherboards" where backward compatibility is broken.


krick

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Re: Getting started with GroovyArcade and ATOM-15
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2020, 10:19:57 am »
How old is the motherboard you're trying to use?  What is the CPU?  Modern versions of MAME run like crap on old hardware.  I don't recommend doing that.
Hantarex Polo 15KHz
Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 2GB (GCN)
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CRT Emudriver & CRT Tools 2.0 beta 13 (Crimson 16.2.1 for GCN cards)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
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ASUS Z87M-PLUS Motherboard

pocketpal

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Re: Getting started with GroovyArcade and ATOM-15
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2020, 11:04:27 am »
Modern versions of MAME run like crap on old hardware.

Well, that isn't good news.  It's an Asus M2NPV-VM motherboard, with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 processor and 4GB RAM.  It's mighty old, but it's newer and better than what I have been using, so I just assumed I would be better off.  I hadn't considered, however, that in tying myself to GroovyMAME, I might be forced to use a newer version of MAME than what runs well on my hardware.  But, now that I think about it, I had been running an older version of MAME (.78, I believe, which is what is recommended for RetroPie) on my WinXP build, due to some odd timing issues I had been experiencing with whatever the current version was at that time.

I'm beginning to feel that I should have just bought the newer ArcadeVGA and been done with it.  I have another cheap video card ordered that should work with my motherboard, so I will just have to see how it performs and go from there.

krick

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Re: Getting started with GroovyArcade and ATOM-15
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2020, 12:41:03 pm »
From that I can tell, that motherboard is around 13 years old.  MAME runs particularly bad on AMD CPUs so you'd be gimping yourself even further.  I'm not sure the current PCI-E ArcadeVGA would work in it anyway.  The motherboard is really the weak link here.

I encourage you to take a look at one of the new Intel Core I3 CPUs and consider building a cheap MAME system around that...

$89.99 - Intel Core i3-9100F Coffee Lake 4-Core 3.6 GHz (4.2 GHz Turbo) LGA 1151 (300 Series) 65W BX80684i39100F Desktop Processor Without Graphics
https://www.newegg.com/intel-core-i3-9th-gen-core-i3-9100f/p/N82E16819118072?reviews=all&Item=N82E16819118072


Hantarex Polo 15KHz
Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 2GB (GCN)
GroovyMAME 0.197.017h_d3d9ex
CRT Emudriver & CRT Tools 2.0 beta 13 (Crimson 16.2.1 for GCN cards)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Intel Core i7-4790K @ 4.8GHz
ASUS Z87M-PLUS Motherboard