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Powerstrip writeup

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Do you guys think it would be a valuable addition tot he FAQ to have a writeup on how to setup and configure powerstrip or is this considering a niche process?  If we think it would be a good idea--is anyone willing to take this on?  I have never worked with it so I wouldn't do it justice I'm sure.


Here is a start

1. Windows XP on arcade monitor.

The aim om this guide is to setup an environment where applications running under Windows XP (including the desktop) works together with a low-res arcade monitor. It should be noted that even if applications such as word processing, internet surfing etc can be run on a low-res monitor, the picture quality (i.e. interlace flicker) is not suitable for longer periods of time. Games and movies does not suffer from this and works fine.

The guide only deals with the software involved. I use Ultimarc's J-PAC to connect my monitor to the graphics card but that is not necessary.

2. Software used.

In theory, no special software is required to run windows on an arcade monitor. The normal graphic card driver is fully cabable of outputting the correct signals for the monitor. However, the graphic card driver doesn't normally include a user interface for setting up resolutions outside the standard 640x480, 800x600 etc. To avoid messing with windows registry settings this guide uses a tool "powerstrip" from There are other tools available but I have not tested them.

PowerStrip got 2 functions that we will use here:
1. It allows you to create custom resolutions and tweak existing resolutions via a graphical user interface.
2. It can automatically change the timing of the display whenever it changes. E.g. when a game asks for a VGA resolution (640x480), powerstrip will automatically convert it into a resolution that works with the arcade monitor (640x480 interlaced).

3. Step-by-step guide

3.1 Install PowerStrip
Just download the trial version from and run. The trial
version is fully functional but got a time limit (365 days) and a nag screen.

3.2 Verify that your graphic card driver works with an arcade monitor.
Obviously you need a VGA monitor to perform these actions.
(If any of the items mentioned below isn't available, your graphcs card/driver doesn't support custom resolutions. Not much to do but get another graphic card)
1. Right-click on the powerstrip icon in the taskbar and select Display Properties/Change
2. Click on advanced settings
3. Click on "Custom Resolutions".
4. Go all the way down in the list of resolutions to the one that is labelled "640x480i (arcade)".
5. Select it and click on "add new resolution".
6. Powerstrip will now ask for confirmation and then switch to the new

Here are the values for the AVGA resolutions (with doubled horizontal resolution)

How to use them:
1. Close powerstrip
2. Open the file powerstrip.ini
3. Add the following lines under the [Custom Resolutions] heading.
(If the heading doesn't exist, just create it at the end of the file)

[Custom Resolutions]

4. Save the file and start powerstrip
5. Go to to the "Custom resolutions" window.
6. Select "user defined" resolutions.
7. Mark all resolutions in the window
8. Click "add resolution" and restart windows if necessary.

All resolutions should now be available. To test them:
mame gauntlet -resolution 672x240

To change the windows desktop to one of these resolutions use the right slider in powerstrip. (The resolution will not be available in Windows' display properties)

This procedure worked for me with both a Radeon9200SE and a GeForce2.

First off - Excellent write up and very informative.... I've finally mastered the quirky art of powerstrip, but there lots of stuff I didn't know - such as the minlines= option. Very helpful.

I was starting to build up some resolutions for testing (I have an odd monitor I'm tresting the limits of), based on MonitorGuru's excellent list of used Mame resolutions:

Although you could have saved a lot of work here. I'm also assuming that once this is setup you need to tell mame which resolution to use for which game - I believe there are a couple of utils available to do this....

--- Quote ---3. A mame game displayed at 672x240 instead of 336x240 makes no difference in the pixture. The images will look exactly the same (yes, exactly).

--- End quote ---

Can't test at the moment, but how does this work exactly? Are you not streching the screen size out? Does mame only use some of the screen? (What stretching settings are you using?)

Excellent write up.  I havn't used windows to run mame or powerstrip but this is very helpful for those that do.  Thanks for the effort.


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