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 Post subject: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:14 pm 


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Since the Mega Sg thread is getting a bit polluted, probably worth moving the discussion over here.

For a quick primer, the MiSTer is a semi-DIY project that involves an FPGA development board (the Terasic DE10-Nano) and a variety of additional components which can be self-assembled or purchased from various community members. It runs open-source FPGA "cores" that emulate the components of various game consoles, vintage computers and arcade PCBs. It is an extension/offshoot of the MiST project, which is an FPGA board that can be purchased as a single unit but is less powerful than the MiSTer. Last I heard, production of the original MiST has ceased so when current stock runs out they will no longer be available new. Development for the MiST has also slowed down generally, whereas there is a lot of activity in the MiSTer community (though much of it surrounds one developer).

For more information, the MiSTer wiki can be found here:
https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/Main_MiSTer/wiki


From the Mega Sg thread:
SNK-NEO-GEO wrote:
the add on I/O which has a VGA out, is that actually for RGB? Does it do 15khz? Can the MiSTer be connected to a PVM with a similar cheap cable? Does the MiSTer do components/composite/RGB over that VGA out put on the I/O?

I don't care much of it is emulated, I just want something that looks (15khz) and play (no traditional OS) like the real thing with a small foot print and easy to setup.


The MiSTer is pretty configurable, you can see from the wiki that several settings can be toggled:

You can disable the scandoubler to output 15khz, and set csync to output on the H pin instead of HV sync, meaning connection to a PVM or consumer CRT TV is not difficult. There is also a YPbPr option.

I don't currently own a MiSTer but I do have a MiST, I mainly got it for the vintage computer cores (Atari ST, Amiga, etc.) which are great and also available on MiSTer. I'll likely be picking up a MiSTer soon.


Last edited by Kez on Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:23 pm 


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Keep us updated and let us know how much all the parts will cost you in the end.

Very interested in this.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:12 pm 


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The DE10-Nano FPGA board with HDMI output is 135 EUR shipped from Mouser (within the EU). The only neccessary add-on is the RAM extension board (25 EUR shipped) and a OTG USB hub (10 EUR).

The optional i/o Board which provides VGA output, SPDIF output and a secondary SD Card slot (for floppy emulation) is 55-60 EUR shipped. Instead of the OTG USB hub there's a USB hub board available which fits underneath the DE10-Nano, but severs the same purpose as an standalone USB hub.

That's it.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:14 pm 



Joined: 02 Mar 2017
Posts: 678
I'm honestly waiting until this comes out as a pre-made/configured kit - with just like a nice pre-setup image I have to throw up on the SD card or whtnot. Just the number of hours I have into doing things like modding my OG Xbox, or Wii, or GroovyMAME, or RetroPie on a RP3 (all easy to get initially hacked and/or running...dozens of hours each to get them how I want them)...there's no way in hell I'm getting into another technical project anytime soon.

This does seem awesome though. How is REAL controller support on these? Lightgun use?


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:16 pm 


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I tried reading up on the original MiST project quite some time ago, but they really didn't do a very good job in promoting the project. Documention wasn't great and it seemed to be focused on home computer emulation (like Amiga). Eventually it wasn't very inviting.

The MiSTer project on the other hand makes the end user configuration seem very easy and Smokemonster and ETA Prime did a nice job in promoting the project. The amount of console and arcade cores make it very appealing of course.

Maybe the original MiST was never any different though...


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:18 pm 


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Very good overview by Smokemonster
https://m.youtube.com/watch?ebc=ANyPxKp ... giVHfBzX8w


I also don't like to spend time.. I ordered one of there for MAME.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/256-GB-ODROID- ... SwQFNbyh-o
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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:40 pm 



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SNK-NEO-GEO wrote:
Very good overview by Smokemonster
https://m.youtube.com/watch?ebc=ANyPxKp ... giVHfBzX8w


I also don't like to spend time.. I ordered one of there for MAME.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/256-GB-ODROID- ... SwQFNbyh-o


170$ just for a filled up sd card? I can`t believe


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:45 pm 


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Dochartaigh wrote:
How is REAL controller support on these? Lightgun use?


Currently only USB controllers are supported (presumably USB adapters will work as well). The MiST also has two DB9 ports which work with genuine Amiga/Atari controllers.

A low-latency controller adapter is also in the works for the MiSTer, RetroRGB reported on it this week: http://retrorgb.com/mister-ultra-low-latency-controller-add-on-board.html

As for lightguns, I'm not so sure.. I wouldn't hold your breath! I imagine the video timings would work alright but connecting the lightgun as a functioning input might be tricky.

svensonson wrote:
170$ just for a filled up sd card? I can`t believe


Haha, I can believe it. A decent chunk of that (around half I guess?) is simply the cost of a 256GB SD card. It sounds crazy but setting something like that up yourself is really time consuming. I imagine it would take a few days at least. Obviously for the guy selling them it's just copy and paste at this point but I can see why people would rather just forego all that effort and buy a preloaded card. I am surprised eBay allows it though. Seller has a lot of feedback too so they have been around for a while.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:14 pm 


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We have community guides and there's lots of places to get help.

Don't pay a grifter money to copy and paste files onto a questionable sd card. That guy isn't going to provide support for the life of your MISTer or replace an SD card that goes bad. He's just a f#3king grifter.
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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:20 pm 


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svensonson wrote:
SNK-NEO-GEO wrote:
Very good overview by Smokemonster
https://m.youtube.com/watch?ebc=ANyPxKp ... giVHfBzX8w


I also don't like to spend time.. I ordered one of there for MAME.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/256-GB-ODROID- ... SwQFNbyh-o


170$ just for a filled up sd card? I can`t believe


To me worth every penny.. I don't hav the time nor want to deal with that and happy to pay.
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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:29 pm 


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Any one that sells you MiSTer will offer you a pre setup SD image.

Probs no Roms but that's easy fixed.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:21 am 


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Retroshop https://www.facebook.com/retroshoppontopt can provide all that, help, and the files you will need. No extra cost. It's from a guy who is in the Mist, and Mister community since the begining. He is more into old computers like Spectrum, Atari and Commodores, but he also knows about consoles and arcade boards. He is in Portugal but ship worldwide.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:53 am 



Joined: 20 Feb 2016
Posts: 242
Has there been any input lag testing? I saw the output of some cores can be rotated and it needs a framebuffer to do that so is there at least a 1 frame delay?


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:16 am 


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If someone makes a JAMMA add-on card so I can slam this straight into my arcade cab I'll be all over it.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:30 pm 


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svensonson wrote:
SNK-NEO-GEO wrote:
Very good overview by Smokemonster
https://m.youtube.com/watch?ebc=ANyPxKp ... giVHfBzX8w


I also don't like to spend time.. I ordered one of there for MAME.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/256-GB-ODROID- ... SwQFNbyh-o


170$ just for a filled up sd card? I can`t believe


The sad thing is 19 mugs have bought one from him!


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:50 pm 


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lettuce wrote:
svensonson wrote:
SNK-NEO-GEO wrote:
Very good overview by Smokemonster
https://m.youtube.com/watch?ebc=ANyPxKp ... giVHfBzX8w


I also don't like to spend time.. I ordered one of there for MAME.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/256-GB-ODROID- ... SwQFNbyh-o


170$ just for a filled up sd card? I can`t believe


The sad thing is 19 mugs have bought one from him!


This is for an non FPGA based hardware/emulator set right? Why has it come up in an FPGA emulator discussion?


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:21 pm 


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From my understanding, even if the DE-10 Nano board (the FGPA board MiSTer uses) was discontinued in the future, porting the cores over to a new FPGA would not be too big of a deal. This makes the project seem pretty important to me because since it's open source this will essentially be long term preservation as these cores get more accurate.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:21 pm 



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Found some more info regarding input lag. Sorgelig said the HDMI scaler uses triple buffering so there should be 2-3 frames of lag through HDMI.

Quote:
My HDMI lite scaler renders the full frame to allow output frame rate be different from input. So it requires triple full frame buffer of max possible size (1920x1080).


http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.php?p=355513#p355513


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:54 am 


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That's one of the many reasons I use OSSC for all my HDMI needs. That way I can be sure of lag ect.

Shame tho.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:48 pm 


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Technically triple buffering could be as low as 1 frame of lag under the right circumstances. And unbounded on the high end.

It’s a great way to decouple refresh rates without tearing. Which seems like a good decision if you’re fighting an uphill battle of perception w.r.t. compatibility.

That being said. I’ll probably use my OSSC as well except when rotation is needed.

EDIT: And if you want to double down on technicalities. Depending on how you measure it can be less than a frame if you’re not measuring top to top, and the hdmi side updates faster than the analog side draws.
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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:15 pm 



Joined: 25 Jun 2016
Posts: 279
SmokeMonster just did a really successful fundraiser for the devs behind this thing. In case anyone is still interested in donating you can become a patron to SmokeMonster here:
https://www.patreon.com/smokemonster
And Sorgelig has a paypal here:
paypal.me/FPGAMiSTer
And ElectronAsh has one here:
adevans2k4@hotmail.com

Basically anything you give these people even if it is only a dollar can only do good things for the community.

You can also send superchats via SmokeMonster's youtube streams but Youtube takes like 30% of those and paypal takes a far smaller cut and you can even send the payment as a gift which means you pay the fees and they get 100% of your donation.


Last edited by Wolf_ on Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:13 pm 


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You don't want to count on the speed of sample and hold as a crutch.

The community has to demand line buffering as a primary rendering option for most cores.
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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:19 pm 



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I don't see the problem with just using the native refresh rate out if your tv accepts it.

Also I wonder if they could implement whatever the retrotink does because that seems to get the snes working on a lot of tvs that don't accept its native refresh rate and afaik it doesn't add any lag or buffering.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:23 pm 


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Just ordered my DE10-Nano :mrgreen: ........just in time for the SNES core to be released (in beta form)


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:48 pm 


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So ive just tried the Megadrive core @ 1080p with no graphic filters and damn the image soft, when compared to something like RetroArch with no filters applied that is light years ahead in the sharpness department!


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:28 am 


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Dochartaigh wrote:
This does seem awesome though. How is REAL controller support on these? Lightgun use?

Not sure about where lightgun is at, but real controller support is being worked on:
http://retrorgb.com/mister-ll-cool-joy- ... pdate.html
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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:49 pm 



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Is there a guide to installing a frontend like RetroPie to the Mister? Is this even advisable? I have the RAM board on order, but have played around with a few of the cores. It emulates perfectly, but I can't use the interface. Having to load with keyboard each time isn't enduser friendly IMO. Am I missing something, or is this just the way Mister is?


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:31 pm 



Joined: 21 Aug 2016
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ldeveraux wrote:
Is there a guide to installing a frontend like RetroPie to the Mister? Is this even advisable? I have the RAM board on order, but have played around with a few of the cores. It emulates perfectly, but I can't use the interface. Having to load with keyboard each time isn't enduser friendly IMO. Am I missing something, or is this just the way Mister is?


I don't believe that is even possible. They are completely different technologies. The MiSTer uses an FPGA for hardware emulation (ie it emulates the hardware components of the consoles) whereas RetroPie is just software that runs in an OS, ie software emulation.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:13 pm 



Joined: 01 Mar 2018
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thebigcheese wrote:
ldeveraux wrote:
Is there a guide to installing a frontend like RetroPie to the Mister? Is this even advisable? I have the RAM board on order, but have played around with a few of the cores. It emulates perfectly, but I can't use the interface. Having to load with keyboard each time isn't enduser friendly IMO. Am I missing something, or is this just the way Mister is?


I don't believe that is even possible. They are completely different technologies. The MiSTer uses an FPGA for hardware emulation (ie it emulates the hardware components of the consoles) whereas RetroPie is just software that runs in an OS, ie software emulation.


Not trying to start an argument, but what's the point? Is the emulation that much better that it's worth the UI? I bought one because I thought it would replace my RPi gaming system, I guess that was a mistake. How would I best utilize this device then?


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:19 pm 



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thebigcheese wrote:
ldeveraux wrote:
Is there a guide to installing a frontend like RetroPie to the Mister? Is this even advisable? I have the RAM board on order, but have played around with a few of the cores. It emulates perfectly, but I can't use the interface. Having to load with keyboard each time isn't enduser friendly IMO. Am I missing something, or is this just the way Mister is?


I don't believe that is even possible. They are completely different technologies. The MiSTer uses an FPGA for hardware emulation (ie it emulates the hardware components of the consoles) whereas RetroPie is just software that runs in an OS, ie software emulation.

I believe the proposal is not for running RetroArch on the MiSTer--it's for repurposing its front-end to make it easier to do things like load ROMs/cores and perform configuration.


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