New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

C-R-T
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New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by C-R-T »

New DAC for 24 bit analog video output, as well as audio DAC. No more direct video dongles necessary!

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Re: New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by MiSTer Consoles »

Would be cool if this board supported a power toggle on the Reset button like the new MiSTer Add Ons IO boards. Not sure what kind of extra circuitry that requires though.

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Re: New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by thorr »

24bit video output is the reason I went with Antonio Villena's product. This is a very good thing for the MiSTer CRT community. Thanks!

If I had one request, it would be to use separate 2-pin connectors like those on USB encoder boards for reset, OSD and user button connections, but it's not the end of the world if it didn't happen.

Also, if there was a way to allow for a dual-RAM setup plus have analog output, that would be amazing, but I don't think it is possible.

Oh, and if possible, combine it with USB ports as well, another reason I like Antonio Villena's product. This might require a footprint change, but that's ok I think. Of course, we can just use external USB hubs which keeps the original footprint and might keep it more compact.

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Re: New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by bozocyborg »

Is it too early to tell if this will be powered by the DE-10? The Retro Castle IO boards use USB-C on the board and I prefer the barrel jack.

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Re: New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by GuilhermeC »

thorr wrote: Mon Feb 26, 2024 6:49 pm

Also, if there was a way to allow for a dual-RAM setup plus have analog output, that would be amazing, but I don't think it is possible.

It is possible, you'll either have to use an external DAC or an add-on board that takes had one such DAC built-in, like RetroCastle's new board. The only issue with this is if you need simultaneous HDMI and VGA output, I have no idea if it's easy to find an HDMI splitter and capture card that work fine with Direct Video.

Kuro tested a bunch of external DACS and wrote about it here. The new RetroCastle board has some advantages and/or drawbacks, depending on your use case. Like their previous boards, it's a combined IO board and USB hub, a lot thinner than the usual stack, but with less USB ports (4 instead of 7 IIRC), it also gets power from a USB-C connector, has an ON/OFF switch and a fuse.

Looks like sorgelig updated the design for the new IO board as well, there's a couple pictures of the new board: has a VGA port like the old analog board, but leaves both 40-pin headers free (like the old digital board) for either dual SDRAM use (leaves the VGA port disabled) or single SDRAM plus Video DAC add-on board. Looks like it could be compatible with cases made for the old Analog IO boards, but I only found 3D CAD files for the IO board itself, not the DAC add-on, so I wasn't able to check the clearances.

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Re: New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by Alf »

thorr wrote: Mon Feb 26, 2024 6:49 pm

24bit video output is the reason I went with Antonio Villena's product.

If it wasn't for your comment, I would never have found Antonio Villena's shop.
I'm looking at his MINI IO. It says it has a RGB888 video DAC. Can't find much on the internet about it, how good is it?

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Re: New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by thorr »

Alf wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 7:43 am

If it wasn't for your comment, I would never have found Antonio Villena's shop.
I'm looking at his MINI IO. It says it has a RGB888 video DAC. Can't find much on the internet about it, how good is it?

I like it a lot. If you want 24-bit out the VGA port, you have to download his specific cores for it. It looks great with everything out of the box anyway though.

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Re: New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by FPGA64 »

thorr wrote: Sat May 18, 2024 2:22 am
Alf wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 7:43 am

If it wasn't for your comment, I would never have found Antonio Villena's shop.
I'm looking at his MINI IO. It says it has a RGB888 video DAC. Can't find much on the internet about it, how good is it?

I like it a lot. If you want 24-bit out the VGA port, you have to download his specific cores for it. It looks great with everything out of the box anyway though.

Thats the main problem with it. You are reliant on those forks being maintained. The better option is the official HW which will always be supported.

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Re: New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by thorr »

FPGA64 wrote: Sat May 18, 2024 8:51 am
thorr wrote: Sat May 18, 2024 2:22 am
Alf wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 7:43 am

If it wasn't for your comment, I would never have found Antonio Villena's shop.
I'm looking at his MINI IO. It says it has a RGB888 video DAC. Can't find much on the internet about it, how good is it?

I like it a lot. If you want 24-bit out the VGA port, you have to download his specific cores for it. It looks great with everything out of the box anyway though.

Thats the main problem with it. You are reliant on those forks being maintained. The better option is the official HW which will always be supported.

Except the official hardware until now has not been 24 bit, so it has not been the better option. I am interested in the new IO board when it eventually appears but for years I have been enjoying my A.V. version that even when not in 24bit mode looks and sounds superior in my opinion and is nice and compact with USB ports. It was a great purchase.

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Re: New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by FPGA64 »

thorr wrote: Sat May 18, 2024 12:27 pm
FPGA64 wrote: Sat May 18, 2024 8:51 am
thorr wrote: Sat May 18, 2024 2:22 am

I like it a lot. If you want 24-bit out the VGA port, you have to download his specific cores for it. It looks great with everything out of the box anyway though.

Thats the main problem with it. You are reliant on those forks being maintained. The better option is the official HW which will always be supported.

Except the official hardware until now has not been 24 bit, so it has not been the better option. I am interested in the new IO board when it eventually appears but for years I have been enjoying my A.V. version that even when not in 24bit mode looks and sounds superior in my opinion and is nice and compact with USB ports. It was a great purchase.

I was referring to the latest HW design. Personally I would not touch a design that relies on forked cores, because you are dependent on someone else to do the work and maintain the forks. If you feel happy doing this then thats fine too. The HDMI output has been 24 bit from the start and via the dongles a 24 bit Analog signal could be obtained if you could find the correct DAC, which granted wasnt easy

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Re: New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by thorr »

FPGA64 wrote: Sat May 18, 2024 12:34 pm

I was referring to the latest HW design. Personally I would not touch a design that relies on forked cores, because you are dependent on someone else to do the work and maintain the forks. If you feel happy doing this then thats fine too. The HDMI output has been 24 bit from the start and via the dongles a 24 bit Analog signal could be obtained if you could find the correct DAC, which granted wasnt easy

I agree about the drawback of the forks being behind the latest version. I asked about this and there are plans to have the updates automatically maintained when new core updates appear but this is not yet the case. The good news is the hardware does not "rely" on forked cores at all. The standard cores all work perfectly too and look and sound better especially in non 24 bit cores IMO because of the design. You can also use the forked ones for the 24 bit if you want to.

I have two Mister's and my other one which is the one I use the most uses Direct Video with a very good but no longer made Explore DAC so it has pretty much perfect video in 24 bit. I am happy to have it. The A.V. one is just as good most of the time. I had the official analog IO board originally for the MiSTer that now has Direct Video and it was returned and exchanged for a digital IO because I didn't like the picture quality as much and wanted the more compact digital IO board so I could fit it in my customized NES Pi case at the time.

If I was buying one today, I would get the new official version but who knows when it will become available.

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Re: New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by Alf »

The special cores are a deal breaker for me as well.
So how about Retrocastle's version, does that one need special cores for 24-bit as well?

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Re: New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by FPGA64 »

Alf wrote: Sun May 19, 2024 9:18 am

The special cores are a deal breaker for me as well.
So how about Retrocastle's version, does that one need special cores for 24-bit as well?

Legacy Pixels in the states, who is one of the recomended sellers on Discord, is now selling the new board

https://www.legacypixels.com/mister/index.html

I am not affiliated with him but he has good feedback on Discord

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Re: New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by Asteld »

thorr wrote: Sat May 18, 2024 2:22 am
Alf wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 7:43 am

If it wasn't for your comment, I would never have found Antonio Villena's shop.
I'm looking at his MINI IO. It says it has a RGB888 video DAC. Can't find much on the internet about it, how good is it?

I like it a lot. If you want 24-bit out the VGA port, you have to download his specific cores for it. It looks great with everything out of the box anyway though.

This doesnt make sense. The DB9 cores are for extended snac (specifically for the DB9 port) support. Afaik they do nothing for video output. Analog 24 bit is supported over HDMI, why would it not be for VGA on an extension board? (I am aware the hardware on the official board is only 18 bit)

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Re: New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by thorr »

Asteld wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 12:06 pm
thorr wrote: Sat May 18, 2024 2:22 am
Alf wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 7:43 am

If it wasn't for your comment, I would never have found Antonio Villena's shop.
I'm looking at his MINI IO. It says it has a RGB888 video DAC. Can't find much on the internet about it, how good is it?

I like it a lot. If you want 24-bit out the VGA port, you have to download his specific cores for it. It looks great with everything out of the box anyway though.

This doesnt make sense. The DB9 cores are for extended snac (specifically for the DB9 port) support. Afaik they do nothing for video output. Analog 24 bit is supported over HDMI, why would it not be for VGA on an extension board? (I am aware the hardware on the official board is only 18 bit)

Here is the link to Antonio Villena's 24-bit cores. Antonio himself told me these were the 24-bit cores. https://github.com/MiSTer-Enhanced There is no need to change the DIP switches. He plans to have them update with everything else automatically as new core updates are published, but so far this is not the case as far as I know.

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Re: New Analog I/O Board v8.1 In the Works

Unread post by Asteld »

thorr wrote: Wed May 22, 2024 9:24 pm
Asteld wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 12:06 pm
thorr wrote: Sat May 18, 2024 2:22 am

I like it a lot. If you want 24-bit out the VGA port, you have to download his specific cores for it. It looks great with everything out of the box anyway though.

This doesnt make sense. The DB9 cores are for extended snac (specifically for the DB9 port) support. Afaik they do nothing for video output. Analog 24 bit is supported over HDMI, why would it not be for VGA on an extension board? (I am aware the hardware on the official board is only 18 bit)

Here is the link to Antonio Villena's 24-bit cores. Antonio himself told me these were the 24-bit cores. https://github.com/MiSTer-Enhanced There is no need to change the DIP switches. He plans to have them update with everything else automatically as new core updates are published, but so far this is not the case as far as I know.

Thanks. As per usual there is no documentation about this on the store or the linked wiki. Wasnt aware of another set of cores.

Presumably the need for these would go away as soon as mister main supports 24bit analog out, no?

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