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AVS and NT versus other clone machines


fcgamer
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On a thread about the Black Box Challenge game, there was a message posted how the game would only run on high end clones or original hardware. I made a comment on the thread, was replied, and decided to start a new thread since I didn't want to hijack.

What's the difference between a "high end" modern clone and an old school clone such as Micro Genius, Aaronix, Ending Man , etc? Just that the patent wore off and it's now legal?

Does the phrase high end clone just mean one that's made of discrete chips, i.e. essentially 1:1 copy, rather than a NOAC machine?

Does something like the AVS reign supreme due to its hookups to modern TVs, clearer picture etc?  

I'm really curious on this topic, let's discuss.

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AVS and Analog NT Mini use FPGA (field programmable gate array) to achieve a much higher compatibility than the older NOAC models. So games that choke on the RetroBit, Yobo, and Hyperkin clones, such as Castlevania III, are compatible with the FPGA models. They tend to be more expensive ($185 for the AVS, and I forgot what the NT mini went for, but it was several hundred, versus the $20-$50 of the NOACs.) You can also update both with firmware, while the NOACs you were stuck with whatever they had when they rolled off the factory line.

You also get more bells and whistles, such as Game Genie integration, Four Score/Famicom four player adapter (yes, the AVS will play Famicom four player games, I've verified it) and some other nice features, such as image adjustments.

There's more to the AVS and the NT mini than there is to the Retron 1.

Edited by Tulpa
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Lots of older clones also have things like mixed up mirroring, inverted pulsing in audio channels, and don't emulate some addresses correctly, so things like four screen mirroring don't work properly (as I mentioned in the other thread, like Rad Racer 2 and Gauntlet).

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Homebrew Team · Posted

FPGA is basically a hardware chip that can become any chip or chips it was programmed to be.  The programming is a hardware schematic and not a programming language like C or C++.  It has no operating system and doesn't run a program like an emulator system.  It can become almost an exact duplicate of say an NES, depending on the skill of the developers.  No software lag.  

Hardware developers, like Intel, will use a very expensive and powerful one to work out the prototype of a new hardware (like a graphics card).  Once they finalize the schematic, they produce normally chips off that work.

AVS and Nt mini are examples of great FPGA use and results to simulate older chips that are no longer being produced.  Just because a clone uses FPGA doesn't mean it will be good.  You could do a really shitty one.  The same way software emulation depends on the skill and time spent by the programmer.

Edit: This episode of Retronauts, about Mister, gets into it some more:

http://retronauts.libsyn.com/retronauts-episode-261-the-mister-revolution

Edited by Deadeye
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The original Analogue Nt is high end in the sense that it has a high price, slick web design, planned scarcity, and a metal case. It's the Supreme of consoles. Convention Quest is the latest game I've come across that does not work (at all) on an Analogue Nt. AVS is the only real deal as far as I'm concerned.

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Homebrew Team · Posted
6 minutes ago, DefaultGen said:

The original Analogue Nt is high end in the sense that it has a high price, slick web design, planned scarcity, and a metal case. It's the Supreme of consoles. Convention Quest is the latest game I've come across that does not work (at all) on an Analogue Nt. AVS is the only real deal as far as I'm concerned.

I think it works on Nt mini.  I can't remember if I played it on front loader or mini.  I'll test it tonight.

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4 minutes ago, Deadeye said:

I think it works on Nt mini.  I can't remember if I played it on front loader or mini.  I'll test it tonight.

As far as I can glean (because I don't have one) the mini is better than the original in terms of compatibility, or at least I haven't seen many complaints and I know it sold a lot better. That's funny because the whole reason I bought the original was because it has original Famicom chips so I assumed it was essentially the same as a real Famicom, but them's the breaks.

Edited by DefaultGen
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Homebrew Team · Posted

@DefaultGen, one would think the original Nt would have better compatibility using Famicom CPU and PPU.  I guess it came down to the developer who designed the PCB and other supporting chips.  I don’t have the original Nt, but the Nt mini being better is my understanding as well.  Better compatibility, SD card slot for firmware and other, and more video outputs RGB and HDMI.  I think the Nt can only do RGB or HDMI and not both?  

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Administrator · Posted
4 minutes ago, Deadeye said:

@DefaultGen, one would think the original Nt would have better compatibility using Famicom CPU and PPU.  I guess it came down to the developer who designed the PCB and other supporting chips.  I don’t have the original Nt, but the Nt mini being better is my understanding as well.  Better compatibility, SD card slot for firmware and other, and more video outputs RGB and HDMI.  I think the Nt can only do RGB or HDMI and not both?  

Love me some "other".

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Homebrew Team · Posted
4 minutes ago, Gloves said:

Love me some "other".

All the other legal ROMs and other consoles you want that FPGA to be.

Jail break supported:

Sega Master System, SG 1000

Game Gear

Colecovision

Intellivision

Atari 2600, 7800

Gameboy, Gameboy Color

Odyssey 2

+ some other obscure consoles.

 

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1 hour ago, DefaultGen said:

As far as I can glean (because I don't have one) the mini is better than the original in terms of compatibility, or at least I haven't seen many complaints and I know it sold a lot better. That's funny because the whole reason I bought the original was because it has original Famicom chips so I assumed it was essentially the same as a real Famicom, but them's the breaks.

 

54 minutes ago, Deadeye said:

@DefaultGen, one would think the original Nt would have better compatibility using Famicom CPU and PPU.  I guess it came down to the developer who designed the PCB and other supporting chips.  I don’t have the original Nt, but the Nt mini being better is my understanding as well.  Better compatibility, SD card slot for firmware and other, and more video outputs RGB and HDMI.  I think the Nt can only do RGB or HDMI and not both?  

I have an original nt and the compatibility is pretty terrible. There are numerous games that don't work, even with the final firmware. I still buy the Anlogue consoles but I felt ripped off by the nt considering they advertised "perfect compatibility" and "original NES parts." 😑

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1 hour ago, Deadeye said:

@DefaultGen Convention Quest plays on the Nt mini, just confirmed it.  Do other GT-rom Homebrews have issues on the original Nt?  Like Scramble, The Incident, Spook-o'-Tron, etc?

I know Spook-o-Tron works in the Nt (because I complained about Virtual Boy controller compatibility, lol). To be fair, if there's a software way to turn off Four Score on the Nt, the Virtual Boy controller should work.

Edited by DefaultGen
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Homebrew Team · Posted
8 minutes ago, DefaultGen said:

To be fair, if there's a software way to turn off Four Score on the Nt, the Virtual Boy controller should work.

I didn't see anything in the manual.  Are you on the Classic Gaming discord?  You could post it under the help section for Analogue systems.  I had people help me there before.

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I think the high end part is depending on how you interpret it, what the hardware is (such as the NT or Hi Def NES kit) as a boutique level item using some modern implementation to really nail down what the original did, and then you'll have the rest which the quality can vary on output as being nearly as good, down to just awful with poor color palette, graphics issues, sound being off, etc.

I use the HiDefNES kit which is a mix of a FPGA setup that's applied to the original hardware to get the best of both worlds.  That alone can handle all the added perks of what the FDS games can do, but also has no issue running any mapper you throw at it from a basic FC/NES title up into the high ball Konami and Namco mappers with added visual and audio perks.  That AVS thing and the NT Mini(or regular) that are also modern NES solutions can do this too.  Yet if you go beyond that, you're into the as you said vs other clone machines.

For my part I've tried a lot of clones in stores, around, have had them too, and nearly universally they're mediocre at best down to dumpster fires and I've only ever really come across one that actually impressed me.  It's far closer in quality to original hardware than the rest, yet it's a Famicom style handled for the carts it can take, it's the FC Mobile88.  I got this in the last five years locally, and the audio and visuals are right, games (US any) I've thrown at it work right too, and most Japanese stuff I've attempted do as well, but it will not fire up a couple of the Namco and the higher (VRC6+) konami stuff so it's not entirely perfect but a solid middle ground between boutique and garbage clone.  I'd argue out there, there's a gray area valley between the modern, and then the standard slag clones that just don't cut it so well.  I could go into the FPGA and all the additional stuff, but I see other posts covered it well.

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I've been kicking around the idea of getting an AVS, but I was wondering if it has compatibility issues with the Everdrive since RetroUSB sells the PowerPak. I watched a YouTube video where the reviewer had an issue, but apparently he had a first run AVS and the Everdrive worked after he updated the firmware on the console and the OS on the Everdrive.

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12 minutes ago, Bearcat-Doug said:

I've been kicking around the idea of getting an AVS, but I was wondering if it has compatibility issues with the Everdrive since RetroUSB sells the PowerPak. I watched a YouTube video where the reviewer had an issue, but apparently he had a first run AVS and the Everdrive worked after he updated the firmware on the console and the OS on the Everdrive.

I have a first run AVS (I was one of the first to get an order in when they went live, if not the first) and a new Everdrive. I run 1.30 final and whatever the latest Everdrive firmware is; I just got it last week. No issues.

 

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1 minute ago, Tulpa said:

I have a first run AVS (I was one of the first to get an order in when they went live, if not the first) and a new Everdrive. I run 1.30 final and whatever the latest Everdrive firmware is; I just got it last week. No issues.

 

I think we both got Everdrives about the same time so I know my firmware is current on that, but I don't know what the current run of AVS consoles ships with. I guess my next follow up would be do you think the AVS is worth it? I got a new TV about a month ago that still had an AV hookup so I currently have my original NES hooked up to it using the Everdrive. The games don't look as good as the NES Classic, but they don't look bad either. I would say basically about the same as my flat screen CRT minus the scanlines. Since I would guess an AVS would run $200+ with shipping, I'm not sure if the image quality would be that much of an upgrade to make it worth it, but my NES is over 30 years old so I don't know how much longer it's got left.

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50 minutes ago, Bearcat-Doug said:

I think we both got Everdrives about the same time so I know my firmware is current on that, but I don't know what the current run of AVS consoles ships with. I guess my next follow up would be do you think the AVS is worth it? I got a new TV about a month ago that still had an AV hookup so I currently have my original NES hooked up to it using the Everdrive. The games don't look as good as the NES Classic, but they don't look bad either. I would say basically about the same as my flat screen CRT minus the scanlines. Since I would guess an AVS would run $200+ with shipping, I'm not sure if the image quality would be that much of an upgrade to make it worth it, but my NES is over 30 years old so I don't know how much longer it's got left.

To me it was worth it, specifically to remove the lag that's present whenever playing my original system(s) hooked up to a modern TV.  Regardless of the TV used (mine, friends', etc.), there was always a detectable level of lag that threw off gameplay in anything action oriented.  With the AVS?  I've never once had that experience, across the same TVs that my original systems were used with as well as new ones which have entered various households.
 

Even if it might not seem like it, there's still a detectable amount of lag present even on the NES Mini.  A friend of mine got one when they were still unobtainium and was absolutely thrilled with it...right up until I pointed out that I could feel lag on the more action oriented games (Mega Man 2 & Ninja Gaiden) and proved it to him using my AVS.  I got a call a few days later letting me know that he was looking into picking up an AVS as he couldn't not feel the lag when playing anymore and suddenly understood why games seemed harder than they were when he was a kid.  If accuracy in controls and gameplay are really important to you, the AVS is a good investment.

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