In recent years, home arcade creation has become very fashionable, whether using standard PC hardware or variations of hardware commonly used in PostPC systems such as tablets and smartphones. In case you are planning to install one in your home, we have a series of tips on what hardware you should choose if you are basing it on a PC so that it looks as faithful as possible.
How Much Power Do I Need for My Home Arcade?
It depends on what type of arcade you want to build because at different times these have different specifications and therefore the cost of emulation will vary depending on what type of arcade machine you want to build for your home. .
In principle, something like a Raspberry Pi should be enough for you, but you’ll find that there are some arcade machines that are very difficult to emulate or not emulate with all the ease that it should, which is why we recommend a PC, but you also don’t need to buy a next-gen PC like the one you need to play Cyberpunk.
Most emulators drop all of the emulation load onto the CPU, so this is the part that you should choose the best to ensure good performance in emulation on all systems, but it’s not that you had to buy a next gen pc, yes try to buy a tower because we will have to install a graphics card as we will see later.
The old arcade screen problem
Arcade games were designed for the monitors of their time, long since extinct. This means that you won’t see the games the same as on the original machine. Add to that the fact that on LCD screens if the input resolution is lower than the output resolution it looks very bad.
The games in the first batch of arcade games had a resolution of 240p and used the horizontal frequency rate of 15.75 KHz which was common in NTSC TVs, the second batch already used a proprietary arcade format, that of 24 KHz. or known as 384p. The problem with most LCD monitors on the market? They do not support horizontal frequencies lower than 31 KHz of the VGA standard. This is why we recommend that you look for a multiSync monitor for your arcade machine that supports the horizontal frequencies typical of machines of the time in order to have the same image quality.
The other problem you are going to run into is the fact that the games of yesteryear ran on 4: 3 monitors whereas most of today’s monitors are panoramic. Please note that on a 16: 9 screen all pixels in the game will be distorted and games will not look like
The best solution? Recycle an old CRT TV
The other option is to display a MultiSync compatible CRT monitor and even an old TV. The problem is that tube TVs, whether PAL or NTSC, cannot achieve 384p resolution at a frequency of 60Hz, so if you have to use a tube monitor, look for a CRT instead. for a computer capable of supporting expected frequencies. Of course, it will be difficult to find one, since they are very rare and sought after by fans of retro systems.
But in case you’ve managed to get an old-fashioned TV and want the image output from the GPU to be the most correct of all, you’ll need software called CRT Emudrivers 2.0. For this you will need the Groovy Mame emulator, which is designed for use in CRT monitors, whether they are conventional TVs, broadcast TVs such as SONY PWM, PC monitors and even monitors. JAMMA for recreational purposes.
But it works with any configuration, if not just on AMD Radeon GPUs. You don’t have to buy a new generation card, moreover, if you look a little bit, you can find a Radeon card at a very low price. Graphics cards from ten or more years ago are even more recommended, our recommendation is to look for an AMD or ATI Radeon that carries a VGA output. Note that the solution does not work with NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards.
In case your graphics card is not compatible with the input signal of the CRT monitor you are using, we recommend that you purchase a signal converter. A device or a small card which it does is convert the VGA video signal into one which is compatible with said screen or monitor.
The controls of our arcade machine
In this case we will be direct and we will not make you take so many detours, what we recommend is to avoid poor quality copies and to opt for what has Sanwa sticks and buttons. The model we recommend is the Mayflash Arcade Stick F500 Elite, which has excellent quality and has no complications. Obviously, if you are looking to play with more people, you need to buy one for each player.
Storage for our arcade machine
A very important thing for our arcade machine is that we can update its software without too many complications, that is why we recommend that you do not install an internal hard drive in order to have faster access to the update. software update.
That is why we recommend to use an external drive to connect via USB, no matter whether it is SSD or HDD, it does not need to be large capacity because the ROMs take up a lot of space. You can even use a USB stick. Of course, configure BIOS to boot from USB port or you won’t be able to use it.
Our recommendation for a full experience is not to install Windows or any Linux distribution but GroovyArcade, which already comes with Groovy MAME built-in and is a LiveCD, so you just need to copy it to the USB stick or external hard drive or SSD .
And finally the furniture
We only have the furniture left, which depends on each of you and individual tastes. You can assemble it yourself or order it, as there are specialized sizes in building furniture for arcade machines. You also have the option of DIY from site maps like MameRoom.
Once you’ve assembled your arcade machine, being as faithful to the machines of yesteryear as possible will be what makes you most proud at the end of the project.