Meltdown

I’m old enough to remember that a 386 not respecting R/W page bits in ring 0 was a big deal that had to be worked around in SW, incurring performance penalty. Fast forward a couple of decades and it seems paging is still a difficult subject. Make no mistake, this is no bug (Intel admits as much) but a design decision that produced perhaps faster but ultimately unsecure CPUs. Welp, not my problem, I have a buggy Ryzen 🙂

Anyway, I have some GDEMUs for sale so I will be taking orders this Saturday. Not all that many so it’ll probably be a short sale. More devices are in production and I should have some more Saturn ODEs soon as well. As in maybe this month but I’m not sure about that yet.

Very sorry about lack of PCE status updates, my December was more busy than I predicted, but there will be something worth showing in the coming weeks. Turns out working on so many projects at once can slow things down quite a lot. Who knew?

EDIT: GDEMU orders are open closed. Before you complain about this being sneaky, trust me, it’s the better solution. A lot of you claim you’d be willing to get on the list even if it meant months of waiting, so long you were sure you are getting one. Let’s just say I tried that and know from experience it’s BS so I won’t be doing it this way anymore.

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The Stroke of Midnight

Consider it a late Xmas present: There is a new FW for Rhea/Phobe that should fix those few games that use CDDA for voiceovers. It’s probably not a complete list but the affected titles are:

  • Taito Chase HQ
  • Side Pocket 2
  • Space Jam
  • Nobunaga no Yabou Shouseiroku
  • Monster Slider

I did test it but not very extensively and the code change is significant so new bugs might manifest too 🙂 Speaking of bugs, keep in mind that Bug! works but only when booted cleanly without RMENU. And obviously the fixed games I mentioned do require the images to contain all the subchannel data to work – so make sure your dump is correct. I will ignore any problem/bug reports from people who can’t tell, but I realize not everyone knows (or want’s to know) such technical details. So as a rule of thumb a CUE/BIN format doesn’t have subs (yet another reason why it’s shit) but CCD does. If it was properly dumped from original disc anyway. Same for CDI but this format defaults to no subs so again you need to know how to rip the CD properly or you will end up with an image that doesn’t quite work. MDS/MDF is like CDI, it can carry subs but it’s not the default setting.

This whole format issue comes back every now and then, and each time I hear the argument that CUE is not so bad – 90% of games work without issues. Well, I don’t aim for 90%, I aim for 100%.

Prepare for Battle!

Phoebe orders are now open closed.

I expect to get more devices in a week so I will accept more orders than I have stock. If it doesn’t work out I might have to cancel some of the orders or move them to next year’s batch. I wish to avoid shipping in December.

Also keep in mind Phoebes are already preconfigured and I have only so many prepared for each type of console. Make sure you ask for the correct one or I might not have any spares for later change of mind – and your order will be cancelled instead.

In Circles

All GDEMUs have been shipped but it took longer than I planned, and the side effect is more were made and I still have some left. Not quite enough to start a new list, but too many to just let them sit in the box until next batch. Considering I want to avoid shipping anything in December that might be some time.

So, here’s a quick sale for the always unhappy west coast people. GDEMU orders are open closed.

After I’m done with this I will start taking orders for Rheas, and Phoebes next. I want these to be short batches too – and I already have some ready so it should all be done before December.

EDIT: Rhea orders are now open on hold for few hours open again closed.

EDIT 2: Phoebe orders will open next Saturday.

Crypteque

If you haven’t received your GDEMU payment request yet you need to add 2 weeks to the waiting time. Long story short is the vacation season is not over and some of my coworkers had plans I was not aware of. This kinda wrecked my schedule so I will need more time to finish everything.

It’s also another reason why I don’t make long waiting lists – these otherwise small things can basically derail everything at any moment. The main reason is still the same though, the endless “Is it ready yet?!” messages I get after only 3 weeks (when I said it would take that many) are quite annoying. Imagine what 3+ months would be like. Also the comments are nothing compared to the amount I get directly via email…

Unfortunately this delay also affects the PCE project, and there’s another family visit coming up this weekend so not much will be done 😦 When it rains it pours.

Wishes and Truth

GDEMUs will be available for ordering this weekend, probably Saturday. I have a few devices ready right now and more will come in about 3 weeks – so you might have to wait a bit because it’ll be one list for all of them.

There’s a new batch of PCBs so there will be more devices of every kind in few weeks, but keep in mind assembly and testing takes time and I can’t do everything at the same time.

The new PCE prototype board is ready but the last two weeks it was too hot to do anything, so I played a bit with Marty instead. I had a 386 system a long time ago and coding for FMT is just so much fun. Even if this ends up completly personal project I will make ODE for it. And more 🙂

Anyway, the temperatures outside dropped considerably so I should be able to work on PCE soon. Keep your fingers crossed I don’t have to fix any more silly errors – this PCB already has one more capacitor and a wire that was not in the project, and one driver chip had to be replaced completly. But I have a good feeling about this one.

EDIT: Orders are open closed.

Distant Calling

Not much to report, other than GDEMU orders will open in a moment are closed again – more will come though – so here’s a couple of random photos. I planned on making a simple “guess what it is” quiz, maybe with prizes, but it’s too easy and I’m too lazy to rename the files 🙂

If it seems weird that this Super System card doesn’t have a picture on it, you’re right, it got washed away in ultrasound cleaning. I bought this as dead/not working so no harm done. The original idea was to maybe create a replacement as apparently the ver 3.0 cards are expensive and hard to come by, and not already emulated by various Flash-based carts due to additional RAM chips and logic.

And this is my new toy since I’m still waiting for the latest PCE proto boards to arrive. Again if it seems a bit different it’s because I recapped this PCB (and the Marty PSU, and fixed the mainboard leaking cap, and replaced the dead 3V battery with a holder). Works much better now but still has some issues which seem to be temperature related. The drive performance degrades as it gets warmer inside the console and I found that adding a small radiator to that driver chip you can see on the bottom right helps a lot. Still, that thing is terrible and has to go – and this is where I step in 🙂