The Lesser of Two Evils

Let’s start with the bad news – effective immediately I’m raising GDEMU price to 130 Euro (shipping included).

It’s a little known fact but over 25% of the price goes to cover various taxes. It wasn’t much of a problem when I was making GDEMUs myself, whatever was left after parts costs and taxes was my cut. The work involved and time spent was “free” in the sense that the profit made it worthwhile. However there is a team now, and nobody wants to spend his/her time assembling PCBs for a couple of Euros a piece. That and apparently the Cyclone II FPGA I use is now actually more expensive than a faster Cyclone IV with more logic cells. I might be forced to do a full HW redesign with more modern chips if this gets any worse… That would take time. Lots of it.

While I realize the new price will have some chilling effect, that’s actually good for me too, should help with the usual inrush that happens every time I open orders.

The good news is Rhea/Phoebe price remains the same, and I have some Rheas for sale right now so orders are open (though again, it’s a small batch). GDEMU will be available next week and I might also sell a couple of Phoebes that were reworked after failing initial testing.

Also, PCE ODE almost worked this weekend but I’ve hit a major problem that requires (yet another, sigh) PCB redesign. But it’s almost there.

Oh, by the way, I have a Type-4 Saturn for sale. It’s a Brazilian Tectoy unit, black, that was originally US model then made to output PAL-M, then changed back by me to 60Hz NTSC. Region is US, that hasn’t changed, and it requires 110V input so needs a step-down transformer in 230V countries. Long story short is it works with Phoebe now, after a few changes to the motherboard. The case is in reasonable state but the insides… well let’s just say people who originally “tweaked” it with a region/50/60 switch didn’t give a damn about looks. I’ve done what can be done, the wire hell has been removed and it works but a VCD card might not fit there anymore – well, not without some hammering. So that we are clear on this. I still need to make sure the cart slot is functional.
I’d like to sell it with a Phoebe inside, though I could provide the original drive as well if necessary (worked OK last time I checked). Price hasn’t been decided yet due to it’s history. Also I’d prefer to ship it within EU – less hassle with customs. Let me know if there is any interest – keep in mind shipping a big box like this is not cheap.

EDIT: More info and quick photos:

Case is a bit dirty and scratched here and there (plus some marks from dried water droplets – rest assured it was just those few, no water contact). Could use some cleaning but is otherwise complete, including the 3V battery cover. There is a small bit of plastic missing on the bottom, the corner with video output. Wasn’t me, and I haven’t actually noticed until very recently.

Upper right corner – battery / VCD card slot, the metal cover was badly mangled and drilled to provide support for region switch. I more or less restored the original shape but you will have to work on this some more to fit the VCD card.
The lid switch was also damaged by clamping the metal protector into it, to have the switch permanently closed. Again I fixed that and it works but is not pretty, but then again you won’t even need it with Phoebe anyway.

As mentioned earlier it comes with Phoebe, tested and working. Cart slot works too, tested with AR 4M+. Has 110V PSU. Outputs 60Hz NTSC, US region. No cables or pads included, just the console itself. If requested I can add the original drive with the ribbon cable, it works but I can’t quite say how well it’ll take the trip.

Make me an offer I guess?

194 thoughts on “The Lesser of Two Evils

  1. What’s the difference between this and the dreamshell set up (other than cost and availability)? I understand you need a boot cd, but it also let’s you store games on a card that plugs in the back serial port. Is performance better in one setup vs the other?

  2. Hello everyone,

    Hoping someone can help me. I got my Phoebe recently and love it. But I’m finding a lot of CUE/BIN files for many Saturn games, and the Phoebe doesn’t work with these file types. Any way to convert these over to something the Phoebe can read or is there a site out there someone recommends. I’ve been to places like Emuparadise and Isozone, but for a game like Alien Trilogy, it only seems to come in a Cue/Bin file format. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  3. Hi David,

    People who are giving their first steps on emulation world should have an essential tool installed: a virtual CD/DVD-ROM drive. Probably you heard about Daemon Tools, but I recommend Alcohol 120 since it’s an excelent CD/DVD ripper/creator/burner and it also installs its virtual drive.
    Then you can “mount” the BIN+CUE file (or any other image format) on the virtual drive, pretending you have a real CD on it. You just have to choose an application to dump and convert the virtual CD to your favourite format compatible with Phoebe (CDI, MDS+MDF or CCD).
    CDI’s are generated with Discjuggler. MDS+MDF’s are generated with Alcohol, CCD’s are generated with CloneCD (genuine) and Alcohol too!
    I recommend CCD (created with genuine application) for best results. My entire collection is on this format.

    • Thank you so much for your reply. I will try this for sure.
      Do you feel CCD is the highest quality or is MDS+MDF better? I’ve had success converting BIN+CUE files to CDI files but I will try your method of creating a CCD. Was just curious if one format is more beneficial than another. Thank you again. I greatly appreciate it.

  4. Thanks. I have several years of experience in CD/DVD replication (because of my paisson for retro consoles and stuff!) and I’m glad to share my knowledge and help who are in need.
    In my opinion… CCD is definitely the best of all and the main reason is the impressive software which CloneCD is. In this particular case, when you dump a Saturn disc with whis application, you can look at the log on real time and if you are able to see an “INDEX” report before each audio track, you can assume it’s a very accurate CD image. CloneCD is the best in dumping. Discjuggler and Alcohol have their benefits in authoring, burning images… and other purposes.

    • I have some Saturn discs, but some are just too hard or expensive to get (Panzer Dragoon Saga), so this is where I turn to downloading an image from the web via emuparadise. In this case, the image I downloaded was a BIN/CUE file so I need to convert that to something the Phoebe can use. I was able to use Daemon Tools to mount the CUE/BIN file onto a virtual drive and then used Disc Juggler to create a CDI file that works. I just wasn’t sure if CDI was good quality. If you think CCD is the way to go, then I will do that. Can CloneCD take an existing BIN/CUE file like Panzer Dragoon and convert to CCD? Or is CloneCD only good for ripping the actual disc? Do you recommend any programs that run on a Mac? Thanks again for the help. It’s great to find someone who can help walk a noob like me through this and I’ve learned so much in such a short time.

  5. Do you have any remote idea when Rhea or Phoebes will be going back up for sale? I’m hoping to buy one of either at this point 😛

  6. If you already have Daemon Tools, you’re one step closer to your objective!
    CloneCD will not convert directly the BIN+CUE for you, you just have to mount the BIN+CUE image on the VirtualDrive created with Daemon Tools, and then use CloneCD to create an image of the disc on the virtual drive. The result will be a perfect CCD image from your Saturn disc!
    ***Tip: Saturn discs structure is: Track 1 data; Track 2 Audio; Track 3 Audio… and so on. Just be sure all your audio tracks have an Index before them. This will prevent Audio issues while playing. All original Saturn discs have them (Audio indexes). As I said before, look for this Indexes when CloneCD are extracting the audio tracks after the first data track!

    • Thank you again. I will use a PC I guess to do all these fun conversions. I just tried my hand at CloneCD and it seems pretty straightforward. When I have it create a file, it looks like it creates 3 files for me, a ccd, a img, and a sub. Is this correct? I assume I throw all 3 of these into a folder and it should work? Thank you again for taking time to help me.

      • That’s correct! CCD format is composed by 3 files:
        CCD: The control file.
        IMG: The main data of the disc in raw format (uncompressed for your understanding!)
        SUB: The subchannel data (even if the disc doesn’t contain any subchannel data)

        You should alway maintain this 3 files together with the same name. e.g:

      • Perfect! It looks like I’m well on my way. Thank you so much!

      • I thought I was all good to go, but unfortunately my Daemon Tools disc mounter crashed on me and keeps crashing. I’ve uninstalled it and reinstalled it and it just doesn’t want to work anymore. It was version 4.6.1. Do you by chance know if the newer version of Daemon Tools is still ok to use when mounting the disc image? I would try Alcohol120 but my only access to a PC is my work laptop and it keeps flagging Alcohol120 as a threat and won’t let me install it. I had Daemon Tools working great until it crashed and now I’m stuck trying to figure out how I can move forward with everything. If you can post the link to a trusted site of whatever you think will work best, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks again.

      • Hi! It seems you have some kind of conflict on your Windows probably because of too many installs and uninstalls of software. You should get a new fresh Windows reinstall when possible. But first you can try to disable your antivirus and install another version and give it another try. I don’t think we are allowed to post here any external links but I give you a clue! Take a look at torrent sites! And don’t forget about Alcohol 120. daemon tools is just too heavy for a single virtual drive application.

      • Thanks again for the replies. I finally managed to get everything working and was able to convert over the rest of the images I had to ccd files. So far everything seems to be working great! Really loving the Saturn. he Phoebe gives me a chance to play some true gems that are just out of my price range like Panzer Dragoon Saga and such along with discovering some games I would have otherwise passed by. Thanks again Toxic 9 and a big THANK YOU to gdemu for making such cool devices.

      • I’m glad you did it!
        You can always count on me and send me PM on Assemblergames.

  7. I forgot about the other question!
    I only use Mac on ESXI as virtual machines for testing purposes.
    I never tried to do something specific like this on Mac because most of the applications I like to use are designed only for Windows.
    And there’s something very annoying on Mac! You can’t even see your own CD-ROM drive on Mac when you don’t have a CD inserted! What the hell!

  8. No one aswered Lolo.
    1. With Dreamshell you still need your GDrom drive to work and most of the DC’s today have their GDrom in really bad condition! Unless you flash your Dreamcast bios, and boot Dreamshell directly without the boot cd.
    2. Dreamshell is far away to be 100% compatible. It has lots of bugs and issues, and not all games work.
    3. Since Dreamshell SD card plugs into the back serial port of the console, the “reading” speed is not the best. You can still mod your console to use an IDE hard drive.
    4. So much effort when you can pick a GDemu and give your Dreamcast the drive you always dreamed of!

    • Ah, I see. Thank you for the detailed explanation. Hope I can get one and catch the preorder window 🙂

    • The code should support max size FAT32 partitions but I haven’t exactly tested it for such case 🙂

  9. Hi gdemu,
    I don’t know if it’s official, gdemu will never have support for retail bleem, but I was digging into the freeze issue and I found they have an unsupported character for the name of its main executable. It is called “0A” in ASCII code (represents line break) and it should be something more like “1ST_READ.BIN”.
    Could this represent a problem for the cdi parser?

      • Not yet. Apparently some people can’t count to 21 and I will have some Rheas returned, to be replaced with Phoebes.

      • Well lets be fair counting to 21 is hard you run out of fingers and toes before you get there.

      • GDEmu,
        I will be refreshing the page all day for it! I have been trying for almost a year for the GDEmu! Thank you for your hard work!

  10. Has anybody received a payment request for the last GDEMU order from last week. I haven’t seen anything come across and want to make sure I didn’t miss it.

    • Yes, I got a paymend on Monday night and I payed it also on Monday. Today I got a tracking ID, it was shipped today…. so in a few days I should get the GDEmu. *yay*

    • I got mine this morning as well. Was pleasantly surprised at how easy the payment process was. Two clicks – the link in the email & the approval button on the PayPal page it brings up. It handles the currency conversion for you, even if you’re not using a PayPal balance.

      Add on top of that the 7 days you have from the time you get the payment request & it’s quite a friendly experience compared to ordering from other sites.

      • Are you and Matthaeus both located in the USA or somewhere else? Asking since I’m located in the USA and still did not get my payment request.

      • Yeah, but don’t worry. He’s working hard & will get to everyone pretty soon.

    • GDEMU, Can you confirm if all payment requests have gone out for the last order? Looks like they are rolling out and want to make sure I didn’t miss mine.

    • I received my payment request today too. Looking forward to bringing my good old DC back to life. 🙂

  11. How wants a Phoebe?…. MEEE, please please please!!!

    Thanks for your great service GDEmu! shopping experience wasn’t as a lot of ppl said, really EASY just needs to be a little patient.

  12. I was messing around with my GDEMU today and am still loving it for sure. But, I noticed that at least the SD card and the inside of the DC seems to get pretty hot. Obviously I’m not used to reaching inside of my Dreamcast after a gaming session since the inside is closed off by the optical disc drive. I just wanted to make sure this is pretty normal for Dreamcast with ODEs installed. Anyone else notice this?

    • Yes, they tend to get pretty hot due to the 12V for the gd-rom not being used (If I understand it correctly). I disabled 12V on my psu, and while not as hot as before it still runs pretty hot. On the otherhand, even vanilla DCs gets pretty warm after a while.

      • How do you disable the 12V on your PSU? I just want to make sure the heat isn’t putting excessive wear on the DC. Overall I love the gdemu. Just want to do what I can to preserve the life of my hardware.

  13. why not bump it to $200. I’ve been trying to get one for years. $200 might make it easier to get one for people that want to USE one, & take away some of the motivation for scalpers who buy them just to SELL the moment after

    • Changing the price won’t make a difference. I have seen them go for $400+ getting resold. The issue is quantity. I understand that can’t be adjusted.

  14. As I live in Europe, my DC’s swirl logo is blue. I modded my DC’s led to blue, to match the blue Swirl! Whow! Now I love my DC even more! =D

  15. Good Day GDEMU,

    Have you ever considered the PS1? similar to the Saturn and the disc readers are all failing at an alarming rate. The game library is also much larger, and the system overall was more popular than Saturn.

      • Thanks for the reply,

        I had heard of this MOD before, but found it somewhat lacking compared to what GDEMU puts out. For one it loads via the parallel port instead of a SD card. The compatibility leaves lots to be desired. The large Japanese library will have issues. In addition the modding is very extensive requiring soldering and much more complicated than the GDEMU.

        In short it falls short of what a GDEMU device would do.

      • Yeah, that’s true. They also aren’t willing to put it in a PSOne for you, which is the more aesthetically pleasing model. I like my consoles compact & pretty.

  16. Hello! Just wondering if there are still Paypal requests pending to be sent out for the GDEMU? I haven’t received mine yet and just wanted to make sure the entire list wasn’t done. Not being impatient, I promise! 🙂 For this, I’m willing to wait as long as needed. Thanks again! Appreciate your work!

    • I have not received a Paypal request either, so I don’t think the list is finished.

  17. @gdemu Will you be adding CD+G compatibility to Phoebe in the future? Having figured out how to get mock directories with Rmenu, and having a huge 256GB card (136 games loaded and working) I’m looking to possibly add some VCD and CD+G files next. I’ve heard that they work on Rhea but not Phoebe.

    • I also asked @gdemu for that. It will be great if we can have CD+G compatibility on Phoebe because Rhea users have that privilege right now! This is the only thing I would like to see updated in a future firmware.
      Yesterday I received my 3d printed trays! They fit in like a glove! Awesome! Now my Saturn is completed!

      • I’m tempted to get the 3D trays for my saturn and Dreamcast, but the inside of my Dreamcast gets pretty hot. My only concern is the 3D tray inside will make keeping it cool even that much more difficult. What are your thoughts on that?

      • There are youtube tutorials on disconnectiong the the 5v (i believe) part of the power supply to help reduce heat since it is no longer needed. Also i saw a youtube about upgrading the fan to a quieter more powerful one.

      • Thanks Choaf. I looked on youtube and didn’t see anything that jumped up and I tried various searches. If you find it, could you link to it or tell me what search terms you used?

      • Thanks Choaf. That video is what Jas6004 mentioned below about replacing the PSU entirely with a picoPSU. This seems like a big mod and I’m more interested in keeping my original PSU but just reducing the heat across it.

        OK, after some intensive digging online and on this site as well, it sounds like the GDEMU doesn’t use the 12V line at all. Because there is no load on the 12V line, the power supply tends to heat up more than normal. Plus the removal of the GDROM messes with the flow of air across the power supply to keep it cooler.

        The 3D printed tray looks to possibly help with the air flow path a little, so it seems that is another benefit to getting one. However, the simplest solution that some people have talked about is inserting a 300 Ohm resistor across the 12V and Ground pins on the power supply. This helps put a load on the 12V line and reduces the amount of heat from the power supply. Has anyone else done this and found success with it? Am just curious because I’ve read countless threads of people replacing the PSU altogether and it seems like the simpler thing is to use a resistor.

        Do other GDEMU users do anything to deal with the excess heat coming off the PSU?

  18. I will be checking back a refreshing all day and tomorrow if I can.

  19. The 3D tray for the Dreamcast should help with cooling due to the air flow being drawn past the psu and not over the Rhea/Pheobe circuit board.
    This would be more like when the disc drive was fitted.
    The other alternative is to replace the psu with a pico psu and external power supply, this is what I have done and the dreamcast runs super cool.

    • Thanks for the reply. Can you talk more about your solution with the external power supply and what not? How easy is this to do and what model power supply did you use? I’m relatively new to this type of thing so any details you can share are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

      • If you search on YouTube for pico psu dreamcast, there is a great install video by an Australian guy. It’s relatively easy to carry out if you are half decent with a soldering iron. I bought the parts that the video suggested and it works great. Also using the connections suggested for connecting to the mother board, means it’s easy to reinstate to original if needed.
        The only negative I have found is if you turn off the Dreamcast and immediately turn back on, it doesn’t always power on.
        It’s best to wait a few seconds before powering on again

      • Thanks. That is definitely a mod that requires quite a bit of work. I’m just curious if other GDEMU owners out there noticed that the inside of the DC gets pretty hot. Curious if others are taking any precautions or if this is fairly normal for DC and it and GDEMU won’t have any problems from the internal heat coming off the power supply. The fan in my DC operates normal and my DC is sitting on a shelf in an AV cabinet and I always leave the cabinet door open to help with ventilation.

  20. Today I got my GDEmu, ut was a very quick Shipping!

    I want to thank you and I want to say that you are a Genius and a living Legend, Mr. GDEmu!!!!

    Everything works perfekt! Thank you so much!

    • Congrats! Still waiting for my Paypal request to come through. But glad to hear that they arrive quickly. Very excited to receive it!

      • But, I habe to say that I live in Germany. So, that’s why the shipping take only three days.

    • I came across this as well, but the problem is we don’t know the specs of this. I’m waiting for him to answer the tweet from Ren @ db-electronics before I give money over to this.

      If he can provide data though that looks to Ren, I would gladly get in on something like this.

  21. Hi,

    is there a way to get an alertmail when ordering is possible ?

  22. Anyone able to get Formula Karts to load on a USA Saturn? After about 150 games working on Rhea, this one just wont load. Have tried rips from my own Pal disc and internet sources. Nothing loads.

  23. Hi, I’m waiting for your Rhea eagerly.. so I visit your homepage day by day.. Do you have any plan to open ordering for Rhea for Sega Saturn again. I really hope to use it on my gray saturn.

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