use an arcade monitor. Why do I need a special card? I
thought ordinary VGA cards can work with arcade monitors.
Yes it is true that some older cards can be configured to output a15Khz
horizontal scan, by using special drivers, or by functionality built
into applications such as Advanced MAME. This has always been a problem
area though. These solutions can be difficult to configure. Also
you can never really be certain that your card will work at all, at
Even if you can get the card to display 640 X 480 at 15Khz that is
nowhere near the capability ofthe ArcadeVGA since there are 30 other
lower resolutions available when using this card.
Sometimes even cards with "known good" chipsets will not work owing to
having a different OEM BIOS.
Most standard cards will not allow the pixel clock to drop low enough
for low resolution modes such as 320 X 240.
The boot and DOS screens cannot be displayed correctly using
Often hardware stretching is required. For an explanation of why you
don't want this, see the
Arcade Monitor FAQ
The ArcadeVGA card allows a no-hassle way to emulate the video of
an original game board without having to use any special configuration,
and allows this to work in
only use a conventional PC monitor. What is the benefit of
this card? My ordinary card seems to work fine with MAME.
When you run most MAME games, a process called Hardware Stretch is
used. This is needed because most arcade games do not use PC
resolutions suchas 640 X 480, 1024 X 768 etc. They use resolutions such
as 256 X 264. These arcade resolutions could not, until now, be
displayed in Windows on a PC monitor. To get around that problem, MAME
tells the VGA card to stretch the image to fit the PC resolution. This
means that the pixel-to-pixel mapping of the original game onto the
monitor screen is lost as there is no longer a one-to-one relationship
between the pixels which the game designer created and the displayed
pixels. As arcade game resolutions are generally low, this creates a
loss of quality. It is important to note that using a PC monitor will
NOT produce an arcade monitor-like picture as PC monitors have a much
higher dot pitch and finer scan width than arcade monitors. But using
the ArcadeVGA will give a crisper picture than an ordinary VGA card, at
the lower resolutions. There are some comparison pictures on the info page.
Another benefitis that the vertical refresh rates of the ArcadeVGA
modes are tailored to Mame games which means a smoother motion on
horizontally moving graphics.
are the differences between this card and a normal VGA
All VGA cards contain a number of in-built video modes, that
applications can detect and switch to. The problem with normal cards is
that all of these modes are useless on a 15Khz monitor because they all
send a 31Khz horizontal scan rate signal. Even if they could be used,
they are not tailored to gaming because most of them are a too-high
resolution. When used with an arcade monitor the ArcadeVGA card
discards all of these modes and replaces them with an enlarged set of
30 built-in modes, all of which send 15Khz and all are tailored to
gaming. The pixel
clock parameters are different to allow for a lower value of clock,
needed for lower horizontal scan rates. With a PC monitor all of these
modes are also available but they scan at 31Khz. In addition, on a PC
monitor conventional Windows modes are available.
about boot screens, DOS prompt etc?
On an arcade monitor, the standard VGA modes, used in booting and DOS
etc, have been replaced by modes with the same resolution but at a
15Khz scan rate, so all screens, right from power-on, are displayed
perfectly on an arcademonitor. The card dynamically calculates and
adjusts the pixel clock to produce the correct 15Khz scan rate.
how can I get a full DOS text screen on an arcade
monitor which can only display half the number of lines?
The easy way to have done this would have been to simply enable
interlacing for DOS text screens. But we did not do this because an
interlaced picture is not really satisfactory for text. So we replaced
the built-in text fonts with smaller ones to be able to display all 25
lines without interlacing.Result: a perfectly clear text screen with no
When you plug in the card and start Windows, it will immediately
display the desktop on your arcade monitor. Then, after loading the
drivers, the full power of the card is unleashed. The 28 built-in
gaming resolutions are all available for selection for arcade
quality on your arcade or PC monitor. On an arcade monitor, the
Windows desktop, by default is displayed at 640 X 480. Because an
arcade monitor can only display a maximum of 300 lines, we have to
interlace this picture. It is true to say that theWindows desktop is
not ideally suited to interlacing as it has single-pixel lines, which
interlace causes to flicker at 30Hz. So there are alternative
resolutions you can switch to, which are non-interlaced, such as 640 X
288. These restrictions dont exist when using a PC monitor of
configuration do I need to do?
To get the best results, you may need to select and save a suitable
resolution for each game because the MAME "auto" resolution does not
always pick the best resolution. There is some configuration in Mame to
do, to turn off hardware stretch and direct 3D. This is detailed on the
installation page.There are also helper applications which will
automatically create configuration files for all games, containing
other (non-emulation) applications work?
Yes. In Windows, on an arcade monitor, any game or other app that will
run at 640 X 480 or 800 X 600 should work fine. These resolutions need
interlacing owing to the arcade monitor limit of 300 lines. However, 3D
games etc produce a good picture with interlacing. Some older DOS
applications tha tuse custom text or control the card's registers
directly, may not work. This type of application is rare nowadays. PC
monitors dont have any restrictions of this kind.
I say goodbye to Hardware Stretching for ever?
Almost all games will never need this option and will display at their
original resolutions with full arcade quality. But there is a range of
vertical resolutions that arcade monitors cannot display. (this is a
limit of the monitor, not the card, see the Arcade
The range is from 300 - 450 lines. This range cannot bedisplayed
because the figure is too high for non-interlaced display and too low
for interlaced (without unacceptable top/bottom borders). So games with
300 -450 vertical lines will still need H/W stretch to fill the screen.
if I have a D9800 or other multi-frequency monitor?
The Wells-Gardner D9800 monitor is an example of a multi-range monitor
that can display all arcade modes from 15Khz right up to 31Khz. The
ArcadeVGAcard makes a perfect partner for this monitor, because it
enables you to use the 15Khz modes which a normal VGA card would never
use, unless you used Advanced MAME. In fact unless you use a method to
enable 15Khz modes, you will have wasted the extra cost of the monitor
over a standard VGA monitor.
There is a special software utility for the ArcadeVGA card which
unlocks the 31Khz resolutions so you can run Windows at it's normal
non-interlaced resolution instead of 15Khz interlaced. 25Khz
are also supported.
do I connect the monitor?
PC monitors simply plug in as normal, to the DVI port, using a DVI
toVGA adaptor if required.
If you are using a J-PAC JAMMA interface with an arcade monitor, just
plug it in. If not, you can connect a VGA cable to an arcade monitor
directly. The ArcadeVGA card produces 1 volt signal level
output.Wells-Gardner, Hantarex and many other monitors can accept this
for more connection details. We also sell a connection VGA cable which
has a Wells-Gardner connector and also has wire ends labelled for easy
connection to other manufacturers monitors.
Some arcade monitors may need our video amp PCB,unless you are using a
J-PAC which has an on-board amplifier. This now includes an attached
VGA cable to plug right into the ArcadeVGA card and needs no separate
power supply when used with this card.
don't we supply a cable with a plug on the monitor end
for all monitors?
The problem is, there is no standard for arcade monitor connectors,
sowe would not know what type of plug to fit on the other end. So,
unless you are using a J-PAC, there will be some simple wiring to do.
Our Video Amp also acts as a "break-out" which makes the RGB and Sync
available on screw connectors,making the connection easier. We do sell
a cable with a connector for Wells-Gardner arcade monitors as this is
the most common brand. This cable can also be used for connection to
other models as the wires are labelled.
about Composite sync?
The ArcadeVGA card is designed to be connected to either a H-V sync or
composite sync monitor. All video modes produce negative H and V sync.
Thismeans that the H and V sync wires in the VGA cable can simply be
connected together to produce composite sync, if you are making your
- Apart from the arcade monitor functionality, what are the
It is based on an ATI Radeon HD5450 chipset and has 1Gb RAM. This
is sufficient to run all games at arcade monitor resolutions which the
card is aimed at.
- What operating systems are supported?
The card supports boot screens plus Windows XP (32 and 64 bit),
Windows 10 (32 and 64 bit), Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit) and Windows
(32 and 64 bit). No other
OSes (eg Linux) are supported.
else I need to know before ordering?
Make sure your PC has a PCI Express x16 slot. Note PCI is not the
same as PCI Express. Check
for pictures of slot types.