Author Topic: Question about N64Digital and UltraPIF  (Read 1001 times)

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Offline Kazooie64

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Question about N64Digital and UltraPIF
« on: July 11, 2021, 01:44 AM »
Okay, so I need a technical question answering in regard to the N64Digital NTSC/PAL clock changing capability vs the UltraPIF mod's clock changing capability.

Is the UltraPIF basically like the Everdrive's UltraCIC III, allowing the CIC checks to be bypassed (but also works with original carts), plus a built in frequency changer for swapping the clock between 50hz/60hz, so that PAL/NTSC run at the correct, accurate speed?

The N64Digital mod also has a PAL/NTSC clock frequency swapping capability. Will this only fully work in conjunction with an Everdrive with UltraCIC III? Will there still be region lockout issues with original carts if they're a different region to the console?

Just need to clear it up before I decide what route to go down as i want to achieve accuracy. I'm happy running NTSC game via Everdrive X7, but my original carts are all in PAL format.

So would my best option be a PAL N64 with N64Digital+Everdrive X7 for NTSC games?
« Last Edit: July 11, 2021, 01:49 AM by Kazooie64 »

Offline saturnu

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Re: Question about N64Digital and UltraPIF
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2021, 10:57 AM »
hi,

yes the UltaPIF turns your n64 into a multiregion console, it is (optional soldering required) replacing the crystal based on what you are puttin in your n64.
-it has an inbuild cic detection - but you can switch what cic settings it should set, too.
-basically it can simulate both, pal/ntsc pif roms and set the hardware (input) frequency correct

a flashcart with an ultracic turns the cartridge into a multiregion cartridge, so it can boot in standard n64 consoles of every region, but it can't change the crystals of your n64s, or the pifrom from one region to another.
-that's why the everdrive64 uses a pif-simulator for starting games
-it sets some settings the pif would set for a specific cic and region
-and it can set the digital video output of the rpc to 50/60Hz

i watched the n64digital mod installation video and the guy doesn't touch the clock generator chips at all nor the crystals
-maybe the frequency swapping is meant for different input frequencies into the n64digital board?

the UltraCIC III in comparison to the UltraCIC II gets rid of the old manual region switch, setting the cic automatically to ntsc or pal, so you can use it in different regional consoles.
-you don't need an ultracic at all with a console that has an ultrapif installed
-and the video output doesn't care if there is a cic on the cartridge or not

to get true accuracy you need to take care of "three" frequencies - cpu frequency, video output frequency and sound frequency (rambus freq is the same in every region)

i don't know if you can achieve accuracy with an hdmi mod at all, maybe it's adding a minimal lag between controller inputs and the video output, and what is about sound accuracy, if you take it analog and the video is processed digital- is the sound some milliseconds shifted then?
-some new tvs have a game mode to reduce the input lag and on some tvs you can hardly play at all

i guess the best option would be to buy a good crt and a rgb mod instead of a hdmi mod - if you want the highest accuracy
-in combination with an ultrapif mod

if you want to play via hdmi, i would suggest to ignore the 1-2% region specific frequency differencies of the video signal, it's probably taken care of
« Last Edit: July 11, 2021, 05:54 PM by saturnu »

Offline Trevor

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Re: Question about N64Digital and UltraPIF
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2021, 04:03 PM »
wow, erm, hate to sound stupid but how many mods for cic are there? this is getting confusing...
I always assumed there was "just" the ultraCIC (a switch) but since ED does it via software I have never needed it (NTSC/PAL games work equally well on my PAL consol and TV Setup)

Are you saying that all these mods can dissapear with N64digital/UHDMI or are you saying that they are needed for ND/UHDMI ?


Trev

Offline saturnu

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Re: Question about N64Digital and UltraPIF
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2021, 05:55 PM »
not really,
each one has it's specific purpose.

the ultrapif makes the console universal and in addition to that, it can correct the slightly different video/sound output clocks if you play imports
-in this case your cartridges don't need a cic and you can play imports

an ultracic makes the cartridge universal, so you can stick it in a pal/ntsc/m-pal console
-a flashcart can switch between 50/60Hz but the n64 analog output is fed with a 1-2% off signal if you are playing roms of imports
-i'm sure the devs of the hdmi output know about that and deal with these odd frequencies to provide a correct hdmi signal
-flashcarts a pretty common nowadays

No problem. I had to go look it up myself. I looked at the numbers and scratched my head... "Something doesn't look right here!" :D

One other note - the VIDEO being "odd" frequencies will have no affect on the rendering as the video processor does nothing but fetch and display the drawn data. The data is drawn by the rdp, rsp, or cpu... usually the rdp for commercial games. The rsp has a DMA channel it can use to draw to the display (I made a demo for that in libdragon), and you can always draw to the display with the cpu like the recent Doom port and most libdragon stuff. So the video circuitry has an odd frequency to deal with those pesky broadcast timing issues.

I'm not sure why the audio was clocked using the video clock instead of the RCP clock as you would have expected. That would have made it super-simple to handle audio playback rate calculations. Perhaps the audio is fetched interleaved with the video data fetch... X number of words per line like the Amiga audio.

the hdmi mods are just for the video output, it doesn't hassle with the region locks at all
-but i guess the ultracic in a flashcart is just enough for most of the people in this case

as far as my understanding goes the game speed is correct if you play with flashcarts, only the analog video/sound can be bit jitterish? i guess :>

Offline nuu

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Re: Question about N64Digital and UltraPIF
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2021, 10:48 AM »
Flashcart or real carts and a region adapter. I guess you need an UltraPIF and 3 crystals for NTSC, PAL and MPAL audio/video clocks if you want a universal N64.


Think of UltraCIC and UltraPIF like the SuperCIC/SnesCIC key and lock chips used in the SD2SNES and in a modded SNES. The SNES uses the same CIC chip for key and lock, but the N64 has a CIC for key and the PIF for lock.

Offline saturnu

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Re: Question about N64Digital and UltraPIF
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2021, 01:07 AM »
the ultrapif is capable of generating these clock signals, in fact you can even desolder one of the crystals on the n64 mainboard.
even if you have an ultrapif it depends on the dac, if it's switchable, too.
a mav-nus is switchable, a denc-nus is not - can't remember about vdc-nus.
the best way would be a rgb replacement dac or one of these modern hdmi mods.

https://krikzz.com/forum/index.php?topic=1213.msg12206

Offline nuu

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Re: Question about N64Digital and UltraPIF
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2021, 11:52 AM »
Oh ok, no need for crystals.
Ah yes the video DAC is of course another obstacle for region freedom.
VDC-NUS is the one with exposed RGB lines found in early NTSC systems, I think it's only the MAV-NUS found in late NTSC and PAL models that can output all regional CVBS/S-video signals.