Topic: 4. CRT Emudriver

4 .   C R T   E m u d r i v e r

4.1. Purpose.

4.2. Supported cards and performance.

4.3. Installation and usage.

4.4. Results.

4.5. Interaction with other software.

Re: 4. CRT Emudriver

4.1. Purpose.

CRT Emudriver is a modified version of Catalyst 6.5, 9.3 and 13.1 for ATI/AMD video cards, and Windows XP (both 32/64-bit) and Windows 7 (64-bit), by Calamity which improves its functionality in order to get these cards working at true low resolutions on CRT monitors with RGB signal like old computers and video-game systems did, but also allowing for full customization of the card's high resolution modes. It was born as a way to complement emulation software such as MAME, so that the emulated games on the OS Windows XP/7 could be displayed like they did on the original hardware, without any sort of artifact.

CRT Emudriver's main features are:

- 15-kHz support right after installing and rebooting Windows.

- Doubles the number of video modes supported by regular Catalyst drivers, which were limited to 60 available modes.

- Fixes support for real 320 x and 400 x resolutions, which are hardcoded as double-scan modes with regular Catalyst drivers.

Notice that, for low-resolution usage you need both, a 15-kHz, RGB-capable monitor/TV and a special cable which carries the RGB signal from the graphic card's standard 15-pin (DA-15) output to the monitor's RGB input, which will usually be a SCART connector for TVs and the corresponding connector for arcade monitors. Please, refer to the hardware section for more details and explanations about those.

Re: 4. CRT Emudriver

4.2. Supported cards and performance.

Only ATI Radeon video cards supported by CRT Emudriver. There are several versions of CRT Emudriver. You must select the one that fits your operating system and video card.

Under Windows XP, we support the range from the Radeon 7000 up to the Radeon HD 4xxx family, in either 32 and 64-bit versions of the operating system. Older cards are supported by the version based on Catalyst 6.5. Newer cards are supported by the one based on Catalyst 9.3. Some cards are supported by both 6.5 and 9.3 versions, in this case it's recommended to use the 9.3.

List of Catalyst 6.5-supported video cards:

ATI Radeon 7000, 7200, 7500, 8500, 9000, 9100, 9200, 9250, 9500, 9550, 9600, 9700, 9800, X300, X550, X600, X700, X800, X850, X1300, X1600, X1800, X1900, X1950, Arcade VGA 9200/9250, etc.

List of Catalyst 9.3-supported video cards:

ATI Radeon 9500, 9550, 9600, 9700, 9800, X300, X550, X600, X700, X740, X800, X850, X1050, X1200, X1300, X1550, X1600, X1650, X1800, X1900, X1950, HD 2350, HD 2400, HD 2600, HD 2900, HD 3200, HD 3300, HD 3400, HD 3410, HD 3450, HD 3550, HD 3570, HD 3600, HD 3610, HD 3690, HD 3730, HD 3750, HD 3800, HD 3830, HD 3850, HD 3870, HD 4230, HD 4250, HD 4350, HD 4550, HD 4570, HD 4580, HD 4650, HD 4670, HD 4730, HD 4750, HD 4800, HD 4850, HD 4870, HD 4890, etc.

Please note: Not every listed ATI Radeon model behaves optimally. The ones marked in red just cannot work under certain dotclock values and therefore the minimum displayed resolution is limited by it. There's a workaround for that which is explained in the Video Mode Maker section, but we particularly recommend the following video cards in case you can choose, since they have been confirmed not to have any low dotclock restrictions:

Radeon 7xxx, 9xxx (*)
Radeon X300, and probably other low-end models from the X series
Radeon HD 4xxx family

The following supported models are known to have low dotclock restrictions:

Radeon X series, except for X300 and probably other low-end models
Radeon HD 2xxx family
Radeon HD 3xxx family

(*) Ultimarc's Arcade VGA models based on these chipsets should be supported. Newer models like Arcade VGA 3000 are not supported.

Under Windows 7, we support the Radeon HD 2xxx, HD 3xxx and Radeon HD 4xxx families, only for the 64-bit version of the operating system.

Also notice that there're no performance differentiations between AGP- and PCI Express-based cards. Keep in mind, though, that the card must output an analog signal through either, VGA or DVI-I output. If the card happens to have both outputs, the one in use needs to be the primary output. As the cable you'll be using will likely have a 15-pin D-sub connector, you'll also need a DVI-I-to-VGA adaptor in order to use the DVI-I output if this happens to be the card's primary output (newer models).

Re: 4. CRT Emudriver

4.3. Installation and usage.

CRT Emudriver substitutes the official driver of your ATI/AMD graphic card. This installation manual assumes that a standard PC monitor or a 31-kHz-capable monitor is being used for the preliminary steps. It's recommended beforehand to clean up the OS from any previous installation of ATI drivers and also delete the pre-installed Microsoft ATI drivers in Windows XP by way of Catalyst Uninstaller.

Download the latest version of CRT Emudriver that fits your video card and OS from the download section and extract the files in any folder of your targetted PC's hard disk drive (just take care not to create a too long path, otherwise ATI installers may refuse to work). CRT Emudriver is served along with Video Mode Maker and Arcade OSD, a couple of utility programs which are also extracted in the process and will help you to get the best out of the driver. Also check if there are udpated versions of Video Mode Maker and Arcade OSD, and if so replace the ones in the driver package with them.

Go into the extracted Driver folder and double-click Setup.exe to install the driver. Your PC will then be ready to output 15-kHz low-resolution modes. Before rebooting the system with a 15-kHz monitor though, you should set the desktop to 640 x 480 @ 60 in case you want 15-KHz output right after the restart, given that that particular resolution is always defined as a 15-kHz interlaced mode as default and, consequently, it will be displayed on the 15-kHz monitor with no issues. You'll notice that, unless you're using an Arcade VGA card or got your video card's BIOS patched with ATOM-15, the BIOS start-up screens get out of frequency on 15-kHz-only monitors, so you'll need to wait for Windows to start getting a 15-kHz display. Don't turn on the monitor during the start-up screens if you think out-of-sync signals may damage it. In case you intend to use a standard PC monitor you may probably trust on your monitor's EDID info that will provide the driver with an usable resolution even if everything else installed by the driver would be out of sync.

When installing CRT Emudriver in Windows 7, some extra caution must be taken:

1.- Run the Setup program with ADMIN RIGHTS enabled.
2.- DO NOT restart the system when W7 prompts you to do so, let the Setup program finish, allow it to set TEST mode on.
3.- CRT Emudriver for W7 doesn't boot in 15 kHz automatically after restart. You need to manually enable a 15 kHz mode from Arcade OSD.
4.- Remind to always run VMMaker with ADMIN RIGHTS.
5.- Windows 7 does not support "magic" resolutions. Use "super" resolutions instead.

After installing, you can use Video Mode Maker to better adjust the mode list in order to fit your particular monitor type.

It is NOT recommended to install ATI/AMD's Catalyst Control Center (CCC), as it might conflict with our settings. If the only reason you want to install CCC is to enable the desktop rotation functionallity for vertically-mounted monitors, let us suggest you to use EnTech's iRotate. If for whatever reason you still want to install CCC, then find the one that matches your Catalyst version. Use these links:

  - For Catalyst 6.5 (6.11) 32 and 64 bits: Download page.
    (do not install the whole suite, so just look for the CCC at C:\ATI\Support\6-11-pre-r300_xp-2k_dd_ccc_wdm_38185\ACE)

  - For Catalyst 9.3: 32-bit Download link / 64-bit Download link.

Re: 4. CRT Emudriver

4.4. Results.

As it has been said, CRT Emudriver will not only serve to make your PC display non-interlaced 15-kHz modes (the so-called low resolutions) whichever the values of both, resolution and vertical refresh, it can also be used to generate non-Windows-standard high resolution modes (such as, say, 512 x 512) or to get the exact vertical frecuency we need (or close enough) for particular games which require perfect synchronization. Also note that, aside of emulators, many PC games originally designed at low resolutions will also benefit from CRT Emudriver installation (and the usage of a 15-kHz monitor), since they won't need to double-scan their graphics for full-screen display anymore. Bi- or tri-sync monitors can also be used at the desired frequency of their whole ranges, switching between them from Windows itself.

For modeline generation and display configuration (which should be previous to any usage of CRT Emudriver for gaming software) the utility programs Video Mode Maker and Arcade OSD, distributed along with CRT Emudriver, are wholeheartedly recommended above anything else. Usage explanations for they both, as well as for their use with the better-known emulation programs, can be found in subsequent chapters. CRT Emudriver comes with some pre-installed 15-kHz modes anyway, which should suffice for Groovy MAME users.

Re: 4. CRT Emudriver

4.5 Interaction with other software.

Hyperspin

If you're using the Hyperspin frontend, you need to be aware that it has a bug that prevents it from starting if the number of video modes available in the system exceeds a certain amount (usually between 80-100 video modes, but the figure is uncertain and depends on the particular system). In this situation, the frontend will silently crash upon startup.

It is possible to reduce the total number of modes created by VMMaker, using the TotalModes option in vmmaker.ini. This way, you can find out the upper limit that works for your particular system by simple trial and error. But for doing this VMMaker will need to drop some modes, and it might end up dropping modes that could be required for some games.

A better option is to use "magic resolutions" if you're in XP, or "super resolutions" for Windows 7. These two methods guarantee perfect results with a very short mode list. However their use is restricted to GroovyMAME/UME, so the rest of emulators still require normal resolutions in order to work.

Youtube, Hyperspin, hardware acceleration for MPEG video in general (DXVA)

Due to some sort of copy protection for copyrighted material, ATI drivers turn off hardware acceleration for MPEG videos when they feel they have been patched. This results in an infamous green screen which you may have seen when trying to play a Youtube video or even inside the Hyperspin frontend.

While it's quite straight-forward to disable hardware acceleration for any desktop video player (which by the way usually produces better results with nowadays systems), it is not that easy to do the same thing for Flash based video players. Youtube and Hyperspin video playback is based on Flash. Believe it or not, the only known way to disable hardware acceleration is to install Mozilla Firefox (read: not Chrome, not MS Internet Explorer), then play whatever Youtube video. Now right-click on the video window, and you'll access a properties menu that will allow you to disable hardware acceleration. Fortunately this change is global to the system.