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Do Funtastic consoles have better video display?; MegaMania has pics to prove it!
Topic Started: Dec 4 2012, 10:26 PM (43,410 Views)
poptarts214
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Ha I thought I did know everything about the N64, great discovery. Now time to start ebay hunting.
296/296 NTSC Carts
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finngamer
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Grizzmeister
Dec 6 2012, 09:24 PM
So these tests have been conducted with a standard composite cable, huh? If testing was done with a SCART I might be tempted to conclude that the Funtastic models possibly support RGB. That might also explain why no one with an NTSC model ever noticed.
I used the standard cable that came with the machines over here, a composite cable with a SCART connector. SCART is just the name for the connector, it's still composite if the cables are composite, and it's RGB if the cable is RGB.

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bluedogrulez
Dec 6 2012, 07:34 PM
Dumb question time: Finn, do all of your consoles have the same model #? I'm guessing yes, but curious nevertheless....
Sorry, what number is that? Or the chip number you mentioned later?
Edited by finngamer, Dec 8 2012, 05:07 AM.
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bluedogrulez
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finngamer
Dec 8 2012, 05:04 AM

bluedogrulez
Dec 6 2012, 07:34 PM
Dumb question time: Finn, do all of your consoles have the same model #? I'm guessing yes, but curious nevertheless....
Sorry, what number is that? Or the chip number you mentioned later?
On NTSC consoles, there is a Model Number on a gray sticker above the expansion slot on the bottom side. On my gray consoles and the jungle green funtastic I just bought, the Model number is NUS-001(USA).

Thinking back to the NES, the model number only changed for the toploader version. So I doubt the N64 model changed with motherboard revisions, but if we can confirm that, all the better.
Edited by bluedogrulez, Dec 8 2012, 06:15 AM.
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finngamer
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bluedogrulez
Dec 8 2012, 06:14 AM
finngamer
Dec 8 2012, 05:04 AM

bluedogrulez
Dec 6 2012, 07:34 PM
Dumb question time: Finn, do all of your consoles have the same model #? I'm guessing yes, but curious nevertheless....
Sorry, what number is that? Or the chip number you mentioned later?
On NTSC consoles, there is a Model Number on a gray sticker above the expansion slot on the bottom side. On my gray consoles and the jungle green funtastic I just bought, the Model number is NUS-001(USA).
Oh, they all are 001, except for Pikachu which is 101.
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Mega Mania
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Dec 7 2012, 08:47 AM
My NUP 16111072 (Eur. PAL) for the reads NUS-CPU(P)-02. TIP: In the power supply "hole" (console) and see from different angles until you can be found by searching.


USA and Japan since 1998 models are: NUS-CPU-06, NUS-CPU-07, NUS-CPU-08, NUS-CPU-08-1, NUS-CPU-09 and latest NUS-CPU-09-1. These models SHOULD have better image quality(?), when the Main Chips is the same as (European better image) NUS-CPU(P)-02.
Main Chips:
CPU-NUS A
RCP-NUS
RDRAM36-NUS
MAV-NUS
AMP-NUS
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Thegt550
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This topic is great :w00t:
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lithium017
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I did not know this - really cool info to find out years and years after the fact. Thanks Mega Mania, Finngamer and Blue for bringing this to my attention!

I think there is a noticeable upgrade that looks better with the game running and not with still images, as finn said.
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bluedogrulez
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I got a little excited when i realized my backup NTSC gray console had a serial number begginning with '259'. According to the linked article posted by Mega Mania, this serial number means it has a CPU-5.1 board rather than the initial CPU-3 board my main gray console has.

Sorry to report no observable difference in video appearance however. SBK 2 looked the same on both.

I should be getting my funtastic console soon and will report back.
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Grizzmeister
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bluedogrulez
Dec 10 2012, 10:40 PM
I should be getting my funtastic console soon and will report back.
I'm very interested in reading your findings! Nothing I enjoy better than seeing someone use the scientific method of forming a hypothesis, conducting experiments and then drawing a conclusion from the results.

Right now I'm keeping my fingers crossed hoping you see an appreciably better picture out of your Funtastic N64. ;)
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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Panda
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Got all European Funtastic consoles, will do some some tests soon.

Didn't know this.
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bluedogrulez
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My jungle green NTSC console bearing a 284.... serial number arrived last night. Based on the serial number list linked by Mega Mania, it should have a NUS-CPU-08-1 board inside, and be comparable to the "good" European consoles.

I quickly tested the console this am. My set up: 27" tube TV, s-cable, OEM expansion pak. First impression was that my Jungle Green does NOT produce a superior graphics. With express apologies to Grizz, this was not a scientific test. Just an initial observation. Hoping to take pics that match up with Mega Mania's to review further. Also want to open console up to confirm CPU#.

Edit: Confirmed CPU-08.

EDIT 2: My initial conclusion was WRONG, as reported later in this thread. Keep reading . . . .
Edited by bluedogrulez, Oct 27 2015, 11:02 AM.
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Link83
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Hello everyone!
Thanks for the couple of PM's and kind comments about my research on N64 motherboards :wub: I will do my best to answer any questions anyone has :)

I tend to keep the N64 motherboard thread at Benheck updated more often than the ModRetro thread, so you may want to take a look there:-
http://forums.benheck.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=27684
(Which reminds me I need to update that thread, been busy with other things lately :( )

I have just read through this topic, and there are some interesting findings. However I hate to put down the observations but there are a few too many variables at play here which will affect the picture quality.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Firstly, I would just like to say that I actually agree with 'brown duckz' comments on the first page in that the pictures on the right dont actually look better to me (Although this is obviously subjective) To me it looks like the equivalent of turning up the sharpness control on your TV, which adds image data which shouldnt really be there. This video may help explain why adding sharpness isnt actually better:-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX9_N8On4D8

Also, the N64 deliberately blurs its graphics using 'trilinear filtering', this was considered a feature by Nintendo:-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_64#Graphics
So attempting to make textures/pixels sharper is actually going against what Nintendo intended (Getting the best video output possible by RGB modding the console is different, since RGB gives the cleanest possible video signal but doesnt actually change the source picture/graphics in any way)

Anyway, the above is just my opinion and obviously everyone will have different thoughts on this.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With that out of the way heres why there are currently too many variables...

All N64's use the same RCP (Reality Co Processor) 'Graphics' Chip, so thats not that cause of any differences you can see.

The RCP sends digital video data to the DAC (Digital to Analog Convertor) chip, which in most N64's also combines the Video Encoder chip. This chip was custom made for Nintendo by ROHM, and turns the digital video data into an analog video signal (Composite, S-Video) so that you can connect your N64 to your TV.

During the lifetime of the N64 this DAC/Video Encoder chip was changed a number times depending on your consoles region and your motherboard revision:-

Motherboard Revision and DAC/Video Encoder Chip List
NTSC N64's
NUS-CPU-01 = VDC-NUS + ENC-NUS
NUS-CPU-02 = VDC-NUS + ENC-NUS
NUS-CPU-03 = VDC-NUS or VDC-NUS A + ENC-NUS
NUS-CPU-04 = VDC-NUS A + ENC-NUS
NUS-CPU-05 = AVDC-NUS or MAV-NUS
NUS-CPU-05-1 = MAV-NUS
NUS-CPU-06 = MAV-NUS
NUS-CPU-07 = MAV-NUS
NUS-CPU-08 = MAV-NUS
NUS-CPU-08-1 = MAV-NUS
NUS-CPU-09 = MAV-NUS
NUS-CPU-09-1 = MAV-NUS

PAL N64's
NUS-CPU(P)-01 = DENC-NUS
NUS-CPU(P)-02 = MAV-NUS
NUS-CPU(P)-03 = MAV-NUS
NUS-CPU(P)-03-1 = MAV-NUS

The N64 serial list at benheck linked earlier should help you work out which motherboard you have, and so which DAC/Video Encoder chip is inside your N64.

Early NTSC and PAL N64s use different video chips (And different resolutions) so its hard to directly compare them. Later models of N64 all use the MAV-NUS DAC/Video Encoder chip, so in theory you would think you could compare them.

However, heres where it gets confusing - Nintendo for some reason decided to try and 'region lock' the N64's video cables >_< In other words the video cables have different components inside the plugs depending on the region you bought it from! So there are:-
- NTSC N64 Composite Video cables
- NTSC N64 S-Video cables
- PAL N64 Composite Video cables
There isnt any PAL N64 S-Video cables, and lets forget about RF cables since I doubt many people will be using them nowadays! In addition PAL GameCube cables have different components again, so even though they fit the N64 (Same connector) the picture may be different.

Now if people always used the video cables that came in the box with their N64 there wouldnt be a problem, but thats not what happens. In reality people buy cheap third party video cables from ebay, or try and use NTSC S-Video cables on PAL N64's, and this creates all sorts of picture quality issues.

I posted some info about the cable region differences here:-
http://nfggames.com/forum2/index.php?topic=3203.0
and you can see why NTSC S-Video cables need to be modified to work with PAL N64's here:-
http://nfggames.com/forum2/index.php?topic=3460.0

The different N64 DAC/Video Encoder chips will respond differently to these missing components - so even if you use the exact same video cable with two N64 consoles, if the cable is not for the correct region and of good quality (ie, official Nintendo/well shielded) it likely wont produce the same picture.

On top of the above issues, modern LCD TV's may try and compensate for an incorrect signal in unusual ways, since they have to process and scale the image. If you want to test the image quality of an N64 you really need to use a good old CRT TV, at least for testing purposes.

So, once you combine all these factors (N64 consoles region, video encoder chip, video cable type, video cable quality, TV type, etc) its not really possible to just say 'later N64's have better video display'.

Anyway, I think I have gone on for long enough now! I hope that helps explain a few things and if anyone has any questions just let me know ;)
Edited by Link83, Dec 16 2012, 02:26 PM.
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sanni
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Very good first post Link83 :wub:

Edited by sanni, Dec 16 2012, 10:26 AM.
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Grizzmeister
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Thank you for all that information, Link83! Also, welcome to our humble forum! It's an honor to have someone so knowledgeable about the N64 hardware join our community. :w00t:
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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Mega Mania
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Link83
Dec 16 2012, 10:09 AM
If you want to test the image quality of an N64 you really need to use a good old CRT TV, at least for testing purposes.
I can make testing with CRT tv. Pictures coming weekend or next week! :)

I've been playing Gray & Colored N64 with CRT tv, about 5 years ago. I noticed sharper image in CRT tv.
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Z890
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As others have mentioned, it seems to be simply increasing the sharpness (you can see lines/edges getting darker in the photos). I think this is a good thing myself. But my TV can change the sharpness easy enough.

Ive seen sharpness improvements for NTSC perfect dark over the PAL version (in this post recently on here), which made me wonder if the PAL coloured consoles were simply altered inside to give the SAME sharpness level as NTSC....however the NTSC perfect dark has other variables like higher texture detail...So I got out my passport plus to compare the same cartridge on PAL and NTSC consoles (unfortuately I cant get perfect dark to work with it)...

Done some tests and for starfox/lylat wars early PAL and early NTSC consoles look the same level of sharpness. I thought that maybe the NTSC had no extra sharpness due to it being harder to see with the extra thick black lines - but the NTSC starfox on a PAL console with passport plus looks the same as if it was running on a NTSC console and vice versa PAL cartridge the same detail on either console type - and PAL goldeneye on NTSC console with passport plus has no extra sharpness - In conclusion that means thats the early PAL and early NTSC consoles have the same level of sharpness output (both tested with s video, with a modded s video for PAL).

So...if the coloured PAL consoles show a sharper image, i would expect the later NTSC ones to do so to because both types start off as 'unsharpened' images for early console versions (with both ones having the same component changed later).

Im going to buy a coloured PAl console and see if changing my TV sharpness on an old console gives the SAME picture quality as the coloured console outputs. If its a case of Nintendo going cheap on parts then I expect no advantage to altering the TV setting (and it would mean that those later consoles are stuck on an (overly??) sharpened image which you could reduce but loose original picture detail...If it was Nintendo aiming to reduce the blur (i suspect thats the case as wouldnt cheaper parts make it more blurry?) then it might be a better image than you can get from altering the TV sharpness.

Edited by Z890, Dec 23 2012, 11:44 AM.
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Mega Mania
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Testing with CRT TV, Tv brand is Salora, "21. Sharpness adjustment/setting both are 0%. Cable and Jumper Pak used the same for both.

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Z890
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@mega mania,

if you increase your TV sharpness for the grey console, I wonder if that makes the exact same image quality as the colour console (sharpness on tv set to normal)?
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Mega Mania
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Z890
Dec 27 2012, 02:33 PM
@mega mania,

if you increase your TV sharpness for the grey console, I wonder if that makes the exact same image quality as the colour console (sharpness on tv set to normal)?
If I add sharpness 50% in tv, yes see the difference. Perhaps less than sharpness 0%.
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ChemicalJoy
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*I re-read this thread, and it looks like Link83 has got it covered. (actually, most of my knowledge comes from his posts on other forums) It should all come down to the video encoder used.

(original post)
The picture quality should all come down to the graphics combiner type (the chipset that converts the graphics data into a video output (NTSC or PAL)). After motherboard revision NUS-04, nintendo changed the combiner chipset. This explains why most black/grey consoles don't have the sharper image (they are NUS-04 and earlier). Specifically, NUS-04 and earlier models have a VDC-NUS or VDC-NUS A chipset for image processing. Consequently, those chipsets are the last to be RGB-moddable. After NUS-04, they moved to the AMP-NUS chipset, which though not RGB-moddable, probably provides the clearer picture. (those combiner chips have improved consistently with time)

My theory on why not all of the "funtastic" consoles have the enhanced image is thus- after I think board revision NUS-09 (don't hold me to it), nintendo started using older boards again, and various other cost saving devices were implemented. This includes factory re-furbished consoles, etc. So some of the "funtastic" and other specialty consoles actually have old components in them. I know this doesn't seem especially intuitive. Trust me though, the chips and layout of the N64 board has changed a bit throughout the years.

The easiest way (IMO) to quickly determine whether or not a console has the better video chipset or not would be from the board revision. There are lists out there that more or less accurately correlate serial numbers to board revisions. From board revisions, it should be pretty easy to determine just what chipset you have.
Edited by ChemicalJoy, Jan 7 2013, 02:23 PM.
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CoachLuke22
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Very Cool Topic! I have all the NTSC consoles and ill be trying this soon.
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YogurtStorm
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Woah, crazy. Just when you'd think the only difference is the color.
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N64freak21
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Yep.... I got one with the better quality video....

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bluedogrulez
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I am happy to report that I experienced the enhanced video output of my funtastic console (cpu-08) tonite. I was playing an extremely dark course in Roadsters over and over again on my grey console. Hard to make out the course. Then I switched to my jungle green and noticed an appreciable difference. A brighter output and a crisper one, too. I can appreciate that this may not equal better graphics in some games (blending can be a good thing), but it was definately noticable tonight.
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Grizzmeister
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I wish I had a Funtastic console to try this out myself. :(

I'd vigorously test it with Mario Kart 64, Wave Race 64, Super Smash Bros. and Turok Rage Wars as I've played those games so much I'd immediately notice any difference.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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ItsOnlyAFleshWound
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im gonna test this theory 2moz arvo if i find the time its very interesting.
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Mega Mania
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Good know! :applause:

Edit: it would be nice to see the pictures.
Edited by Mega Mania, Feb 6 2013, 01:30 PM.
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bluedogrulez
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By way of another unscientific update, i popped Star Soldier in the funtastic (rev8.0) and it looked absolutely glorious. There were scenery items that i just hadnt noticed before when i played this game at length on my old grey console. Very arcade looking and now even less sure not why this game has a bad rap.

I should try to get some pics, but don't have to set up for it (quick iphone pics dont cut it).
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YogurtStorm
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seems like I gotta ditch the grey and go funtastic !
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Brandicus
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Okay correct me if Im wrong, but the funtastic models do NOT support s-video correct? doesn't that make it a moot point? Surely an old model outputting s-video has a superior picture to a funtastic composite picture.
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