So, I spent a few bucks this weekend and upgraded my arcade cabinet’s guts. Previously, it was running an AMD Sempron 2500+ with 768 megs of ram. I purchased a new motherboard (EVGA), dropped in a Intel Core2Duo processor (I had it left over from my last upgrade to my desktop pc), 2 gigs of DDR 2 ram and a new power supply. This machine flies now (for a MAME cabinet, that is).
I stuck with the motherboard’s onboard NVIDIA graphics, as arcade emulation doesn’t require any real 3-D rendering. I am now thinking that I might upgrade the video, too as I may decide to put some more modern games on the system if I can make them mesh with the arcade controls. I also went with the onboard audio, and I have no regrets with that, as it seems to work well. I am using a 2.1 audio setup (two speakers plus a sub-woofer) at the moment, but am considering ways of doing a 4.1 or 5.1 setup in the arcade machine. It would require a redesign of the control panel, but that was something I was already planning anyway.
I was planning on dropping in a 19 inch Samsung flat panel monitor in place of the 19 inch Samsung Sync Master CRT monitor that is in there right now, but that will have to wait, as that will actually take some wood work that I was not prepared to do this weekend. I know a lot of people prefer the CRT for MAME cabinet use, but the Sync Master is fading (focus is way off), and this flat panel is very bright and crisp…and sitting right here.
I then installed Windows XP Media Center (and all updates), along with re-installing Mamewah, the arcade cabinet friendly frontend for the Mame emulator. It also works very well with other command line emulators, though it can be frustrating to setup, initially.
Another change I want to make is to completely redo the artwork for the bezel – Heck, I want to redo the whole bezel it self, as I am using black foam-core with pasted on graphics. Kind of tacky, and it is starting to take a beating from my removing the plexi-glass to get at the monitor controls.
I have to say that I am wrestling with the possibility of just buying a cocktail cabinet and putting everything in there and ditching the upright machine, but I haven’t decided if I really want to do all that work…
-If you are interested, you can read an earlier post about my MAME cabinet here.
While writing this, I was listening to “Most Precarious” by Blues Traveler