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Overclocking the Super Nintendo

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the because-you-can dept.


Robert Ivy writes "The Super Nintendo is a tricky piece of hardware, but I have finally managed to overclock it up to 5.1 MHz. At this speed, the sprites scatter across the screen; this is likely a sync issue since the CPU is running so far out of spec. I plan on trying lower speeds soon and I will update the guide on UCM." Thank god we got that out of the way!

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Just imagine (2, Funny)

Nick Fury (624480) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232178)

Just imagine a whole cluster of these.

Re:Just imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232295)

It's beowulf cluster. Your lack of reverence for old english literature makes me sad.

Re:Just imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232865)

Just imagine a whole cluster of these.

...if Google started with a cluster of Super Nintendos. Bargain basement hardware indeed. Besides, when its considered obsolete you can then sell them as 'antiques'. ;)

great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232182)

iam expecting $university will be investing in a large bank of them now so they can calculate a 3D rendering of a chair

It really is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232186)

It really is Super Mario Bros. now.

An A for the effort (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232189)

Don't get me wrong, great job OCing your console, but ... what purpose does it serve? If it's done to prove that it's possible, then more power to you.

But if the plan was to get "more" out of your console, I guess it wasn't too bright. Console proggers always relied on the fact that consoles, unlike PCs, were set in stone. You had THAT CPU, THAT GPU, THAT memory and that's something you can rely on. I.e., they didn't do what PC game creators have to do today: Take into account different hardware specs and take care of timing.

More often than not, they used the CPU clock as the timing device (everyone who ever played Wing Commander on a 486 knows the effect you get when you do that on a platform that can very well change the hardware). So if you tweak the CPU, you get a game that runs "too fast".

But little else.

Re:An A for the effort (2, Insightful)

zome (546331) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232287)

if you have to ask for the purpose, you probably won't understand it anyway :-)

End (4, Insightful)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232308)

Overclocking old embedded devices is like power: it is not a means, it is and end.

Re:End (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232906)

How can a comment be insightful when it makes no grammatical sense?

I shit out things with more highly developed intellectual capabilities than the average /. modder most mornings before breakfast.

Fuck you all.

Re:End (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15233400)

the tampons are on isle three, sir.

Re:An A for the effort (4, Informative)

Megane (129182) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232309)

The usefulness comes in with games which use the vertical sync as a timebase. If they take too many computations per frame, they will miss the vertical sync, and only sync to every other vertical frame. This causes a slowdown to half speed. Overclocking the CPU allows it to do more work per frame, avoiding slowdowns. There are released games which exhibit this problem, and not all of them are action games. In Harvest Moon, if you have more than ten cows in the barn, slowdowns will happen.

This is known to be useful on the Dreamcast, where it improves emulator performance.

Re:An A for the effort (1)

AngelofDeath-02 (550129) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232612)

My ps2 has interlace sync issues in GranTurismo 4 ... if you put it in progressive mode, the studdering and synching isn't an issue.

It's extremely annoying and does it on every ps2. Unfortunately, not every tv I have supports progressive, and 1080 mode is only interlaced.

Re:An A for the effort (1)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232626)

When making a Tool-Assisted Speedrun [bisqwit.iki.fi] , minimizing lag is one of many optimizations--sometimes a seemingly suboptimal route must be taken because it involves fewer sprites and thus less lag. Of course, hardware overclocking doesn't help those runs since they're meant to be something you could do on stock hardware if you had <16ms reaction times.

Re:An A for the effort (4, Informative)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232316)

Actually, you can overclock the NES and the Genesis both without really suffering any ill effects, but their hardware was quite a bit more simple than the SNES. You can find the Genesis guide here [epicgaming.us] , and the NES one here [epicgaming.us] .

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232383)

Windows 98 has just been released to the masses. Customers were in awe over the bright blue screen

Re:An A for the effort (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232470)

This does not actually apply to most modern systems, though is definitely the case for anything pre PlayStation 1/Nintendo 64 generation. Modern systems generally work as the above poster said... timed to catch the retrace and if they miss it "simply" (and unattractively) slowing the game down. This is always a trade-off. Good games get it right, poor ones do not.

Re:An A for the effort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232666)

Or a better example of this still is the old game Sopwith. It ran just fine on a 4.77 MHz XT, but overclocking it with the turbo button to 9 MHz and it was way too fast. Don't even think of running it on a 16MHz 386.

Re:An A for the effort (1)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232750)

This is useless. Not because it's overclocking an old console, but because the SNES relies so heavily on the timing being in perfect sync among everything, that even overclocking the processor a few Hz is pointless. The SNES was an extremely complicated system for its day. Emulator authors are still struggling to get 100% accuracy (Though I'd say 99% has been achieved.) DSP-1 and.... Whatever is used in Far East of Eden Zero were just recently worked out, and not long before that was C4 emulation.

ok... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232192)

1991 called...

they want their relevant challenge back.

No honestly, this is cool and all but why try to overclock 15 year old hardware? I would prefer seeing the Xbox 360 overclocked.

Re:ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232322)

Psyche! * clicks fingers whilst waving forearm back and forth *
I'm off to watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air now bro..

Re:ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232360)

maybe because.
360 = not worth it because it'll prolly just overheat like always.
snes = sweet peice of gaming machine.

Don't know why I'm commenting really (1)

frankthechicken (607647) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232616)

snes = sweet peice of gaming machine.

It was a reasonable piece of kit for the time, but the fact remains it was a 'sweet peice of gaming machine' because of the games that were on it.

And of course, the enhancements found on the game cartridges, i.e DSP-1 (Super Mario Kart etc) and the Super FX chip that was found on Starfox among others. The hardware designers decision to make it easy to interface special coprocessor chips to the console was a pretty sweet idea.

Re:Don't know why I'm commenting really (4, Interesting)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232696)

It was a reasonable piece of kit for the time, but the fact remains it was a 'sweet peice of gaming machine' because of the games that were on it.

Wrong, and dead-on. The SNES was woefully underpowered next to the Genesis, TurboGrafx, Jaguar, etc. That Nintendo made intelligent design decisions to make games playable on the SNES, and leveraged their success with the 8-bit NES to lure in players and developers to begin with, made it a sweet gaming platform.

What Nintendo has always understood (Virtual Boy aside for a moment) is that the gameplay is really the most important element. That's why experiments like the DS worked. That's why the GameCube was routinely profitable, even though it was an also-ran in the marketplace.

Re:Don't know why I'm commenting really (1)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232764)

DSP-1 was in Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Star Ocean, I believe.

Re:Don't know why I'm commenting really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232951)

100% wrong. How useful would Sine, Cosine, perspective and 3D rotation calculations be in a 2D fighting game? Or a 2D RPG? Think Rotating rings in Pilotwings or the rebounding shells in Super Mario Kart when thinking of the DSP-1.

Re:ok... (1)

Traiklin (901982) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232623)

I would prefer seeing the Xbox 360 overclocked.
,br> just wait till the end of the year, Microsoft is already supplying 360's with faster processors so they did all the work for you.

Re:ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232767)

The chips might be capable to run faster, but they will be run at the same speed. This is a cost reduction effort - smaller geometries means more chips per wafer.

The lower power consumption brought by the smaller geometry means MS can run the power supply cooler or save themselves with a smaller power supply.

Why expect a luser would think they crank out the clock speed ?

Heh... (2, Funny)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232195)

The next post will either be "how to install a cooling unit to your SNES" or "how to install a fire-extinguisher to your SNES". Just kidding, unless your playing some sort of 3rd party...cartridge...I doubt there'd be anyway to fry your SNES...or would there?

Re:Heh... (1)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232782)

Yes, there would be. A game that used 99% of a stock processor would use 99% of the overclocked one. That's why this presents such a problem

Great Job! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232196)

Now if only we could get you out of your parents' basement.

Re:Great Job! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232221)

Find him a little female companionship ... he'll leave voluntarily.

Re:Great Job! (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232356)

Assuming he knows the difference between a live female and a virtual female. Live females tend to kick harder and use more colorful language when provoked.

Re:Great Job! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232518)

where are we going to find something like that!?!?

Wow (-1, Troll)

nametaken (610866) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232228)

Submit the article when you're done and the thing works, eh?

If i just wanted pointless pictures of the inside of an SNES, I'd open up mine.

Who's the pin head here?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232395)

You guys are being jerks. The fellow just wanted to share what can be done by a Hacker who takes a chance, and learns to do something just for sake of doing it. That's the heart of innovation, invention, creativity.

Damn (1)

TouchOfRed (785130) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232235)

Who didnt see that coming? And here I was thinking I could get 233fps in starfox. Perhaps nextgen?

Re:Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15233050)

Yes, but unfortunatly I still fly circles around you, getting all the warps and extra levels.

speedruns (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232236)

This should make his speedrun videos that much more exciting. (And yes, I'm aware you can get the same effect from emus.)

Emulation (4, Interesting)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232241)

Do they randomly overclock chips on the board? I know there are cycle-accurate Genesis emulators. If there are such for the SNES, wouldn't it make sense to hack the emulator first to see what effect overclocking particular components will have?

Re:Emulation (4, Insightful)

Jagasian (129329) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232856)

Cycle-accurate Genesis emulation? I've never seen it. Care to elaborate? There is only one cycle-accurate SNES emulator, bsnes [wikipedia.org] , and it is fairly new and extremely resource intensive. For some reason, internet saavy people put give far more credit to the accuracy of console emulation than is justified by the actual accuracy of console emulation. Few emulators are as accurate as many would like to believe. For example, most console emulators would be completely unable to win a "Turing-test" like comparison between real hardware and the emulator.

From the looks of this mod, it appears as if it would be far easier to see what would happen by modifying the hardware, as opposed to modifying a supposedly cycle-accurate emulator, as the emulator might not be setup for such modification, and it might contain bugs that would lead the experiment to the wrong conclusion.

On a related note, Nestopia [sourceforge.net] is a NES emulator that takes accuracy seriously. It goes beyond being just cycle-accurate, as it goes as far as to emulate the analog video signal generated by the NES's digital-to-analog converter, which turns the NES's frame buffer into a human visible video signal. Hence a side-by-side comparison of a real NES hooked up to the PC via a TV-tuner or video capture card, and the emulator running on the same PC... even a hardcore NES fan will have difficulty telling the difference. Check out a screen capture comparison [xbox-scene.com] of a real NES, Nestopia, and FCE Ultra.

Test it out for yourself. Follow that last link and try to determine which screenshot is a real NES and which screenshot is Nestopia. Meanwhile, the screenshot of FCE Ultra sticks out like a sore thumb, even though it is comparable to what many consider to be highly accurate console emulation.

Re:Emulation (3, Informative)

Mitchell Mebane (594797) | more than 7 years ago | (#15233193)

Nestopia (as well as BSNES and ZSNES and, I believe, other emulators) use Blargg's NTSC filter [slack.net] to produce the TV-like output. Truly an amazing piece of work.

As far as accuracy goes, the C64 emulator Hoxs64 [btinternet.com] is pretty damn accurate, going so far as to emulate analog stuff in the disk drive. Wow.

Re:Emulation (1)

Zangief (461457) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232857)

Yes, but it wouldn't be a great indicator of what will happen on real hardware.

The emulators still have some differences with the way the hardware behaves. And many emulators are programmed just to make the most games run.

Re:Emulation (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 7 years ago | (#15233168)

Most systems don't need cycle-accurate emulation. The Atari 2600 is a notable exception, because the games depended upon the timing between the CPU and video (three pixels per clock cycle).

Console games generally do fine with emulation that is more permissive than the real hardware, but this can be a problem for people writing homebrew games because the emulator will let them do things that the real hardware is not capable of. And some emulators are more permissive than the real hardware in other ways, such as allowing more sprites or video data per line than the real hardware can display on one scan line.

Really, the only reason to overclock a CPU on console hardware (on which the games are almost always kept from running too fast by waiting for vertical sync) is to reduce lag when game screens are full of sprites and stuff.

Whaddaya mean "what purpose"? (5, Insightful)

user24 (854467) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232266)

I'm sickened by the amount of people on here saying "... but why?".

Why?? WHY?? Because he's a GEEK, Dammit! Just because it doesn't have a buzzword associated with it, or because it's not to do with google, or didn't come out in the last 15 minutes, doesn't mean it's not cool.

*wanders off mumbling about these younguns..*

Re:Whaddaya mean "what purpose"? (-1, Troll)

BLAG-blast (302533) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232319)

But why are reading this crap, it's not even working properly. If this was a "because he's a geek" thing, it wouldn't be such a half assed attempt.

Re:Whaddaya mean "what purpose"? (1)

Durrok (912509) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232337)

The real question we all want an answer to is: Is it mana or monna?

Re:Whaddaya mean "what purpose"? (2, Insightful)

masklinn (823351) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232340)

A True Geek would've waited till he had a fully functional overclocked SNES.

And would've benched his improved SNES against a regular one, too.

Not "What Purpose" ... "Wrong Purpose" (2, Insightful)

bmac83 (869058) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232380)

Your point is understandable, but I think you are missing a key idea: I don't think nerds really appreciate something technologically if it involves destroying a perfectly good piece of equipment. If I wrote up an article about modding an Xbox 360 into a totally awesome endtable that fell over every time I put a can of coke on the edge of it, that would probably piss most nerds off.

Nerds see the potential in things. An ordinary person looks at a 400MHz computer with a faulty power supply and sees something heading to the junkyard. I might see it as a mailserver, after I put some work into it. If you take a good piece of hardware and mess it up to the point that it won't even hold a stable image from a game, you just destroyed a lot of potential.

Re:Not "What Purpose" ... "Wrong Purpose" (2, Insightful)

lotrtrotk (853897) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232506)

An ordinary person looks at a 400MHz computer with a faulty power supply and sees something heading to the junkyard. I might see it as a mailserver, after I put some work into it.

If he'd modded his snes into a mailserver, we might have something really cool to talk about!!

Re:Whaddaya mean "what purpose"? (1, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232419)

"Dammit! Just because it doesn't have a buzzword associated with it"

But the article does have a buzzword: overclock. And that's all the article is about, typical geeky dick-waving that accomplishes little else. What's the next submission going to be? "ZOMG, I put an R-type sticker on my Honda!"

Re:Whaddaya mean "what purpose"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232910)

The last 6 messages marked as "Troll" were moderators being Trolls toward benign posts.

Re:Whaddaya mean "what purpose"? (1, Insightful)

m50d (797211) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232445)

But it is not cool. Simple as that. It's just dumb. Just because something takes some technical ability and involves computer parts doesn't make it cool.

Re:Whaddaya mean "what purpose"? (1)

Edzor (744072) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232628)

i would be interested to see what peoples replies are when we get bi-annualar

  "w00t, I just totally h4x0red my P4 to hit 6.0Ghz,!!! it barely loads but 6GHz who cares, I am the w1n!!!

      wow totally neat!

                                                  Pffft Pentiums.

                                                  Ohhhh liquid nitrogen!

Re:Whaddaya mean "what purpose"? (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 7 years ago | (#15233146)

Thing is, it isn't "barely loads". We don't pass these stories unless it has half-life or whatever running and working. Wheras this really is a "barely loads" thing.

Re:Whaddaya mean "what purpose"? (1, Insightful)

cluening (6626) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232636)

I think the "But why?" in this case would be expanded to "But why did you waste our time by announcing that you made your SNES run so fast that it was useless?" I could also talk about how I dropped my Newton in a puddle and now it sometimes shocks me when I turn it on, but I doubt anybody would care about that useless bit of information either.

Re:Whaddaya mean "what purpose"? (4, Insightful)

elgatozorbas (783538) | more than 7 years ago | (#15233005)

I'm sickened by the amount of people on here saying "... but why? Why?? WHY?? Because he's a GEEK, Dammit!".

Not agreed. I don't know why so many replies have been modded toll. 'Why' is a completely justified question because the hack is trivial (you only have to know the pinout of the processor), not particularly elegant and doesn't serve an obvious goal. It is an insult to real hacks, be them in software (e.g. trying to run Linux on everything) or hardware (e.g. making a super high-res camera of a flatbed scanner) that anything anyone does is automatically wonderful.

*wanders off mumbling about these younguns..*

Can't believe an old-schooler would be impressed with this.

Ps: don't want to bash this mod, but take it for what it is, a simple mod.

Secret of Mana (5, Interesting)

siegesama (450116) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232268)

This may actually be useful! There are a number of games, among them that holy-of-holies, The Secret of Mana, that during very busy scenes with all three characters and a number of enemies, will experience slow-down and flickered sprites as an error. Does a sped-up CPU do anything at all to remedy this?

Once he's got it so it's only sped (and not fucked) up, I'd love to find out if that would help prevent those slow-downs

I'll bet nobody was expecting an actual response to this story, heh

Re:Secret of Mana (1, Funny)

HarvardFrankenstein (635329) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232346)

Because of how consoles are usually programmed with regards to timing (i.e., developers tend to use the clock for timing rather than real world seconds), it probably will only make the sprites flicker faster.

Re:Secret of Mana (1)

Mprx (82435) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232884)

Most SNES games use the vertical retrace for timing, so in many cases overclocking does remove the slowdown.

Re:Secret of Mana (2, Informative)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232351)

just run it in an emulator. I've played through countless roms (including secret of mana) at 2, 3 or even 4x normal game speed. Many games aren't much more difficult that way, and you spend far less time waiting for useless cutscenes and wandering around.

Re:Secret of Mana (2)

isaacklinger (966649) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232450)

What I'd like to know is, for Secret of Mana to run properly on next-gen hardware, will I have to overclock my Wii? Nintendo's been known for "perfect emulation...right down to the slowdown [ign.com] ."

Re:Secret of Mana (1)

Jagasian (129329) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232882)

Emulating the slow down of a NES isn't difficult at all. Nesticle was released roughly a decade ago, and it emulated the slow down common in NES games. Of course, back then, Nintendo claimed that emulation was a tool of the devil. Now they plan on adding a feature to the Wii that has been possible on PCs and even the Xbox 1 for years now? Too little too late.

Headline should read... (4, Insightful)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232275)

The headline should read: "taking a soldering iron to an snes renders it completely unplayable" ... I don't mean to bash too hard, but seriously, clock speed is something you can take as a constant for console video game development. Now, if he could get it to boot linux, and wire an ethernet cable through one of the controller ports, and play two player SNES games over the internet (in emulation), that would be cool.

Re:Headline should read... (1)

suiside (910651) | more than 7 years ago | (#15233383)

...wire an ethernet cable through one of the controller ports, and play two player SNES games over the internet...

Just reminded me a bit of the BS-X [wikipedia.org] .

Next: Hot-Rodding Your 1899 Stanley Steamer! (4, Funny)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232366)

Get that mechanical marvel up to blazing 9 MPH by modding your valves!

Next up: Adding neon to your Whitney Cotton Gin.

Re:Next: Hot-Rodding Your 1899 Stanley Steamer! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232528)

The steamer was hot-rodded in the 1920's. Really. Check it out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doble [wikipedia.org]
http://ghlin2.greenhills.net/~apatter/doble.html [greenhills.net]
http://www.stanleysteamers.com/photoalbum/patpix/s tan-lucas'-doble-abner-doble's-personal-car..jpg [stanleysteamers.com]

They require a huge amount of maintenance compared to modern cars, from what I understand you have to regularly oil this and that and the like, but for a car built 80 years ago, they are amazing.

Re:Next: Hot-Rodding Your 1899 Stanley Steamer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15233158)

Stanley held the world speed record for many years, at over 120 mph.

No need to hot rod one of those babies. They were way faster than the tires of the time should have been able to take. Don't forget there were no freeways at that time, not even a US highway system. Bricks were the paving option of choice, and the stock wheels were made of wood, not steel.

Video Sync - 3.58MHz (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232402)

My melano-deficient caucasoid friend. I believe your problem is that the SNES PPU is set to run at 3.58MHz, which is the NTSC frequency. Running the CPU faster is going to screw things up. Not sure, entirely the setup of the SNES architecture, between the CPU and PPU, and what exactly you're over-clocking. But the TV signal generated by the PPU must be closely at 3.58MHz (NTSC), otherwise you're out of sync, and would get a B/W signal (since the TV wouldn't lock onto the Color burst phase refence in the Hsync signal) - if slightly off phase, or flickering if very out of phase. From the looks of things it seems, you're still getting color and a rather normal picture (PPU is running independetly of CPU clock rate). The problem therefore is that the games, atleast most of them, are trying to perform operations at the Hsync (Sprite position/attribute manipulations), and due to the speed and resultance phase difference between the two systems, you're getting these glitches. I'd recommend you study the archietecture that you're overclocking, and write a simple program (say a super mario world clone) designed around the new speed. This should be an easy feat, assuming you have programming skills atleast.

Interesting, anthropologically, you appear of an atlanto-mediterranid celtic stock, either of iberian or british isles ancestries. You also show a pinkalictic accretion in your complexion. Awesome :D

The Mario brothers really smoke.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232418)

I just tried it...wow. Problem is now the SuperMario brothers are stopping to light up crack pipes somewhere off screen...when they get back I can't keep up with the little twits!

Amusing but impractical (3, Insightful)

Craig Ringer (302899) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232451)

Consoles encourage the old school method of timer programming:

for (int i = 0; i < SOME_BIG_NUMBER; i++) { int fakeval = 0; }

In fact, I don't know how many consoles, especially old consoles, would even have a system timer, let alone one (a) sufficiently high resolution and (b) with low enough access costs to make it practical to use for game timings.

Anybody remember the "turbo" button - ie the "underclock my PC when this is off" button? That was necessary for older games written for the 80386 that assumed a small range of clock frequencies and did delays that way. You'll run into the same issue with this console - it's going to be like turning "turbo" on for an old game. Well, probably.

Re:Amusing but impractical (3, Interesting)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232519)

All the consoles know when the signal for the TV has reached VBLANK, so they use that to synchronize. Only badly made games would use decrement loops to count time, when you have a steady 60Hz timer already. This caused problems when games were brought to Europe, with their 50Hz TVs.

Re:Amusing but impractical (1)

Craig Ringer (302899) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232578)

That's fascinating. I actually thought the frequencies were the other way around, but this article (http://hometheater.about.com/cs/television/a/aavi deoresa.htm) set me straight. PAL and SECAM are lower frequency but higher resolution than the US NTSC format.

Sadly, when it comes to consoles, "only badly made games" is quite likely to encompass a lot of them. Especially once they figured out that crappy delay loops might let them work around display timing issues... ugh. I still see software written /now/ that has delay timer loops, though usually only by people I wouldn't trust to babysit a rock in a sand pit.

Turbo button (1)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 7 years ago | (#15233261)

"Anybody remember the "turbo" button - ie the "underclock my PC when this is off" button? That was necessary for older games written for the 80386 that assumed a small range of clock frequencies and did delays that way."

80386? Dude! In my dreams! The "Turbo XT" generation of PCs introduced the "Turbo" switch, because the new generation of 8086's ran at a blindingly fast 8 MHz, when the original PC/XT ran at 4 MHz. You had to down-clock to 4 for games that assumed 4 MHz. The Turbo switch on later PCs (which typically did something like 16 vs 33 MHz, or 20 vs 40, etc.) was more of a vestige than anything else. 16 MHz was still way too fast to run the Pac Man clone I had. :-)

Not that this has anything to do with anything, but I'm bored. :)

StarFox! (1)

DarkMorph (874731) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232490)

I wonder how well StarFox would run on it. That game really could use a better frame rate. Or I could just grab my N64... I'm sure there are some games, perhaps StarOcean for example, that would run better with an OC'ed SNES?

Re:StarFox! (1)

Mr. Hankey (95668) | more than 7 years ago | (#15233143)

StarFox wouldn't likely make much of a difference, since it relied on the "FX" chip (a DSP) to push the polygons. Overclocking the FX chip as well might prove interesting, but there are so many synchronization issues that I'm not sure if it would actually improve anything without modifying the game code.

Experienced hacker? (2, Interesting)

elgatozorbas (783538) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232502)

Nice to see anyone is busy with hardware for a change but what have we come to if this hack is frontpage news on /.??? The guy just changed the clock to whatever random one he had lying around. I derive this from two facts:

- apparently the system does not run very stable
- he is rather desperate to get an oscillator in between 35 and 25 MHz. You can just _buy_ these things in most electronics part shops and I can think of at least four people including myself who have a high chance of having one in their garbage collection.

On top of this it would surprise me if he was a very experienced electronics hacker as those would never punt ground high and power low in circuit (of course I don't know him).

Kudos to the guy, but get real people: he changed an oscillator. That's it.

not working who cares (1)

ziggy the zagnut (639592) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232574)

well i want to encourage the guy, but at the same time, it's a first pass and not working yet, why does it deserve a post on slashdot? just to help him find crystals from 23-25 MHz? try digikey. that's more like local newsgroup/scene/bbs level topic, not slashdot material.

and to those who ask, yes there are definitely games where even though
programmers *should* have been planning on a fixed number of cycles, they
made bad decisions, and they slow down when the action gets intense. A mod
like this might help that. Might because depending on architecture of hw and sw
it may speed up the wrong parts.

Person overclocks CPU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232576)

well, that's news to me!

Why is this so silly? (3, Insightful)

dnamaners (770001) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232620)

I see quite a few negative comments here about this and I really wonder why. When I was a student and a budding EE I used to tear apart all sorts of things and "tweak" them. I was always proud when I could get a meaningful result, an "improvement" or at lease a change that suited me (or hinted that with abit of work it could). I used to enjoy making contrived serial data transmitter adapters out of old cordless phones or other even more completely nutty things. Was I cool, probably not. Such silly junk experiments may seem simple and contrived to a real EE, but at the time I learned quite a bit from them, as much by failure as by success. As silly as it may sound in the end I really learned to properly rework and make my own simple boards. Such useful skills don't come easily to some, as many of you may know, it takes practice. Doing such projects just for fun, was if little else practice. Ultimately this curiosity taught more meaningful skills.

When I did a project well I wanted to tell others and show them, because at my level of skill it was cutting edge cool, for me. To all those that ask "why do his to a SNES?," I say this. There is no crime here, this may be one of the few simple projects that could have mass appeal to a certain subset of the slashdot crowd. Heck, thinking back, I wish I had tried doing something this cool as an undergrad. Keep up the good work.

Just a suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15232654)

What you need to do is separate the video circuit from the rest of the SNES and build an independent 3.579 clock circuit for video generation. You can use a nand ttl IC and a colorburst crystal.

Then you can overclock the other part of the circuit.

Try a 555 timer ic (1)

tolkienfan (892463) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232772)

Some versions can clock up to 2 mhz, and you can add a potentiometer and vary the clock from below 1hz upwards (much below - you could run it at 1 cycle per week).

How cool would it be to slow a game down for a tricky part?

Re:Try a 555 timer ic (1)

jim_deane (63059) | more than 7 years ago | (#15233303)

I think you'll find it exceptionally hard to get a 555 circuit to operate with very long (greater than a few minutes) periods.

I tried to do so for a project once, and after much frustration I switched to a more reasonable clock frequency and a series of frequency dividers to achieve the slower switching frequency I needed. (I wanted the circuit to output ON one minute of every thirty, if I recall correctly.)

To try to successfully get the 555 to cycle very slowly, you need to choose your component types and values very carefully. Capacitors with very low self-discharge rate would help. I suspect my problem was that, with the values I used to try to achieve the desired switching period, the charge rate for the capacitor was of the same order as the self-discharge rate. Consequently, the 555 would never switch. Designing to a higher frequency and using digital frequency divider circuits to achieve the lower switch frequency was a useful and simple solution.


Gee, wow, he knows how to install a crystal. (0, Flamebait)

Radak (126696) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232892)

So what? Anybody with a soldering iron can install an oscillator. Knowing how to do so whilst still maintaining the intended usability of the hardware is useful overclocking. This is nothing more than a clueless idiot with a soldering iron and a little time. He hasn't overlocked his SNES. He's broken it. I can do that myself, with a hammer, and it'll be a lot more satisfying. Can I have a Slashdot headline, too?

Move on, folks. Nothing to see here.

Is it really a success... (1)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 7 years ago | (#15232940)

when you've got such a sprite-scattering issue? If so, I'd like to declare success on my overclocked TI-82 that promptly burst into flames in 2004.

Just today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15233041)

I overclocked my watch. Boy time sure flies when you're having fun!

oam ram problems? x.x (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15233377)

snes has actually a separate area for the sprite positions called Oam ram,and this ram may be slooow x.x

its pretty impressive if this be the only problem BTW,as some games need to change the processor speed to 2.6 mhz to run because they have sucky slow roms
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