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Analog NT-Mini


#1 Richard Kain   The Kaiser CAGiversary!   2701 Posts   Joined 11.9 Years Ago  

Richard Kain

Posted 22 August 2016 - 06:24 PM

After releasing (and selling out of) the original-model Analog NT, the fine folks up in Portland are releasing a slim version of their retro-focused system.

 

Still crazy-expensive, it is going to be shipping to the tune of $450 USD. That's the bad news. The good news is that it is going to have certain benefits and extras. It will ship with a wireless NES controller dongle (by the also fine folks at 8bitdo) and with a wireless bluetooth NES-styled controller from the same company. And where the HDMI option was an extra feature on the original NT that you had to pay extra money to have installed, HDMI output will be a standard feature for the Mini.

 

The big difference between this model and the original is the extraction of the original parts. One of the selling points of the original NT was that authentic chips from the NES were used in its production. This was a point of pride for purists and collectors, as the NT did in fact have legit NES hardware inside it. (instead of clone hardware which tends to be cheaper and introduce compatibility issues)

 

This new Mini version won't have those original NES chips. It will instead use an FPGA (Full Programmable Gate Array) to "emulate" the hardware of the NES. This is becoming a popular approach to classic console emulation, as it avoids some of the drawbacks of software emulation, while still providing some of the benefits. And it is one of the best ways to provide full or near-full compatibility without using original hardware.

 

One of the big draws for collectors looking to best present their classic games is that the NT Mini will be providing full 1080p support through HDMI with zero lag. Not many hardware-focused emulation efforts can boast this particular feature.



#2 detectiveconan16   Delicious! CAGiversary!   7124 Posts   Joined 12.2 Years Ago  

detectiveconan16

Posted 23 August 2016 - 12:04 AM

http://www.usgamer.n...it-console-wars

This seems interesting even if still so pricey. I don't think I NEED to play NES games in 1080p if 720 or a large multiple of the original resolution should be fine enough. Though more people would try to get Retrobit's new NES clone, which they claim to be about as intricately made as the NT.



#3 Richard Kain   The Kaiser CAGiversary!   2701 Posts   Joined 11.9 Years Ago  

Richard Kain

Posted 24 August 2016 - 07:05 PM

 

This seems interesting even if still so pricey.

 

Yes indeed. I new this topic should be in the retro section, it doesn't belong anywhere near the deals section. Analogue is not attempting to make a mass-market device with their NT. Even though it is a bit more reasonable than their previous effort, it is still far beyond the price tolerance for the average consumer. This device is for the hard-core collector crowd.

 

Part of the reason I mentioned the 1080p support was because of the new Retrobit NES clone that is coming out. I've had my eye on that one as well, and it is definitely in direct competition with the Analogue NT. The Retrobit NES is taking a similar approach by using an FPGA. (The F actually stands for "Field", a little mistake I made earlier) It seems that Retrobit is going with a cheaper, and less capable FPGA though, and their system is going to be limited to 720p native output. Perhaps not a deal-breaker, especially given the disparity in price. But purists might give the Analogue NT a second look due to the lack of input lag on 1080p screens. Its not quite as large of an issue these days thanks to improvement in local scaling tech on more modern screens, but it is significant to certain fast-speed games. If there's any input lag, the later matches in Mike Tyson's Punch-Out become nearly unplayable.

 

One of the big developments with this new mini Analogue NT version is that it will no longer use classic NES chips. Thanks to this it won't cost as much to produce, and it won't be dependent on limited quantity tech. The original Analogue NT was always going to be a limited-run system. There's just a finite supply of classic NES chips, and no one is going to produce more. By shifting over to an FPGA approach, Analogue will be able to make this a sustainable product. They can continue producing and selling it so long as there is demand.



#4 detectiveconan16   Delicious! CAGiversary!   7124 Posts   Joined 12.2 Years Ago  

detectiveconan16

Posted 25 August 2016 - 11:51 PM

http://www.usgamer.n...pose-modern-nes

 

The AVS and the Mini-NT do not rely on actual chips. Jeremy Parish over at USGamer reviewed the AVS so far and he's satisfied, even if there are no savestates. It's just like an old NES but with a few extras. I'll have to wait for the review of the NT to make a decision.



#5 Richard Kain   The Kaiser CAGiversary!   2701 Posts   Joined 11.9 Years Ago  

Richard Kain

Posted 02 September 2016 - 05:37 PM

 

The AVS and the Mini-NT do not rely on actual chips. Jeremy Parish over at USGamer reviewed the AVS so far and he's satisfied, even if there are no savestates.

 

Yes, it's only the original Analogue-NT that relies on original NES chips. The upcoming AVS and the Mini-NT are both using FPGA chips, which represents a modern way of emulating hardware instead of software. Thanks for posting that review, it was very informative. It sounds like the general performance of this FPGA approach to console cloning is working well. I would expect it to become the new standard going forward.

 

It sounds like some of the drawbacks of the AVS don't necessarily break the experience. For the more budget-minded consumer who still wants a better-quality NES-clone, it will be a viable option. I'm still salivating over the Mini-NT, but want to wait for some reviews before I make a purchase.

 

--Update--

Yeah, a lot of YouTubers are starting to put up reviews of the AVS, and are generally being fairly favorable. I'm going to check with my local used game retailer and see if they are expecting to get any in stock. (not GameStop, obviously) RetroUSB was smart to make the system available to reviewers. The positive buzz will definitely help them to move units.



#6 detectiveconan16   Delicious! CAGiversary!   7124 Posts   Joined 12.2 Years Ago  

detectiveconan16

Posted 03 September 2016 - 11:17 AM

 At least it's not the 100-in-1 system that Retrobit is offering with a ton of old Capcom Arcade games that the Wii can already emulate.