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  1. #11
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    Building a PC isn't as hard, or as complicated as it looks. It can seem a very daunting task to anyone who has never attempted it, but it is really not that complicated.

    And building a MAME cabinet is great fun. It does depend how far you want to go with such a project though. Do you just want an arcade style joystick setup, and a PC setup to run MAME and other emulators? Or are you thinking on a larger scale with a full sized arcade cabinet and controls, with a PC inside?

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  2. #12
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    Well the idea is to buy an old empty arcade cabinet, theres a place about an hour from where i live that strips down faulty arcade machines and sells the parts.

    The empty cabinets they have dont include monitors just the shell, coin door but no mechanism and the protective glass that the monitor sits behind.

    Then i was going to stick a mame pc in it connected to an old 26" sony triniton crt tv if i can get hold of one that is. So most of the fun in the project will come from repairing and re painting the cabinet and from building a new control panel and now possibly building my own pc.

    So yeah any links to blogs about building pcs or sites that sell parts or advice on reclaiming parts from old pcs anything like that would be much appreciated.
    Solutions the cause of all known problems!

  3. #13
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    The first place to start when exploring MAME and building a cabinet is mameworld.info. It has a ton of hosted sites dedicated to everything MAME related, plus even more links to even more sites.

    Also look at http://www.tmsoft.com/article-arcade.htm for a nice guide to building a MAME cabinet.

    About the monitor. I personally would not use a TV. The author of that guide recommends it, but a decent CRT monitor would be better as they have a wider supporting range of resolutions for different games. Sony Trinitron 21" monitors are being thrown away and given away all the time these days. Look on Freecycle for one.

    Although the ultimate screen is the Wells Gardner 27" arcade monitor. This is a real arcade monitor and will give a perfect arcade resolution to look,. They got a couple hundred though, and you also need to buy a special graphics card to drive them.

    For the controller I would have recommended SlikStik, but I've just seen they have sadly gone out of business. Have a look at http://www.mameroom.com/ instead.

    Also take a look at X-arcade, as they have some great pre-build arcade controllers. I own the dual stick one, as does DC and it is a great unit. I also own a SlikStik classic which is much bigger and has a lot more controls, but isn't as easy to integrate into every cabinet and they are also no longer made.

    However the best option in my view is to build your own controller layout. To do this you need something called the I-PAC. It is an arcade controller board which you wire the joysticks and buttons to, and then connects via USB to the PC and includes software to configure your controls. Take a look at http://www.ultimarc.com/ipac1.html

    And the same company Ultimarc also sell all of the real arcade buttons and joysticks to use with it. http://www.ultimarc.com/

    X-Arcade who build the premade arcade controllers also offer parts to build your own controller layouts similar to ultimarc, but they are not real arcade joysticks and buttons, but instead their own which are still quite close and very good. They also make a controller board similar to the I-PAC, called the X-arcade BYO Arcade USB/PS2 to wire them all up to, but I personally don't think it is as good as the I-PAC. It supports less than half the inputs for additional buttons and controls. For that take a look at http://www.xgaming.com/store/arcade-...rcade-usb-ps2/ and also their main custom page at http://www.xgaming.com/store/categor...m_campaign=diy

    And for the actual PC, build whatever you like. Anything from a Pentium 4 or Athlon XP or newer will be powerful enough to run MAME and any none 3D games and emulators. You will need a very new PC to try to run the later 3D and CHD MAME games, and even then they still don't all run properly so it is best not to concern yourself with those.

    If I were building a new PC for a MAME cabinet I would probably use an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU as they are coming to the end of their life and the dual and quad core versions are good value for money at the moment. Stick at least 1GB of ram in the system and use XP or Windows 7. Don't use an Atom powered mini-itx system as they are not powerful enough for MAME. And buy the largest HDD you can afford, and use SATA if possible as they are cheaper than IDE these days and with the much smaller cables less cabling to worry about and easier to configure. Also include a DVD drive in the system as it is the easiest way to update your rom sets. Or maybe a wireless network card, then you can copy new roms to the cabinet, or access the internet on the cabinet and download them directly and update the emulators.

    Also consider including a keyboard tray under the main controller area of the cabinet. A pop out sliding tray is normally what most people add to hide the keyboard away when not needed, and also a mouse could be stored in here too.

    Hope all that helps.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  4. #14
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    Cheers for the advice Harrison some useful bits to go on there. I was going for the tv option as i thought it would be easier to find one with a larger screen size than it would be to find a monitor of a similar size. Over the last six months of checking freecycle ive seen 6 or 7 sony triiniton tvs but no monitors so far.

    Ill definetly be building my own controls as the x arcade stuff ive seen during my bit of research are imho a weee bit ugly.

    The advce on the pc seems good but where to buy from any good sugestions.

    Thanks again.
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  5. #15
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    I normally buy from novatech or ebayer for PC hardware. If you know a rough budget for the PC let me know and I can do you a rough list of parts.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  6. #16
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    Ok i was hoping to do the whole thing for 250 ive done a rough calculation and i think i can do the main cab and controls for 150 so that leves 100 for the pc and monitor but im hoping to pick up a monitor for free so lets say 100 for the pc.


    What you recon is it doable.
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  7. #17
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    100 isn't going to be enough if you want to build using good new parts. Cheapest good spec for a budget PC system to put into the cab that will be able to run MAME and other emulators well would be similar to the following (prices from ebuyer.com):

    CPU - Intel Pentium Dual Core E5300 2.6GHz Socket 775 Retail CPU (included heatsink/fan)- 47.17
    Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-G31M-ES2L (onboard VGA graphics and 7.1 audio) - 32.79
    Ram - Corsair 2GB DDR2 800MHz PC2-6400 XMS2 - 37.65
    HDD - Seagate 250GB HDD SATAII 7200RPM 8MB Cache OEM - 30.60
    PSU - Antec Power 500W PSU - 28.13

    Total price = 176.34

    And I don't think you could really reduce the price much more of the components here as they are already very good prices and all quality makes. The motherboard also has built in VGA graphics and audio, so you wouldn't need a graphics card, although it does have a PCI-E slot so that could be added later. Cheap PCI-E graphics cards start as low as 30.

    You could cut the ram to 1GB to get the price even lower.

    Above spec but with Crucial 1GB DDR2 800MHz PC2-6400 - 18.99

    Total price = 157.68

    But only consider having just 1GB of ram if you are only going to be running XP or Linux. If you plan to use Vista or Windows 7 then get 2GB.

    As you are putting the PC inside an arcade cabinet you don't actually need a PC case to house the components as you could just mount them on a piece of MDF inside the case. Although you can get reasonable cases for under 20 if you did want to mount all the components properly.

    The other option is to buy a second hand PC. Loads can be found on ebay, but you won't be able to guarantee good quality components in a PC someone else built, or how well it has been looked after. If you wanted to go for this option, the oldest to go for would be an Athlon 64, or an Intel Core 2 Duo. Don't go for Pentium 4's or Athlon XPs as the run hot and would heat up the inside the cabinet.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  8. #18
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    Chopper Challenge Champion, The Collector Champion, BombJack Arcade Champion, Turkey Shoot Champion, Paintballing - Assault Champion, Tower 13 - Adventures In Body Saving Champion, Himalayaya Champion, Sea Dogs Champion, Yeti Sports 1- Long Shot Version Champion, Operation Switchover Champion Bloodwych's Avatar
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    You can get a decent machine for 100 on ebay, but it can be a waiting game - since I have a slot loading slimline DVDRW lying around, and all this talk about ITX PC's, I couldn't resist a Fujitsu Siemens C series slimline desktop.

    I get the extra 1GB mem too, so 2GB mem and a Vista licence tied to the machine. Blah, you had to challenge me to getting more PC's Harrison!

    I'll use this as a very energy efficient download/server/linux/emulation machine me thinks.
    Last edited by Bloodwych; 7th March 2010 at 13:50.
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  9. #19
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    can never have enough computers!

    Those Fujitsu Siemens slimline systems are quite nice. Seem to get fairly good reviews.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  10. #20
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    I've always liked Fujitsu Siemens's stuff. Their motherboards from older era's always seemed over engineered and to be of superior quality to other vendors - more like server grade stuff.

    That one above is very cleverly designed and small - seen one in a workplace once.

    Not sure what they are like these days - hopefully they still use premium components.
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