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Newbie needs help - building a MAME system

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Anonymous
May 5, 2005 9:35:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (More info?)

Sorry for the newbie post, but I've searched the web and googled this
forum and still haven't found the best way to build a MAME cabinet.
I'm hoping someone has enough patience to help me out. I want to build
a MAME system to put next to compliment the pins in my gameroom (I'm
normally a RGP guy).

>From what I can gather, I need the following:

1. Cabinet - Should I buy a kit? Seems like alot of money for some
plywood ($500+). Can I get detailed plans and build it myself?

2. Controls - While I can do some soldering and boardwork, I'd rather
buy the game controls. What do you recommend?

3. PC - What do I need? Pentium 3? Celeron? Graphics cards?

4. Monitor - Should I just slap a 27" TV in the cabinet? Seems like
the cheapest route, and I'm not looking for top of the line here. If I
go the TV route, what sort of computer to TV adapter do I need?

5. Misc - what else do I need?

6. Software - Not too worried about this now, I can install this
later.

Anticipated budget? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Bob
Anonymous
May 5, 2005 11:03:00 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (More info?)

Hi Bob, best source for this stuff is a messageboard at
arcadecontrols.com
Anonymous
May 6, 2005 1:02:04 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (More info?)

Hi, I have made two machines so I'll give you my particular
recommendations.
1. Cabinet - If you possibly can, buy an old cab that someone is
throwing out. They can be bought pretty cheaply and they look way
cooler than a cab you make yourself. I lucked out and got a Tron cab
for $100. A guy I know who made his own cab said he ended up spending
at least that much in wood and pieces and it was a lot of work and even
after all that it's not as durable as the real thing.

2. Controls - My personal recommendation is the X-Arcade control set.
Way cool, very durable, not overly expensive, programmable, need I say
more? www.x-arcade.com

3. PC - I originally had a Pentium 266 MHz machine with a 2 Meg 3d card
running Windows 98 SE (ok everyone stop shuddering and yelling at me, I
was on a budget back then!). That will run the classics quite nicely.
However, I wanted to include Dragon's Lair (via the emulator called
Daphne www.daphne-emu.com) and there's no way that would run on such an
old system. So I have since upgraded to an AMD Pentium III 1.3GHz
machine with 512 Megs of RAM and a 16 Meg 3d card. There's very little
this won't play as far as MAME goes (and it runs Daphne perfectly). If
you want to go really modern with your emulation (like a Playstation
emulator or something) you may want to go faster than this.

4. Monitor - Bigger is always better. If, like me, you manage to get an
old cabinet from someone, you will be limitted by what fits in there. I
lucked out in that the Tron cab I got exactly fits a 17" Trinitron
computer monitor. If you go TV as opposed to computer monitor, make
sure you buy a 3d card that has TV Out capability.

5. Misc - I highly recommend a spinner. A lot of the good games used
them. My personal suggestion is either the Oscar one
http://www.oscarcontrols.com/ or the SlikStik one
http://www.slikstik.com/spinner.htm depending on your budget or space
requirements.
Some people are in to Light Guns as well like the one from Act Labs
(http://www.act-labs.com/products/gun1.htm) but that seems a little
excessive to me, like steering wheels.

Budget - In my case, the cabinet I got, the X-Arcade controller, the
computer, the monitor, all the bits and pieces, etc. came to just under
$1000.

Hope this info helps you out.

computerspacefan@hotmail.com
http://www.computerspacefan.com
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Anonymous
May 6, 2005 2:12:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (More info?)

I agree, buying a cabinet is the best way to go. If you can get a
working cabinet with arcade monitor and JAMMA wiring, all you need is
your PC, an ArcadeVGA video card and a J-Pac (all from ultimarc.com)
and you're in business.

The first cabinet I built from scratch cost me around $1500, my third
was a working cabinet that I had up and running for less than $500 -
but then I started adding things to make it look nice and the price
went up.

A warning though - if you MAME a classic cab (Galaga, Tron, Tempest,
Missle Command, Pac Man, etc...) people will be angry with you for not
restoring it instead. Try to find a "generic" mass produced cabinet,
like those from the 90's that were made to hold any JAMMA game.
Anonymous
May 6, 2005 3:55:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (More info?)

Eamil me directly, and I'll price out a setup for you.
Anonymous
May 6, 2005 11:25:00 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (More info?)

In article <1115339734.451868.247120@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
<azcats_fan@yahoo.com> wrote:
>Sorry for the newbie post, but I've searched the web and googled this
>forum and still haven't found the best way to build a MAME cabinet.
>I'm hoping someone has enough patience to help me out. I want to build
>a MAME system to put next to compliment the pins in my gameroom (I'm
>normally a RGP guy).

This is just based on my experience building the cabinet found at
http://www.fsf.net/~adam/mamecab/ (which descibes how I did it)

and

http://www.fsf.net/~adam/mamecabcomic/ (which shows it running a bunch
of stuff)

>>From what I can gather, I need the following:
>
>1. Cabinet - Should I buy a kit? Seems like alot of money for some
>plywood ($500+). Can I get detailed plans and build it myself?

I went to Cybertech Design (http://www.cybertechdesign.net/) and got the
full-size cutout templates for the Ultimate Arcade II. Those aren't
cheap ($75? Don't remember) but much easier than working from
non-full-size plans. My cabinet's MDF, not plywood. Built like a tank.

>2. Controls - While I can do some soldering and boardwork, I'd rather
>buy the game controls. What do you recommend?

I'm happy with the Skilstik Quad...but it ain't cheap.

>3. PC - What do I need? Pentium 3? Celeron? Graphics cards?

Pretty much any PC will do. I'm using a P4 1800, because that's what I
happened to have to hand. The video is an ATI Radeon 7500 All-In-Wonder
PCI, because it can do strange frequencies...not that I ever really
worked that hard on it, because Mame32 really does quite well enough for
me.

>4. Monitor - Should I just slap a 27" TV in the cabinet? Seems like
>the cheapest route, and I'm not looking for top of the line here. If I
>go the TV route, what sort of computer to TV adapter do I need?

Just get a video card--like the ATI--that will do S-Video out. The 27"
TV will work. The WG9200D I used is overkill, but DAMN does it look
nice. Again, *not cheap*.

>5. Misc - what else do I need?

Not a lot. A DVD-ROM makes loading LOTS of data onto the machine in one
swell foop a lot easier; if the cabinet is not someplace you can run
Ethernet to it unobtrusively, 802.11g is nice to have.

I can't emphasize this next thing enough: PUT CASTERS ON THE BOTTOM OF
THE CABINET. It makes life about a million times easier.

>6. Software - Not too worried about this now, I can install this
>later.

I'm happy that I also put Daphne, Visual PinMame, and MESS on the box.

>Anticipated budget? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Mine cost--with the tools I needed to buy--probably a bit under $3000.
That said, I went with the deluxe options: WG9200D, SlikStik Quad, UA II
cabinet, professionally-printed marquee...

You could do a cheap one, with a 2-player control deck, a TV, a
recycled cabinet, and a secondhand PC for well under $1000, I'd think.

Adam
!