Vga Cable vs VGA Box? Issues with Samsung TVs?

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Vampyre Mike
Posts: 364

Re: Vga Cable vs VGA Box? Issues with Samsung TVs?

Post#11 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:27 pm

Aleron Ives wrote:
Vampyre Mike wrote:Is there a reason to own a box over the cable I bought or vice versa?

noiseredux wrote:not all games are VGA compatible, so the box is helpful in that you can easily switch between VGA and composite.

You already asked this question and got an answer. ;) VGA cables are cheaper, but VGA boxes allow you to switch between VGA and composite without having to unplug any cables. The only reason you would want to use the more expensive VGA box over the VGA cable is if you play a game that doesn't support VGA mode and you don't want to have to switch the cable connected to your Dreamcast every time you want to play that game. If all the games you play support VGA mode, then a VGA box provides no benefit to you over a cheaper VGA cable.

Where things can get tricky is if you want to play games that only support VGA mode through the so-called "switch trick". Each Dreamcast game contains a bootfile that describes which Dreamcast accessories are compatible with that game (e.g. keyboard, mouse, rumble pack), and VGA mode is treated as one of those accessories. Games that are fully compatible with VGA mode have bootfiles that say VGA mode is allowed, so you can just start them normally; however, some games with bootfiles that say VGA mode is not supported actually can use VGA mode through the trick.

The easiest way to do it is with the VGA box: you start the Dreamcast in composite ("TV") mode, listen to the GD-ROM drive spin up the disc, and wait for the little "beep" that the system makes after it verifies that you're using a GD-ROM. The moment you hear the beep, you push the switch on the VGA box to VGA ("PC") mode. By doing this, you can fake out the game: the game booted with composite cables in use and therefore passed the peripherals check, and once that check was done, you switched to VGA mode, which happens to (unofficially) work.

Doing this isn't a good idea with a VGA cable, because it has no switch. As a result, the only way to do the trick with a VGA cable is to actually swap cables as you boot your Dreamcast: you must start the system with the composite cable connected, wait for the beep, remove the composite cable from the back of the Dreamcast, and connect the VGA cable. Doing this frequently will wear out the video output jack on your system, which is why it isn't recommended.

Again, whether you need a VGA box instead of a VGA cable depends solely on which games you want to play. Most of the Dreamcast's good games are compatible with VGA mode and don't need the switch trick, and most of the ones that don't support VGA at all and require composite cables aren't worth playing, anyway.

Here's a (probably incomplete) list of games that support VGA fully, only through the switch trick, and not at all: ... faqs/36035

If all of your games fall into the first category, the VGA cable is ideal for you. If some of your games fall into the second category, you probably want to have a VGA box. If some of your games fall into the third category, you really should have a VGA box.

Awesome, thanks so much. Sorry to be a bother. ;)

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Bob Dobbs
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Posts: 3958

Re: Vga Cable vs VGA Box? Issues with Samsung TVs?

Post#12 » Sat Aug 16, 2014 2:18 pm

The NFL2k series or NHL2k series are compatible (NTSC/U) but not on his list. I realize he's from the UK has not tested these games and has put together a nice list.
Bob Dobbs

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