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$400 N64 with UltraHDMI?! Is it worth it?


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About a year ago I got the UltraHDMI kit installed in a N64, which does some things few other mods like this do like capturing video as digital RGB, optionally adding processing like scanlines and crop/fill, producing up to 1080p HDMI output with digital audio. Plus it's anti-blurring process is something that needs to be seen to be believed! This my review of the kit and whether I think it's worth the high cost.

As a side note, I love how you can output SD video through the normal AV port at the same time, which allowed me to capture both in real time and make this exact comparison possible!
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Maybe I remember different than some, but the N64 has always been blurry, even in the CRT days. Visiting the store kiosks and seeing Mario 64 vs Crash Bandicoot it was fairly noticeable.

 

I'm waiting on the latest kit batch to ship, and I'll install it myself. I was using S-Video with the Framemeister, and was considering RGB, but if I'm going to crack the system open to solder it might as well be the best option.

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It was worth it for me! Hard to go back to playing N64 through composite now...though I think I only paid about $250 to have an existing system I owned modded. Picture of mine below :D

 

 

Yeah, I kinda wish I would have went for a better base N64...since the mod is so special and awesome! I should have used a Funtastic color

Edited by Metal Jesus
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About a year ago I got the UltraHDMI kit installed in a N64, which does some things few other mods like this do like capturing video as digital RGB, optionally adding processing like scanlines and crop/fill, producing up to 1080p HDMI output with digital audio. Plus it's anti-blurring process is something that needs to be seen to be believed! This my review of the kit and whether I think it's worth the high cost.

As a side note, I love how you can output SD video through the normal AV port at the same time, which allowed me to capture both in real time and make this exact comparison possible!

 

 

 

It was worth it for me! Hard to go back to playing N64 through composite now...though I think I only paid about $250 to have an existing system I owned modded. Picture of mine below :D

 

I sent mine in to get modded by Mobiusstriptech on Nintendoage and he charged $230 with return shipping included. I think $400 for a freshly modded console may be a bit steep, assuming a dusty old N64 still goes for $50 or less. Even with the expansion pack you're barely at $300.

 

 

 

 

Yeah, I kinda wish I would have went for a better base N64...since the mod is so special and awesome! I should have used a Funtastic color

Mine is clear smoke with a led strip on the heatsink.

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One correction I'd make is that you can mod an N64 (later versions) yourself to RGB for next to nothing. I had it done for $45 plus shipping on a console I owned a few years back. However, you need an RGB/SCART setup if you choose that route. The smoothing setting on the HDMI is very nice, sort of like what an emulator can do, but again, not worth the $. If you LOVE the 64 though probably not a crazy way to go. If you've got ANY CRT though, like with any 240P system ever made, use S-Video. I use component for many of them, simply because I have RGB wires and mod and such, but truthfully you don't gain much over S-Video. Not until you get to the DC/Xbox/PS2/GCN systems that run at 480i, or 480p/720p if you have an HD CRT.

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I appreciate the posters who mention that the mod is much cheaper now. $230 STARTS to be a price that seems like it could be worth it. I just don't know how many N64 games I would actually play that aren't available for some virtual console or handheld somewhere. Not to mention emulation (but that has its drawbacks).

 

Great video as always Metal J!

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This mod is a good example of why if you're going to be in the hobby, it's worth the time to learn some soldering. A nice little soldering station can be had for around $50. You'll save yourself money down the road. I've replaced capacitors, modded joysticks, installed RGB kits etc... A car guy wouldn't be caught without a decent set of tools and a little knowledge, right? Same idea.

 

At the end of the day, I'm only into the UltraHDMI mod for $150 plus shipping for the kit. Console is already owned.

Edited by keepdreamin
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Man, that is steep.

 

I appreciate the posters who mention that the mod is much cheaper now. $230 STARTS to be a price that seems like it could be worth it. I just don't know how many N64 games I would actually play that aren't available for some virtual console or handheld somewhere. Not to mention emulation (but that has its drawbacks).

 

Great video as always Metal J!

 

 

As the price creeps up for any mod that really becomes part of the equation for me. N64 has a spotty emulation experience between just buggy experiences and getting things like the dead zone right on the controllers. But it also has the benefit of great framerates for games like Goldeneye that didn't age unscathed.

 

This does look super cool, though and I could see talking myself into it.

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This mod is a good example of why if you're going to be in the hobby, it's worth the time to learn some soldering. A nice little soldering station can be had for around $50. You'll save yourself money down the road. I've replaced capacitors, modded joysticks, installed RGB kits etc... A car guy wouldn't be caught without a decent set of tools and a little knowledge, right? Same idea.

 

At the end of the day, I'm only into the UltraHDMI mod for $150 plus shipping for the kit. Console is already owned.

 

Well, anyone charging $150 to solder is flat out ripping you off, and I would say thanks but no thanks. Don't think I ever paid even HALF that for the labor on a mod. The bulk of the cost is always the new hardware.

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Well, anyone charging $150 to solder is flat out ripping you off, and I would say thanks but no thanks. Don't think I ever paid even HALF that for the labor on a mod. The bulk of the cost is always the new hardware.

 

It all depends of course. I've learned to solder and have done some pretty complicated projects. But that was mostly just for me to learn how to do it and get a few specific things done. Now that I know I can do it, the discovery aspect is out of the picture, and I have to decide if it is worth the time to set up my work area, get out my tools, and work through the challenges of getting a project done that I've never done before. It might be kinda fun, but it also might be worth it to pay someone else to do it who is very experienced and able to get it done right with much less effort.

 

I've actually asked myself how much I would charge to do similar work. I've never done this job before, but in order for me to stop my life and sit down and bang out some delicate projects like this one, it would take a fair amount. Its not my full time job, and I'd have to squeeze it in around everything else. I think it would have to be in the $60 - $80 an hour range to be at all interesting and then that would probably just feel like breaking even for my time.

 

Obviously someone who has this as their actual job can do it at scale and make it more affordable, but above is the type of bargain that I have balance with my own time.

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