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Old 27 May 2020, 22:40   #1
Octopus66
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MiSTer vs WinUAE

Not sure where to put this thread - please move as appropriate.

I have been reading and seeing posts regarding MiSTer FPGA board and the latest Amiga cores and I must admit to being curious. I currently use WinUAE which I am 99% happy with - and is always improving, but it would be interesting to understand if this board is better in some areas, or not.

Does anyone have any experience of a new MiSTer set-up vs a well configured modern WinUAE (v4+ vsync beamrace) so they can advise on the pros and cons? I am concerned that the drawbacks will be significant as WinUAE has so many life comforts added (e.g. auto scaling, IPF support, pause emulation).

Is it true that a MiSTer will exhibit; no tearing ever, super stable low latency, no audio glitches? Will it always behave like a piece of real hardware in so far as a consistent experience (even if it is not an perfect replica of an Amiga motherboard in design)?

All experience welcome!
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Old 27 May 2020, 23:07   #2
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WinUAE has a lot of settings to correct audio & gfx glitches due to wrongly programmed games too.

What is probably better about the MISTer is that you power it up and ... it's an amiga. One of the reasons I have a real A1200 on my desktop that I use only to play games the old way.

It's possible to do that with WinUAE but it's more difficult, and it monopolizes the PC.
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Old 27 May 2020, 23:18   #3
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Hrm. Since I mostly use software emulation (fs-uae) as a tool for getting stuff onto and off of real hardware, I don't know that I'd consider my emulation 'well configured', BUT I can compare the MiSTer FPGA Amiga core to my real Amiga 2000. I haven't heard any sound issues at all. It's been remarkably stable, the internet (PPP through the linux host on the ARM side) works every bit as well as it does on my A2000 with the xsurf, and it was a lot cheaper and more versatile than springing for a real AGA Amiga (I'm running it as a A1200 with 2MB chip and 256 fast). I haven't heard any issues at all with the sound.

I have a Dell 19" 5:4 panel with HDMI that's my main board, a standard mouse and keyboard, and a SN30 Pro plugged into the USB hub. I know this is a 'weird' thing to say, but for some reason, it sort of 'feels' more real than a windowed emulator, and before I sprung for the FPGA, I tried running amibian on a pi, and it seemed like it was a lot more of a hassle.

Having said all of this, with the currnet core, you're limited to a 68020. For those who wish to have virtual 'hotrod' Amigas, that's probably not going to be enough. For people like me, who just like to play old games and dink around writing code that no one will ever see, it's fine.
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Old 27 May 2020, 23:30   #4
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It's not really more Amiga than any other solution which is not an actual Amiga

You can build a dedicated (near) bare metal mini PC, or RPi, which will power up very fast too. The actual experience when you run a game is ~97.5%* similar for all these solutions. What differs slightly is how you get there and what you can do around it. And the "feeling" people talk about is just a feeling. If we did a blind test I doubt anybody could really tell which one is which, at least in casual use.

MiSTer's strong suit is the superior accuracy and lower latency (it's not entirely lag free, as a popular myth has it), at least vs RPi (RPi is not cycle exact). Vs PC it's a much tighter call. It also has some limitations inherent to "real" hardware like less flexibility, lack of save states, etc...

It is, of course, a great piece of hardware, but definitely not the be-all-end-all of modern solutions. All of them (RPi-likes, PC emu, FPGAs) have some strong and weak points.


*citation needed
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Old 28 May 2020, 05:52   #5
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Hi Octopus66, et al.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus66 View Post
I currently use WinUAE which I am 99% happy with - and is always improving, but it would be interesting to understand if this board is better in some areas, or not.

Does anyone have any experience of a new MiSTer set-up vs a well configured modern WinUAE (v4+ vsync beamrace) so they can advise on the pros and cons? I am concerned that the drawbacks will be significant as WinUAE has so many life comforts added (e.g. auto scaling, IPF support, pause emulation).

Is it true that a MiSTer will exhibit; no tearing ever, super stable low latency, no audio glitches? Will it always behave like a piece of real hardware in so far as a consistent experience (even if it is not an perfect replica of an Amiga motherboard in design)?
I'm using MISTer on the DE1-SoC board:
https://github.com/MiSTer-DE1-SoC

In terms of MISTer(Minimig AGA) vs. WinUAE, I can't think of any area where the MISTer setup would be superior in terms of the emulation.

MISTer does have some advantages as a general retro emulation box however:

You can swap platforms easily via the On Screen display.
Easy to read/write to files on the one SD card.
Easy to modify the cores yourself if so inclined.

I currently keep the Amiga, Apple// and some of my favourite arcade game cores on the SD card.

DE-10 Standard is probably the ideal board to run MISTer, but I had a DE1-SoC already.

Cheers,
Red
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Old 28 May 2020, 09:52   #6
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WinUAE is probably more accurate, and much more flexible.

What minimig does offer is no tearing and no audio glitches, and it certainly tries to behave like a piece of real hardware (it might not be 100% there yet though, but close enough for all practical purposes)
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Old 28 May 2020, 10:55   #7
lesta_smsc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaos View Post
WinUAE is probably more accurate, and much more flexible.

What minimig does offer is no tearing and no audio glitches, and it certainly tries to behave like a piece of real hardware (it might not be 100% there yet though, but close enough for all practical purposes)
If there are specific examples that cause tearing and audio glitches, I would like to test on my current set up
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Old 28 May 2020, 11:50   #8
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In _theory_ running on FPGA is better as it can reproduce exact timing better.

However WinUAE is very good indeed and while it will always suffer from the emulation problem (trying to emulate things in parallel is hard) most of the time you won't be aware of that. How good MiSTer is depends on the quality of the core. I've not played with it _enough_ to find issues but I'm sure there are plenty.

Both have the advantage that you can do "other" things with them and they're seeing healthy development, although I'd say WinUAE is the more mature platform there. You can of course do anything you want with a PC while with MiSTer you can emulate a variety of other consoles and early home computers.
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Old 28 May 2020, 13:47   #9
chaos
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesta_smsc View Post
If there are specific examples that cause tearing and audio glitches, I would like to test on my current set up
Notice I never said that you *will* get glitches with WinUAE, just that you certainly won't get them with minimig.
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Old 28 May 2020, 13:55   #10
lesta_smsc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaos View Post
Notice I never said that you *will* get glitches with WinUAE, just that you certainly won't get them with minimig.
My apologies. I was just hoping to put my setup to the challenge lol.
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Old 28 May 2020, 22:15   #11
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Ive just built my Mister into a C64 case using a keyrah it looks good and works well. I have it with the same minimig core i have on my A500 unamiga which im going to sell. Ive used win uae since it first came out and whilst i do like it I get fed up with it crashing at seemingly random times. The Minimig cores are great amd simple to use. Ive had 3.14 working on it with bestwb too and 3.9 too. The mister is amazing with the extra cores to.

Sent from my LM-G710 using Tapatalk
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Old 31 July 2020, 03:09   #12
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Retro Man Cave just did this great video using the MiSTer

[ Show youtube player ]

I've looked at the MiSTer before but this video has now got me very interested in this product.

It's probably the most appealing way for me to get the feeling of real retro hardware without the hassle (and expense) of dealing with 30 year old Amiga motherboards.

The fact that you can emulate a 486 PC and a C64 etc is a big bonus over just an FPGA Amiga board.

It's a shame that the MinMig core it uses hasn't been upgraded to support RTG yet but it looks like it's being worked on so you never know

Last edited by NovaCoder; 31 July 2020 at 04:51.
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Old 31 July 2020, 05:12   #13
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MiSTer has been the best purchase I've made this year... small issue with no cd32 iso support..

Other then that, a500 & A1200 support which is perfect... he most accurate amiga emulation i have ever seen and that's not only amiga but all the other odd 20+ cores...

Bluetooth controller attached amiga armchair gaming on the big screen via hdmi just couldn't be any better..

Everything I've thrown at it... It just works.. add,hdf,games apps demo's etc

Once you use a MiSTer and see for yourself it is extremely hard to go back to amiga emulation...

Fpga for the WIN!
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Old 31 July 2020, 06:38   #14
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I vote for FPGA over emulation. While I don't have a MiSTer I have a Turbo Chameleon V2 with minimig core. I also have a ton of real Amiga setups.

Using WinUAE I can feel input lag. I'm sure smooth scrolling could be fixed by connecting different screens and so on. But after I started using real Amigas again, about 5 years ago, I could really feel the input lag in WinUAE.

TC64 V2 with minimig core is pretty much like using the real thing. I have a docking station for it with real Joystick ports. I don't know if you would get any input lag from the MiSTer when using USB instead. But on the above mentioned TC64 V2 FPGA setup I cannot feel any input lag. It's like playing on real Amigas. After all, FPGA is a re-implementation of the hardware and not emulation. So not surprised it feels like the real thing.

I hear some people say they have no input lag with emulation VS the real hardware. That is not my experience.
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Old 31 July 2020, 07:49   #15
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To those of you that have extensively used an FPGA machine such as MiSTer, just how accurate is it? Everyone here (and elsewhere) generally say it's indistinguishable to the real thing.

Let's say I put a A500 core MiSTer inside an Amiga 500 case, hooked it up the keyboard, joystick ports, etc., somehow got it to use the real internal floppy drive, and got it booting directly to Kickstart. Cosmetically it looks identical.

If I took said machine, gave it to you and said it's a real Amiga 500. Would you be able to tell the difference?
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Old 31 July 2020, 08:03   #16
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It is identical to real hardware, fpga is another world and is completely different to emulation... Games that are fast paced like IK+ (Bonus Round) or sensible soccer just to name a few are very responsive and much more playable imo.

Every movement on the joystick response time is immediatem no need for emulation to cycle through tons of code to make it happen.

Have a look at smokemonsters YT channel, he has an amiga mister vid, and also pezz82 amiga mister on YT. There are manh more mister fpga amiga vids on YT to watch if you want to research more...

I have found the light at the end of the tunnel no with playing amiga games away from real hardware.. But ill never let go of winuae pc emulation as this is very advanced and I like to keep up with the emulation scene on PC..

As for emulating amiga on Raspberry Pi, Android, PS3, Xbox, or any other console type machine, I can easily say they can be put to rest now that I have Amiga on MiSTer.

Forgot to mention you can also add scanlines very easily, and MiSTer GUI is very fast and easy to use with either activating it with F12/Joy Home Button ingame.

Last edited by ransom1122; 31 July 2020 at 08:43.
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Old 31 July 2020, 08:22   #17
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There's also something else I like about MiSTer, the fact that it supports VGA output.

How many PC's still support VGA output, not many these days.
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Old 31 July 2020, 08:34   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NovaCoder View Post
There's also something else I like about MiSTer, the fact that it supports VGA output.

How many PC's still support VGA output, not many these days.
Correct.. But like all addons, things start costing more and more...

Ram module (for amiga and neogeo)
USB Powered HUB (Recommended for ext HDD ROM use)
Addon boards etc etc
Wifi or Bluetooth Adaptors, etc etc

@NovaCoder Seeing your from the same neck of the woods as me, if you want direction as to where to purchase it with lightning delivery speeds, hit me up

Last edited by ransom1122; 31 July 2020 at 08:48.
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Old 31 July 2020, 09:21   #19
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There is still no Amiga emulator or reimplementation that is 100% identical to real hardware.

For example just few days ago previously unknown undocumented OCS/ECS feature was found that surely is not implemented anywhere yet. Blitter behavior when writing to registers and blit is active is also still unknown (really needs schematics to find out how it actually works. There is at least one demo that assume specific behavior). There is no 68020+ implementation that is cycle exact. (68000 at least exists)

"Looking like it is perfect" (emulation or reimplementation or whatever) is just result of sort of selection bias. All the popular demos (and almost all games) work because everyone runs them and reports the problem. But there is always that one demo does something really weird that no one else does and most assume it is simply broken because this emulation/reimplementation/etc was supposed to be perfect.. (which is normal because in 99% of cases the problem is that it is really broken and almost no one cares about those rare edge cases for some reason)

Latency problem is not directly software emulation problem (unless you really want less than 1-2ms latency) but the way most display APIs work which don't allow rendering to front buffer. Without need for tricks like lagless vsync which can have other side-effects.
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Old 31 July 2020, 10:01   #20
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Mister does not emulate as you are aware. Ifnlike to know some troublesome games/demo's I'd like to try on MiSTer if you know any?
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