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Retro Hardware Digital Foundry Retro Hardware: PS1 Digital Review - HDMI for PlayStation 1 - Pristine Image Quality!


NeoGAFs Kent Brockman
Dec 1, 2014

One of the greatest console libraries of all-time can now be enjoyed with the very best possible image (and sound!) quality, with a hardware modification that adds pristine HDMI output to original hardware PlayStation 1 consoles. Is this the best way to experience PS1 on a modern display? What features do you get and how do they compare to the existing options? John Linneman and Audi Sorlie share their thoughts.


Aug 20, 2019
Lol, the lack of activity in the thread. Can't war over an interesting new way to play your PS1 games.

I would seriously consider sending a PS1 in and doing this. I don't have 1/20th of the skill to do it myself, personally, but I would love to be able to play these games on HDTVs, as they originally looked (and even better).
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Jul 14, 2015
Looks really great!
I turn to my PS3's and Retroarch emulation for PSone, but this seems like an awesome option for those wanting to play on original hardware + HDTV.
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May 13, 2019
Is there a way to replace the disc drive with a SD card reader with ISOs or something like that? It would be the perfect combo. Most ps1s have dead drives nowadays.
There is a thing called PSIO. Im looking for comodore 64 sd adapters, but they are expensive for me. I know that I would use my c64 maybe once a year
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Oct 24, 2017
I would be more interested in a PS1 relaunch with Hdmi+hdd (and GOOD upscaling+filters) and ALL PS1 titles available via psn store than on the PS5 atm.
Ps1>Ps2>>>ps4>>ps3 (and, for now, ps5 between ps4 and ps3)
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Dec 7, 2016
León, Spain
Stay away from PSIO.. it is F U C K I N G garbage.
PSIO is a great hardware imo, it works perfectly fine and it has many qol features.

Since every PS model has native RGB output, unlike Nintendo 64, I think this HDMI thing is a waste of money, especially at that price. But options are always great.
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Feb 23, 2018
And here I am wanting to play it composite on a tv like this



Jun 8, 2019
Yes, there is a proper device in works coming in September. Its called an XStation.

Stay away from PSIO.. it is F U C K I N G garbage.

PSIO works pretty well - it has problems with some games, but runs the vast majority of the system's library perfectly. It's got a few limitations though - the biggest one (and the hardest one to fix) is that it handles CD/ADPCM audio through the expansion port audio input and as a result games that try to detect the current audio status by reading the SPU memory simply don't work (one notable example is Vib Ribbon - where the game is completely broken as a result) - the stupid "security" shit where you have to use a menu file that matches the serial number of the cartridge is also annoying, especially if you have more than one PSIO and multiple SD cards. It also requires hardware modification of the console which requires cutting some fine traces.

The advantages are that it does generally work, doesn't permanently disable the CD drive and works on any machine with a parallel I/O port (I.E. SCPH-1000 - SCPH-7503). If you have more than one console with the switch board installed then you can swap the PSIO cartridge between them and when it's unplugged the console reverts to standard CD operation.

The way that PSIO works is to simulate pretty much the entire CD subsystem - the bus on the expansion port is the same one that connects to the host side of the CD interface chip and the signals diverted by the switch board are the /CS signal for that chip and the interrupt line feeding back to the R3K. So effectively PSIO has to replicate the functions of the entire CD block - CD interface chip (which also contains the ADPCM functions for CD stream playback), Mechacon CPU (handles the commands from the console) and the CD DSP (although most of the functions it performs can be ignored because they deal with low-level stuff that's irrelevant at the level of abstraction PSIO deals with).

The approach that Rama took is quite different - he's leaving the CD interface and the mechacon CPU in place and just simulating the CD DSP - the biggest advantage is that you get to use more of the existing hardware like the CD interface and you're still running the original mechacon firmware. You just have to look at the commands that are being sent to the CD DSP, use those to slew the read position on a simulated CD and fake up the transport stream and the subcode that would be produced by a real CD.

This is a considerably more invasive modification though - the signals needed are not present on any available header and you have to pick them up from the main PCB (hence the QSB for install) - off the top of my head, you need to lift at least the main transport stream serial data output, the SUBQ line (so you can inject fake subcode), the SCOR line (since there is no CD, there is no frame sync) and probably others I haven't thought of. Also, since it's still using the original mechacon code you need to fake up the SCEx signal used for media verification (basically what a modchip does). Although it would be theoretically possible to put muxes on the QSB to restore the signals from the original hardware as far as I know the current design doesn't do that and hence the CD drive has to be considered permanently disabled - I guess that doesn't matter if you have a console with a dead CD drive.

Since it connects to the stream between the CD DSP and CD interface it's also never going to work on machines that have both these chips merged into a single device (PU-20, PU-22, PU-23 boards and the PSone) - but those old machines are common enough that finding something that's compatible shouldn't be much of a problem.


The Xstation seems like a good bet for people that never use CDs and have a compatible machine. PSIO is still better if you might want to boot an original disc sometimes.
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Currently Gif and Meme Champion
Dec 25, 2019
Prague, Czech Republic
I see that this board has ESP32-WROOM-32U module, very wise choice. Guess that's how you easily achieve remote firmware updates and keep the cost down.


I believe any game made before 1997 is "essentially cave man art."
Mar 26, 2013
Lol, the lack of activity in the thread. Can't war over an interesting new way to play your PS1 games.
New? Yes.
Interesting? Nah.
It's just the old games, same res, crt distortion probably helped some of these games.
Wait till you see what you can do when you emulate!


Gold Member
Aug 14, 2020
I would love to see a playstation emulator without the fucking warping texture...


Jun 8, 2019
I would love to see a playstation emulator without the fucking warping texture...

Beetle PSX HW - turn on the "replace textures" option. It's not absolutely perfect (mostly because the PSX rendering pipeline is basically 2D and it has to infer the depth), but it manages to render most games in a perspective correct manner.


Nov 11, 2018
some one should make a dvd drive sdcard reader for ps2. so you can play both ps1 and 2 games.


Nov 11, 2018
duckstation is largly wobble free. i wonder how they did it. mabe they added a ton of geometry? thats how devs used to do. 10x polygons or something.