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April 2002

I was confused as to what would provide the best bang for the buck when choosing the video display for the cabinet. There are a number of options each with their own advantages and disadvantages:

  • Computer Monitor
  • VGA Arcade Monitor
  • Generic Arcade Monitor
  • Television

When I made this decision, I really didn't know what I was getting into. I felt that a decent size computer or VGA Arcade monitor would be too costly for what I wanted. I also knew that I didn't want to use a real arcade monitor because I didn't want to play around with power supplies and isolation transformers. I did poorly enough in my college Electronics courses to understand the implications of screwing up.

What that left me with was the notion of hooking up a TV to the PC. I quickly went to eBay and got a great deal on an ATI Rage Fury card that I hoped would do the trick. Unfortunately, when I got a PC from eBay, I discovered that all AGP slots are not created equal. COMPAQ SUCKS I got a Compaq Deskpro that had advertised an AGP slot. It had a slot and was hosting an ATI video card already. Unfortunately, the case design was so restrictive, that no video card (at least not one with more than one input) would ever fit there.

I sold my Rage Fury back on eBay (at a loss) and replaced it with an ATI Radeon PCI. I'm really happy with this card and MAME has no compatibility problems that I've seen so far.

For the TV, I went to the web and hit every site that I could find to determine the biggest screen that I could fit in 23.5 inches of space that also supported and S-Video connection. I found a great 19" Stereo Philips that fit the bill nicely. I have nothing but good things to say for Philips products now that I have the TV. I also have a Pronto that I love, but that's another story.

In case no one noticed, above I only measured the width of the TV. I could easily tell that the height wouldn't be an issue. What I failed to consider was the depth. The back of the TV is currently hanging out of the cabinet. I'll have to come up with a creative solution to that one.

If I had it all to do over again, I'd go with the Computer monitor. In the long run it's the easiest to hook up and will give you plenty of different resolutions. The TV looks nice, but I probably spent more money and time than I should have.