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Best way to run a vertical monitor?

  • I am looking at setting up my arcade cabinet with a vertically mounted CRT TV doing 240p over composite. Running a Pi3, and used to use the option:


    But I have read that this can be hard on the system and there is in fact, a better way to do it from within Retroarch, and the way I did it actually hinders performance. Is this correct? If so, what is the best approach to setting up a vertical only setup? I see there are options to set the resolution to 3:4 in the config, but other than that and the screen rotate trick, I am fairly lost. Hoping I can squeeze a lil more performance out of the Pi by avoiding bogging down the system with the video_rotate config command... Any help would be appreciated.

  • Global Moderator

    @morpie retroarch settings would only apply to retroarch emulators, and not to the main interface. so emulationstation would be side-on without display_rotate.

  • @dankcushions thanks for the quick reply. i only run lr-mame2003 and lr-fba for my emulators, so this could work yeah? if i use the verticools layout in attract mode, I believe it rotates the display in the front end for me. just curious if this route would make things run any smoother than doin it the old way.

  • Global Moderator

    @morpie that's good! if attract mode can rotate, then you can rotate games via retroarch. the option is video_rotation. you want to set it to 1 or 3 depending on how your monitor is rotated (try both!). you should be able to set this for all libretro emulators via

  • thanks @dankcushions . have you experimented with this at all? i am curious if there will be a noticed improvement in performance over doing it the old way via the pi's config.

  • Global Moderator

    @morpie i haven't got that kind of set-up but my understanding is that flipping via config.txt gives a noticeable speed drop, but rotating via retroarch should be 'free'

    in fact if you play a vertical game on a mame/fba core with default settings on a standard screen, retroarch will be using the exact same rotation system to make it appear vertical.

  • @morpie For what it's worth, I have a cocktail style cabinet and play most vertical games rotated by Retroarch (my setup has a three-sided control panel) and performance is great on those games. Actually, vertical orientation works great in other emulators as well. For example, Tempest in AdvanceMAME runs fine rotated to fill a vertical.

    I still use Emulation Station as a front-end since this can be managed from the horizontal position on my system. However, I am using an LCD display upside-down (this is typically the best viewing angle for a table top cocktail design) and I need to rotate everything 180 degrees using config.txt. I don't believe my system pays much of a penalty for that, if any. But I did try running with 90 degree rotation at the system level and I can confirm that games definitely slow down.

    So, from personal experience, if you can keep the operating system horizontal and let the emulators do the rotation for vertical games, you get the best performance. And if Attract Mode has the ability to rotate itself, well, that's the best vertical solution I have heard of on the Pi so far.

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