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Retropie + 480p = Love



  • I’ve been running Retropie since 3.1 or something like that, and I’ve always run with predefined resolution for Emulation Station. I’ve tweaked the resolution and outputs for each emulator for hours to find a fitting image quality vs. speed.

    However, when installing 4.6 on a PI4 I noticed the default 4K resolution of Emulation Station is really slowing it down and something had to be done.

    So I searched the forums for changing resolution and found a thread discussion going to do that. Then I searched the internet for hdmi_mode and found I could set it natively to 480p.

    Since I’m that kind of guy that thinks it’s ok if old CRT games looks a bit blurry, especially when it’s in favor for emulation speed, I’m so happy with the results.

    No need to further set individual resolutions for the emulators. No need to tweak. Out of the box perfect.

    I have a Sony Bravia 60 inch 4K LCD.
    I run GB, GBC, GBA, NDS, NES, SNES, N64, MS, MD, PS1, PSP.

    What do you think of native resolution vs speed?



  • @Arcuza said in Retropie + 480p = Love:

    I’ve been running Retropie since 3.1 or something like that, and I’ve always run with predefined resolution for Emulation Station. I’ve tweaked the resolution and outputs for each emulator for hours to find a fitting image quality vs. speed.

    However, when installing 4.6 on a PI4 I noticed the default 4K resolution of Emulation Station is really slowing it down and something had to be done.

    So I searched the forums for changing resolution and found a thread discussion going to do that. Then I searched the internet for hdmi_mode and found I could set it natively to 480p.

    Since I’m that kind of guy that thinks it’s ok if old CRT games looks a bit blurry, especially when it’s in favor for emulation speed, I’m so happy with the results.

    No need to further set individual resolutions for the emulators. No need to tweak. Out of the box perfect.

    I have a Sony Bravia 60 inch 4K LCD.
    I run GB, GBC, GBA, NDS, NES, SNES, N64, MS, MD, PS1, PSP.

    What do you think of native resolution vs speed?

    I would like to know how well the n64 games are running?
    Resolution is fine at 480p. Fact of the matter is that almost all the platforms you have mentioned have a native rendering resolution of <=480p which means that this resolution should not decrease any graphics fidelity.
    The only issue here can be that it you are using kodi or pixel Desktop with this resolution then they would be less then ideal. Otherwise for Emulation station I don't see any problem.


  • administrators

    @redhotiron2004 You can switch resolution in Kodi and for the desktop. I run in 720p. My TV upscales it well. But I have Kodi in 1080p (my screens native res).



  • @Arcuza said in Retropie + 480p = Love:

    What do you think of native resolution vs speed?

    I prefer native resolutions even if they're a little bit slower, as long as the framerate doesn't drop too much. As for blurring, I don't like mere blurring with bilinear etc. filters, but I don't like non-filtered hard pixels either. I prefer curved CRT filters like zfast_crt_curve from @ghogan42.

    One peculiarity of my setup is my TFT with a rather high resolution of 1600x1200. I chose it intentionally so that I could display hi-res overlays like these.


  • Global Moderator

    personally i wouldn't use 480p because not all games fit well into that resolution. a lot of games are 240p (so would scale exactly into 640x480), but many are not, especially as you leave the 16-bit era, or get into arcade emulation. anything that is not 240p is going to scale horribly, with thick/thin lines of pixels, weird looking sprites, and so on. 1080p is nice as it's going to be full speed, and any scaling artefacts are going to be essentially invisible.



  • This gives me the opportunity to ask you about a theory of mine:

    My setup with RPi4:
    TV resolution: 4K (2160p)
    Retropie resolution: 720p
    Emulators render resolutions: 240p for every 240p console/arcade (the only different is Dreamcast at 480p)

    I think this is the best setup for eliminating scaling artifacts on 4K.
    Stay with me:
    2016/720=3 which gives integer scale on Retropie menus.
    720/240=3 again integer scale on emulators.

    This would mean that I'm keeping probably the lowest best Retropie resolution for upscaling on a 4K (setting Retropie at 480p things start to get blurry) so that I can have better performance and at the same time if I like to keep the integer scaling option on I'm getting perfect fullscreen 240p scaling.
    This wouldn't apply with a 1080p Retropie resolution or a 480p emulators render resolution (1080/240=4,5).

    Is it correct or I am missing something? I'm quite happy with this setup image quality.


  • Global Moderator

    @segaages i think the problem with that approach is many console (especially 32-bit and after), and especially arcade, are not 240p. 1080p gives full speed and a good enough pixel density that you basically can't see scaling artefacts IMO.

    i have been meaning to investigate some shaders that give a combo of nearest-neighbour and bilinear to keep it sharp, but bilinear filter any uneven lines.



  • Thank you @dankcushions!
    But if I switch to 1080p wouldn't performance take a (little?) hit on Dreamcast for example or on N64 or some heavier MAME games?


  • Global Moderator

    @segaages in theory a simple upscale to 1080p is a 'free' GPU operation, but there definitely situations where lowering resolution can help. for me, i'm keeping everything at 1080p and trying to identify and resolve the bottlenecks.



  • Are you implying the GPU is little used by emulators in Retropie or not at all?


  • Global Moderator

    @segaages not at all. i don't know of any significant performance gains on available emulators for pi3 or 4 that you can get from lowering the resolution if the emulator is set up correctly.



  • That's good news for me, helps me understand how things work.
    So speaking about resolution emulators performace are basically tied to their rendering resolution and not retropie resoution.
    Gotta try 1080p.



  • @segaages I must add, time spent on configuration tweaks aren’t of my interest right now.

    So I’m happy with saving a lot of time when doing things a little different this time on the PI4:

    • Setting 480p globally.
    • Use USB 3 for roms.

    These two actions take 4 minutes. I can’t even imagine how many hours I’ve spent on configuring 1080p trying to get emulators working well and fill the screen with output resolution and rendering resolution.



  • I spent ages trying to force my setup out of 4K because the emulators ran too slow - and whatever I did the TV and the Pi kept negotiating 4K. Turned out in some of the boot config settings, the order of the values in the config file is quite important though I hadn't found anything that would tell me that, or which was the right order...

    It has been a shame to drop out of 4K because the Retroarch UI looked very crisp and nice, including all the SVG collateral, and on 1080p it's merely "nice". But Fuse and the BBCB under MAME-Advmess ran too slowly at 4K...



  • @dankcushions It seems that if you lower to 720p then you can use an overlay and the zfast CRT shader simultaneously without any stuttering. In 1080p it's really noticeable


  • Global Moderator

    @sad_muso yeah i've heard that overlays tank performance for whatever reason. this feels like a retroarch bug to me, as a static overlay surely shouldn't be that much of a performance drain. do you have an example overlay and file so I can see the issue and log it with them, please?


  • Global Moderator

    scratch that, it's been logged! https://github.com/libretro/RetroArch/issues/10688


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