When it comes to getting the best possible image quality out of your retro console of choice, you usually have to jump through a few awkward (not to mention expensive) hoops. That was certainly the case with the GameCube until very recently; the best way of running the system in the past was via Nintendo's own SCART (if you're in Europe) or Component (if you're in the US) cables, the latter of which offered a digital signal which was unique to the console at the time. In an uncharacteristically forward-thinking move, Nintendo included digital output in the GameCube years before the PlayStation 3 shipped with HDMI support out of the box, but it never saw widespread use, outside of being converted to analogue signal by the aforementioned Component cable – which now sells for exorbitant sums online.
History lesson completed, we can be thankful in 2018 that Nintendo decided to include this digital output in the GameCube, because it has allowed industrious modders to create an open source standard which allows crisp HDMI output from the console. We've already reviewed the GC Video Plug 'n Play 3.0 and EON GCHD, and now EON is back with the Mk-II model of the latter; it's the same basic unit but with some impressive additional features that make it the most comprehensive option for those who are keen to get the most mileage out of their vintage system.
The Mk-II is easy to confuse with the original Mk-I. The box is near-identical aside from the Mk-II logo, and the unit itself could easily be mistaken for the older model. It's only when you begin using this newer variant that the advantages become glaringly apparent (on a side note, you'll need to make sure you have a DOL-001 model number GameCube, as Nintendo actually removed the digital AV port from the later hardware revision).
The sharp and totally lag-free HDMI output is the same, but this time around we also have an analogue socket built into the unit itself. This might seem odd to anyone planning on just using the GCHD to play games on their modern-day flatscreen, but it effectively means that US and Japanese GameCube consoles can be forced into outputting an RGB signal via the appropriate cable (it also supports Ypbpr or RGsB and output). If you're looking to use a legacy display with your console then this is a solid option, but it also allows you to do things like capture from HDMI while outputting to a separate PVM. Again, this is a niche market we're talking about here, but it's worth mentioning nonetheless. On the audio side of things, the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone socket – which doubles as a digital audio socket thanks to mini-Toslink support – makes things even more comprehensive.
Again, it's worth stressing that not only does the GCHD Mk-II offer the best image quality imaginable – yes, even better than via the now-elusive Component cable – you get totally lag-free output; all of the GameCube HDMI adapters based on this open source tech are notable for not adding any latency, period. The downside is that there's no scaling done by the unit at all, so how the picture looks on your TV is very much down to how well its internal hardware handles 480p and 480i signals. Not all modern TVs are created equal and even at Nintendo Life Towers we noted a marked difference between makes and models.
EON has certainly left no stone unturned in the creation of the Mk-II, but there are still things we wish were present. Insurrection Industries' Carby – which uses the same open source project as its base – comes with a handy remote control to access the OSD (the Mk-II requires you to input a button combo on the GameCube controller). The Carby also comes with a HDMI cable in the box – not a massive concern considering how ubiquitous these things are these days, but worth mentioning. It's also worth pointing out that the Carby is around half the price of the Mk-II.
Still, the Mk-II's additional features will make a difference to the right person, and if you happen to be that person then the additional outlay isn't going to be too much of an issue – especially when you consider how eye-wateringly expensive the official Component cable is, and will no doubt continue to be as time goes on. At the time of writing, it's the best single-purchase solution for the GameCube right now.
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If it was cheaper, sure. But that is just too expensive for me.
Too expensive I'm afraid.
I mean honestly how do these things get off being so expensive? Even £50 would be expensive, but I'd at least consider it.
I have one and the difference is night and day. It’s basically emulation quality. The price is steep but it’s very worth it imo.
I really really want this but the price is causing me an issue but to be honest, I may just bite the bullet and get it.
PS2/Xbox/GC actually looks ok on modern tv's. It looks how I temember it at least. Its just that we're used to HD now.
Now N64 really needs something on modern tv's.
Honestly just use component cables on your wii. If you really want HDMI for your original gamecube then get a carby - same firmware but way cheaper.
I agree with everyone. The cost is too much. Way too much. Similar products for other consoles can be purchased for much cheaper
i'd really love to have one but I can't afford that asking price.
Explain this to a relative lay person. If I have the GameCube component cables and a component to HDMI converter, am I going to see any improvement with this device or is it a lateral move?
Thank god I got the component cable when it came out. IMO, this is a total ripoff.
This has more features but carby is easier on the pocket if you just want a clean picture.
@Mogster Each one is hand made is how they are so expensive, not to mention all of the soldered methods are just as expensive fro the most part and you have to solder them yourself.
Not only is this new one still expensive but that company had stupidly replace this newer one over the old one so you can't get that older one for cheap. It seems they really want to keep this crap at $150 as possible.
That ludicrous price ensures I definitely won't buy one. If I want to play GC games in HD, I'll just fire up the emulator that converts them (been too long so forget the name). Say what you will about doing that but I only used it once on Luigi's Mansion (which I own anyway).
@Mogster It has an FPGA inside, which accounts for some of the cost. Plus this is a very specialised piece of hardware. You pay a premium for this kind of thing, unfortunately. The Carby is a cheaper option, though, which does (almost) the same thing.
I've modded my Wii U, so I really don't need this thing to play GC games at a higher quality image, but just for curiosity, I'd like to get. Probably when they're half their price, I'll get one.
This is nice, but I'll just stick with my homebrewed Wii U.
@Agent721 Check out the current cost of those component cables. I'm sure you'll understand why some people find this device to be worth the cost =)
The Carby would be what you want then.
@VinylCreep Lateral move.
My Life in Gaming actually did a really nice in-depth look at all this stuff and it's worth checking out.
If you have component cables for your GCN, the only reason you'd need this is if you switch to a TV or receiver that doesn't include those inputs.
Knock it down to £30 then we got a deal 😜
As everyone else is saying, if they made it cheaper that would have been by far the best improvement.
@Mogster a couple of reasons why these things are expensive.
1.) using expensive composts,usually FGPA chips to get it to work.
And 2.) as it's produced by enthushist rather than a bigger corporation, meaning they only able afford smaller production run & as a result cost more per unit to produce as a result.
All the complaining about cost is crazy.
It's a small-batch enthusiast product for an obsolete console. It's amazing that stuff like this exists at all. There's no reason to expect it to be cheap.
Oh my freaking god!!!! That is insane. I think I paid around $40, maybe less at the time. Well, I guess this doesn’t look too bad in comparison!! 😂
@Razieluigi To be fair this is a lot cheaper than getting the component cable
@Razieluigi VERY well said! The alternative is go cheap and get crap performance in comparison.
I think it's awesome! Yes it's a price....but anything good comes with one...the options on this thing are pretty cool....
BTW, for even older consoles, legacy "displays" ARE an upgrade(crt)....nothing like the old consoles being played on the medium for which they were designed.
I have the first one and have no reason to upgrade. But for anyone looking to play Gamecube on a modern display, there is no better way to do it in my opinion.
It is also quite nice to do it this way, if you want to play Game Boy or GBA games on a TV, because of the Game Boy Player add on for the Gamecube.
Like this article said, it is a niche thing, but one I rather like. To be frank, playing it this way pushes the picture quality to "better than I remember" levels, even despite nostalgia goggles.
How well do GBA games output using this? I ask because that is the only reason why I would even consider buying one. My Gamecube games look pretty damn good on my Wii that's hooked up to the wife's Sony Bravia 42 in LED TV . It took many hours, over the course of many days to calibrate the image but it was well worth the effort. I tried my PS2 and that looked like poo poo so I never bothered hooking up the Gamecube.
@Trajan My Xbox using Monster brand component cables looks amazing on my Panasonic 50 in Plasma. The PS2 on the other hand looks like garbage. I did have better luck with my wifes Sony Bravia 42 in LED via component. I played several 2D games (SF Alpha series and the SF puzzle game and Pocket Fighter) and they looked great however anything 3D was horrible. I recall FFX looking okay when still but the second you moved EVERYTHING got blurry and it was very difficult to stomach. I am curious as to what TV you have your PS2 hooked up to. I wasted many hours of my life searching the internet and the general consensus is that the PS2 looks atrocious on HD TV's.
WORTH EVERY PENNY TOO!!! Allows me to play all my GameCube discs in 480p with Swiss via HDMI & I use the component option for the Gameboy Player into my Framemeister with the GB Interface software, utter perfection!!
@SuperGhirahim64 It’s an option but the GameCube has better video output via component than Wii & the Wii also can’t use the GameBoy Player.
@SuperGhirahim64 Not higher resolution but the DOL-001 model of the GameCube has the Digital output so these HDMI adapters use that direct digital signal without going through any analog to digital conversion so it's just a super clean crisp 480p image. The Wii has a normal analogue component output so their is conversion involved and you lose that direct clean digital signal.
I have the original component cables but I hate un plugging them all the time for use on other tv’s so I picked up the GCHD and it’s great. I have the n64 version also. They work great but the price on all three options is out of hand.
@Razieluigi I with you. The cost is a bit expensive but retro gaming in general is expensive if you want original hardware. I think it’s great that a company cares about the GameCube enough to create these devices.
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