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Dreamcast Dreamcast double memory mod is now possible! 32MB Ram!

Anthony817

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Does anyone know if there a way to check the currently dumped NAOMI/Atomiswave roms to see how much video/sound ram they use? Perhaps there are some (lighter) games that never use more then lets say a stock Dreamcast on those elements, in that case those titles would be a great starting point to experiment with.

That was exactly my thoughts as well! Surely there would have been some games that don't utilize the full hardware specs.
 

darcagn

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This is something I will pay for someone to do for me. This is pretty neat.

I received the RAM in the mail for this mod today, and I have some Dreamcast triple-BIOS PCBs in manufacturing as well so I can easily test a variety of BIOS versions with 32MB hacks applied with the ability to toggle back to a known working BIOS. I put together a DreamShell BIOS-flashing CDI image with a bunch of 32MB hacks (it's in the blog article) and I am eager to test them all.

I should have enough parts to do three Dreamcast consoles, assuming I don't mess anything up. If all goes well, I may be willing to make and sell these, but first I want to test and document the mod and see if there are any adverse effects. Unfortunately I have to leave town this weekend for a family reunion and won't be back until after the 4th of July but by that time all of the stuff I need should have come in the mail.
 

Wesker

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May 31, 2019
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almost completely useless:

Atomiswave - have exact same tech specs as regular Dreamcast => we have no AW->DC ports because no one wants to waste his time on it, not because lack of DC's RAM or some other tech problems.

I thought the Atomiswave doubled the Dreamcast main RAM?


The rest of specs seem to be the same, so in theory the Atomiswave should now be easier to convert thanks to this. I'm not sure about your reason, as there are some neat games on the Atomiswave, especially the Arc System Works and SNK ones, which would be great to have on playable form on Dreamcast.

Naomi - have 2x video RAM and 4x sound RAM than regular DC => it is useless to have only main RAM extended.

Yeah, these ones seem like they would definitely be more complicated. But maybe not impossible.
 

Bad_Ad84

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May 30, 2019
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I received the RAM in the mail for this mod today, and I have some Dreamcast triple-BIOS PCBs in manufacturing as well so I can easily test a variety of BIOS versions with 32MB hacks applied with the ability to toggle back to a known working BIOS. I put together a DreamShell BIOS-flashing CDI image with a bunch of 32MB hacks (it's in the blog article) and I am eager to test them all.

I should have enough parts to do three Dreamcast consoles, assuming I don't mess anything up. If all goes well, I may be willing to make and sell these, but first I want to test and document the mod and see if there are any adverse effects. Unfortunately I have to leave town this weekend for a family reunion and won't be back until after the 4th of July but by that time all of the stuff I need should have come in the mail.
You dont need a triple bios pcb. Just fit an MX29L3211, it will fit 2 bioses on it, is pin compatible and just need to toggle the last address line low/high to switch banks.

If theres any interest, I could stock the ram and preflashed chips. But its chicken and egg - theres no point doing the mod unless theres a reason to do it.

I officially declare that this mod will not be used in DreamShell
very few users can replace RAM, I see no prospects

If you can do the bios, its not much harder to do the ram.
 

darcagn

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I now have a 32MB RAM Dreamcast! :D I actually got around to getting this done before pulling out for vacation.

Every BIOS image I've tested WORKS!* I gave my bootROM a good working out today.
(*By "works" I mean the Dreamcast boots up and I am able to launch Crazy Taxi or DreamShell.... I didn't do super extensive testing for each BIOS)
EDIT: Uh oh! Sonic Adventure crashes when loading and Phantasy Star Online v2 crashes when going to the FMV!!! Crap.
Good news is that it is possible to put the pins on a DPDT switch and turn the mod on and off.

Code:
1.004 vanilla                              UNTESTED, PROBABLY WORKS
1.01c vanilla                               UNTESTED, PROBABLY WORKS
1.01d vanilla                                WORKS
1.01d w/ region free patch ("link83")            WORKS       
1.01d w/ region free patch alt intro ("link83")        WORKS
1.01d Treamcast                        UNTESTED
1.022 ("no mil-CD BIOS")                NOT INCLUDED ON DISC, UNTESTED
jc 1.300 regular intro                    WORKS
jc 1.310 regular intro                    WORKS
jc 1.310 alt intro                    WORKS
jc 1.032 regular intro                    WORKS
jc 1.032 alt intro                    WORKS
dreamboot 1.0.0                        WORKS
dreamboot 1.0.0 No GD-ROM                UNTESTED, SHOULD WORK
dreamboot 1.0.1                        WORKS
dreamboot 1.0.1 No GD-ROM                UNTESTED, SHOULD WORK
dreamboot 1.0.2                        WORKS
dreamboot 1.0.2 No GD-ROM                UNTESTED, SHOULD WORK
dreamboot 1.1.0                        WORKS
dreamboot 1.1.0 No GD-ROM                UNTESTED, SHOULD WORK
dreamshell boot_loader regular intro            WORKS               
dreamshell boot_loader regular intro No GD-ROM        UNTESTED, SHOULD WORK
dreamshell boot_loader alt intro            WORKS
dreamshell boot_loader alt intro No GD-ROM        UNTESTED, SHOULD WORK
dreamshell sd_loader_with.bios                WORKS

You dont need a triple bios pcb. Just fit an MX29L3211, it will fit 2 bioses on it, is pin compatible and just need to toggle the last address line low/high to switch banks.

If theres any interest, I could stock the ram and preflashed chips. But its chicken and egg - theres no point doing the mod unless theres a reason to do it.

I was trying to avoid the headaches of all the wiring and switches (since you need to also switch the chip selects to get the first BIOS), but in the end I went ahead and did the old piggyback method instead of the PCB because I realized that the triple-BIOS PCBs actually cover the RAM up, and I didn't want to have to reverse anything.

If you can do the bios, its not much harder to do the ram.

I agree with this, it's not very difficult, pretty much the same skill set.
 
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Anthony817

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Wow congrats! My soldering skills are too damn basic, and my Dreamcast is kind of expensive since chock full of mods. I do have a 20% OC to 240mhz on a switch, and dual bios mod, so it is a perfect candidate for this mod. Just yeah, as much as I want this done money being an issue and all I couldn't afford to kill my beloved system if I botched it.

I guess only time will tell if games can ever be patched, but that means more people need to have this mod done and see what they can do. Japanese_Cake mentioned that the mod will not work with the Bleem retails at least, so I am assuming he did the mod already or asked the guy who first figured the mod out to test? Weather this means it works in the version he plans on releasing with protections removed remains to be seen.

I just hope if he actually has the mod done, he looks into how possible it is to patch games to use the added memory. If anybody is smart enough to figure out if it is even possible, it would be him.
 
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truemaster

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it requires desolder the ram chip. is just like complete bios replacement. if done inproperly you can end up with riped pads. best method for it is a hot air. also for the meentime nothing take advantage of this so there is no need to do it right now
 

megavolt85

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If you can do the bios, its not much harder to do the ram.

I do not find this mod useful
firstly there will be problems with some games
secondly, I am sure that there will be few games and applications using 32 megabytes
thirdly, the step of the legs is very small, most will be afraid to solder RAM
 

truemaster

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iam with @megavolt85 to 1-2 the third part its not for everyone to do for sure. but if cool things can hapen with this memory upgrade then its worth to pay someone to do. but untill that time this mode serves nothing
 

fafadou

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It's a very hard mod to install, I think I don't do it.
but it's an improvement for sure.
Enjoying some scummVM games is not a very evolution.

I'm thinking about TOM JAM & EARL III unreleased that no one can finish due to memory issue at the end of the game.
 

thedoctor45

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This is a very interesting development, but like megavolt said, at the moment the problems definitely outweigh the benefits, but this might very well change in the future - i guess it depends on how determined the community is on that regard.

WinCE games will likely benefit the most from this mod so it would definetely be a good idea to start working on those first.
 

Pitito

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I have a question regarding Wince + CDDA.
We all know that when passing them to CDI, there are many wince that CDDA does not work for them or malfunctions.
I think I remember that @SiZiOUS said something that was a memory problem, I don't know if he was referring to Ram.
But someone who has made the way could try these games?
 

speedyink

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I don't see how this hack is deemed so hard to install. Doesn't look too bad if you use hot air.
 
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FamilyGuy

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I don't see how this hack is deemed so hard to install. Doesn't look too bad if you use hot air.
It's the access to the tools that's uncommon. With the right tools, anything is relatively easy.

In that case, it's also easy to break stuff if you don't know how to use the hot air station.
 
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darcagn

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You don't need hot air or any more tools than what tools a BIOS mod requires, I have a hot air station and didn't use it at all for this.
Just make sure you have some ChipQuik solder ($15 on amazon)

1. Apply ChipQuik flux to the existing RAM chip legs, apply ChipQuick solder to both sides until chip is released from the board
2. Wick up old solder from the motherboard pads and clean up the ChipQuik flux residue with isopropyl
3. Apply some new normal no-clean flux and fresh solder to the pads
4. Line up new chip on the pads and tack the chip legs down to pads with a dry soldering iron