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New Dreamcast optical drive, is it possible?

Virtua Hunter

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Jun 23, 2019
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Hello

I see the Dreamcast community made lots of effort to make things like USB GDROM and GDEMU, but unfortunately no one is interested in preserving the original console in its original state and functionality.

Why no one is trying to make new optical drives instead, not just for Dreamcast but for every disc based console?
Or someone is already working on these?
 

Virtua Hunter

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why? compact disk not the really convenient information carrier

sure an SD card is more convenient, but with this mindset even emulation is more convenient compared to dealing with real hardware.
In my opinion, if I play on the original hardware I want the original experience, and using the original carts/discs is part of the experience, that should be the main focus of console preservation.
 

FamilyGuy

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sure an SD card is more convenient, but with this mindset even emulation is more convenient compared to dealing with real hardware.
In my opinion, if I play on the original hardware I want the original experience, and using the original carts/discs is part of the experience, that should be the main focus of console preservation.
With most GD-Roms rotting away in the next decade or so, even with a new laser unit you won't have the original experience as you'll need to use Selfboot CDRs.

The closest to original experience you can get for the very long term is an ODE with limited speed to respect CD constraints.
 

megavolt85

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Emulation of the console and emulation of GD-ROM is different things, it is not necessary to compare them

Concerning your main issue and it is possible, GD-ROM is standard PC CD-ROM with the modified software
 

Wombat

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There are actually users who have modified/fixed their broken GD-ROM drives using regular PC CD drives, with as a benefit you can actually crank up the read speed. So for those technical enough to undertake these kind of things it's most likely not worth their time to make a complete new optical drive unit, seeing faulty ones can be repaired. That and ODE's are most likely more popular anyway.
 

truemaster

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its absolutely possible to mate a lens from a specific pc cd rom (not recorder) model but much hassle and i think only for samsung gdrom if its a yamaha no luck. really now go for gdemu. its not 100% compatible but will do. here have a taste of what is look like a lens swap

it fails in video but thats the procedure
 
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Virtua Hunter

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It's not a pratical solution., not to mention nowadays it's also hard to find a new cd rom drive that's not a writer, let alone a specific one.
It's easier to just buy a used Dreamcast, but that's not the point, and even that is becoming difficult with all the consoles ruined by ODE mods.

A brand new custom made optical drive would be the ideal solution to preserve original DC with the original functionality.
 

FamilyGuy

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A brand new custom made optical drive would be the ideal solution to preserve original DC with the original functionality.
Then I suggest you start your own business selling these.

For reasons stated above, it's very unlikely to be a successful endeavour. Furthermore, because of the parts and complexity, it'd probably even be more expensive than an ODE.

What would be wrong with an ODE that respects GD-Rom timing?
 

darcagn

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sure an SD card is more convenient, but with this mindset even emulation is more convenient compared to dealing with real hardware.

Emulation has a ton of negative tradeoffs. Running a GDEMU for many years so far has had three negatives for me:
1. Not compatible with bleemcast retail builds
2. I contribute to dumping projects and obviously can't dump discs without a disc drive
3. Whenever I buy indie games on CD-ROM I have to dump them on a PC first and if they have copy protection find a cracked copy online to play

These points affect very few people and barely have much of an impact.
And outside of these scenarios, the advantages are massive and many.
 

Chaotic Mind

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All this ignores the one major problem with pretty much all optical technology. Data rot as discs will slowly degrade losing the data. Pretty much any solution that uses modern mass storage means should be safe for long term storage of data.
 
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Virtua Hunter

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All this ignores the one major problem with pretty much all optical technology. Data rot as discs will slowly degrade losing the data. Pretty much any solution that uses modern mass storage means should be safe for long term storage of data.

disc rot could be a problem in future, right now we still have 30 years old discs that works perfectly, maybe they will last another 30 years, who knows.

But maybe in 10 years there would not be many Dreamcast cabable of playing original discs, and not only because of optical drive failures.
 

Mord.Fustang

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Jun 17, 2019
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@Virtua Hunter
It's not that we don't understand what you're saying, but the fact is people are moving away from optical. If there was a large demand for new disc drives, people would be making them.
 
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Flash

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disc rot could be a problem in future, right now we still have 30 years old discs that works perfectly, maybe they will last another 30 years, who knows.
Keyword "who knows" - i had two copies of the same GC game, one was sealed and never opened for 3 years. When my friend asked if he could borrow the game and i was playing it, so i decided to open sealed game and give him another copy. Imagine my surprise - the disc was unreadable. Without visible signs of rot. Under the microscope it looked like some pits became "flat", was it like that right from the factory - i don't know but it is what it is. Also i had a music CD which became unreadable after a year. It wasn't a pirate cd, it had no scratches or visible signs of rot. So it's all about luck. You can copy ALL DC games to a few 4Tb drives and copy to new ones once in 4 years. That will be the the easiest way to be sure that games won't perish. More expensive - LTO tape backups.

Also ODEs are silent and fast. I owned a Spectrum and was loading games from the tapes, C64 floppy drive wasn't super fast either.
My first 386 PC had no HDD for a year so i managed to split Dune II across multiple floppies, one was to load the game, then it was Harkonnen, Atreides, Ordos, ending disks. Game designers probably had floppy swapping in mind since when game was unable to find some file it was displaying a dialog like "please insert a disk with SCENARIO.PAK file" or something along those lines, so it was about rearranging files so all commonly used files will be on one floppy for less swapping.

Will i use those methods of loading now? Not really, maybe once in a few years for the nostalgia reason.

Same with DC - for starters DC GD-ROM is noisy. Tr-trrr-gr-grrr all the time. I obviously have one untouched DC with GD-ROM but i prefer to use ODE to actually play the games on original hardware, for example games with VMU minigames or those which aren't perfectly emulated, and DC emulation at this point is at "good" level, but still far from perfect.
 
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