The centerpiece of every portable is its screen, and selecting a good screen is an essential part of the portable design process. The portablizing community is always on the hunt for the latest and greatest optimal screens to use with our portables. But occasionally, we find one that really catches our attention like this one.
In a world full of 1440p and 4k displays, 480p sounds like a weakness. But 480p resolution is actually the most desirable resolution for portablizing a console. The majority of popular consoles to portablize (Wii/Gamecube, Dreamcast) have a maximum resolution of 480p. Using a screen that is the same native resolution as the console results in an extremely sharp image. For example, using a 480p console on a 720p display will actually look WORSE than using a 480p console on a 480p display. Mismatched resolutions between source and the screen requires scaling, which can often result in a blurry image with artifacts. This is why a 480p video looks so bad on your HDTV or phone. Using a 480p game console on a 480p display means you will have none of these issues, leading to an extra sharp image that looks excellent.
In other words: 480p screen + 480p console = happy eyeballs
There is a similar, less expensive 5" TN screen of the same resolution that can readily be found on the internet. From the outside, it looks almost exactly the same, but the older TN display has one key distinction: it looks like garbage. The colors are washed, the viewing angles are bad, and the contrast is bad. IPS panels offer more vivid colors, darker blacks, and superior viewing angles. For years, TN screens have been the only 5" widescreen panels widely available. But now, anyone can have a portable with the widescreen IPS panel it deserves.
Displays themselves cannot directly accept common video signals like Composite, VGA, or HDMI. The driver board takes these common video signals, and converts them to a signal that will display on the screen. Each display model is electrically unique, and requires a circuit board with custom firmware optimized for the display. Two driver boards can look exactly the same, but be programmed for completely different displays. This pack includes both the IPS LCD and a compatible drive board that accepts VGA and Composite.
The drive board included with this display natively accepts VGA. VGA is an analog RGB video signal with a separate horizontal and vertical sync signals, and is widely considered the highest quality analog video signal out there. VGA is also the highest quality signal that the Wii and Dreamcast can natively output without the need for an advanced FPGA mod. VGA is also relatively easy to hook up, only requiring 3 shielded lines and 2 unshielded lines for full functionally. With careful routing and shielding, VGA can yield an excellent image with minimal interference.
*note: while the PS2 can accept VGA, many PS2 games are incompatible with 480p. This display driver board cannot accept 480i over VGA (15khz VGA), so any PS2 games that are 480i only are not compatible with this display.
Composite is the yellow wire of the familiar "red-white-yellow" RCA cables found on most older game consoles. The picture quality is poor, and it does not support resolutions above 480i. But composite video only requires connecting a single wire (plus ground) to display an image. This makes it excellent for testing your progress before wiring up VGA, and troubleshooting when things go wrong. While we hope you won't be using composite on your portable, we know you will appreciate it being there when things go wrong.
Easy Low Voltage Mod
This driver board is capable of being easily modded to bypass some of the onboard regulators to run off 3.3v power. This simple mod is highly recommended for use in any portable device.
The current drive board has been redesigned with a slightly different PCB. It functions the same as the previous green drive board and can be modded to power on 3.3v by removing an inductor and wiring 3.3v and ground.
Previous green drive board: Simply lift (disconnect) or cut the highlighted pin, and solder 3.3v to the inductor pad indicated below.
-VGA input (480p (31khz) minimum)
-Can run entirely on 3.3v (after lifting a single pin)