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Thread: Guide: How to overclock your SNES, Super FX games

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    Raging in the Streets Thunderblaze16's Avatar
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    SNES Guide: How to overclock your SNES, Super FX games

    MY TAKE ON THIS

    Man, it was since February 13, 2013 when I got my copy of Starfox 2 and got curious to know if it was possible to make the game run faster. I learned a lot through out the weeks, mainly stuff about Oscillators/crystals, VCC, GND, pin-outs and other things I can't remember at the moment. The mods and testings would have been done MUCH sooner if I wasn't waiting almost 2 weeks every time I bought a different oscillator that carried a different speed signal on eBay, from Hong Kong because I had oscillators that underclocked the game, ones that didn't make the game work at all, ones that started fine at first but started corrupting after a couple of seconds into the game and ones that made little to no difference in speed while playing.

    Using the proper clockspeed:
    I can safely say now that your best ones for speed increase (that I know at the moment) are a 26mhz 2-pin crystal or a
    27mhz 4-pin crystal oscillators. I tried a 30mhz 4-pin crystal oscillator and while the intro on Starfox 2 ran fine, when I got to actual game play. Everything just glitched the fuck out to where it wasn't playable. 28MHz well also run fine at first but well freeze around some point in the middle for games like Starfox 2 or Doom.

    Here's what I got from Starfox 2 and Stunt Race FX when I used a 30mhz 4-pin crystal oscillator on them.


    When I reset-ed both of them, they just wouldn't work, well Starfox 2 only had the music playing but the screen was still black.


    SUPER FX CHIP OVERCLOCK USING A 4-PIN CRYSTAL OSCILLATOR & A STUNT RACE FX PCB

    Now this mod is pretty straight forward, both really are actually, but the 4-pin oscillator gives you a MUCH greater improvement than using a 2-pin crystal. Also keep in mind, I'm using a Stunt Race FX pcb to overclock both Stunt Race and Starfox 2. Games like Doom or Vortex have different pcbs because a lot of what's in the boards was moved around differently for each game but you're still doing the same type of mod on them which is simply disconnecting the clock trace from everything except the 4 pin crystal oscillator.

    An important thing to mention is that your 4 pin oscillator needs to be able to run on +5v otherwise you may need to build a voltage divider using some resistors.

    Here's a diagram of what you'll be doing.


    Here's a close up with steps in color.


    Red- Remove this resistor
    Black- Solder a wire here for GND
    Blue- Cut this trace
    Purple- Solder a wire here for Signal
    Yellow- Solder a wire here for Vcc

    The soldered wires should now be soldered from there other ends to the pins of your 4-pin oscillator that have GND, Vcc & your new Signal.

    I actually did mind today and ran like a charm using a 27mhz 4-pin oscillator. I played both Stunt Race and Starfox 2 for over an hour and had no problems whatsoever.



    http://i.imgur.com/gspx7Ao.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/UktgER3.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/b2bK2Gn.jpg
    I like how it fits inside the cart perfectly.
    http://i.imgur.com/6jWUsyt.jpg


    SUPER FX CHIP OVERCLOCK USING A 2-PIN CRYSTAL OSCILLATOR & ANY SUPER FX PCB

    Doing it with this method, you don't get as great results as you get you a 4-pin crystal but it still works.

    Just remove the standard ceramic resonator, (should look like a little white or blue box), replace it with your new crystal and add 2x - 18pF capacitors on the back, make sure both legs are solder together in the middle as shown in the pictures below.




    Keep in mind that both 24mhz & 26mhz 2-pin crystals well boost the games speed, the 32mhz 2-pin crystal well not make the game run at all and the 30mhz 2-pin crystal well end up under clocking the game instead.

    If you have the tools and soldering skills to do this, I recommend it as it is a fun little project to try out.

    Have fun!

    EDIT for Overclocked DOOM: 01/02/2013
    I finally got my hands on a Doom cart, a *mint* CIB Doom cart and went on making a guide on to how to overclock it's PCB since it's different looking than a Stunt Race PCB. Also want to state that this was my first time doing this on a GSU-2 game using a 27mhz 4-pin crystal oscillator and was a full success! I then tried using a 30mhz 4-pin crystal oscillator but just like the other Super FX games I used it on, it got really glitching when it was on actual gameplay.

    Just follow the guide below and also notice that the chip where you get your Vcc and Ground is facing the opposite direction in this cart so beware of that.



    Here's how it should look once finished.




    Footage of Doom running at 27MHz
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SUusVWq4X4


    EDIT for Overclocked Vortex
    : 05/13/2013

    Here's the FINAL guide for overclocking your Super FX games, which is Vortex. The other FX games are just terrible like Dirt Trax and others don't really need it like Yoshi's Island and Winter Gold.



    What it should look like at the end.



    What amazed me about Vortex was that it was actually able to run at 30mhz but froze after 5mins, but the fact that it didn't glitch was what surprised me.

    And so this ends my tells about overclocking your super fx games. It's been fun and now I hope the next person who gets interested in this project well find these guides and steps very useful.

    EDIT for overclocked Starfox 1: 7/24/13

    So you can actually overclock the blob version of Starfox 1 but internally the clock is halved so you're actually running at 22.5MHz but that's still an increase from the standard 21.4MHz speed!




    -----------------Thunderblaze16-----------------------
    Last edited by Thunderblaze16; 11-22-2016 at 06:56 PM.
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    Cool guide. I just built myself an ultra version.

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    You should also mention that the 4 pin oscillator needs to be able to run on 5v otherwise you may need to build a voltage divider using some resistors. I bought a 3.3v oscillator that wouldn't run on 5v until I built a voltage divider with the help of tiido.

    *edit*

    Also it's not a crystal you remove from the pcb it's a ceramic resonator.
    Last edited by Drakon; 04-13-2013 at 11:16 PM.

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    Bumping for Doom!
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    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Thunderblaze16 again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderblaze16 View Post
    Fantastic mod, but I have to say it's awesome that you inadvertently discovered a debug error message when it can't detect the Super FX chip, or at least the correct version.

    I'd like to try the overclock method on Doom. I'd love to see it overclocked.

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    Good that you use a small piece of protoboard to keep the oscillator legs from moving.

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    Raging in the Streets Thunderblaze16's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metalwario64 View Post
    I'd like to try the overclock method on Doom. I'd love to see it overclocked.
    Tried to get as much tv screen as I could using my little camera.
    Doom running at 27mhz


    Here's video I found of Doom being played on it's standard speed so you guys could see the difference.
    Doom running at 21mhz
    Last edited by Thunderblaze16; 05-04-2013 at 12:22 AM.
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    Bump for Vortex,

    THE END
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    Excellent!
    I overclocked my blob version of Starfox (Mario Chip 1) (EURO PAL) using a 28.322 MHZ oscillator & protoboard and while the game runs fine with some speed improvement and no freezing.

    Also I have another version of Starwing / Starfox (EURO PAL) which I have not found any documentation or diagrams of how to overclock it? I was wondering if somebody could point me to the right direction?!





    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by retroborg; 01-11-2014 at 04:18 AM.

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    Remove L1 and feed your clock in.
    Death To MP3, :3
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    Sports Talker retroborg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TmEE View Post
    Remove L1 and feed your clock in.
    Ok thanks!
    Do I also need to cut out any trace like in the other mods and do I connect the clock on the top or the bottom point of the removed L1?

    And +5V I connect to leg 8 & Ground to Leg 7 of the 74LS139A chip?

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    I vaguely remember talk of taking the ROM's for these games and editing them to work even faster, has anyone continued on with that method?

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    Quote Originally Posted by retroborg View Post
    Excellent!
    I overclocked my blob version of Starfox (Mario Chip 1) (EURO PAL) using a 28.322 MHZ oscillator & protoboard and while the game runs fine with some speed improvement and no freezing, I noticed some graphical glitches and artifacts only on the planet Venom & Black-hole sprites at the level select screen & on the blue rotating planet sprite of Corneria, as well as every other planet sprite at the begging of each other level you select. Is there a a way to fix this or is it a known issue with this specific board being overclocked? So is mine running at 14.161 MHZ now? If I use a 4-Pin, 5V oscillator at 56MHZ, will I be able to run the game at the desirable 28MHZ speed after it being halved internally? Thanks in advance!
    Neat, I have a 30MHz 4-pin oscillator on my blob version of Starfox with no issues. If you notice the intro of the game finishing before the music completed it's full run then it should have been overclocked. Maybe one of the wires is a bit too long. Starfox 1 has an internal clock so simply giving such a high 56MHz might not make any difference. Though, there's no point and checking it out.

    Most times, the Super FX games seem be stable without any issues using a 27MHz 4-pin oscillator. Yet sometimes some can work with a higher clock signal, it really depends if the cart can manage it because they all act differently.

    Also while I don't have any way of testing that other version of Starfox (with the chips in the board). The process on it should be the same. Just locate that clock signal pin and cut it's trace off.
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    Sports Talker retroborg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderblaze16 View Post
    Neat, I have a 30MHz 4-pin oscillator on my blob version of Starfox with no issues. If you notice the intro of the game finishing before the music completed it's full run then it should have been overclocked. Maybe one of the wires is a bit too long. Starfox 1 has an internal clock so simply giving such a high 56MHz might not make any difference. Though, there's no point and checking it out.

    Most times, the Super FX games seem be stable without any issues using a 27MHz 4-pin oscillator. Yet sometimes some can work with a higher clock signal, it really depends if the cart can manage it because they all act differently.

    Also while I don't have any way of testing that other version of Starfox (with the chips in the board). The process on it should be the same. Just locate that clock signal pin and cut it's trace off.
    Yes the intro does finish before the music finishes. So the overclock worked I guess.

    OK, so I shortened the wires in the oscillator for the blob Starfox to the minimum, but the exact same graphics glitches occur. I'll also try a 27MHZ oscillator. It's interesting how you're using a 30MHZ oscillator on the exact same blob PCB without the above graphic glitches! I did this on a EURO PAL Starwing, what is yours, US NTSC?
    I also successfully performed the above overclock using a 28.322MHZ oscillator in Doom, without any problems or graphics glitches what so ever. Would Doom work fine with a 30MHZ oscillator or above, because I've read that it can't go any higher than 28.322MHZ

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