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Topic: Is there any guide for buying an arcade machine?, For those who plan to get one...sometime< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
04:09 CST :: 1/27/2013

Leccoc
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Hey guys. I recently got the PIU fever again, and this time I'm serious about buying an actual PIU arcade machine. I know it will take a year or maybe a little more of savings, but I really want to do it.

But I'm completely lost about all the terms that are used for the arcade machines. I searched for a guide in the forums but it seems there isn't one (or maybe I didn't search well).

For example, what does MK stand for? What is an MK? I have a slight idea about it, but I don't know what's the difference between all the numbers. Which MKs support which versions?

Also, how many types of cabinets exist? Which one would be the ideal for buying? How does one upgrade a machine? How do the hard drives containing the games are changed and installed in a machine?

If a pad or sensor or something stops working or gets broken, where should I go to get some assistence? Are those parts expensive? Should I always look for original pieces? Is there any way to correctly give the machine maintenance? How often should it be performed? Are machines easly repaired? How much should I pay for someone fixing it?

Is the energy consumption high? What is a reasonable price for a used machine? What should I be looking for when searching for used machines? Any advice you could give? How difficult is it to transport the complete machine?

Well... Those are just some questions that come to my mind. I'm not expecting someone to completely answer all of them, but I'm sure this information could come in handy in a future for all those interested in buying an arcade machine.

Thanks in advance to all of those who help me get some answers to my questions. :)

10:58 CST :: 1/27/2013

FSX
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MK (short for "Mark", but as far as I can gather nobody actually calls an "MK3" a "Mark 3") is the term Andamiro uses to refer to all of its arcade boards.   The best known models among Pump players are the MK3, MK5, MK6, MK7, and MK9.
The MK3 was used from 1999 to 2003. It is required for all of the Pump games released from 1st Dance Floor to Prex 2, and is the most common system for running Premiere 3 and Prex 3 as well. You don't need an MK3 unless you want to run really old Pump games.
The MK5 was used from 2004 to 2006 (or so). The first games to run on the MK5 were special versions of Premiere 3 and Prex 3, but these require a CD drive unlike every other game on the MK5. The most common games to see on an MK5, though, are Exceed, Exceed 2, and Zero. NX will run on an MK5, but you need to add more RAM and even then it is prone to lag and crashes, so you probably shouldn't do that.
The MK6 and 7 are basically the same system, and were used from 2006 to 2008, overlapping a bit with the MK9 near the end. A new machine bought with Zero will have an MK6. NX, NX2, and Pro all shipped with MK6 or MK7 boards. NXA and Pro 2 run on the MK6/7, but work best with the MK9.
The newest board, the MK9, was introduced with NXA and is required for the Fiesta series. Pro 2 will boost its graphics quality if it detects it is running on an MK9, so it is the board of choice for that game. I believe most games designed for the MK6 and MK7 still work on the MK9.

This is all from memory, so it might be a bit inaccurate. I've also heard of an MK1, which, if it even exists, is quite rare and can't run any Pump game that won't also work on the MK3. The MK2, MK4, and MK8 don't seem to exist.

Hope this helps.

12:35 CST :: 1/27/2013

Leccoc
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Quote (FSX @ 10:58 CST :: 1/27/2013)
MK (short for "Mark", but as far as I can gather nobody actually calls an "MK3" a "Mark 3") is the term Andamiro uses to refer to all of its arcade boards.   The best known models among Pump players are the MK3, MK5, MK6, MK7, and MK9.
The MK3 was used from 1999 to 2003. It is required for all of the Pump games released from 1st Dance Floor to Prex 2, and is the most common system for running Premiere 3 and Prex 3 as well. You don't need an MK3 unless you want to run really old Pump games.
The MK5 was used from 2004 to 2006 (or so). The first games to run on the MK5 were special versions of Premiere 3 and Prex 3, but these require a CD drive unlike every other game on the MK5. The most common games to see on an MK5, though, are Exceed, Exceed 2, and Zero. NX will run on an MK5, but you need to add more RAM and even then it is prone to lag and crashes, so you probably shouldn't do that.
The MK6 and 7 are basically the same system, and were used from 2006 to 2008, overlapping a bit with the MK9 near the end. A new machine bought with Zero will have an MK6. NX, NX2, and Pro all shipped with MK6 or MK7 boards. NXA and Pro 2 run on the MK6/7, but work best with the MK9.
The newest board, the MK9, was introduced with NXA and is required for the Fiesta series. Pro 2 will boost its graphics quality if it detects it is running on an MK9, so it is the board of choice for that game. I believe most games designed for the MK6 and MK7 still work on the MK9.

This is all from memory, so it might be a bit inaccurate. I've also heard of an MK1, which, if it even exists, is quite rare and can't run any Pump game that won't also work on the MK3. The MK2, MK4, and MK8 don't seem to exist.

Hope this helps.

Wow, it certainly helps, I never imagined MK standed for Mark.

So for newer versions, MK9 is the ideal choice. But I guess it is also very expensive, since it is the newest one. Searching for used machines, most seem to have Zero or NX, so I guess if I ever decide to downgrade I won't have any issues with older versions.

Well, thank you very much FSX! :)

12:30 CST :: 1/28/2013

Hellacious
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Quote (FSX @ 10:58 CST :: 1/27/2013)
MK (short for "Mark", but as far as I can gather nobody actually calls an "MK3" a "Mark 3") is the term Andamiro uses to refer to all of its arcade boards.   The best known models among Pump players are the MK3, MK5, MK6, MK7, and MK9.
The MK3 was used from 1999 to 2003. It is required for all of the Pump games released from 1st Dance Floor to Prex 2, and is the most common system for running Premiere 3 and Prex 3 as well. You don't need an MK3 unless you want to run really old Pump games.
The MK5 was used from 2004 to 2006 (or so). The first games to run on the MK5 were special versions of Premiere 3 and Prex 3, but these require a CD drive unlike every other game on the MK5. The most common games to see on an MK5, though, are Exceed, Exceed 2, and Zero. NX will run on an MK5, but you need to add more RAM and even then it is prone to lag and crashes, so you probably shouldn't do that.
The MK6 and 7 are basically the same system, and were used from 2006 to 2008, overlapping a bit with the MK9 near the end. A new machine bought with Zero will have an MK6. NX, NX2, and Pro all shipped with MK6 or MK7 boards. NXA and Pro 2 run on the MK6/7, but work best with the MK9.
The newest board, the MK9, was introduced with NXA and is required for the Fiesta series. Pro 2 will boost its graphics quality if it detects it is running on an MK9, so it is the board of choice for that game. I believe most games designed for the MK6 and MK7 still work on the MK9.

This is all from memory, so it might be a bit inaccurate. I've also heard of an MK1, which, if it even exists, is quite rare and can't run any Pump game that won't also work on the MK3. The MK2, MK4, and MK8 don't seem to exist.

Hope this helps.

OK let me give some clarification on some things that FSX stated because not all of them are correct.

MK3 is the Complete Board Set.  Inside of the MK3, you have a Audio/MP3 Board, a Video Board, and a I/O board.  The Video Board was considered a MK4 internally by Andamiro.  Audio/MP3 board was a proprietary board to decrypt their audio format possibly a MK2 internally.

MK5 - What was stated was accurate however I have seen NX run smoothly without problems with the upgraded ram.  The board has to be dust-free for it to run properly though.  If its filled with dust then the board will overheat and NX will lag on a MK5.

MK6 -  There were different revisions of this board.  V1 originally shipped with Exceed 2 GX machines and is compatible with all versions Exceed 2 and up through Fiesta 2/Infinity with a ram upgrade to a minimum of 512mb (1gb preferred). V1 was a Gigabyte GA-8IG1000MK Rev 2.X.  Version 2 board came later around the NX time period and has different on-board audio.  A MK6 V2 board will play Exceed 2 and Zero however it doesn't support the audio drivers found on those Hard Drives so you get no sound.  MK6 V2 Motherboard was also a Gigabyte GA-8I865GME-775-RH Rev 1.X.

MK7 - I don't have the specific motherboard off hand for this revision but most of them came with NX and Pro FX Dedicabs upon shipping.

MK9 - Andamiro has had 3 revisions at least of this board now.  Same issue applies with previous mixes not working due to different on-board audio but this also depends upon the version of the MK9 that you have. Original MK9 was a Gigabyte GA-945GCM-S2L. Alternative MK9 GA-945GCM-S2C - this board should also work but it is not officially an Andamiro motherboard used. V3 Motherboard is a ASROCK - Intel G41M-S3 with a Intel Celeron L430/1.8GHz Processor.  The original Gigabyte Motherboard is preferred because it has a significantly higher voltage output on the Audio Out.  What this means is that the overall volume output on a MK9 with a Gigabyte Motherboard is quite a bit louder compared to the ASROCK Motherboard.  MK9 added support for 3D Arrows on PIU Pro 2 and better framerate performance on 2 players.  MK9 doesn't benefit any of the PIU Main Series at this time.  The reason why Andamiro updated throughout the years has simply been because once parts are no longer available they become more expensive.  Andamiro tries to keep their costs down by buying in bulk at the most affordable prices yet most functional for their needs.  This also ensures that they have a substantial profit margin on Hardware.

As for buying a machine, there are lots of things that I could discuss on the matter.

Shipping them - I have always used STI (Specialized Transportation Inc) www.stidelivers.com I have had a PIU machine shipped and also a Japanese Candy Cabinet.  A PIU machine weighs roughly 1,000 pounds between the main cabinet and the pads.  500 pounds each.

Type of machine.  You have a large range of different revisions.  SD (DDR Style Marquee), SX V1 (1 subwoofer), DX (Projection Screen), GX V1(Round Tube), GX V2(Flat Tube), FX (42" Plasma), SX V2(27" Flat Tube), CX (42" LCD), TX (50" LCD) being the different options.  Anything with a Tube is best for the least amount of visual lag and is significantly better from a lack of burn-in on the monitor.  Downside is that Tube/CRT's are no longer in production regardless of size.  GX monitors were a custom build for Andamiro by Kortek.  Kortek no longer supplies Andamiro with any parts for those monitors and they were a custom build.  Simply put if something goes wrong with the Monitor Board/Chassis, then you will be replacing the monitor.  They no longer make 34" Monitors with 33" Viewable so more than likely you will be forced to go to a 32" LCD/LED in place of it.  That will at least fit into the original cavity of the machine.  Others will just put the monitor on the outside of the machine and brace it against the machine which IMO looks like crap but to each its own.

Pad Quality - There are differences between the pads of the different machine revisions.  SD and DX used Phillips Head screws and were known for destroying the bottoms of your shoes.  Most preferred pads by most players are of the SX, GX, and FX era. CX and TX will have the new flat style pads which have mixed reviews from players.

Parts - www.arcadespareparts.com is generally the cheapest in regards to PIU parts.  Parts widely vary in price depending upon what it is that needs to be replaced.

Energy Consumption - It isn't any different than a regular Gaming Desktop in the house.  They're rated for 450 watts or 600 watts Maximum Consumption at least on a GX.  Pretty sure that the other models are also rated right around that same wattage.

Upgrades - I will make this very simple.  The MK6/9 is a regular PC.  To upgrade the Hard Drive is exactly the same as replacing one in your standard Desktop computer.  You simply unplug the IDE or Sata connections and plug in the new drive into those existing connections.  Sure you may have to unscrew the HDD from the enclosure but that's also no different than a Desktop PC.  The Security Dongles are all USB and have a specific place that they are meant to be installed but ultimately will work on any USB port on the Motherboard.  So if you know how to use a USB pen drive, flash drive, keyboard, mouse, printer, whatever then you know how to install a Security Dongle on a PIU machine.

I will be happy to answer more questions for you but I will caution you that owning an arcade machine can be extremely expensive unless you know how to maintain them in addition to knowing what you are doing.  Arcade Technicians will be more than happy to charge you $100 per hour to replace a power supply or something basic.  If you don't feel that you have the knowledge around the ins and outs of a machine then I don't really recommend getting one.  Its not even a matter of being willing to learn, it can be a matter of life or death depending upon what you are working with.  Monitors are high voltage 20,000+ and are very capable of killing you.  I am not trying to scare you but I am being very honest and real with you on the matter.

I hope that clarifies some things.

12:54 CST :: 1/28/2013

valius
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If the graphics card breaks down, I can tell you that the following cards work for Fiesta EX and Fiesta 2 (PCI-e cards, which should only be MK9 compatible):

Nvidia Geforce 8400 GS
Nvidia Geforce 9300 GS (what I use for both Fiesta EX and Fiesta 2)

Replacement CPUs = anything that works with the mobo, AFAIK the game doesn't check for this, but someone correct me if I'm wrong.  Currently using a Core 2 Duo on my own machine.


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13:08 CST :: 1/28/2013

Hellacious
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Quote (valius @ 12:54 CST :: 1/28/2013)
If the graphics card breaks down, I can tell you that the following cards work for Fiesta EX and Fiesta 2 (PCI-e cards, which should only be MK9 compatible):

Nvidia Geforce 8400 GS
Nvidia Geforce 9300 GS (what I use for both Fiesta EX and Fiesta 2)

Replacement CPUs = anything that works with the mobo, AFAIK the game doesn't check for this, but someone correct me if I'm wrong.  Currently using a Core 2 Duo on my own machine.

MK6 Direct Replacement Video Card - http://www.amazon.com/Jaton-G....+fx5200

Notice that it is Low Profile. Geforce FX5200 AGP Low Profile.  This ensures that it will fit into the Case properly if you want to seal it shut.

16:40 CST :: 1/28/2013

Leccoc
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Hellacious, thanks a lot for the feedback. I had a very VERY slight idea about all the things that were implicated when buying a machine, but there seem to be so many factors I hadn't even considered that I thought buying a machine was only a matter of money...

My dream has always been having my own PIU arcade machine and I want to make it become a reality... sometime. Truly, thanks a lot for clearing a lot of my doubts.

Regarding the screen replacement (interesting facts btw) I recently played on a machine (DX if I'm not mistaken) which had a Samsung LCD TV (using a VGA cable connected to it). It seemed  a bit odd because of the size of the cabinet, but I didn't know that could be done.

Well, thanks again! Hopefully this will help someone else who is interested in getting a machine as well.

19:32 CST :: 1/28/2013

SonGohanX
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You should ideally be able to find a good condition machine for about $1500-2000 USD. $800-1200 if it needs some work.

I run Fiesta 2 flawlessly on an MK6 with 1gb of ram, so upgrading to an MK9 really is not necessary.

01:32 CST :: 1/29/2013

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Quote (Leccoc @ 13:35 CST :: 1/27/2013)
Wow, it certainly helps, I never imagined MK standed for Mark.

So for newer versions, MK9 is the ideal choice. But I guess it is also very expensive, since it is the newest one. Searching for used machines, most seem to have Zero or NX, so I guess if I ever decide to downgrade I won't have any issues with older versions.

Well, thank you very much FSX! :)

If you want to access the most games possible, MK6 is the best.

Everything from Exceed to Fiesta 2 works on my machine. I also bought an MK3 on the side to play old games. Kind of a bootleg setup to get it working, though.

01:42 CST :: 1/30/2013

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I own a machine and had zero experience with the inner workings of a computer before I had one. Just make sure you at least know somebody who knows how to swap out CPUs/mobos/etc. before you start messing with the stuff on the inside. Drive switching is as simple as it sounds, but if some of the screws on the inside computer are stripped, you have to do some prying to actually get the thing open. (This has happened with me.). Usually problems that are involved with the machine are hardware problems, so you can easily find a computer tech to help out and they can most likely solve it.

Electricity bills didn't really go up. I would imagine that if you left your machine on for more than 12 hours a day, every day, that it would go up. I usually only play for 1-2 hours every other day, so if your playing habits are similar to mine, then it really shouldn't be a problem.

Transport of the machine is surprisingly easy. I've had my machine placed at an Anime convention recently, and disassembling the cabinet was not hard at all. All you have to do is disattach the marquee, disattach the pads (and separate pads if necessary). Everything else should be on wheels, and the marquee is relatively easy to carry. (You may need a couple of guys to help you put it back on top of the machine)

Right now, i have an SXv2 cabinet (Very similar to the GX cabinet) with the original CRT screen. There are a lot of machine owners who have swapped out their original monitor for flat-screens, and it looks just fine. Even an arcade a few hours away from me did that with their machine, so I'm sure there are guides out there.

Upgrading is as simple as it sounds: Get a newer version hard drive with security dongle. You can find these used on eBay, go hunting around to arcades looking to sell their machine for parts, or look for a PIU supporter that sells hard drives. Hard drives are really expensive though (Fiesta 2 cost a little over $1400 USD), and in some cases can be more expensive than the cabinet itself. If you are content with having a recent, but not the newest mix (like having Fiesta EX nowadays), you'll save a lot of money. Be prepared to shell out a lot of cash if you want to upgrade year after year though.

I was kind of all over the place with my response, hopefully that helps. You don't have to be a genius with computers or arcade machines to own one, but like I said, it's very nice to know somebody with a decent knowledge of computer hardware on the side just in case something goes wrong. I've learned quite a bit myself, and I'm sure you will too :)


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