What if someone started to sell dreamcast + hard drives?

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What if someone started to sell dreamcast + hard drives?

Post by Dcemubrew » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:43 pm

Please keep in mind I'm no expert on the subject, I don't have technical knowledge of the things behind this. I'm just noting some observations, maybe they're all bull but you be the judge.

I think we all agree that burning to discs is a real nuisance.

* They cost money.
* You have to take out and put in the discs every time.
* You have to be careful in how you handle the discs, afraid you'll burn a coaster etc. Being extra worried about dust getting in the dreamcast.
* The horrible noise of the lens and CD-rom drive. (I know some of it is the fan)
* The lens/cd-rom drive will eventually wear out!! Who knows how expensive dreamcasts will be in the future.

We all know the first three things, but don't forget the last two. I think it's safe to say there's nobody out there that LIKES burning discs. Everyone would prefer a hard drive. But some people have modded their dreamcasts to have a hard drive!!!

So why aren't they already available by the commercial console-modification companies? Well here's my take on it:

Maybe way back in 2001-2004 they looked at the idea, figured the dreamcast was dying anyway and noone would be interested in it by the time the new consoles came out, and they consider the console gone by now, wiped clean from their memory. Maybe also a few years ago the components for the hard drive (and undoubtedly a really good sized hard drive itself would be a lot cheaper now) would be so expensive that it would cost $350+ for the modded console.... and in their cynical minds, with little knowledge of the amount of people still interested in the dreamcast, they felt there'd be no point to it. The money they'd have to put into R&D could also have played a part, years of people working together on the dc scene to make it work has a lot of R&D value.

Someone could practice doing it exactly right, they could even have overclocking the dreamcast as an extra feature. Possibly unlike overclocking, installing a hard drive would be more risky and time-consuming and put your average modder off. They could plaster the ad on dreamcast iso sites and other places for a while. iso = cdr = money... unless you have a hard drive. There are people still interested in the Sega-CD, so I can't see why this wouldn't work.

Not only avoiding the clumsiness of writeable CDs, something which takes up a lot more time & effort than you probably realise, it would probably save money in the long run. And in many years time after using it a lot, you could still boot up your dreamcast and have a good chance of it still running fine.
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Re: What if someone started to sell dreamcast + hard drives?

Post by Ex-Cyber » Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:13 pm

The HDD mod is fairly difficult to install, requires a bunch of active circuitry, and communication with the HDD is fairly slow (no DMA). Current storage expansion efforts are focusing on the use of an SD Card socket attached to the serial port (a much easier mod). Either way, without a BIOS mod or a full-blown GD-ROM drive emulator (drive emulators have been done for a couple other systems by a sufficiently crazy hobbyist, but the hardware is pretty large/expensive by usual modding standards), a working GD-ROM drive is still required to boot the system.
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Re: What if someone started to sell dreamcast + hard drives?

Post by DCDayDreamer » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:26 am

It seems to me that the whole concept of a 100% working Dreamcast + HDD would only be successfully created by a modding enthusiast with a lot of time, money, and skill on his or her hands. The majority of serious hardware/software modders do that kind of project just for the hell of it, it's a challenge for them, they get their kicks from it. Once a project like that is completed, they usually move on to something even more challenging, so a mass produced item of that nature is normally out of the question. A Dreamcast + SD is more feasible because it's already proven to work quite well, it's still being worked on, and it's also an easier mod.

Burning discs is no more of a nuisance now than it was ten years ago, in fact it's become easier and cheaper, it's times that have changed, the Dreamcast is a 1998 console, and data storage mediums have come a long way since then. The Dreamcast is retro, so for the real retro experience why not burn discs?.

People tend to have issues with stepping backwards with hardware technology, they normally use emulation on modern PC's for older games, and although I don't use them myself, the Dreamcast emulators are supposedly pretty good. Perhaps a dedicated laptop with a Dreamcast emulator would be a viable alternative for someone who doesn't want to burn discs but have the games on a HDD.
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