VGA to HDMI Converter for lower resolutions?

Hi All,

I’m after an inexpensive VGA (input) to HDMI (output) converter that supports lower resolutions like 720x400 @ 60Hz (VGA text mode) and 320x240 for older PC VGA output. I don’t have much room for another monitor, so it would be good to use one of my existing HDMI-only ones.

This is for retro PCs and also a couple of Z80 and 6502 breadboard computers I’m working on.

There are a few options on the market locally, but they’re either vague on resolutions or don’t expressly support anything lower than 640x480.

A few that I’m looking at are:
Component / VGA (PC) to HDMI Converter - Video Converters | (would be interesting given the component video capability)
VGA & Stereo to HDMI Video Converter – Avencore

There are cheaper ones on eBay and also a lot more expensive ones, but it really feels like it’s a matter of trial and error which I’d rather not do if I can help it.


I use one of these

On a PowerMac G3 at 800x600/1024x768 and it works well. Not sure about lower res.
Im unsure of any VGA on an old PC down 320x240, sure youre not thinking MDA/CGA/EGA?

That one definitely looks to be the right price :slight_smile:

320x200 (which I meant rather than 320x240), sometimes known as mode 13h was common for a lot of DOS games (e.g. Doom) as it could produce 256 colours where the standard 640x480 could only do 16 and the resolution was often too high given most of the work was done in a slow CPU.

The 720x400 is the “effective” resolution for text mode on VGA.

Any chance you can hook up the CM201 to a DOS machine and see if you can see the POST screen / DOS prompt?

I’ve just bought my DOS machine in for a project (An old 486) I am working on in XENIX, I will test it in the next 48 hours and come back to you on the result.


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I popped it onto my P100 and it didn’t show the boot/bios on the HDMI. Will try another display tomorrow just in case but it doesn’t look great unfortunately

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Thanks for checking! It seems to be a common issue with these scalers / converters. Unfortunate because it looks like it would otherwise fit the requirement.

At that resolution you could just convert it to composite and use a TV! :wink:

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Not a bad idea! I do have a Sony PVM that I could use for this, but it’s only a 9" display.

I ordered the StarTech unit but I’m trying to cancel it after Adrian separately reminded me of the OSSC. These are only a little bit more expensive and with a few eBay coupons, I should be be able to get one for about $220 - more than I wanted to spend, but seems like a good investment for anything retro :slight_smile:

If you aren’t in a hurry, and don’t mind a bit of soldering/software loading, you could go down the GBS Control route for a lot cheaper.

Basically using a GBS-8200 or GBS-8220, which aren’t that great out of the box, and then getting an ESP8266 to load custom firmware into the board (done every boot) that really improves how well it works.

Video on how well it works and a bit of a how-to: GBS Control: Installation & Overview - YouTube

You can get a GBS-8200 off ebay for $40-60 AU, and a WeMos D1 for ~$6 AU.

Note: If you get one of these, probably best to stick with the ones that have the black buttons (V4.0’s if you can see the board). eBay delivery times from China are woeful tho, but there are a few AU local sellers (on eBay and elsewhere) but of course the price is higher.

The RGBtoHDMI project is a great solution to this sort of thing, for many kinds of retro and historical display purposes. You do need a Raspberry Pi, and an interface board, and of course it’s not a boxed-up product, but it works really well and the devs are very responsive.

Disclosure: I’ve been a contributor in a very small way to this project.


Any luck as yet Jonno? Did the OSSC ship come in?

It took a long time for it to arrive (it was allegedly local) and got it just this week. First impressions are good, but I haven’t been able to test the low resolutions (and text mode) yet.

I’ll report back soon!

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I just got a pre-built GBS-control device, so far I’ve only tested it with my Megadrive but I’ll bring it in to the museum when I’m able and see what else it can work with. I’ve already made up an Oric cable as I know how that machine works and its RF output looks pretty bad.

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Oric looks great over RGB!