If you have ever connected a Nintendo Switch to a 4K TV, you may have noticed blurred graphics or jagged edges in the models. Marseille Inc claims it has the solution with its mClassic graphic processor. Marseilles claims that mClassic gives games on low-powered consoles a graphics boost when they are displayed on high resolution displays. However, it could be of benefit to many other users than Switch owners or retro enthusiasts.
Image credit: Marseille
The mClassic promises many upgrades beyond smoothing out jagged edges, and giving games some anti-aliasing. Marseille claims that the mClassic can sharpen images and upscale to higher resolutions. It also improves depth-of-field. The accessory claims to do all this with less than 1ms lag. Although it seems there might be a catch in the fine print Marseille also released videos showing the before and after of the accessory. These videos make a compelling case for the mClassic.
The mClassic, an HDMI adapter, plugs into any HDMI-equipped console. It acts as an external graphics processor. First, connect the mClassic via USB to power. Marseille says that any USB port that is powered by a computer, TV or smartphone should be sufficient. Next, plug the mClassic in to the HDMI port of your console. Then connect an HDMI cable (2.0 and later) to the mClassic to the TV. Select your game mode and you are good to go.
MClassic users can switch between the three game modes by using a switch at their side. This mode will disable all enhancements, so you can see the game in its original state. The LED on the mode switch will turn green to indicate that scaling is on. As you probably know, this puts the mClassic in graphics processing mode. This increases resolution and applies anti-aliasing for in-game graphics.
The third mode is a Retro mode that’s indicated by a blue light on the switch, and this is for older games that output in 4:3 rather than 16:9, as most modern consoles do. In a second, we’ll be able to move on to the Retro mode.
With scaling turned on you’ll notice rough edges (or jaggies as they are affectionately known) smoothed and a bump in resolution. For instance, according to the table we’ve embedded below (taken from the mClassic’s tech specs page), an input resolution of 720p on a 60Hz panel will be upgraded to either 1080p or 1440p depending on the max resolution of the display.
While the mClassic can’t increase framerate, it does support framerates up to 120fps, though you won’t get a resolution bump when you’re playing at framerates that high. As an example, an input resolution of 1080p at 120Hz will still output at 1080p120 after mClassic’s graphics processing, but you’ll get the other benefits like anti-aliasing and improved depth-of-field.
You can see the effects in the embedded videos in this article. The change is perhaps most noticeable in the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 example you see below. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 runs at a native 720p resolution on the Switch when it’s docked, but mClassic is able to improve that to 1440p with its graphics processing, smoothing out jagged edges and making the image look sharper in the process. Although it won’t make a Nintendo Switch title look like it was designed for a PS5 and high-end gaming PCs, it can have noticeable effects.
Another video worth checking out is the Animal Crossing: New Horizons side-by-side comparison below. Although the effect is subtler, it is still evident. The graphics look sharper and smooth out the jagged lines of animal models and character models.
If you are a retro-gaming fan, the mClassic is able to improve your graphics. Games running at 4:3 aspect ratio will continue to run at this aspect ratio after graphics processing, but they will benefit from the mClassic’s other processing effects. mClassic has uploaded a side by side comparison of P.N. 03 running the Nintendo GameCube. Although the game is clearly a retro title it is easy to see the sharpening of the game when running through the mClassic.
An HDMI adapter is required to use mClassic on retro consoles that often output with coaxial or composite. If you don’t have an HDMI adapter and your retro games aren’t looking great on modern HDTVs then the mClassic might be a good option.
While the mClassic won’t magically make low-resolution games look high-end, it will improve visuals. The question is whether the mClassic is worthwhile. At $99. 99, only those who want the best image quality they can squeeze out of these consoles may want to pick up this tiny device.
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