The EON GCHD MKII Long-Term Review: Still the Best?

OVERVIEW

For those that may have missed it, a while back we covered the EON GCHD, an HDMI adapter for my personal favorite legacy Nintendo console, the GameCube. Last year, EON released the GCHD MKII, a huge improvement from the initial unit, and we’re going to take a look at how it’s lived in our gaming setup the last several months, as well as the reasons why it’s still the best option for improving your GameCube’s picture in 2019.

To review, the GameCube’s first models had a digital out port that allowed for component video out. These OEM Nintendo cables were only sold via mail order for a small window after the console’s launch, and have since been the financial bane of GC fans around the world.  It uses a proprietary DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter), and until relatively recently, was the only option for getting above S-Video quality out of our precious GameCubes.

The release of the EON GCHD line and other options brought these cables down in price, but they still consistently hover around the $200 mark, and still put them as the most expensive option out there.

This revised version features a Wii component out port, optical audio out, IR remote sync, and it’s much easier to seat in the GameCube’s ports.

FEATURES

The EON GCHD MKII stepped things up quite a bit from its predecessor. The second iteration offers the same HDMI support as the original, but adds an analogue out port that takes any Wii component cable. This is huge, as most Wii component cables range around $30. I tested several sets, and settled on the Rocketfish brand I found at a local Goodwill for less than five bucks. The OEM Wii cable did provide a minor improvement when used over a scaler like the Open Source Scan Converter (OSSC) to an HDTV or capture device, but to my eye, the difference was negligible when used on a CRT television.

The menu options are extensive, and welcome, courtesy of retro designer extraordinaire, Dan Kunz. (Photos courtesy of EON Gaming).

There are a bevy of new video options this time around using a wonderful OSD: from line-doubling features, scanlines, changing RGB and color options, and full picture control. This OSD also allows syncing to any IR remote for easy use and adjustment during play. The firmware was an addition of renown retro tech guru, Dan Kunz, father of many projects over the years. It was a smart move on EON’s part, and it certainly paid off.

I’ll address the elephant in the room right now. The price. At $150, the MKII is still quite expensive, but with that price, you get more features than any other option available. Yes, there are competing options. Yes those are cheaper. But the MKII is the only solution that allows you to output both component *and* HDMI video, and it can run both ports at the same time!

Simultaneous component or RGB and HDMI output was not a feature I was expecting, and it expands the usability of the GCHD MKII tenfold.

What this allows you to do (aside from choosing your preferred output method) is, for instance, send the HDMI signal to a flat panel monitor or capture device, and the component cables to a CRT. If this seems a bit weird, let’s remember that huge segment of competitors still playing Smash Bros Melee. There’s a reason all the “Smash” branded controllers are copies of the GameCube controller. Melee is still, arguably, the most popular version of the game for competition. 

Regarding Smash Bros., this adapter has also been heavily adopted by the Melee community for tournaments, and I’ve witnessed many people who are happy they no longer have to deal with tube televisions to be competitive in the scene. There are so many use cases for this unit, and the versatility it brings to the field. It’s also a great option for events like AGDQ and other streaming-centric communities.

These are definitely specific use cases, no denying, However, many people still incorporate CRT monitors into their gaming setups and use them frequently, but want the option of HDMI. When buying this type of device, I’ve always taken the stance of “buy the last device you think you’ll need”, and the MKII is definitely the last video output device you’ll need for all of your GameCube video options.

CONCLUSION

I had to include a shot of my favorite game of all time, The Legend of Zelda – The Wind Waker, in glorious HDMI.

The GCHD MKII deftly provides all of the options one could possibly ever need regarding their GameCube. My unit has been humming along very nicely for quite a while, and never given me even a minuscule issue in the times I’ve used it. Yes, it’s expensive, but add in a GameBoy player, and the GCHD MKII can easily be your one-stop shop for fantastic video output for GameCube (to any type of monitor) and the entire library of thousands of Game Boy games. I am thrilled to have this in my arsenal of GameCube accessories, and it’s replaced my OEM Component cables as my go to solution. 

Hardware: EON GCHD MKII: Amazon, CastleMania Games: Silver, Black (in stock), Indigo, Spice Orange
Developer: EON, Dan Kunz
Price: $150.00

Disclaimer: Nintendeal was provided a GCHD MK II review unit by EON.  Thank you EON!

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