Adaptec GameBridge 1400 Review — Play Console Video Games on Your Laptop

by coriolis Reads (75,885)

by A.W.

Gaming comes in two main flavors, console, such as the Playstation 3, X-Box 360, or Nintendo Wii and then computer gaming on PCs and Macs. The two are quite widely separated, consoles being played on a TV while the PC games of course on monitors. Console games generally use a game pad while PC games a mouse. They are two separate entities, but these days as we get TV tuners on PCs and XBox 360 players can go head to head online with PC gamers, the gap is closing.

With the Adaptec GameBridge 1400 and 1410 series devices that gap closes even more. People often ask whether it’s possible to play video games on their PC monitor or watch TV on their PC, with the GameBridge both of these can be easy and inexpensive to do. The Adaptec 1400 Series contains the GameBridge with one main feature, the ability to play console games on a computer screen. The 1410 series includes this same ability but also adds a TV tuner and remote allowing you to watch and record TV on your PC. This review will cover the Adaptec GameBridge 1400 system after being used for 6 months, and still going strong.


The GameBridge (view large image)

Adaptec GameBridge 1400 Features:

  • Connect video game consoles to your PC or notebook
  • Play video game consoles on your computer in real time; maximize your gaming environment and save space
  • Record game play and share your best moves and high scores with others
  • Improve the graphics of your games up to 1024 x 768 resolution in 32-bit color
  • Small lightweight device the size of a credit card
  • Powered by USB 2.0 bus port
  • Single solution for connecting video game consoles to a PC and converting home videos to VC

Contents of Box and the unit

Inside the plastic shell, the GameBridge includes the unit itself, a felt baggy, an AV cable, a USB cable and a CD with all the necessary drivers. The GameBridge is about the size of three AA batteries laid along side each other. The unit is constructed of plastic, making it lightweight and quite capable of traveling, the only downside for that is the tangle of the wires and cables you have to deal with. The supplied bag is useful for when you want to carry the GameBridge somewhere, but perhaps a Velcro band or two to organize the wiring would be helpful too.


The GameBridge device compared to an AA Battery (view large image)


The GameBridge’s left side, the USB cable output (view large image)


The GameBridge’s right side, the Composite/S-Video cable input (view large image)

The GameBridge


Notebook -> USB cable -> GameBridge -> AV cable -> S-Video -> PS2 (view large image)

The unit does what it is supposed to do, and does it well. Using either an S-Video or Composite connection, the Gamebridge quickly transfers the signal from the console to the provided client, Intervideo Home Theatre, which doubles as the GameBridge signal client as well as a DVD/VCD and video player.


The Audio Video cables, with markings of which cable it is, which is a pleasant surprise and can be a big help to some (view large image)

The composite connection is a lower quality connection, the S-Video easily triumphs in terms of picture quality provided. I found both audio and video to be lagless and delay free when gaming. This pleasantly surprised me, as I would think a USB connection would result in a bandwidth limitations.


The input connections, Composite(Left Audio, Video, Right Audio) and S-Video (view large image)

Gaming using the Composite Cables

The quality is not that bad using the composite cables, but nothing of high quality. Here is a recorded video sample using composite cables.

 

Gaming using the S-Video Cables

The gaming quality using the S-Video cables is much better, it’s not HD or anything, but good. Here is a recorded video sample using the S-Video cable:

 

The Software


The GameBridge light when it’s on. It blinks when in actual gaming use. (view large image)

Included is the Intervideo Home Theatre client, a necessity to using the GameBridge. It is a fairly straight forward program, with basic and easy to understand controls. However, when I first tried using it, it made a mess with my registry due to the reason I was using Notebook Hardware Control (NHC). When using NHC with the Intervideo Home Theatre my laptop would freeze up. I uninstalled NHC and it was fine, but not wanting to sacrifice NHC,  I then updated to the newest version of the Intervideo software as well as the newest Windows patches. Ever since then it has run fine, and I have concluded that because the GameBridge requires the CPU to run at maximum, an undervolting program such as NHC or RMClock can create havoc when used with the GameBridge.

The GameBridge requires 100% CPU power to play, which is obviously bad news if you’re on notebook battery power. It creates system lag if multitasking, so make sure to shut down as many background applications and processes as you can when using this. I have only tested the GameBridge on Windows XP SP2, I have not tried it with Vista.


InterVideo’s Home Theatre Program’s splash page. (view large image)

Back to the InterVideo program, watching videos through a DVD, VCD or the HD works just like any other video player, however, I’m accustomed to Media Player Classic, so I have not changed clients. The GameBridge client is the most useful one, the simplistic menu is a great asset.


InterVideo’s Home Theatre’s video playback/player client (view large image)


Under the GameBridge client main window (view large image)

Closed captioning is, well, what it obviously is, but I have yet to find a way to use it while gaming. Recorded content is the menu where all recorded videos using InterVideo Home Theatre can be found and played. Take Snapshot is simply taking a screenshot of the game.


Settings for the GameBridge(view large image)


Recorded material and its window (view large image)

Under settings, there are more options, but only a few of which can be modified. The Video Capture Device simply identifies the device, and the Audio defaults to the regular connection (being the composite red and white connections). The Input source can be changed, from S-Video to Composite, and S-Video is preferred unless there is no S-Video. Record quality changes the quality of recorded material, with "Best" taking the most storage space and "Good" taking the least. The bottom right bar is a simple action bar that is always present, with the buttons, from left to right being:


When recording, a listing will appear to constantly update the time recorded and time left. (view large image)

Conclusion

The GameBridge is a very inexpensive way to play console games on a computer or notebook, and for under $30 USD or the 1410 for under $40 USD retail price. The price fluctuates quite a bit, I got my 1400 for $20 Canadian, though I’ve seen it at $30 Canadian retail – just do some research and bargain hunting! It plays X-Box and GameCube games. I tried with my SNES, but unfortunately, it has an RCA connection and did not work. I can’t comment on the PS3, Xbox 360 or the Wii as I do not own any of those.

For a no-frills, easy to use and inexpensive device, I’d truly recommend the GameBridge 1400 for anyone whom doesn’t have a TV in their dorm, but still wants to play their console — like me!

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Portable
  • No lag

Cons:

  • Requires 100% CPU power to use
  • Not the best Quality

Video Samples

 

Disgaea 2 on the GameBridge

Star Ocean 3 on the GameBridge

Star Ocean 3 In-Game video

Disgaea 2 In-Game Footage




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