Mayflash N64 Controller USB PC Adapter Review

I’m a big fan of the Nintendo 64. Whether it was the goofy aiming in Goldeneye, accessible combat of Smash Bros. or the innovation that was Super Mario 64, there was always something very delightful about the console.

What likely makes the console so unique though is it’s controller. The three grip style is hard to replicate in modern gaming. Analog sensitivity and the six button face is a hard thing to emulate these days. That’s why nothing quite feels like an original N64 controller manufactured by Nintendo.

For anyone interested in emulation or practicing speed runs on PC the N64 controller is hard to replace. This is where Mayflash’s N64 Adapter comes in handy. It’s a plug and play adapter that allows you to hook up to two original N64 controllers to your PC through a USB connection. This is perfect for use with Project64 or Mupen64Plus. Want to get crazy? With this adapter you can use a N64 controller on any PC game, although I don’t think I’d advise that

It’s important to note, this adapter works with original OEM N64 controllers only. If you’ve purchased other controllers such as Hori’s or Brawler64, this adapter will likely not work.

It’s also easily available online. Unlike the SNES, Genesis or Atari, there’s unfortunately not a huge boutique third-party hardware scene yet for the N64. Many of the higher quality third party controllers that have been manufactured over the last couple years are extremely hard to find. There’s certainly some cheap USB controllers out there, but their analog sensitivities and overall accuracy make them less than ideal. Mayflash’s solution is certainly plentiful. It’s easy to purchase online through Amazon without waiting months for a production run or kickstarter campaign.

If there’s one issue with the Mayflash N64 adapter is build quality. For many people, like myself, have found it to work exactly as advertised. Others have had less success and have received dead on arrival units. That’s unfortunate but is not reflective of my experience. I did, however, need to calibrate the controller with Windows to get the analog sensitivity right before playing.

Overall, Mayflash’s N64 adapter is great for playing emulated N64 games with an OEM controller. It does create some latency as an adapter. Unless your really competitive in Smash Bros or need delicate accuracy for speed running, this adapter will work for most emulation needs.

Best Low Power GPUs for 300 Watt and below PSUs

For all the talk about 4k, 144hz monitors and water cooling, it’s easy to forget the most popular gaming PC is still tends to be a pre-built, store bought, tower. As someone who’s knocked out many hours on an old Dell Inspiron playing Counter Strike: Go, frame rate can get rough on these machines. The integrated graphics don’t quite cut it and the power supplies are generally limiting factor. Your lucky if a PSU is 250w to 300w.

Upgrading to a gaming PC can be costly and out of reach for many gamers. As a result, you have to work with what you got and, luckily, low power graphic cards exist for this very reason. You may not be able to max out the graphical settings for all games but they’re a cheaper option to buying a new computer and you can get a better, more stable frame rate.

Below are my recommendations for upgrading the graphics on a low watt power supply. There’s one key specifications that apply to all of them. They all run from a single PCI Express (PCI-E) x16 slot only. The max power draw for this connection is 75 watts. Most higher end graphic cards require additional power from 6-pin or 8-pin connections. The AMD’s RX 580 takes two 8-pin connectors to run. The puny PSU in most pre-builts won’t handle that, so we’ll need to stick with PCI-E only graphics cards.

Geforce GTX 1050 TI

NVIDIA’s Geforce GTX 1050 TI is still the best video card on the market that doesn’t require additional power connectors. This makes it the ideal for any gamer trying to max out their system’s gaming capabilities with power as a bottleneck.

At medium settings, this card will be more than capable of 1080p gameplay at roughly 50-60 frames per second. As expected newer games, such as Battlefield V, are going to struggle a little bit at high or ultra settings but can still get to 60 frames per seconds after some tweaking. Games with less intensive requirements, such as Overwatch and Fortnite, will run smooth so you’ll stay competitive online under most settings.

Power wise, the GTX 1050 TI can pull the max draw from the PCI-e slot of 75 watts. This is why NVIDIA recommends at least 300 watt power supply to go with this card. It should be noted however, that many benchmarks from around the industry show it runs at about 65 watts. Depending on the CPU of your system, power draw of the system could be as low as 160 watts from the wall and you might be able to get away with a smaller power supply

There are multiple variations to the GTX 1050 TI so pay attention to the memory when purchasing if purchasing one for yourself. The 4GB GDDR5 version is the superior version and will allow for higher graphical settings due to size. The GTX 1050 2GB GDDR5 version (note the lack of “TI” in it’s name) will be more economical but will limit texture details and run games at a lower frame rate.

  • GPU Clock: 1290 ghz
  • Memory Clock: 7 gbps
  • Memory: 2-4 GB GDDR5
  • Output Ports: DVI-D, DisplayPort, HDMI
  • DirectX 12
  • Power Draw (watts): 75

RX 560

The RX 560 is AMD’s answer to the GTX 1050 TI. AMD has worked hard to update their drivers and and have been sponsoring developers in hopes to close the gap with NVIDIA’s budget video cards. Generally speaking, it’s a little cheaper and slightly weaker in performance at similar graphic settings. It’s still a solid option for anyone looking to upgrade a pre-built pc especially if you can get a good deal

The card can draw up to 75 watts from the single PCI-e slot. Again this makes it similar to the GTX 1050 TI in terms of raw power usage. AMD recommends a 450 watt psu but I’ve seen this card work with much less power.

If you’re partial to AMD cards, then the RX 560 will work well enough for you. However, the GTX 1050 is still the superior for most games.

  • GPU Clock: 1175 ghz
  • Memory Clock: 7 gbps
  • Memory: 4 GB GDDR5
  • Output Ports: DVI-D, DisplayPort, HDMI
  • DirectX 12
  • Power Draw (watts): 75

Geforce GT 1030

NVIDIA’s Geforce GT 1030 isn’t really aimed at gamers. It’s mostly at folks with general use desktops who need a dedicated GPU for display purposes, such as dual monitor support. However, because it’s likely you have desktop with a low wattage power supply, the GT 1030 can still provide an upgrade in gaming performance. Just don’t expect any miracles. At low to medium settings, gaming at 1080p should be fine. Some newer games will may need to drop to 720p.

The biggest advantage the GT 1030 has is it’s super low power draw of 30 watts. At that level you can easily use this card in a system running 180 – 250 watt power supplies. This will result in an overall system power draw in the range of 125 watts.

There’s one major caveat to look out for if buying the GT 1030. Pay special attention to the memory type when purchasing this card as there are GDDR5 and GDDR4 versions of this card out there. GDDR5 has 65% higher memory bandwidth and will outperform it’s GDDR4 counterpart.

Although not ideal, the GT 1030 can be a reasonable upgrade for anyone capped by the power supply.

  • GPU Clock: 1175 ghz
  • Memory Clock: 6 gbps
  • Memory: 2 GB GDDR5
  • Output Ports: DVI-D, DisplayPort, HDMI
  • DirectX 12
  • Power Draw (watts): 30

Conclusion

Gaming with a low power desktop can be tough but doable. It’s certainly not ideal, but there is an upgrade path for these machines that will allow you to get the most of these systems. The GTX 1050 TI provides the best performance at a low wattage but requires a PSU in the 250 to 300 watt range.

At the more budget end, the GT 1030 can play the most popular games at 1080p with low to medium settings. It will work on a larger range of systems as well so it’s compatibility is higher. If you’re just looking to play Minecraft or Fortnite, a GT 1030 is all you’ll need.