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Thread: Dedicated Emulator PC 2013 Build Thread!

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    MD Pad Dedicated Emulator PC 2013 Build Thread!

    I have recently got the urge to make another Dedicated Emulator PC, basically something that's got a lot of horsepower and sits next to my living room TV and allows me to enjoy classic Console/Arcade games from the comfort of my sofa without having to dig out my precious collection of real hardware. I'm aware that Emulation will never replace original hardware but that's not the point, this is going to be a gigantic project and probably take months to get my head around but it's going to be fun and rewarding to see the final piece.

    I have previously posted videos of simple Emulator boxes I have made in the past; these have now been sold to fund the new project.
    Acer Revo R3610
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szLCe8IzB_s
    Acer Revo RL70
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTa5K7QrFr8

    In comparison to the new project, these machines are quite basic in both specification and operation. The purpose of this thread is to document as much as I can about the project as I have been contacted hundreds of times about the above videos and asked how it's done. So let's begin...

    I have been collecting components of the last few weeks and this will be the final specification of the hardware

    Intel Core i3 3220 3.30GHz Socket 1155 3MB Cache Retail Boxed Processor
    Asrock H61M-ITX H61 Socket 1155 onboard graphics CPU required 8 channel HD Audio mini ITX Motherboard
    Bitfenix Prodigy White Case
    Crucial 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600Mhz Ballistix Elite Memory Kit CL8 1.5V
    Sapphire Technology AMD Radeon 7770 HD 1GB PCI-Express 3.0 HDMI
    Corsair Hydro Series H60 2013 model High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
    Seagate 2TB BARRACUDA 3.5" SATA-III Hard Drive - 7200RPM 64MB Cache
    Corsair 60GB Nova Series 2 SSD - 2.5" SATA-II - Read 270MB/s Write 240MB/s Affordable Performance Upgrade 3YR Warranty
    Corsair 430W CXM Builder Modular 80 Plus Bronze PSU 3 Year Warranty
    Extras: Side Window Panel for case, 230MM BitFenix Spectre Pro Fan
    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

    Just waiting on the Corsair SSD (I bought it a year ago but recently RMA'd it) I will probably start the build tonight and post some pictures. But to start off, here is most of the kit from a few days ago...



    I have previously used Maximus Arcade for a frontend, but it's a bit simple. For this build Iím going to get to grips with HyperSpin as it's a lot more impressive. I also haven't decided on a control method as of yet. I used to roll with wireless Xbox 360 pads, but I want something a bit special for this setup.

    The PC will hopefully emulate the following...

    Nintendo SNES
    Nintendo NES
    Nintendo Game Boy/Color/Advance
    Nintendo Virtual Boy
    Nintendo 64
    Nintendo GameCube
    Sega Genesis/32X/Sega CD
    Sega Master System & Game Gear
    Sega Saturn
    Sega Dreamcast
    Sega Model 2 & 3
    Sega Naomi
    PC-Engine/PC-Engine CD
    Panasonic 3DO
    Sony PlayStation
    Sony PlayStation 2
    Sammy Atomiswave
    Taito Type X, X2
    MAME (Inc. Cave SH3)
    SNK Neo-Geo
    SNK Neo-Geo CD
    SNK Neo-Geo Pocket/Color
    Atari Jaguar
    Amiga
    Commodore 64
    Arcade LaserDisc

    & M.U.G.E.N, Streets of Rage Remake Final, PC Arcade Ports (House of the Dead 2 & 3, Outrun 2006 C2C)

    Until next time...

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    Cool...I've got ideas too for doing the same thing, but a different frontend. I'm not sure what to use for gamepads yet. I've been liking ps3 controller so far.

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    Intel Core i3 3220 3.30GHz Socket 1155 3MB Cache Retail Boxed Processor
    Get i5-2xxxK or i7-xxxxK, you'll need 4+GHz if you want to play some demanding GC/Wii games which require DSP LLE

    Seagate 2TB BARRACUDA 3.5" SATA-III Hard Drive - 7200RPM 64MB Cache
    get at least 2x2Tb, CHDs and ISOs are huge, also do you really need 7200 for large HDD, 5400-5900 are quite fast for storage drives and make a lot less noise.

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    I was going to say you could probably use something like this:

    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/prod...659384842.html

    But that probably wouldn't be up to PS2/Gamecube/Dreamcast level stuff.
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    I'll be watching this thread closely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flash View Post
    Get i5-2xxxK or i7-xxxxK, you'll need 4+GHz if you want to play some demanding GC/Wii games which require DSP LLE
    Agreed. I have an i7 2600k @ 4.7 GHz in my current rig and there isn't much that doesn't run at full speed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flash View Post
    Get i5-2xxxK or i7-xxxxK, you'll need 4+GHz if you want to play some demanding GC/Wii games which require DSP LLE


    get at least 2x2Tb, CHDs and ISOs are huge, also do you really need 7200 for large HDD, 5400-5900 are quite fast for storage drives and make a lot less noise.
    I already have the hardware and it's more than enough for what I want to run. I have no plans to have any Wii Games on there. GameCube games will run fine (Already confirmed). The 2TB drive is also plenty for what I need, I have about 1.5TB data to go on there and I can always install an extra drive if needed. I'm not planning on having every PS2 and GameCube game, just a healthy selection of titles.

    Quote Originally Posted by RetroSwim View Post
    I was going to say you could probably use something like this:

    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/prod...659384842.html

    But that probably wouldn't be up to PS2/Gamecube/Dreamcast level stuff.
    Far too underpowered. And it's Android?

    Anyway, build is coming along nicely...

    Last edited by urbangangsta101; 03-15-2013 at 05:12 AM.

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    I have been thinking about making a dedicated gaming emulation PC HTPC forever but how do you decide what to play when you have 500.000 games to chose from? :)

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    I would've gone for a quad core CPU. PCSX2 can't run everything perfect unless you use it in software mode, and for that the extra cores really help. Actually, a high end AMD APU might've been cheaper, and as long as you pair them with fast RAM, their on-die gpu is pretty fast for emulation. However I don't know if their CPU is strong enough.

    Also, those closed loop hydro coolers are way overpriced and under performing. A Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo will get you better performance for half the price, and it is completely silent.

    Nice build otherwise, though the RAM might be low if you ever decide to use the machine for else and need to multitask.

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    Ok, Thanks for the advice on hardware but as previously stated I have already bought the kit and it's more than enough for what I want. I'm a computer engineer by trade and know the capabilities of what I have bought. So, please stop with the "You should have bought <Insert Preferred hardware here>" TBH the GameCube and PS2 is just going to be a bonus, I’m not focusing on those systems. I'm more interested in Saturn, PS1 and Dreamcast and Arcade systems like Naomi and Atomiswave. Believe it or not, this i'm not a complete emulation n00b...

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    Quote Originally Posted by urbangangsta101 View Post
    Far too underpowered.
    You'd be surprised.

    1.6GHz quad core Cortex A9. It will do all the consoles you listed, save for the PS2 era stuff (which you want, so yeah, underpowered for your setup ;) ).

    Quote Originally Posted by urbangangsta101 View Post
    And it's Android?
    There are stacks of emulators for Android, but it runs Linux too. Between the two you'd have most systems covered.

    I know you've bought your hardware so it's a null point, but might be helpful for anyone else reading the thread looking for ideas! :)
    Last edited by RetroSwim; 03-16-2013 at 12:36 AM.
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    i'd like to do something like this, i may even convert my current rig when i build a new one.

    i'd probably choose linux(but theres no reason a dual / multi boot with windows couldnt be done), and would like to build it into an arcade cab with some nice speakers / amp screen and joystick setup.

    still nice setup.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetroSwim View Post
    You'd be surprised.

    1.6GHz quad core Cortex A9. It will do all the consoles you listed, save for the PS2 era stuff (which you want, so yeah, underpowered for your setup ;) ).



    There are stacks of emulators for Android, but it runs Linux too. Between the two you'd have most systems covered.

    I know you've bought your hardware so it's a null point, but might be helpful for anyone else reading the thread looking for ideas! :)
    Not quite. While a great price, that device has some caveats:

    1) ARM processor. This isn't a bad thing, as more and more emulators are being ported to ARM, but itll take a while for emulators to become as mature as they are for x86
    2) The 1.6 GHz is misleading. I'm not sure if it has changed, but for the first device in that series it was a 1 GHz processor with a GPU running at 500 mhz (Source: I own one). These are definitely not equal to a 1.5 GHz processor. I wouldn't doubt it's changed for this one, I know of no A9 devices that clock up to 1.6 GHz.
    3) Power. Like you said, playstation 2 won't work, but you can add gamecube to that as well, and most likely dreamcast.

    All in all, I'm not saying it's a bad device, it's great for the price really, but its not a one stop shop for the ultimate emulator experience.

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    So Radeon? Really? Nvidia has tons of options to low budget video cards that have far better firepower than anything AMD would do.

    BTW, where are the pumps of your water cooler system? I see the radiator, the block but no pump.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fandangos View Post
    So Radeon? Really? Nvidia has tons of options to low budget video cards that have far better firepower than anything AMD would do.

    BTW, where are the pumps of your water cooler system? I see the radiator, the block but no pump.
    his card is more than capable of dealing with anything hes going to throw at it on this rig.

    by the size of the block and radiator i would assume its integrated? could be wrong though

    the drive bay reservoirs they had out a while back looked cool i always liked them but the pumps in them were prone to failure
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    I've been looking into getting a revo for a htpc/emulator machine, how well did the RL70 perform if you don't mind me asking?

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    The Radeon 7770 is more than enough for the job. It actually outperformed the equivalent card from nvidia (650) I'm not a fan of AMD at all but it offered more bang for buck. Plus I got 3 games with it that I have sold,making a £80 card £50. That's a great deal.

    The cooler is a closed loop system, pump is part
    Of the CPU block.

    Sorry for the delay on progress, been busy this weekend. Will have an update this week

    The revo performed well for anything up to N64. Saturn wouldn't run well at all though.
    Last edited by urbangangsta101; 03-17-2013 at 10:14 AM.

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    So.. you're saying you never have to replace the fluid?!

    I never knew anything like that existed.

    I sold my water cooler system because it was a pain.. it had 2 radiators, 2 pumps, 2 reservoirs.. the fluid kept evaporating.. sold and got a notebook.

    What brand and model are you using? Does it work with any block?
    What's the size of the radiator?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fandangos View Post
    So.. you're saying you never have to replace the fluid?!
    I never knew anything like that existed.
    Neither did I and if it does, I'm definitely going to get one down the line. I've steered clear of liquid cooling solutions because of the hassle and risk of failure being too high for my taste. Something like this could get me to try it out.
    Last edited by BLUamnEsiac; 03-17-2013 at 11:04 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by urbangangsta101 View Post
    The revo performed well for anything up to N64. Saturn wouldn't run well at all though.
    Amazing, I can get a revo l80 for £120 and just want it for emulators upto N64 so that's great news, thanks for replying.

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