Jump to content
rllmuk
dumpster

Best machine for emulators?

What is the best machine for emulators and why?  

105 members have voted

You do not have permission to vote in this poll, or see the poll results. Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

Recommended Posts

What is the best machine to buy, overall, for emulation and why?

 

For me, it's the Wii.  Available in Cash Convertors for about a tenner, it does Gamecube, Wii, all 8 bit, all 16 bit, seemingly flawlessly.  It's dead easy to mod as well.  I was looking at the Nvidia Shield TV but as far an I can see, the only thing I'd get in addition to what the Wii offers is Dreamcast emulation, although I'm happy to stand corrected.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, ulala said:

It's the pi

 

( it cannot be the Wii as you suggest, as it doesn't do hdmi )

 

There is the Wii to HDMI device. It is cheap and reasonable if you are not bothered about the best of the best picture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, deKay said:

The Pi obviously. Not least because it requires zero effort and costs pennies.

 

Describe “zero effort”... 

 

It has been a while since I have dabbled.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, auntyclimax said:

 

Describe “zero effort”... 

 

It has been a while since I have dabbled.

 

Download a pre-built image, transfer to sd card

 

switch on

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Got to be a pc in my mind. Especially if you want to do anything from the past 20 years. A pi or wii is good but you are limited to 16-bit and below. 

 

Go pc and then GameCube, Dreamcast and so forth open up. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, auntyclimax said:

 

Describe “zero effort”... 

 

It has been a while since I have dabbled.

 

Press button to write image to SD card. Plug everything in. Play any game ever made.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a tough question. Best for what? All the choices fit different criteria. A mid-range PC in a small case is probably the best overall choice for versatility and power, but not the cheapest. Using your main desktop PC is even better - you can play any game ever made - but that doesn't feel like you've set up an "emulation machine". Adapting a console makes you feel like a hacker. Building a Retropie makes you feel like a hobbyist. Nvidia Shield TV just feels like you're using Android.

 

I chose Retropie since I built one recently and it was fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nvidia shield for me, it does newer stuff as well as the older stuff. I've read it is capable of running Dolphin fairly well but not tried it myself.

 

It slots in between the Pi and PC in both cost and performance.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a vague question deliberately - for example, a Wii is a great choice but it has very weak PS1, N64 etc, and hasn't a chance at doing Dreamcast.  But, as I put above, you can be up and running in 5 minutes and a complete Wii console is usually cheap as chips, the second hand shops are full of them.  I'm going to dabble with a Raspbery Pi next I think.   The main thing that made me ask the question was that before Xmas I was going to get an Nvidia Shield TV, but looking at it objectively, it seems to so everything a Wii does, plus Dolphin and DC.  So because the Wii does Gamecube anyway, I'd have been paying £180 for something that does what my existing kit does, plus Dreamcast.  Last time I paid £180 to play Dreamcast Games was in 1999, when I bought a Dreamcast!

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nvidia Shield for me, since it does so much more than emulation too. It has your Netflix/iPlayer etc, plus local PC game streaming on Gamestream and remote PC streaming on GeForce Now, and all kinds of dodgy video streaming on Kodi/Morpheus/Plex etc. And Android gaming if you want it :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PC is obviously the best, it’s the most powerful so will run emulators better. Of the others the Shield is probably next best. 

 

If the Pi had an on/off switch or remote turn on it’d be a more compelling proposition as it’s so cheap. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you concerned about the power draw at idle? They don't support any kind of standby mode, probably because the power draw is so low anyway when you're not doing anything. I mean if Windows 10 ARM devices don't bother with a standby mode, given how important battery life is in laptops / tablets, there probably isn't any real point doing it on an ARM device you keep plugged into a wall either. I assume my TV, PS4 and possibly also my hi-fi all draw more power. I just turn them all off at the wall if I'm travelling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, the_debaser said:

PC is obviously the best, it’s the most powerful so will run emulators better.

 

It's not "best" if price or simplicity is your criteria. A Pi 3 will run everything pre-Dreamcast. I've no interest in emulating anything newer, so a PC is not "best" for me.

 

9 hours ago, the_debaser said:

f the Pi had an on/off switch or remote turn on it’d be a more compelling proposition as it’s so cheap. 

 

You can add a switch for peanuts, and you can turn it off from the RetroPie menu anyway. It comes on when I turn it on at the wall so I've no need for a remote turn on or a physical switch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At that point it’s not plug and play. You have to buy extra kit and delve into the world of sudo commands to turn the thing off. 

 

Setting up bluetooth controllers and WiFi and that is a bit of a pain the first time too on a Pi. And you need to plug in a keyboard and buy an sd card and get an external case so it doesn’t look ugly as sin. It doesn’t end up being as cheap as it first looks. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, ulala said:

 

Download a pre-built image, transfer to sd card

 

switch on

 

 

Which pi do I buy?

 

Do i need to buy anything else? The SD card - what size and speed?

 

Which image do I download?

 

Where do I get said image?

 

(actually genuine questions as if it is this easy I might get one! I have avoided it til now as there are many versions of pi and the "images" aren't obvious and some need tinkering with or used to. If it is plug-and-play then I'm in!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, the_debaser said:

At that point it’s not plug and play. You have to buy extra kit and delve into the world of sudo commands to turn the thing off. 

 

Setting up bluetooth controllers and WiFi and that is a bit of a pain the first time too on a Pi. And you need to plug in a keyboard and buy an sd card and get an external case so it doesn’t look ugly as sin. It doesn’t end up being as cheap as it first looks. 

 

A case is only going to be a couple of quid, same for an SD card, if you don't have one lying around that is. You don't need to plug in a keyboard necessarily, you can use T9 on your TV remote, as long as your TV supports CEC. A little awkward, but not that different to typing in wifi codes on a console with a controller. I think if you are going to do anything really complex configuration wise on a Pi, you are really meant to ssh into it, but most people won't ever need to do that.

 

It runs hot? The Pi is supposed to display a thermometer icon if the CPU gets over 80°C. I've never seen this, ever. Temperatures below this don't matter, in terms of the device's longevity. It is not as if it's going to heat up your living room in any case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PC, because you'll be able to throw pretty much anything at it without complaint - PCSX2, Redream, Dolphin, etc. I agree that "best" is subjective, but I've always been interested in new developments in emulation, and I think it's awesome that I can play Cool Cool Toon with a PS4 controller at a decent resolution and stable frame rate. The main caveat is that you've got to be willing to jump through configuration hoops to make sure the software works for your specification, but today's emulators generally aren't too fiddly. :) 

 

Honourable mention to the Vita - the limited specifications only allow so much support, but running custom firmware is fairly easy and transferring files isn't too bad.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, the_debaser said:

At that point it’s not plug and play. You have to buy extra kit and delve into the world of sudo commands to turn the thing off. 

 

Setting up bluetooth controllers and WiFi and that is a bit of a pain the first time too on a Pi. And you need to plug in a keyboard and buy an sd card and get an external case so it doesn’t look ugly as sin. It doesn’t end up being as cheap as it first looks. 

 

You don't need extra kit. You can just turn it off at the wall if somehow turning it off via the controller is beyond you. Setting up controllers is easy - no harder than pairing new ones with a Switch or PS4. You don't need a keyboard. My Pi3 has never had one connected. If you get a PC you need a hard drive and a keyboard and a mouse anyway, so why single the Pi and its SD card out? SD cards are like £5 anyway. You don't need a case - I used my Pi 1 for years without one and my Pi 3 only has one because it came as a kit. Couldn't care less how it looks as it lives hidden in a cupboard next to a PS4.

 

Even if you did buy all these "necessary" things, it's still way cheaper than a PC. Which you'd have to install an OS and emulators and everything on anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not perfect but the Pi hits the spot for me. I love the whole setting it up over a week or two, and the reward when it all runs well.

 

Apart from some N64 games, but that's by-the-by. :-D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's the PC. I've no idea where people are getting the idea it's tough to set up emulators. Configure sometimes, yes, but that's mainly on the newer systems. A Win10 OS (if you get a machine with a 7 or 8 licence, you can still upgrade to 10 for free) is amazing for letting you chuck just about any controller at it too, like @Qazimod says. 

 

As for cost, my emu gaming PC runs (as I mentioned in another thread) everything up to and including PS2/Dreamcast/Wii plus a good few games of the late-release PS3 and 360 era but on Steam, like MGSV. I'm playing Cuphead right now. 

 

Total cost around £100, so significantly cheaper than the Shield. I like big pc cases (for cooling) but you could fit it all in a mini case if size bothers you ;)

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think purely based on what I want to emulate - SNES, essentially - Wii does the job brilliantly. I think I spent about £30 on my setup - console was about a tenner, £8 for a classic controller, couple of quid for the HDMI adapter, couple of quid for an SD card. The softmod was genuinely a doddle and took less than 15 minutes. And it just works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 06/01/2019 at 20:11, Treble said:

It's the PC. I've no idea where people are getting the idea it's tough to set up emulators.

 

It isn't. Just you don't need to on the Pi :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:) I do like Pi emulation, FWIW. I do find Linux to be a faff though, if I have to make any changes. 

 

Simple? Yes. Fun? Yep. Powerful and flexible? Nup. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, yeah. Linux us a faff but you never need to even know it runs Linux any more than you need to know that the PS Classic or your Chromecast runs Linux :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.