Marchombre
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Re: Raspberry Pi - the smallest gamestation ?

Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:15 am

Hi guys !

I'm really getting interested by that small device, even though I know I don't really have much use in it. But I am starting to wonder if that could't become a very cheap game station. The gamepad will probably cost as much if not more than the raspberry pi ^^
I'm searching for one imitating the wii Classic controller, but with bluetooth (so no need for a remote).

Have you guys heard about the Dingoo A 320 ?



It's a small device, MIPS based, that allows you to run emulators, for nes, snes, gba, megadrive, etc. There has been lot of development on it, and many games (including DOS games I believe) where ported.
It has it's limit though, like it's 400 mhz processor. So no real psx or n64 emulation.
Plus only 32 mb of ram. But it's cheap. I paid mine something like 80 euros, with the shipping. Price is lower now.

The raspberry pi should be much more capable. How much would you think it could handle ? PSX emulation ? At full speed ?

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Emanuele
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Re: Raspberry Pi - the smallest gamestation ?

Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:48 am

I've personally never tried PSX emulators for Android phones, but if you know how they perform, I think you will have a good indication.

I think emulation will be a major use of Raspberry Pi. Hopefully, this will spur some homebrew game development too. The hardware is screaming for native games!

jamesh
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Re: Raspberry Pi - the smallest gamestation ?

Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:17 am

With the current Arm11 at 700Mhz, you do come across the problem of having enough processing power to emulate more complicated systems. I would think Mame and earlier games would be OK, but more recent ones might run a bit slow.

Better to compile natively for Arm Linux - now that would make for a good game, and hopefully people will do that - it's one of the purposes of the device - to promote learning of programming. It's how I started - many years ago on the BBC Micro.
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edzieba
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Re: Raspberry Pi - the smallest gamestation ?

Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:40 pm

The RaspberriPi has a much gruntier ARM and GPU than the OpenPandora, and that can emulate the PSX, N64, and plenty of 16 bit and 8 bit consoles. The RPi shouldn't have any issues doing so as long as someone is willing to port the emulators over.

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Emanuele
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Re: Raspberry Pi - the smallest gamestation ?

Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:42 pm

I wouldn't be so sure that it's faster. The impression reading the forum is that the GPU is faster, but the CPU is slower (the better Cortex architecture more than make up for the lower clock freq. in the OpenPandora). Other than wait and see, I still think that the best indication would come from a real test on a comparable Android phone (i.e. similar ARM11 core, no neon, vfp, graphics accelerator).

jamesh
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Re: Raspberry Pi - the smallest gamestation ?

Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:05 pm

The Arm on the Raspi is a Arm11, which isn't as quick as the Cortex A8. I posted some DMIPS figures somwhere, but its about 1.2->2.0 ratio of speed per Hz, so 700MHz Arm 11 rates about 840DMIPS, whereas a 600 MHz A8 rates 1200DMIPS - quite a bit faster.

On the other hand, the GPU on the Raspi is quicker.
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Marchombre
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Re: Raspberry Pi - the smallest gamestation ?

Sat Aug 13, 2011 7:14 am

Mhhh you just screwed what I thought was obvious : more mhz = more power. Things are a bit more complicated...
In emulation, CPU is much much more important than GPU, right ? so I guess PSX emulation will not be flawess, quite the contrary.
The Dingoo manage to have something like 15 fps with no sound for a lot of game, hope we'll do better...

jamesh
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Re: Raspberry Pi - the smallest gamestation ?

Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:01 am

Quote from Marchombre on August 13, 2011, 08:14
Mhhh you just screwed what I thought was obvious : more mhz = more power. Things are a bit more complicated...
In emulation, CPU is much much more important than GPU, right ? so I guess PSX emulation will not be flawess, quite the contrary.
The Dingoo manage to have something like 15 fps with no sound for a lot of game, hope we'll do better...

MHz has never been a good indication of CPU capability - although Intel would like you to think so. Cache size and efficiency is also vital, as well as instruction efficiency.

You are correct that in emulation CPU power is vital - the CPU does all the instruction translation. In many cases this would mean that any acceleration that the GPU might be able to do cannot be used.

I'm not familiar with PSX emulators, or its original hardware. If the emulators do make use of HW acceleration for graphics, then they might be OK; if they rely purely on the CPU for everything then perhaps not.
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Marchombre
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Re: Raspberry Pi - the smallest gamestation ?

Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:39 pm

Hardware accelleration depends of the emulator in itself, I believe. If someone decide to not only port but also support a good psx emulator, then it might be ok... We'll soon see if Raspberry Pi will have success or not. The more success, the more developpers, the more skilled developpers (don't know it it's exact in english, you'll excuse me, I'm French so... ^^').

Emulation might be a very good sale point. The people that involved in Dingoo, Pandora, GP2X will probably be interested, especially considering the price, and the fact that the project is opensource (I mean, developpers can find detailed documentation on the hardware used, right ? That matters a lot. It wasn't possible for Dingoo, because it was developed in China, and it became problematic in the end).

Plus I guess that many people that are already interested by this device for learning purpose would like emulation.

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