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Author Topic: MAME setup on limited resources - help!  (Read 2389 times)

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Newbie J

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MAME setup on limited resources - help!
« on: June 18, 2002, 12:08:09 pm »
N00b needs help!

I am considering a upright or tabletop project to play classic games (70's and 80's).  I have a donor machine to use, but it is only a 133 Pentium with 96 Mb RAM and a 6 Mb video card running on Win98.

Given the hardware limitations, what is the best platform to use? DOS would give me the most available RAM, but I am concerned about video drivers. I am open to moving to Linux, but I don't know how well that would be supported.

So, should I stay with Windows or move?

What performance should I expect with 98 on a 133 Pentium? What, if anything, would I have to upgrade to get decent performance? Is a MMX chip needed?

How do the MAME ports compare on different platforms? Is Linux a fast, stable port? DOS?

Thanks in advance for the replies.  I'm hoping to make this board a permanent fixture in my daily surfing!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

Jungle

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Re: MAME setup on limited resources - help!
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2002, 12:30:01 pm »
I am in the long process of putting together a cabinet, and the computer I am using right now for testing my control panel connections is pretty similar.  

I'm using an AMD K6-166, 64 MB RAM, 8MB Vid card.  I have no problem playing most of the classic games in Win98 using MAME 0.60.  I didn't want to mess with setting up all of the DOS drivers since an upgrade is planned in a month or so.  

Some of the games that play no problem include: Ms. Pac Man, Frogger, Donkey Kong (& Jr), Galaga, Centipede, Track and Field, Kangaroo, Qix, Robotron.

The only thing of that vintage that I have had trouble with is Asteroids, but I think that game is known to require more power to emulate than other 70s and 80s games.  

Also, you might want to check out an emulator called Vantage.  I don't know much about it, but it was recommended to me for low powered systems.

If you do get around to doing a cabinet, I have found the Happs Universal to be a pretty decent four way stick.  Not quite a ball-top, but not bad and has a similar feel to the short-throw sticks of old.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

Lilwolf

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Re: MAME setup on limited resources - help!
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2002, 01:41:50 pm »
In general... if there is another emulator out there... you will want to use it over mame.

Hive.  Probably the fastest out there.  ported to palmtops and sold as a real product.

Vintage... I've never used it... I hear its great.

MGE - Best guantlet emulator.  You might be able to get it (worked 100% perfect for me on a 233)

REM! - Best rygar emulator by far.  Still better then mame (but doesn't have a speed limiter... so I can't run it anymore..  even with dropping my clock speed down to nothing)

Retrocade.  I think this was faster then mame for about 1/2 of the games it emulates.

There are a few AMAZING emulators out there... but when mame emulated the same game... they stopped getting updated... but almost every one is still faster then mame.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

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Re: MAME setup on limited resources - help!
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2002, 01:53:59 pm »
I suggest using vantage as well.  I run it along with AdvanceMAME on my cocktail machine which is "powered" by a Pentium 233MMX.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

Newbie J

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Re: Thanks
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2002, 02:40:52 pm »
I'll check out Vantage and some of the others. thanks all for the help.

BTW, Munich, how did you support your cocktail monitor? was it an original unit or something else?  I'm thinking of using a 15" monitor.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

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Re: MAME setup on limited resources - help!
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2002, 03:46:20 pm »
MAME is free, go ahead and try it and see what you think.

I run the latest MAME on a Pentium 200 MMX, 48M Ram, 4M PCI vid card.

I found very little speed increase going with the DOS build.  And the increase will be even less now the mamew is the default build.  Plus the win version supports USB!  The linux version is stable and should be faster, but I haven't used it personally.  Maybe you could make the machine dual boot.

On my machine, 70's games play fine!  Pac-Man, Frogger, Galaga, Pole Position, etc.  1942 and Sky Shark play well but have some slowdowns when the graphic get intensive.  OutRun is barely playable at like 75% and Frameskip 11, (don't forget you can skip frames to speed execution) but still fun.  So there are the limits.

Regarding  Atari Vector games.  Two things kill you on slow computers.  For games without backgrounds, (Asteroids), discrete sound from R37B11 on, and for games with Backgrounds, alpha blending from R36B13 on really kill performance.  I play all these games fine using R36B12.

Good luck!!!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »
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Re: MAME setup on limited resources - help!
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2002, 08:46:38 pm »
You can get a machine up and running to play the classics with those resources, but to be perfectly honest, I would suggest you go ahead and get a decent machine for your project.  This hobby is VERY expensive, and if you can't afford to get a good pc to put in a cab then maybe you better save up first.  What you have would make a good test machine though, if you wanted to build your machine first and then upgrade later.    
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

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Re: MAME setup on limited resources - help!
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2002, 11:27:50 pm »
Okay heres the deal:

On a faster CPU (1 gigish), a Windows Mame will be faster than DOS mame.

With your setup, Dos mame will be faster than WinMame.

I think your setup will run the older classic games of the 80's just fine.  YOu just need to download it and test it out and see what you think.  Doing a DOS boot cabinet would give you good results.

Just make sure you get a decent PCI (since you won't have AGP port) video card that has good tvout and you will be just fine.  

Ignore windows in your setup.  I won't say ignore linux, because I don't have enuf experience with it.  But I think a dos boot will work great for ya.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »
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Re: MAME setup on limited resources - help!
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2002, 11:31:13 pm »
Oh yeah, regarding the video drivers.  You just need a video card that does tvout without the need for software.  Like a geforce 2 card or something (i think you can find those PCI).  You just need to get a decent tvout card with a good tvout chipset in it (preferable Chrontel chipset).

Hmm....I just realized that you are planning on doing this thing with a cpu monitor...oops.  Well thats even better than a TV with a DOS boot machine.  I think you will not have a problem with different video modes in DOS.  Just set it up and give it a shot.  I think you will be satisfied.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »
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