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Author Topic: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?  (Read 1554 times)

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paulwgraber

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What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« on: July 08, 2020, 12:47:37 am »
Building my first MAME cab. Running on WG 7400 with games to mid 90's including Daphne.
What type of computer I5?  and Graphics card do I need? Radeon? Arcade VGA?
Thx

formula409

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2020, 02:21:22 am »
Don't get an Arcade VGA. Get a used compatible AMD card and set up GroovyMAME. See the GroovyMAME forum for more information.

If want to use MAME with a CRT and aren't using GroovyMAME, you're doing it wrong. It's one of the best programs in emulation.

Don't skimp on the CPU. Get the fastest one you can afford. Some games in MAME can be pretty demanding. The Saturn driver in Mednafen is a hog too.

Howard_Casto

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2020, 03:12:12 am »
It really depends upon what specific games you want to run.  Most arcade games up to the mid 90's run on just about anything.... unless they are 3d games ...those take a lot of horsepower in mame.  Daphne doesn't take a lot of resources so you should be fine with that.  There are both software and hardware solutions to get things running on an arcade monitor but I'm not familiar enough to give any specific advice other than many of the hardware solutions are becoming unnecessary due to software tools.   

formula409

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2020, 04:01:26 am »
I disagree. If you have a CRT setup with GroovyMAME, you want to use framedelay 9 whenever possible, and it takes a lot of CPU. Even lightweight systems start to use a decent chunk of CPU with framedelay 9.

Get the fastest CPU you can afford.

paulwgraber

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2020, 10:26:01 pm »
So I can still use any front end then right?

formula409

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2020, 10:26:40 am »
So I can still use any front end then right?

I would use something lightweight. With how weird it is, I'd be very surprised if Hyperspin didn't affect the performance of other programs running on your computer.

mahuti

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2020, 10:32:53 pm »
Contrarian view: I use a raspberry pi hooked to a jpac with my old WG. I have daphne and 80s mame stuff. It gets a lot of use,, compliments and no complaints. I don't think anything I have running on it is 90s or newer.

I started getting into emulation stuff 20 years ago and didn't think MAME was bad for the 80s stuff back then... I'm basically running similar hardware and software now... it just  costs less than $100 and I enjoy it.

A good temperature check is to test one of the harder to emulate rooms you like on a machine you already have...or someone you know has. Watching how it runs should give you a good idea which direction you should go.
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Zebidee

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2020, 03:48:20 am »
You don't need a fancy new computer.

I just setup a new MAME PC with Groovymame, CRT_emudriver using a Core2duo E7600 CPU (about 13 years old now) and a HD5XXX graphics card, mostly using spare parts. Put in 4GB (enough!) or 8GB (woooo!) of RAM and it flies in both WinXPx64 and Win7, with most games at 100% except for some of the 3D hog games. Honestly, most games that will look good on a 15khz monitor will run fine on it.

Something to think about is that AFAIK MAME runs mostly on single-core so no need to prefer multicore CPUs over other options. Better Core2duo CPUs actually outperform later quad-core CPUs (of same generation) in terms of single-core operations, although they may admittedly consume more power and output more heat.

Anyway, my main point is that you don't need anything terribly fancy. Helps if it has a PCI-e port so that you can use a video card suitable for CRT_emudriver and Groovymame. Should be able to run Win7 or equivalent Linux. Most people just use whatever they have spare or can get for cheap. harder choice to make is video card. You should go for an AMD or ATI (older) video card, preferably one with a VGA port. Really old cards might only work with XP. Refer to the guide:
http://geedorah.com/eiusdemmodi/forum/viewtopic.php?id=295


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formula409

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2020, 05:06:17 am »
More and more 80s games are getting discrete sound emulation/low pass filter emulation etc. using net lists. It's a huge mistake to not have a fat CPU in there, but whatever, your funeral--not mine.

mahuti

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2020, 10:13:16 am »
Agreed. If you are a:

Quote
discrete sound emulation/low pass filter emulation   

...purist, then test for this if you can before you commit $$$. You can always start with one system and upgrade over time as you find you need better.
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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2020, 02:45:08 pm »
Discrete sound emulation generally doesn't need anything more than a core 2 duo.  I bit my tongue on the first reply but now we are going into the false information territory.  There are of course exceptions.... you'll find a game here and there that might not run despite it's age, but I can't think of any super popular ones that would fit that bill.  I'm not familiar enough with "framedelay 9" (whatever that is) but typically running a game at it's native res takes LESS resources because you aren't scaling up the image.   If I'm wrong someone (other than formula409 with all due respect) please correct me. 

JRobATL

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2020, 10:18:45 pm »
I'm not experienced with Daphne, but I've found Hyperspin to be more demanding on the cpu than most games in Mame. My i3 processor and old video card ran my selection of games fine, but there was some lag loading themes and videos and Hyperspin. My old i5 runs Hyperspin full blast just fine. 

And fwiw, the only graphic intensive games in my selection are Soul Calibur, Tekken Tag, and maybe MK3 and similar fighting games.

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2020, 10:36:17 pm »
Yeah don't use Hyperspin... use Big Box or something. 

Zebidee

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2020, 01:45:51 am »
... I've found Hyperspin to be more demanding on the cpu than most games in Mame. My i3 processor and old video card ran my selection of games fine, but there was some lag loading themes and videos and Hyperspin. My old i5 runs Hyperspin full blast just fine.

That's an important point, your choice of front-end is sometimes a bigger factor than games of what kind of system you should get. You can turn certain FE features off to save your CPU some work, though you may find some FEs will hog your resources whatever you do.
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formula409

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2020, 09:06:46 am »
Discrete sound emulation generally doesn't need anything more than a core 2 duo.  I bit my tongue on the first reply but now we are going into the false information territory.  There are of course exceptions.... you'll find a game here and there that might not run despite it's age, but I can't think of any super popular ones that would fit that bill.  I'm not familiar enough with "framedelay 9" (whatever that is) but typically running a game at it's native res takes LESS resources because you aren't scaling up the image.   If I'm wrong someone (other than formula409 with all due respect) please correct me.

You're the one spreading false information. Even Donkey Kong doesn't run THAT fast anymore with an i7 4ghz with the latest MAME and that's without any framedelay. With the discrete sound emulation, Donkey Kong runs at around the same speed as a CPS1 level driver now. I bet a Core 2 Duo can't even maintain 100% constantly in it with framedelay 9 anymore.

Frame delay 9 with GroovyMAME is basically waiting for 90% of a frame before polling inputs so that you're getting the very latest inputs for the next frame. It basically means that you're doubling your driver's requirements to still hit full speed. As opposed to a setup with a FreeSync or GSync monitor where you can get that kind of latency by essentially not having to wait for vsync, with a CRT setup, you need vsync and frame delay (or runahead in other emulators) to hit those kinds of numbers, so amusingly, CRT setups are actually more CPU hungry than modern variable refresh setups (way to spread misinformation there, bud).

https://www.mameworld.info/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Number=384992

That's one of the fastest CPUs you can buy today. If you look at the benchmarks there, you can pretty much assume that anything getting less than around 200% speed will not run at full speed with frame delay 9 with a GroovyMAME setup, so you will have a tangibly worse experience than you would with a faster CPU.

The reality is that MAME is only going to get slower over time as emulation becomes more accurate, and if you want to cripple your setup, that's on you. Have fun.

And please don't patronize me. I know far more about this than you.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 09:28:54 am by formula409 »

mahuti

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2020, 09:36:24 am »
Quote
The reality is that MAME is only going to get slower over time as emulation becomes more accurate, and if you want to cripple your setup, that's on you. Have fun.

I'd suggest crippling your setup and having fun as suggested. Spend the money you save on beer and parties  :lol
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Rockstead

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2020, 12:18:36 pm »
I disagree. If you have a CRT setup with GroovyMAME, you want to use framedelay 9 whenever possible, and it takes a lot of CPU. Even lightweight systems start to use a decent chunk of CPU with framedelay 9.

Get the fastest CPU you can afford.
Would that be the same advice for a Windows 10-64bit Hyperspin/Mame setup on a LCD or OLED?

Which CPU/GPU, memory, etc.

I want everything to play nice with space to grow.

formula409

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2020, 12:36:32 pm »
I disagree. If you have a CRT setup with GroovyMAME, you want to use framedelay 9 whenever possible, and it takes a lot of CPU. Even lightweight systems start to use a decent chunk of CPU with framedelay 9.

Get the fastest CPU you can afford.
Would that be the same advice for a Windows 10-64bit Hyperspin/Mame setup on a LCD or OLED?

Which CPU/GPU, memory, etc.

I want everything to play nice with space to grow.

I think so. With a modern display, it's nice to be able to play new games well, too. Street Fighter 5 is actually pretty demanding GPU wise at 4k. Basically, if you can afford a nice PC, use a nice PC. It's kind of a no brainer.

If you're not using a CRT, I think the highest priority should be getting a variable refresh display. That's going to make an enormous difference in how well these games run. It's so nice to just be able to run anything in MAME at its native refresh and not even worry about fiddling around with settings. It just works.

So that means that you need a somewhat modern GPU (to support GSync or Freesync).

LG has that 48" OLED display with HDMI 2.1 now, and that is a pretty amazing monitor for an emulation setup. You could mount it vertically in an arcade cabinet and have a huge screen (roughly equivalent to a 29" CRT) and a lot of flexibility to do stuff with artwork systems.

Although at this point, it's probably worth waiting until the 3000 series of Nvidia cards comes out. It's going to lower prices on everything across the board, and as of today, there's still no HDMI 2.1 supporting GPU.

Zebidee

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2020, 10:31:38 pm »
Never heard of anybody setting "frame_delay 9".

People like Howard and I have been doing mame setups for a long time.

So, when I'm setting up my old core2duo E7600 CPU running XPx64 4GB RAM with a ---smurfy--- old Radeon X1050 64mb GPU card, I can run almost all Groovymame0.200 games at 100% speed on a 15khz CRT, with no slowdown.

The best part is - I don't frag around with frame delay at all. I just let Groovymame do it! And it does it magnificently, from Cave & Raiden Shmup games to Donkey Kong. Because my CRT can handle the refresh rates natively, there is not much more for the CPU or GPU to do except tick along happily.

This is the really great thing about playing on CRTs is that you can just let Groovymame do its thing and it works. So no extra blahblahblah to worry about. Mostly you just set it up and it works. You don't need a fancy computer to adjust the speed No unnecessary lag either.

However, if you want to use high-res displays, fancy front ends or spend more money than sense then that is up to you. I suggest you join a FB group.

If you have new or important things to say about frame delay and CPU slowdowns regarding Groovymame, I suggest you take it to the Groovymame branch where the devs & other experts will probably look at it, if they think it is worth looking at.
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keilmillerjr

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2020, 11:09:28 pm »
Pick a processor/mb that is cheap, current, and upgradable. Too old of a socket will leave you stranded with decisions should either component die. An SSD will greatly improve boot times and can be had cheap. Get a CRT emudriver compatible video card. While an hd3450 or hd5000 card will be fine for mame, you mind as well get the best card within budget off eBay. Sometimes you find deals. Then can have more than one use should it get repurposed. Buy a jpac from ultimarc. Paradise arcade makes a wg k7xxx series remote board if you need it or want to be proactive. My original remote had problems that drove me nuts. Try collaborative GroovyArcade instead of windows first. There is a discord channel if you need help.

formula409

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2020, 04:14:12 am »
Never heard of anybody setting "frame_delay 9".

People like Howard and I have been doing mame setups for a long time.

You haven't heard of it, so it must not be important. Yikes.

 ::)

And a big yikes on telling people not to use Windows first. The reality is that there are always going to be Windows-only programs that you might want to use, and you're just crippling yourself by limiting yourself to Linux.

If it's an arcade cabinet, Windows is free anyway. You don't need to activate Windows if you have the shell disabled, so Windows is literally free for arcade cabinets. You don't have to buy it.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2020, 04:16:52 am by formula409 »

keilmillerjr

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2020, 12:39:08 pm »
Never heard of anybody setting "frame_delay 9".

People like Howard and I have been doing mame setups for a long time.

You haven't heard of it, so it must not be important. Yikes.

 ::)

And a big yikes on telling people not to use Windows first. The reality is that there are always going to be Windows-only programs that you might want to use, and you're just crippling yourself by limiting yourself to Linux.

If it's an arcade cabinet, Windows is free anyway. You don't need to activate Windows if you have the shell disabled, so Windows is literally free for arcade cabinets. You don't have to buy it.

Reason for suggesting to try GroovyArcade first is because it works with CRT out of the box. Good luck with windows. It's a long process. The original post says they are using mame. Mame works with Linux. No limitation. Plenty of front ends compatible with Linux as well. All you are loosing is hypersh|t.

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2020, 12:59:54 pm »
It's actually not terribly hard in windows either.  Use powerstrip and add some resolutions that are compatible with your monitor and you are basically done.  That's the tool that comes to mind off the top of my head but there are a few out there... haven't had to deal with 15khz in a while so excuse my outdated examples.  Lots of relatively easy ways to do it regardless of the OS and hardware used..... none of them really eat up resources because, again, it takes less resources to render something in it's native resolution than to upscale.    The only thing you have to worry about is using a video card capable of driving a 15khz monitor, and there are lists of those thanks to groovymame and similar apps. 

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2020, 01:15:33 pm »
Seems pretty simple to me after learning a bit these last few days about running groovymame on a 15Khz CRT.

If you only care about MAME games, and don't care about running other "windows only" games, GroovyArcade is easier to setup and is just as good.

Else use windows.

In terms of getting CPU... I am using GroovyArcade (latest 2020.06 collab), and I have a Ryzen 3600 and have played about with frame delay using the slider in groovymame in various games.  I can notice a definite reduction in lag when I set frame delay to 9 vs 0 (the default).  On a lot of games with my CPU they still run at 100% at frame delay 9, but some they don't and I have to reduce to frame delay 5 or so.  But I can notice the difference for sure.  I imagine you have to experience it for yourself and it'd make the most difference on games where quick reflexes are needed.

If you care about this - get a decent CPU.  If you don't notice a few frames input lag, or have got used to it and it doesn't bother you, any old PC will do for the majority of games.  :)

But the effect of frame delay is the same on windows and linux versions as tested by Calamity.

formula409

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2020, 01:33:20 pm »
Seems pretty simple to me after learning a bit these last few days about running groovymame on a 15Khz CRT.

If you only care about MAME games, and don't care about running other "windows only" games, GroovyArcade is easier to setup and is just as good.

Else use windows.

In terms of getting CPU... I am using GroovyArcade (latest 2020.06 collab), and I have a Ryzen 3600 and have played about with frame delay using the slider in groovymame in various games.  I can notice a definite reduction in lag when I set frame delay to 9 vs 0 (the default).  On a lot of games with my CPU they still run at 100% at frame delay 9, but some they don't and I have to reduce to frame delay 5 or so.  But I can notice the difference for sure.  I imagine you have to experience it for yourself and it'd make the most difference on games where quick reflexes are needed.

If you care about this - get a decent CPU.  If you don't notice a few frames input lag, or have got used to it and it doesn't bother you, any old PC will do for the majority of games.  :)

But the effect of frame delay is the same on windows and linux versions as tested by Calamity.

It's not that simple given that there are Windows only emulators such as Nebula M2 that fall under the category of "MAME games" that you might want to play. Given that Windows is free for arcade cabinet users, I don't think Linux makes too much sense there.

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2020, 03:57:37 pm »
OMG what did I start. Look. All I want is to have a nice simple MAME  setup with a Front end on my Well 7400 25". Im not playing 3D crap. I have consoles for that.

So back to my original post. WILL THIS SETUP WORK FINE FOR ME.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Desktop-Computer-PC-16GB-2TB-HDD-Quad-Core-i5-Windows-10-Pro-PC-WiFi-DVD/223917673580?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&var=522735558170&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

with this
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-AMD-Radeon-R5-240-1GB-DVI-Display-Port-PCI-E-Standard-Video-Card/274409783940?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

Or do I even need that Graphics card. I thought Arcade VGA cards were the ---steaming pile of meadow muffin---? I guess that's changed.

keilmillerjr

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #26 on: July 14, 2020, 08:20:46 pm »
Already answered in your other thread. Get the video card. It's a really good choice. Don't get the arcadeVGA. Dell will work fine, but has non standard components. Perhaps good choice just to get it going. Load collaborative GroovyArcade on USB thumb drive and it will immediately work with your CRT. AttractMode is default. Add ROMs and snaps. Done. Play around with things later if your not happy with something.

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #27 on: July 14, 2020, 10:19:11 pm »
Thx Man. Thats what I needed to know. BTW just curious exactly what do you mean by non standard components? I thought Dell was pretty commonplace?

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #28 on: July 15, 2020, 09:33:30 am »
Thx Man. Thats what I needed to know. BTW just curious exactly what do you mean by non standard components? I thought Dell was pretty commonplace?

Units like that are common in the workplace because they get large quantities of refurbished units at a deal. They do not repair them. Price also entices home owners. For any other type of user, they will see the poor quality control and usage of custom motorvoard and possibly psu. So, it really depends on what you want. It's great specs. When something fails, no easy path of upgrade.

Don't forget a jpac or video amp from ultimarc. Jpac will block non harmful signals to your monitor. Uefi bios will not work with atom15. This unit will block the signal. Just connect an lcd if you need to use the uefi bios.

paulwgraber

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #29 on: July 15, 2020, 03:20:16 pm »
So if not Dell then what brand would you recommend? Specs?

Osirus23

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2020, 03:34:41 pm »
I think Dell would be ok for buying a cheap refurb. He just means alot of the brackets, etc. used inside the case are nonstandard and can be a bit annoying. They don't adhere to the standard configuration you may be used to when building a PC from parts. Nothing that would prevent you from really doing anything though.

Zebidee

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Re: What size Computer and Graphics card do I need for MAME?
« Reply #31 on: July 19, 2020, 10:53:21 pm »
Seems pretty simple to me after learning a bit these last few days about running groovymame on a 15Khz CRT.

If you only care about MAME games, and don't care about running other "windows only" games, GroovyArcade is easier to setup and is just as good.

Else use windows.

In terms of getting CPU... I am using GroovyArcade (latest 2020.06 collab), and I have a Ryzen 3600 and have played about with frame delay using the slider in groovymame in various games.  I can notice a definite reduction in lag when I set frame delay to 9 vs 0 (the default).  On a lot of games with my CPU they still run at 100% at frame delay 9, but some they don't and I have to reduce to frame delay 5 or so.  But I can notice the difference for sure.  I imagine you have to experience it for yourself and it'd make the most difference on games where quick reflexes are needed.

If you care about this - get a decent CPU.  If you don't notice a few frames input lag, or have got used to it and it doesn't bother you, any old PC will do for the majority of games.  :)

But the effect of frame delay is the same on windows and linux versions as tested by Calamity.

I stand corrected about the frame delay / input lag and CPU matters. Like you, I've also done a bit of reading since my earlier post. Will look at it more when I have a chance.
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