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Author Topic: Bartop Arcade PC Hardware Review  (Read 326 times)

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letstalkaboutdune

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Bartop Arcade PC Hardware Review
« on: July 12, 2017, 02:45:53 pm »
I'm looking for a review of PC hardware for my planned bartop arcade cabinet build. The PC will be built into the cabinet and will only be used for running MAME as well as modern fighters such as Street Fighter V, with LaunchBox as the unifying frontend. Target performance is 60fps at 1080p. I'd like to use new components to achieve more power-efficient gaming performance and have the peace of mind of possible returns/exchanges under warranty.

Here is the planned build:


There are some supply issues right now with the CPU and GPU due to a variety of factors, but I'm not ordering for a few weeks. The total build cost comes out to just under $500, and I believe that the hardware should achieve solid 1080p gaming performance. What do you guys think?
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 03:10:27 pm by letstalkaboutdune »

ark_ader

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Re: Bartop Arcade PC Hardware Review
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2017, 02:58:02 pm »
I'm looking for a review of PC hardware for my planned bartop arcade cabinet build. The PC will be built into the cabinet and will only be used for running MAME as well as modern fighters such as Street Fighter V, with LaunchBox as the unifying frontend. Target performance is 60fps at 1080p. I'd like to use new components to achieve more power-efficient gaming performance and have the peace of mind of possible returns/exchanges under warranty.

Here is the planned build:


There are some supply issues right now with the CPU and GPU due to a variety of factors, but I'm not ordering for a few weeks. The total build cost comes out to just under $500, and I believe that the hardware should achieve solid 1080p gaming performance. What do you guys think?

Looks good to me.  How about making the cpu box removable so you can use that gear for other projects?  You could make the build half the price and still future proof it for 10 years.
"I really do feel pity for those who go out of their way to perform a personal slight, than taking the effort in joining the conversation and creating some useful dialogue which would benefit the persons' perusal of this topic.  Yet where would we be without the persistant antagonist?"

letstalkaboutdune

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Re: Bartop Arcade PC Hardware Review
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2017, 03:04:57 pm »
Hi ark_ader, thanks for your comment. Just to clarify, are you suggesting to build the PC inside a small form-factor case which is then installed inside the cabinet? I understand how that would be beneficial if I wanted to re-purpose the PC, but how does that cut the build cost in half?

SuperGojira2001

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Re: Bartop Arcade PC Hardware Review
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2017, 03:54:10 pm »
I would get a B250 motherboard so you don't have to do a BIOS update to get your CPU working. Also the SSD is a bit expensive...

letstalkaboutdune

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Re: Bartop Arcade PC Hardware Review
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2017, 04:14:58 pm »
Hi SuperGojira2001, thanks for your input!

I wasn't aware that the H110 chipset motherboards didn't natively support Kaby Lake CPUs. The Gigabyte GA-B250M-DS3H looks like a good B250 option at $59.99.

On the SSD, I could save a few bucks by grabbing the SanDisk Ultra II 240GB for $84.95, or if I'm willing to drop down in size then the PNY CS1311 120GB is a nice deal at $59.99. With an SSD in the 256GB range, I could probably keep everything stored there without the need for a secondary hard drive for ROMs. With a 120GB SSD I'll most likely need the secondary hard drive, as Windows, LaunchBox and its associated media, and a few installed Windows games will probably eat up 120GB fairly easily.

SuperGojira2001

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Re: Bartop Arcade PC Hardware Review
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2017, 05:05:42 pm »
Hi SuperGojira2001, thanks for your input!

I wasn't aware that the H110 chipset motherboards didn't natively support Kaby Lake CPUs. The Gigabyte GA-B250M-DS3H looks like a good B250 option at $59.99.

On the SSD, I could save a few bucks by grabbing the SanDisk Ultra II 240GB for $84.95, or if I'm willing to drop down in size then the PNY CS1311 120GB is a nice deal at $59.99. With an SSD in the 256GB range, I could probably keep everything stored there without the need for a secondary hard drive for ROMs. With a 120GB SSD I'll most likely need the secondary hard drive, as Windows, LaunchBox and its associated media, and a few installed Windows games will probably eat up 120GB fairly easily.

You can always get a cheap used HDD for mass storage.

letstalkaboutdune

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Re: Bartop Arcade PC Hardware Review
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2017, 05:24:58 pm »
I've got two unused WD Blue 1TB drives laying around, so no problem there.

ark_ader

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Re: Bartop Arcade PC Hardware Review
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2017, 06:15:43 pm »
Hi ark_ader, thanks for your comment. Just to clarify, are you suggesting to build the PC inside a small form-factor case which is then installed inside the cabinet? I understand how that would be beneficial if I wanted to re-purpose the PC, but how does that cut the build cost in half?

I would go with an AMD A10 78 series CPU and a ITX board with 8gb and a basic HDD, and if you have a spare SSD even better.  Using the APU you will be able to play anything mame related and some AAA games too.  I would get a 200W pico PSU and forget the external GPU, then have it in a SFF boxed case and slide it into the bartop.  Remember you will be gaming on the bartop about a few hours a week at best, and that mini build could be used for all kinds of kewl projects.

We always go overboard on PC gear, and yet we forget about thermal dynamics, and excess costs.  Like I said in my other posts, the RPI3 is taking over my intel based PCs, cutting thermals, electricity and replacement costs.  I'm not saying to go the RPI3 route, but if you can have one PC do everything, being modular will save a bunch of money and reduce your carbon footprint.  Unless you are wishing to play Star Citizen, your graphic needs can be served with the APU. 

Actually I had some off time due to a car accident last week, and I got the Xarcade out, hooked it into a spare HDMI with Steam Link.  Using a Power Line for network, I was able to play mame and laserdisc games full speed.  I had problems streaming my Xbox One with my A10 and Steam link at the same time  :laugh2: but I think it was a crap cable, any way I digress..

I have an A10 in my laptop and I can play pretty much everything on high settings with just the APU, why not in the desktop?  Not to mention that the A10 is in the Xbox one and PS4..... ;D

So I guess with Steam Link that could wipe off your total cost of your PC.  It is worth thinking about.  Valve sells the Steam link for $19.99 on its sales so keep an eye out.

Here is a video showing emulation on the Steam Link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no09qRBTWlI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq3tFrgOfes
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 06:22:30 pm by ark_ader »
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letstalkaboutdune

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Re: Bartop Arcade PC Hardware Review
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2017, 07:23:56 pm »
Hi ark_ader, thanks for your expanded comments! I'm a big fan of the Steam Link and enjoy using it over a wired network connection to stream couch-friendly PC games and console emulators to my TV. That experience is well covered, so I'm looking to treat myself to the bartop arcade build for the more authentic experience it can provide for classic arcade games and new fighters. I'm especially looking forward to using high quality joysticks and buttons, as controllers are great but just don't compare for fighting games.

Your other ideas for the computer hardware give me some food for thought. I've been building with Intel CPUs for over a decade and haven't done too much research into the AMD ecosystem. I'd have to see if the A10 78 series CPU's performance would match my goals, as I want the user to have a premium experience both when browsing games in BigBox (loading all the images and videos can be somewhat demanding, hence the SSD) and while playing games, including modern arcade-style games. In my opinion, the $500 total cost of my proposed build is still very inexpensive and the components I've selected are quite low in power consumption relative to performance. I feel that I have a good plan for the installation of the components in the cabinet and a good airflow scheme to keep temperatures low.

Finally, I can rule out the Pi3, as I want the slick front-end experience of BigBox and that's Windows-only software. I've invested dozens of hours into organizing and beautifying game library and want to reap that effort for the bartop system as well.

SuperGojira2001

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Re: Bartop Arcade PC Hardware Review
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2017, 09:22:48 pm »
Hi ark_ader, thanks for your comment. Just to clarify, are you suggesting to build the PC inside a small form-factor case which is then installed inside the cabinet? I understand how that would be beneficial if I wanted to re-purpose the PC, but how does that cut the build cost in half?

I would go with an AMD A10 78 series CPU and a ITX board with 8gb and a basic HDD, and if you have a spare SSD even better.  Using the APU you will be able to play anything mame related and some AAA games too.  I would get a 200W pico PSU and forget the external GPU, then have it in a SFF boxed case and slide it into the bartop.  Remember you will be gaming on the bartop about a few hours a week at best, and that mini build could be used for all kinds of kewl projects.

We always go overboard on PC gear, and yet we forget about thermal dynamics, and excess costs.  Like I said in my other posts, the RPI3 is taking over my intel based PCs, cutting thermals, electricity and replacement costs.  I'm not saying to go the RPI3 route, but if you can have one PC do everything, being modular will save a bunch of money and reduce your carbon footprint.  Unless you are wishing to play Star Citizen, your graphic needs can be served with the APU. 

Actually I had some off time due to a car accident last week, and I got the Xarcade out, hooked it into a spare HDMI with Steam Link.  Using a Power Line for network, I was able to play mame and laserdisc games full speed.  I had problems streaming my Xbox One with my A10 and Steam link at the same time  :laugh2: but I think it was a crap cable, any way I digress..

I have an A10 in my laptop and I can play pretty much everything on high settings with just the APU, why not in the desktop?  Not to mention that the A10 is in the Xbox one and PS4..... ;D

So I guess with Steam Link that could wipe off your total cost of your PC.  It is worth thinking about.  Valve sells the Steam link for $19.99 on its sales so keep an eye out.

Here is a video showing emulation on the Steam Link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no09qRBTWlI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq3tFrgOfes

The APU's are getting kinda old, I would wait for the new ones soon. Although I agree to drop the 1050 Ti, as it's more for playing the latest AAA games.

  
 

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