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Author Topic: Picking a PC  (Read 2371 times)

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morton

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Picking a PC
« on: September 26, 2018, 09:07:31 am »
I am wanting to try out GroovyMame, but am having trouble ascertaining what exactly I need to be looking for in a PC. My plan is to run it in a cab on 15khz with a JPAC and games upto about the early 2000s at most. Nothing too crazy. Some builds are quite expensive, and know that I can get by using something more modest if I don't ask too much of it. I have seen people suggest pre built PCs like a Dell Optiplex i5 and so on, but am not sure what the requirements for GroovyMame even are. Any help would be appreciated, I am a noob - currently a Pi user.

donluca

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2018, 10:07:17 am »
Try getting an old Pentium G3258 and overclock it and you'll run everything that MAME currently supports, besides some of the more modern 3D midway games.

And, of course, a Radeon card.

keilmillerjr

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2018, 11:46:40 am »
Processor requirements I believe would be no different than mame.

I have an i3 2100 and it runs things like blitz and gauntdl well over 100%. I choose an i-series processor to help keep the computer up to date longer. Apple has been dropping support for intel core series.

Video cards need to be crt emudriver compatible. I am currently running an hd5450. Mame uses mostly processor for graphics, so a ďshlttierĒ video card is fine. However, steam gameplay results can vary because of this. Need to know if you want mame only or other games too to determine what video card you should choose.

Ram doesnít need to be high.

Choose an ssd to improve boot times and make it seem more authentic. Hiding windows helps in authenticity feeling too. I use win 10 1607 enterprise and easily completely hide win UI. Some use windows 7. Some use xp - but your dealing with an old unsupported platform.

morton

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2018, 08:12:10 am »
It sounds like I can get away with an old Dell Optiplex or something like that. An i3 or i5 with about 3.0ghz would suffice? I am ordering a Jpac and am going to go with SSD for sure.

If I like shmups a lot, would I be needing something better or faster to play any 2000's games?

Zebidee

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2018, 04:00:40 pm »
Core2duo or i3 or better running Windows 7 or Win 10 would be best/easiest. You can use Win XP but then you're limited as the latest versions of CRT_emudriver don't support XP. Similarly you may have issues with drivers and running other post-2014 applications on XP.

Having said all that, I'm currently using XP 64bit on core2duo HP ex-desktops with 2GB ram and 64MB Radeon X1050 graphics cards, and they run fine 100% on every vertical game I've tried so far except "Brave Blade", which is a 3D game (runs at about 95% normal speed). I suspect that the main limitation with Brave Blade is the low-spec graphics card.
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Sledge

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2018, 09:24:13 pm »
I use a Dell Optiplex 9010 or something like that :)
Low Profile GPU...
perfection!

keilmillerjr

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2018, 06:55:25 am »
It sounds like I can get away with an old Dell Optiplex or something like that. An i3 or i5 with about 3.0ghz would suffice? I am ordering a Jpac and am going to go with SSD for sure.

If I like shmups a lot, would I be needing something better or faster to play any 2000's games?

Yes. Your choice is a good one. Will perform and save money. Makes me think I should have gone that route.

morton

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2018, 11:12:30 am »
I am now wondering if the SFF cases can take a Radeon HD Card capable of allowing me 15khz refresh, or if I need to find a full sized case... Anyone know much about this?

JDFan

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2018, 11:30:52 am »
I am now wondering if the SFF cases can take a Radeon HD Card capable of allowing me 15khz refresh, or if I need to find a full sized case... Anyone know much about this?

IF you can not find a half height card that suits your needs - you can always remove the pieces from the case and mount them in the arcade so that you could use any card rather than be limited to half height !

Zebidee

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2018, 04:31:23 pm »
I am now wondering if the SFF cases can take a Radeon HD Card capable of allowing me 15khz refresh, or if I need to find a full sized case... Anyone know much about this?

There are plenty of SFF graphics cards out there. Keep in mind that the graphics card doesn't need to be fancy, just compatible.

These days, the challenge might be finding a graphics card that isn't too power-hungry. Just because there is a spare slot and it fits is not the only consideration. SFF PCs usually have specialised, smaller power supplies that are only capable of 200-250W or so. Easy to overload that with an over-spec card, even easier if you remove the case and ignore SFF size restrictions.

Use this excellent online tool for calculating your PCs estimated power usage and appropriate power supplies:
http://www.powersupplycalculator.net/
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morton

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2018, 09:32:02 am »
Thanks for the tips!

Finding a good used PC and a Video card isn't as easy as some say given my location. Used comps are rare, moreso than old video cards... grr!

schmerzkaufen

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2018, 10:14:10 am »
Amazon have tons of old and new, refurbished, and used CPUs and GPUs.
I know they're evil but it's such a gold mine for even obsolete hardware and gadgets I can't help but mention.
Of course they don't cover every country in the world either...

In any case I think your Radeon card needs to be compatible with CRT_emudrivers, and feature either VGA or DVI-I output.

JDFan

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2018, 10:56:21 am »
Thanks for the tips!

Finding a good used PC and a Video card isn't as easy as some say given my location. Used comps are rare, moreso than old video cards... grr!

WHere are you located ? THere are lots of businesses out there that sell off lease products that are returned after their lease is up from a business and they upgrade to other new systems.

FOr example ArrowDirect.com has many different ones for around $50 Shipped in the US. ( THey do ship international and have warehouses etc. in several countries but not sure what they charge then) - including this one with a C2D 3.0 Ghz. 320Gb HDD WIth Win10 pro license included. ( $61 - 20% with Code extra20 = $48.80 + TAX if you live in a state they charge tax in ) ( https://www.arrowdirect.com/lenovo-thinkcentre-m58p-3-0ghz-c2d-4gb-320gb-dvdrw-win-10-pro-64-sff-computer-b/ )
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 11:06:28 am by JDFan »

alex2005

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2018, 11:11:19 am »
I use Windows 7 x64 on an i5 4690 with an HD 7750 (1Gb) plus 8Gb DDR3 RAM.
SSD 120Gb for Windows, and an extra 4Tb for roms frontend etc. And an Aimtrak lightgun.

With it can play anything (PS3 emulators and lower) and no issues with MAME, redream or Pc games (SF4, SFxTekken, HOD3, DragonBall FighterZ etc).

Hope that helps (never tried on a lower spec Pc but probably there are tons with similar performance)

planexcvs

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2018, 09:50:46 pm »
I use a i3-7100 4.1GHz and Radeon HD 7770 with 8GB DDR4 RAM on Windows 7 with a 256GB SSD.

It plays everything that is currently playable on MAME.

If you want to stick with Windows 7, Skylake board with a Skylake or Kaby Lake Processor (lack of Kaby Lake support is not an issue) should suffice.

schmerzkaufen

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2018, 04:43:18 am »
The entry 'i' family desktop i3 have become monsters, the latest are even quad-core and pretty much on par with my i5-4690k (stock voltages) both in single thread and overall.

Sticking to dual core though, the current Pentium G 'Gold' series provide just as much STP for cheaper and with lower power consumption.

The glorious G3258 of previous generations isn't available anymore (or rare stock at ridiculous prices) but those newer 'G' almost make up for it IMO.

cools

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2018, 07:44:49 am »
Information like this is always appreciated. I'm half tempted to set up something in the Arcade Otaku Wiki listing "recommended" OS + CPU + GPU combinations for running CRT_EmuDriver + an ATOM-15 patched card (the latter I personally consider essential for CRT usage)
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pubjoe

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2018, 09:56:00 am »
I donít use the Atom 15 patch due to bios compatibility.  I Ďshouldnítí need it these days but itís such a pain if I ever do.  I remember you mentioning a motherboard model with a bios that supports 640x480.  I wonder how many others do.

These needlessly graphical modern bioses look like bundled Windows software and themes from 1999, theyíre utterly ridiculous.

The glorious G3258 of previous generations isn't available anymore (or rare stock at ridiculous prices) but those newer 'G' almost make up for it IMO.
A second hand G3258 is about £25.  A compatible motherboard is another £25.  Folkenís thread with a hypothetical $1000 budget makes me wonder.  Can throwing money actually improve on the above at all?  Iím assuming any upgrade over this would at best be an increasing few hundred for each 10th of a frame less input lag.

donluca

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2018, 01:32:01 pm »
It wouldn't. An overclocked to 4.8Ghz G3258 will still be the better option for (Groovy)MAME.

keilmillerjr

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2018, 02:44:59 pm »
I donít use atom15 at all. I donít foresee myself needing it in the future. If I did, I could connect a monitor to onboard video I would assume? Is there something I am missing? Itís just a two second fuzz that only occurs once in a great while because I have it set on fast startup.

schmerzkaufen

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2018, 03:13:39 pm »
The cheapest used G3258 I can find is 85Ä and I've seen them go higher, then an entry-level mobo that's compatible with the right drivers for OC'ing it proprely (mandatory or you'll barely make it beyond 4GHz) like an MSI H81 E33 is nowhere to be found these days, at least not in my area of the net.

Maybe there's a considerable after-market for PC parts in some countries but not everywhere...

Compared performance;
G4560 @   69Ä gives you 3.5GHz, STP 1987
G5400 @   85Ä gives you 3.7GHz, STP 2204
G5500 @   99Ä gives you 3.8GHz, STP 2186
G5600 @ 119Ä gives you 3.9GHz, STP 2266

I'd like to say these Pentiums are eaily available but stocks are low everywhere too, the difference is they're new in box if that matters.

Maybe some of the previous years i3 - which are quite similar - are still around I have to look.
edit: the i3-7100 3.9GHz STP 2227 is at +/- 160Ä where I live (it's OC-able apprently if I refer to planexcvs's post)

The G5400 STP is about the same as my i5-4690k at stock speed (STP 2237), I'd love to tell what the latter can do with only that but it's different in that its turbo mode pushes it to 3.9GHz, and I don't know which games in MAME 'trigger' the turbo (or fail to). some day I will monitor it during play.

I remember the G3258 at its stock speed of 3.2GHz was already very capable ingame too (STP 2135), if that was indeed the case anyway the G4560 and G5400 still look like decent alternatives with entry level mobos (minding the prices I get here and assuming it's for someone who is not after crazy OC'ing)

All the Intel CPUs we mention are very similar in single thread performance at stock or cruise speed, all around 2000~2200 STP, which is already great for MAME.
It's the steps up that are bit of a black box, afaik we don't have large "turbo and OC" STP databases for reference.
IMHO it all comes down to what we wish to emulate, and it's good to keep in mind GM needs a little more room for frame_delay, also on the gpu side.
But really what's so exciting in MAME's library that it requires considerable processing power? I wonder sometimes if OC'ing my i5 for MAME would be worth the trouble (rather right now I need more GPU juice)
« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 03:41:02 pm by schmerzkaufen »

krick

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2018, 10:50:09 pm »
If you're going to build a new system to run MAME the best CPU choice right now is this one for $170 on Amazon...

Intel Core i3-8350K Coffee Lake Quad-Core 4.0 GHz LGA 1151
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0759FWJDK

It's already clocked at 4.0GHz so you don't need an expensive motherboard capable of overclocking.  The stock speed is respectable.  Though, since it's an unlocked "K" processor, you could certainly try to overclock it if you desire.
Hantarex Polo 15KHz
Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 2GB (GCN)
GroovyMAME 0.197.017h_d3d9ex
CRT Emudriver & CRT Tools 2.0 beta 13 (Crimson 16.2.1 for GCN cards)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Intel Core i7-4790K @ 4.8GHz
ASUS Z87M-PLUS Motherboard

schmerzkaufen

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2018, 04:26:45 am »
It's the best processor of the year period. I mean you don't buy that monster just for playing MAME, that'd be a waste! ^^

PS: damn why is everything cheaper in the US, best price here is 197Ä ($224)

Calamity

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2018, 04:41:25 am »
It's the best processor of the year period. I mean you don't buy that monster just for playing MAME, that'd be a waste! ^^

Why? Why people subconsciously link emulation to cheapness?
Important note: posts reporting GM issues without a log will be IGNORED.
Steps to create a log:
 - From command line, run: groovymame.exe -v romname >romname.txt
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schmerzkaufen

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2018, 04:55:07 am »
Me? no way! but I mean there's so much you can do with that CPU...

Years ago I've bought an i5-4690k with emulation in mind, but no way I was going to use that bad boy only for that.  :P
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 04:56:40 am by schmerzkaufen »

keilmillerjr

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2018, 05:58:51 am »
It's the best processor of the year period. I mean you don't buy that monster just for playing MAME, that'd be a waste! ^^

Why? Why people subconsciously link emulation to cheapness?

Balance. I opted to go cheap in cpu and gpu because they still overperform with MAME. It enabled me to spend money on things like an ssd to make it boot in 11 seconds, a tiny case thatís easily removable for service, etc. When you want to play modern video games, my setup fails. So I guess it depends what your looking for.

pubjoe

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2018, 05:18:40 pm »
The cheapest used G3258 I can find is 85Ä and I've seen them go higher, then an entry-level mobo that's  countries but not everywhere...

Strange.  G3258s are consistently £25-£30 on ebay UK.  There were several sold on each of the last few weeks.  Funnily enough yesterday I forgot to bid on a full system that included a G3258.  I just wanted to take a replacement part from the case.  It sold for £38.

If need be Iíd act as a free middle man, if you couldnít get someone to ship.

It's the best processor of the year period. I mean you don't buy that monster just for playing MAME, that'd be a waste! ^^

Why? Why people subconsciously link emulation to cheapness?

Personally I value emulation very highly and I would run a power sucking beast if I had to.  But Iím under the impression that many features on a modern CPU arenít very useful.  Also, Mame performance is either fantastic or terrible depending on the game.  It seems sensible to me to run a cheap low powered system (and being old, I find it hard to consider my g3258 + HD7750 + SSD to be low powered by any stretch) as it does what I want efficiently, and with a pico psu.

Also itís cooped up in an arcade cabinet.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 05:39:46 pm by pubjoe »

cools

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #27 on: November 06, 2018, 05:50:06 am »
I donít use the Atom 15 patch due to bios compatibility.  I Ďshouldnítí need it these days but itís such a pain if I ever do.  I remember you mentioning a motherboard model with a bios that supports 640x480.  I wonder how many others do.

These needlessly graphical modern bioses look like bundled Windows software and themes from 1999, theyíre utterly ridiculous.

Depends on setup. With an incompatible BIOS you likely can't view it on a 15kHz screen even unpatched, so you've got to hook up an external monitor. If your motherboard has onboard video, you can use that to configure an incompatible BIOS (assuming you pull the PC out of the cabinet first). When it is all compatible it's marvellous, getting the boot screens up in 15/24/31kHz is great.

It's the best processor of the year period. I mean you don't buy that monster just for playing MAME, that'd be a waste! ^^

Why? Why people subconsciously link emulation to cheapness?

Brings to mind the other thread about old versions. For nearly 2 decades people have been recycling old hardware with hacky emulators that work well enough to play a huge amount of games. It's only recently there's been a real drive for accurate, low latency emulation. A cheap PC to play lots of classics is still perfectly viable.

I'm on the other end of the scale. My modern hardware is inside my cabinets, and my daily laptop is ancient.  ;D
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donluca

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #28 on: November 06, 2018, 11:10:33 am »
Why? Why people subconsciously link emulation to cheapness?

It's not about cheapness, MAME is a very strange beast. Over the years it has made huge improvements on the accuracy side of things while clearly and openly stating that optimization is never considered while developing and refining the drivers.
This ended up with a software which requires huge amount of power in order to properly run certain games (without even taking stuff like frame_delay into consideration) but, at the same time, it's unable to take advantage of modern CPUs full power (ie: it still runs on a single core).

This means that what you actually want to run all MAME's games at 100% speed is very specific hardware: you don't need a powerful graphic card, hell, even an old Radeon 9000 would be enough, and you don't need a super powerful processor like an Intel Core i9, but rather a CPU which is able to reach very high clock frequencies on a single core.

That's the story of how a ~50Ä G3258 overclocked to 5Ghz completely smashes 1000Ä Core i7 processors.

And that's a good thing. Really a good thing. You get to build a highly specialized machine for just one purpose without breaking the bank.

And, besides, there's nothing wrong with cheapness, as long as it works.

pubjoe

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2018, 12:45:58 pm »
Depends on setup. With an incompatible BIOS you likely can't view it on a 15kHz screen even unpatched, so you've got to hook up an external monitor. If your motherboard has onboard video, you can use that to configure an incompatible BIOS (assuming you pull the PC out of the cabinet first). When it is all compatible it's marvellous, getting the boot screens up in 15/24/31kHz is great.
Yeah, you canít.  Itís the added step of disconnecting the graphics card when hooking up a spare monitor that Iím avoiding. Itís a small step I admit, but Iím already swearing by the time Iím dragging a monitor out and untangling the PC from the cab.

That said, itís not something Iíve done for a long time since my Mame setup has been running nicely for ages now*.  Perhaps itís time to go back to Atom 15.

*I can offer no help to your other thread about the sound warbles, except for a list of fifty things it might or might not be.  I went through so many possible causes for my intermiddent warbles.  In the end I donít know why they came or why they went.  Every time I thought I fixed them they reoccurred.  I do think it was caused by disk access though.  I might have fixed them inadvertently by clearing a bloated windows cache or just freeing up disk space.  A network cable Ďseemedí to make it worse at the time but itís running now, online, and fine.   ???

I'm on the other end of the scale. My modern hardware is inside my cabinets, and my daily laptop is ancient.  ;D
Now you mention it, my desk computer is eight years old.  Emulation is the most demanding thing I ask from computers.  I just link whatever I can to cheapness.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 01:05:05 pm by pubjoe »

schmerzkaufen

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #30 on: November 06, 2018, 01:11:18 pm »
I've just noticed something about the i3-8350K, it requires an expensive Intel Z370 Express mobo, while the previous gen i3-7350K (4.2GHz STP 2437) is socket 1151 which has a broader choice of cheaper mobos.
Not much of a price difference in the end, but for someone who doesn't want to bother overclocking the i3-7350K is a better choice (slightly more Hz and STP and more affordable mobos)

Of course the G3258 remains unbeatable for the money, if you're alright with used and ready to look for the right mobo withe the right drivers that is.
@donluca: not saying you give people false hopes but 5GHz is like around the absolute top the G3258 could reach on a select number of mobos in ideal conditions. I don't know if a used one on whatever also used 1150 mobo people can still find, will be really capable of.
I remember at the time that CPU was all the rage most OC reports talked about easly over 4GHz of course, then up to somewhere around 4.5GHz, but then you had to really push the voltages, which isn't exactly the best way to preserve a CPU especially if you used the stock fan like many did.
That's what bothers me with used G3258s, I know most of them have been OC'd as much as possible this way, and people since around a year or two have been selling theirs for switching to something stronger at stock and cib.
If, really if, the purpose of a new PC is to emulate the more demanding games in MAME and play them comfortably, frankly I'd go like these people with something fresh, already super strong on stock and expanding also very far but without the same strain and age as a used G3258.
Yes, of course that'll be much more expensive.  :P

@pubjoe: thanks for your offer but I'm alright, yes I can see some from eBay too, although with the shipping cost the difference isn't much vs. a used from amazon.
Also I've had too many bad experiences buying used stuff from eBay, these days I avoid that and stick to new or refursbished from a select number of stores.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 01:19:10 pm by schmerzkaufen »

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #31 on: November 06, 2018, 01:53:56 pm »
Over the years it has made huge improvements on the accuracy side of things while clearly and openly stating that optimization is never considered while developing and refining the drivers.

This is absolutely not true.  Optimization is always a concern.  In particular, Ryan Holtz frequently commits performance optimizations.  MAME developers avoid overly aggressive optimizations that can make the code more confusing, break emulation, and create inaccurate behavior as compared to real hardware.  The bottom line is that they won't go out of their way and waste their time trying to increase performance on dumpster-level PC hardware from 10 years ago.  If a game runs 200% on current hardware, that's good enough.  You're welcome to learn to program and submit your own optimizations.  There may be some low-hanging fruit that's been overlooked.

it's unable to take advantage of modern CPUs full power (ie: it still runs on a single core).

This is also untrue.  There are several drivers in MAME that take advantage of multiple cores.  I ran some benchmarks a while back and these games (there are others) were 15-27% faster on a quad-core CPU vs a dual core CPU...

blitz
gauntleg
gradius4
pinkswts
propcycl
slrasslt

The problem is that accurate emulation often requires extremely tight timing between various emulated CPUs, GPUs, and audio chips.  Sometimes, it's simply not possible to spread this work over multiple cores because the overhead of trying to keep everything synchronized eats up any gains you'd get by offloading the work to multiple cores.


you don't need a powerful graphic card, hell, even an old Radeon 9000 would be enough,

This is not completely true either.   On old cards, you may run into issues with low texture memory at higher resolutions.  You also can't run any HLSL effects on really old video cards.


...and you don't need a super powerful processor like an Intel Core i9, but rather a CPU which is able to reach very high clock frequencies on a single core.
That's the story of how a ~50Ä G3258 overclocked to 5Ghz completely smashes 1000Ä Core i7 processors.

This is only true on drivers that don't utilize multiple cores.  And I wouldn't say "smashes".  The performance can be comparable and when you consider the price difference, it's a total bargain.  Here's a thread with some benchmarks I did a while back comparing a G3258 to the i7-4790K both at 4.5GHz...

https://www.mameworld.info/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Number=371718
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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #32 on: November 06, 2018, 02:00:14 pm »
Depends on setup. With an incompatible BIOS you likely can't view it on a 15kHz screen even unpatched, so you've got to hook up an external monitor. If your motherboard has onboard video, you can use that to configure an incompatible BIOS (assuming you pull the PC out of the cabinet first). When it is all compatible it's marvellous, getting the boot screens up in 15/24/31kHz is great.
Yeah, you canít.  Itís the added step of disconnecting the graphics card when hooking up a spare monitor that Iím avoiding. Itís a small step I admit, but Iím already swearing by the time Iím dragging a monitor out and untangling the PC from the cab.

I installed Atom-15 on my card and I while the splash screen displays correctly and I could go into the BIOS and see it on my arcade monitor, I could only see the upper left part of the screen so it was useless.

Basically, any motherboard with a UEFI BIOS is probably not going to work.
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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #33 on: November 07, 2018, 06:48:51 am »
@donluca: not saying you give people false hopes but 5GHz is like around the absolute top the G3258 could reach on a select number of mobos in ideal conditions.

I easily reached 5.2Ghz on single core my G3258 but it crashed on some occasion, so since there were no gains from 5 to 5.2, I decided to roll it back to a more relaxed 5Ghz. And I didn't even need to boost the voltages. Actually I managed to slightly lower the voltages on mine once I got it back to 5Ghz to run it cooler.
If I wanted to use both cores, I had to stay at 4.8Ghz, but there was no point since I only used it for GroovyMAME.
I used an Asrock Motherboard I paid 35Ä, so nothing astronomical.
Variance do exists, I've read of people having difficulties going beyond 4.2Ghz, so definitely keep that in mind, although most people happily reached 4.8Ghz without issues.

This is absolutely not true.  Optimization is always a concern.

This is absolutely and completely false. I (and many others) have reached several times to MAME devs asking for optimization on some drivers and they clearly told us that optimization is on the rock bottom of the list.
People always think of MAME as a way to play arcade games on their PCs. This is not the case. MAME is a preservation project aimed at discovering how this old hardware worked, documenting it in the most complete and in-depth way possible (just look at the source files, you'll be amazed at the amount of information you'll find). Games run because, of course, once documented you know how boards work and you're able to reproduce their behavior. MAME is a godsend to arcade operators and people who repair PCBs because thanks to the sheer amount of information in it they're able to troubleshoot and repair those old boards.
As such, optimization is never been an issue, because getting people to run the games on their devices has never been a priority, just a consequence.
It's only in recent times that some gentle soul decided to take a look at some of the drivers and do some optimization on them, but that's never been a priority.

Quote
This is also untrue.  There are several drivers in MAME that take advantage of multiple cores.  I ran some benchmarks a while back and these games (there are others) were 15-27% faster on a quad-core CPU vs a dual core CPU...

blitz
gauntleg
gradius4
pinkswts
propcycl
slrasslt

We are talking GroovyMAME here, and I'm pretty sure GM doesn't use multithreading on anything.
And, besides, MT on MAME is pretty broken. So yeah, it might speed up the emulation, but it will bring other issues along.
And Pink Sweets doesn't use it. Just the more modern and demanding 3D games.
But, again, we're talking GM here, and I'm pretty sure GM doesn't use MT at all.

Quote
This is not completely true either.   On old cards, you may run into issues with low texture memory at higher resolutions.  You also can't run any HLSL effects on really old video cards.

Again, we're talking GM which is mainly aimed at CRT users. But I'll give you that: There are people which are using GM on LCDs to take advantage of frame_delay, so that's partially true, although any modern low end graphic card will do the job.

Quote
This is only true on drivers that don't utilize multiple cores.  And I wouldn't say "smashes".  The performance can be comparable and when you consider the price difference, it's a total bargain.  Here's a thread with some benchmarks I did a while back comparing a G3258 to the i7-4790K both at 4.5GHz...

https://www.mameworld.info/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Number=371718

Drivers that use multiple cores can be counted on one hand's fingers and, as said before, the MT implementation brings issues with it.
I said "smash" because even getting the same results, it's a 50Ä vs a much more expensive processor.
EDIT: I'd also like to add that you could OC the G3258 without needing a third party cooler, which is a nice added bonus. Not sure you could reach those frequencies with your i7 with the stock cooler. I'd be really impressed if that was the case.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 06:52:48 am by donluca »

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2018, 12:37:27 pm »
And Pink Sweets doesn't use it. Just the more modern and demanding 3D games.

A fair bit more than you realise uses threads.

Pink Sweets puts the video hardware emulation on a different thread because when I wrote that driver the CPU and video on the same thread was too much for any machine I owned.

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2018, 12:47:32 pm »
This is absolutely and completely false. I (and many others) have reached several times to MAME devs asking for optimization on some drivers and they clearly told us that optimization is on the rock bottom of the list.

Not true.  If there's low-hanging speed wins that don't compromise the emulation, we'll take them.  Case in point: Namco System 22/Super 22 (Time Crisis, Ridge Racer, Rave Racer, Prop Cycle, those kinds of games) got both dramatically better video emulation and dramatically faster in 0.203.  And it uses multiple cores!

donluca

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2018, 07:04:41 pm »
A fair bit more than you realise uses threads.

Pink Sweets puts the video hardware emulation on a different thread because when I wrote that driver the CPU and video on the same thread was too much for any machine I owned.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this happens only when you're using double buffering along with the multithread switch, which will defer all the rendering part to a separate thread, otherwise it will still use only one core, unless I missed something along the way.

Not true.  If there's low-hanging speed wins that don't compromise the emulation, we'll take them.  Case in point: Namco System 22/Super 22 (Time Crisis, Ridge Racer, Rave Racer, Prop Cycle, those kinds of games) got both dramatically better video emulation and dramatically faster in 0.203.  And it uses multiple cores!

Sure, after only, what is that, 13 years that the S22 driver had a breakthrough and got something working, someone gracefully thought about optimizing things. And thank god those were "low-hanging speed wins", otherwise I guess we would have waited another 10 years, when those optimization wouldn't have been necessary anymore because CPUs would have become much more powerful!  :woot

Sorry about the (maybe excessive) sarcasm, I was really amazed at the improvements done in the driver, but, as I stated, you can't really say that optimizing the drivers has been a priority in MAME. Now we're finally seeing some work done (CV1k driver is another great example of this), but for literally years we've been left with some drivers which were simply unusable, performance wise.
But that's fine, nothing wrong about it, at least on my part. It just makes me smile when people come and say that MAME has always had a focus on optimization.  ;D
« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 07:13:32 pm by donluca »

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2018, 07:57:00 pm »
Another aspect which could improve with a well-advertised bounty system? It will come sooner or later.

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #38 on: November 08, 2018, 04:11:21 am »
@donluca: Optimizations haven't made much of a difference for cv1k since the games run at funky speeds, that system is definitely not a great example.
Even underclocking approximations by hand benefit the games more, and makes more of them actually playable.
But without that I'd rather have correct ingame speeds and need a $1,500 monster processor to run them at 100%, than the current inaccurate emulation even if it could run on a toaster (you can already use DEmul for that anyway, it runs on toasters, doesn't solve the issue with cv1k at all)

Though for a different reason I'm with you about the ridiculous lenghts part, and no doubt in specific cases (such as extremely popular drivers that still have problematic issues for playing) that it's better to allow hacks and tweaks until that hypothetical full proper emulation becomes a thing, much better than leaving them unattended for years and decades anyway.
I've been thinking about a diff for allowing to save the CPU overclock/underclock slider settings again, since that's all we have but is currently a major pain to use.

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2018, 04:18:12 am »
I've been thinking about a diff for allowing to save the CPU overclock/underclock slider settings again, since that's all we have but is currently a major pain to use.

I'd like a fix that saves all of the sliders.
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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2018, 04:41:28 am »
A fair bit more than you realise uses threads.

Pink Sweets puts the video hardware emulation on a different thread because when I wrote that driver the CPU and video on the same thread was too much for any machine I owned.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this happens only when you're using double buffering along with the multithread switch, which will defer all the rendering part to a separate thread, otherwise it will still use only one core, unless I missed something along the way.

No, you're mixing two completely different things up. The multithread switch you're talking about was removed from MAME some time ago. It was known to cause problems, it was badly designed from the beginning. It was meant for asynchronous blitting, which provided some performance gain on the computers that were usual ten years ago or so.

The other multithreading capability that people are not aware of is implemented in the emulation core and controlled by the numprocessors option, which is set to "auto" by default, meaning that drivers that are multithreaded will use several cores when they're available.

Important note: posts reporting GM issues without a log will be IGNORED.
Steps to create a log:
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 - Attach resulting romname.txt file to your post, instead or pasting it.

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schmerzkaufen

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #41 on: November 08, 2018, 05:34:27 am »
I've been thinking about a diff for allowing to save the CPU overclock/underclock slider settings again, since that's all we have but is currently a major pain to use.
I'd like a fix that saves all of the sliders.
Yes but... if you applied that diff/mod to GM there would be a case of conflict with the refresh slider that also appears when you enable the cheats, so maybe all but that that one.


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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #42 on: November 08, 2018, 05:42:42 am »
Nah, save everything. Don't try and load anything from the .cfg not found in the current running environment (cheats enabled when saved, cheats disabled when loading), and when quitting save the environment again.
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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #43 on: November 08, 2018, 07:14:32 am »
But without that I'd rather have correct ingame speeds and need a $1,500 monster processor to run them at 100%, than the current inaccurate emulation even if it could run on a toaster (you can already use DEmul for that anyway, it runs on toasters, doesn't solve the issue with cv1k at all)

and this is the kicker really, when we do spend weeks optimizing things, and creating the absolute minimal codepaths, people aren't happy anyway, and want the more accurate emulation, with far more calculations being done per pixel, that would put the driver out of reach of all existing CPUs.

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #44 on: November 08, 2018, 07:40:18 am »
and this is the kicker really, when we do spend weeks optimizing things, and creating the absolute minimal codepaths, people aren't happy anyway, and want the more accurate emulation, with far more calculations being done per pixel, that would put the driver out of reach of all existing CPUs.

Not really, people do appreciate the work spent in optimizing the Cave driver, it's been a real breakthrough. I just wonder if more drivers could benefit of the recompiler approach. The thing with MAME is that more people would probably like to contribute improving drivers but the required learning curve to even consider touching the core is intimidating. Even so from time to time you see a random guy popping up from nowhere and start pushing pull requests like if he had learnt through revelation.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 07:46:32 am by Calamity »
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donluca

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #45 on: November 08, 2018, 08:09:04 am »
No, you're mixing two completely different things up. The multithread switch you're talking about was removed from MAME some time ago. It was known to cause problems, it was badly designed from the beginning. It was meant for asynchronous blitting, which provided some performance gain on the computers that were usual ten years ago or so.

The other multithreading capability that people are not aware of is implemented in the emulation core and controlled by the numprocessors option, which is set to "auto" by default, meaning that drivers that are multithreaded will use several cores when they're available.

Ohh alright, I was completely missing this part. Thanks for the clarification, guess I'll have to get back to the sources and read some more.

and this is the kicker really, when we do spend weeks optimizing things, and creating the absolute minimal codepaths, people aren't happy anyway, and want the more accurate emulation, with far more calculations being done per pixel, that would put the driver out of reach of all existing CPUs.

Don't get me wrong: optimization are always welcome, no matter what. They don't just make the games playable on lower end systems, but they also give new headroom for better accurate emulation.
Also, people need to realize that there are alternatives to MAME. If they just want to play games, then use FBA which runs those games much, MUCH more faster.
IMHO, MAME has always been on the right track and I share its philosophy about going for the most accurate emulation possible. It doesn't matter if current CPUs aren't able to run those 100%, they can always go back to previous MAME version or use FBA or Demul or whatever. Then one day we'll have CPUs strong enough to run those games or someone will optimize them and make them playable, but, imho, playability should not be a concern in the MAME project and always strive for better accuracy (which it has always done and, back to the main point, I find ridiculous when people say that optimizing code has always been a priority).

Regarding the CV1k driver: I used to run all those games at 100% before the optimization on my setup, didn't try the games afterwards but I guess they'd run much much better. The main issue with those is the slowdown emulation which, to this day, it's still unknown if it was caused by a bottlenecked CPU or something, so it's still inaccurate.

This said, MAME is and will always be one of the most outstanding project I've ever followed and every contribution, no matter how little, is *always* appreciated. And don't listen too much to complaints, those come mainly from people who just want to play the game and don't give a damn about all the work that's behind.

btw, that m68k wait states thing. Yeah, pls, do something about that. One day. Pls.

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #46 on: November 08, 2018, 08:58:30 am »
@cools: you've read so you get it: a saving CPU slider or any other of those options we need, will never happen.
Unless we manage to find a solution by ourselves, of course.

edit: supposedly that LUA thing is the answer to everything, heard that narrative for years and never seen a thing come out of it in regard of these options. Well I don't understand the first thing about it, documentation is gibberish, seems like whatever it is it was made with developer's understanding and skills in mind, so of course save for the handful of geeks with sufficient proficiency; nobody uses it.
I'm scared that the solution might be there, because I can't do a thing to help with watever it supposedly could do for us.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 10:27:33 am by schmerzkaufen »

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #47 on: November 08, 2018, 09:45:10 am »
Wow... I feel like I opened a can of worms here LOL.

I see there is a lot to consider. I'm not sure where to start to be honest. I suppose one thing I know I will need is a graphic card capable of using CRT... Is there a specific card or one I should look out for? Seems some think I can use any one and others do not. Since the card needs to fit in the case and I am a noob... Would it make sense to find a card that will work first then pick my mobo and case size based on that?

I notice some i3 Dell SFF rigs popping up around $100 or so in my area, and a few i5's. Not sure what spec is most important as it apparently uses single core predominantly. How do you compare multi cores on the basis of single core Performance?

I am not looking for cutting edge but can see that spending time and money may mean that spending a few bucks is worth it. Just not sure how many bucks it's gonna be.


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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #48 on: November 08, 2018, 11:29:47 am »
@cools: you've read so you get it: a saving CPU slider or any other of those options we need, will never happen.
Unless we manage to find a solution by ourselves, of course.

edit: supposedly that LUA thing is the answer to everything, heard that narrative for years and never seen a thing come out of it in regard of these options. Well I don't understand the first thing about it, documentation is gibberish, seems like whatever it is it was made with developer's understanding and skills in mind, so of course save for the handful of geeks with sufficient proficiency; nobody uses it.
I'm scared that the solution might be there, because I can't do a thing to help with watever it supposedly could do for us.

Lua is a programming language, so yes you need to have/learn development skills. I tend to learn enough to get me by, Lua isn't something I've used before but a cursory glance at the MAME source files for it appear to show full control of the machine options (and you can also draw stuff on screen too, so your cheat exposer could be done with it too). I hadn't considered a plugin for this (cfg files are already constructed), but that might be a good route to go down.

Wow... I feel like I opened a can of worms here LOL.

I see there is a lot to consider. I'm not sure where to start to be honest. I suppose one thing I know I will need is a graphic card capable of using CRT... Is there a specific card or one I should look out for? Seems some think I can use any one and others do not. Since the card needs to fit in the case and I am a noob... Would it make sense to find a card that will work first then pick my mobo and case size based on that?

I notice some i3 Dell SFF rigs popping up around $100 or so in my area, and a few i5's. Not sure what spec is most important as it apparently uses single core predominantly. How do you compare multi cores on the basis of single core Performance?

I am not looking for cutting edge but can see that spending time and money may mean that spending a few bucks is worth it. Just not sure how many bucks it's gonna be.

I'm using an old Dell SFF Optiplex 755 with a Core 2 Duo 3Ghz and low profile Radeon 5450 perfectly happily. I've got way better systems but something like this would be ideal for your first post requirements.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 11:32:01 am by cools »
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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #49 on: November 08, 2018, 11:36:20 am »
Honestly... as long as you are buying i3 or better I wouldn't worry about it too much. Almost everything is multicore these days. SFF is a good choice as they are easier to fit in cabs etc, and they usually are better optimised for power usage. Try to get the cheapest and lowest power compatible SFF GPU card you can find.

On the other hand, when buying computer hardware it is good to keep obsolescence cycles in mind. What I mean is that the latest and greatest, fastest, biggest blah blah you can get today will be really quite expensive, yet lose its value quickly as other greater, faster, bigger etc things come out. New tech also tends to be laden with bugs & other failure points overlooked by designers/engineers. The biggest advantage of buying the best is that it will take longer to become obsolete.

The next couple of tiers down from the top, you'll find gear that is still pretty damn good but a lot cheaper. It has been around a while, and had most of the bugs/problems ironed out. It will still have most of the features/capabilities of the best tech, and will take a long time to become obsolete. This is the "zone" where I prefer to buy my hardware, because it'll be value for money and not become obsolete for a long time.

Obviously, at the cheap/old tech end, you might get value for money in the short-term but your gear could well be obsolete  before Christmas rolls around again.

Now, this is a "truism" and there are many exceptions to this rule, but it tends to stay true for IT gear even more so than other types of tech.

For example, in my main cab downstairs I have a core2duo E7600 tower PC that I bought new 10-12 years ago. At the time, it wasn't the best, or even the 2nd best available, but definitely "up there" as a decent system. It did everything I needed & more. It was multicore, so could take advantage of the capabilities, but had good single core performance. Newer (at the time, but not latest) Mobo design (LGA775), didn't have overheating or OS compatibility problems or whatever was going on with multicores at the time, the issues had been "ironed out". It ran an operating system that was "mature", well understood and supported at the time (XP).

I'm still using that same PC today, nearly 12 years on - I've changed the PSU a few times, but it is still doing everything I need it to and I'm in no rush to update. THAT is what I call value for money.

Ironically, the one component I thought would last a long time is the ArcadeVGA card. It still works fine, but has now been made "obsolete" by CRT_emudriver!

EDIT: I probably bought that core2duo in 2007/8 because it was after quad-cores were out, so of course the price was cheaper.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 12:09:30 pm by Zebidee »
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schmerzkaufen

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #50 on: November 08, 2018, 12:30:40 pm »
Lua is a programming language, so yes you need to have/learn development skills. I tend to learn enough to get me by, Lua isn't something I've used before but a cursory glance at the MAME source files for it appear to show full control of the machine options (and you can also draw stuff on screen too, so your cheat exposer could be done with it too). I hadn't considered a plugin for this (cfg files are already constructed), but that might be a good route to go down.
Was afraid you would confirm. This explains why while it was sold to users as some sort of yet another fantastic new feature of today's MAME, it was in fact nothing for petty users and we've lost several of the saving cheats controls in the trade. That it was on purpose adds yet another layer of infuriation.

Anyway sounds like overkill requirements to reactivate those cheat savings.
Good luck if you intend to explore the LUA path yourself, in the very few threads I've seen people talk about it I could feel some struggling vibes and little participation anyway. And you can see the results today: *tumbleweeds*


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@Zebidee: in terms of value for the money I think overclockable CPUs at least have that advantage of delaying obsolescence (if you don't plan on pushing yours to its limits from the first day that is)
Lately I've been feeling that it's finally time to give my 5 years old i5 a little boost, and since it's never been abused and equipped with a good cooling fan from the start, I'm confident it'll go well and give me at least as many more years of good service.
This isn't a conventional reason for purchasing an unlocked CPU though lol.

Zebidee

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #51 on: November 08, 2018, 01:02:46 pm »
@Zebidee: in terms of value for the money I think overclockable CPUs at least have that advantage of delaying obsolescence (if you don't plan on pushing yours to its limits from the first day that is)
Lately I've been feeling that it's finally time to give my 5 years old i5 a little boost, and since it's never been abused and equipped with a good cooling fan from the start, I'm confident it'll go well and give me at least as many more years of good service.
This isn't a conventional reason for purchasing an unlocked CPU though lol.

Sure, why not try and boost your performance a little? Keep a little in the tank, so to speak? I won't go overclocking though because I have enough trouble keeping my computer gear from deteriorating, as it is, in a tropical+humid climate. I've lost a lot of good IT gear to it already.

One of the best things I've done for the life-span of my electronics is to buy an air compressor. Now I can clean my PCBs, mobos etc easily (and pump up my car tyres and use a real nail gun). Another is mosquito-meshing over all openings in my cabs (also keeps those damned geckos out). I'm also getting better at changing out bad caps that have gone splat in the heat.

These days I'm becoming more concerned with power usage and heat dissipation than Ghz.

-- Sent from my six-year-old Craptop Bony VAIO S series i5-3230M @ 2.60 GHz 8GB RAM using a disintegrating keyboard
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schmerzkaufen

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #52 on: November 08, 2018, 01:11:39 pm »
Ah I assumed you had used OC but indeed that kind of climate is the enemy of such 'sport'. Unless you create a dedicated conditioned room which increases the cost immensely of course.  ;D

cools

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #53 on: November 08, 2018, 03:14:42 pm »
Lua is a programming language, so yes you need to have/learn development skills. I tend to learn enough to get me by, Lua isn't something I've used before but a cursory glance at the MAME source files for it appear to show full control of the machine options (and you can also draw stuff on screen too, so your cheat exposer could be done with it too). I hadn't considered a plugin for this (cfg files are already constructed), but that might be a good route to go down.
Was afraid you would confirm. This explains why while it was sold to users as some sort of yet another fantastic new feature of today's MAME, it was in fact nothing for petty users and we've lost several of the saving cheats controls in the trade. That it was on purpose adds yet another layer of infuriation.

Anyway sounds like overkill requirements to reactivate those cheat savings.
Good luck if you intend to explore the LUA path yourself, in the very few threads I've seen people talk about it I could feel some struggling vibes and little participation anyway. And you can see the results today: *tumbleweeds*

Its always irritating when features are removed, however (coming from one who supports software more complex than MAME, and familiarity with good development practice) the decisions made were absolutely necessary for long term project health.

I have a hunch saving and loading the settings is very easy but it'll require a fair chunk of research for a non dev. I'll definitely work on it but don't hold your breath.
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Haze

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #54 on: November 08, 2018, 04:56:01 pm »
Regarding the CV1k driver: I used to run all those games at 100% before the optimization on my setup.

I'm assuming you're talking about the recent recompiler use.  I'm talking about the vast amounts of work that went into basically rewriting the driver in an optimized state before it even went in MAME.

The unoptimized version of the driver, as coded by Luca, was never published, it ran at about 30% speed on a 3.5ghz machine and was full of glitches.  I spent many weeks optimizing the video code (including adding the threading) to get the speed close to 200% on the machine I was working with, although there would still be times when it dipped below 100% because the CPU emulation had become the bottleneck (the recompiler, added much later, dealt with that)  There were also some very significant optimizations to the sound core that went in shortly before the recompiler that nobody seems to talk about, but PGM2 (same basic sound decoding) highlighted as a major performance drain so we improved greatly.

It's the video code that would need to count every single pixel blitted, and probably no longer be able to run on another thread if it needs to run accurately in sync with the main CPU, respecting all timings, that could easily drag us back down way below 100%.  If the limits are from the SH3 that might need accurate cache and timings etc. which again probably means turning off the recompiler and making the core a lot more complex, which again will pull it way below 100%.  It is currently one of the most heavily optimized drivers in MAME.


« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 04:57:52 pm by Haze »

schmerzkaufen

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #55 on: November 08, 2018, 06:18:25 pm »
Optimizations are very much appreciated of course, for instance now I can use a level of frame_delay even with those cv1k games, which was almost impossible until some point in the past.

But right now the only way we have to make those cv1k games run at more realistic and playable ingame speeds until your development achieves accurate timings, which might not happen before many years, is for us to tweak using the blitter delay and underclock the CPU.

Finding values that work well using both sliders takes a lot of time test-playing, and unfortunately it has been made excruciatingly long, slow and painful by your deliberate removal of the CPU slider's ability to save.

You shouldn't have done that. And it should be authorized again in the non-official builds period.
Whether you like it or not we'll find a way to make it save again, so we can at least play even if it's not perfect like that, and we will knowingly so.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 06:20:21 pm by schmerzkaufen »

donluca

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #56 on: November 08, 2018, 06:55:41 pm »
I'm assuming you're talking about the recent recompiler use.  I'm talking about the vast amounts of work that went into basically rewriting the driver in an optimized state before it even went in MAME.

The unoptimized version of the driver, as coded by Luca, was never published, it ran at about 30% speed on a 3.5ghz machine and was full of glitches.  I spent many weeks optimizing the video code (including adding the threading) to get the speed close to 200% on the machine I was working with, although there would still be times when it dipped below 100% because the CPU emulation had become the bottleneck (the recompiler, added much later, dealt with that)  There were also some very significant optimizations to the sound core that went in shortly before the recompiler that nobody seems to talk about, but PGM2 (same basic sound decoding) highlighted as a major performance drain so we improved greatly.

It's the video code that would need to count every single pixel blitted, and probably no longer be able to run on another thread if it needs to run accurately in sync with the main CPU, respecting all timings, that could easily drag us back down way below 100%.  If the limits are from the SH3 that might need accurate cache and timings etc. which again probably means turning off the recompiler and making the core a lot more complex, which again will pull it way below 100%.  It is currently one of the most heavily optimized drivers in MAME.

We're talking about... uh, I think 2 or 3 years ago. Because after that I got an arcade cab and used MAME way less.

I *think* that someone said in a thread somewhere that blitter was not the issue and was something more deep in the architecture. It wasn't the CPU maxed out either, but take those with a big grain of salt because it's been quite some time since I've discussed cv1k emulation. I think it was on the shmups forum.

Recapnation

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #57 on: November 08, 2018, 07:22:03 pm »
The blitter delay feature was indeed added to the CV-1000 driver just as a way to improve the perceived emulation of these games, wasn't it? So it's yet another user-friendly optimization, even if the point behind was helping to get more accurate reports/comparison tests, actually. Whichever the case, it's  indeed hard to find a reason for not having a save option for the CPU slider, which should be used together with the former.

Can't the CP-S 1 and 2 drivers get something similar?

schmerzkaufen

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #58 on: November 08, 2018, 07:59:03 pm »
It's much more important than simple perception, most cv1k games are flat out unplayble without those. Years ago blitter delay alone used to be efficient at a fixed value for at least a couple of games, then it was different and still not clearly set for most others. Then later after more driver optimizations not only that couple blitter delay findings wouldn't cut it anymore, but obviously most games required serious CPU underclock, down around 40% for some until the slowdowns would even begin to approach those of the real life/pcb's.
Finding out working values this way takes a lot of time, the non-saving slow CPU sliders makes it very tedious, and you have to set it again every session.

Regarding Capcom, actually I've noticed that at least in GM the CPS games already run with 74% CPU underclock, which iirc is the recommended setting for those, and you will notice some slowdowns are indeed present ingame.
But if you touch anything like reset the game or I don't know what else, it resets to 100%.

Haze

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #59 on: November 08, 2018, 09:02:12 pm »

Finding values that work well using both sliders takes a lot of time test-playing, and unfortunately it has been made excruciatingly long, slow and painful by your deliberate removal of the CPU slider's ability to save.

You shouldn't have done that. And it should be authorized again in the non-official builds period.
Whether you like it or not we'll find a way to make it save again, so we can at least play even if it's not perfect like that, and we will knowingly so.

and my interest in this thread, that driver, and attempting to explain anything hits zero with that kind of attitude on display.

things are done for good reason, just because you don't understand them doesn't mean you can act like an arse and tell us what we should / shouldn't be doing.

donluca

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #60 on: November 09, 2018, 06:07:56 am »
I'd like to iterate once more that, at least from my experience, there are two kind of MAME users:

The one "just give me teh romz, I want to play!" which are likely to moan and criticize that MAME isn't user friendly and doesn't give a damn about the whole project Ė you can safely ignore those as they won't ever give any contribution to the project.

Then there are people who actually care and each month they eagerly wait for a new MAME release to go through the whatsnew.txt file and see what has been done, which games were dumped, which drivers were fixed and try it out.

Please, don't ever let people get you down. Your work is amazing and, trust me, really appreciated.

This said, is MAME a perfect software? No, it isn't and due to its nature, it's not meant to be. Not for the foreseeable future at least.
Has it achieved MASSIVE milestones in the history of videogame preservation? YES. And that's why I strongly encourage you and the other MAME devs to keep it up because you're really doing god's work.

pubjoe

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #61 on: November 09, 2018, 06:20:52 am »
The one "just give me teh romz, I want to play!" which are likely to moan and criticize that MAME isn't user friendly and doesn't give a damn about the whole project Ė you can safely ignore those as they won't ever give any contribution to the project.

Then there are people who actually care and each month they eagerly wait for a new MAME release to go through the whatsnew.txt file and see what has been done, which games were dumped, which drivers were fixed and try it out.
Most encouragingly, I think a great many move from type A to type B.

Iíve been quietly fascinated for 20 years.

Zebidee

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #62 on: November 09, 2018, 06:43:07 am »
I'd like to iterate once more that, at least from my experience, there are two kind of MAME users:

To put it even simpler, there are 2 kinds of mame users: those who stereotype, and those who do not.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 06:44:46 am by Zebidee »
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cools

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #63 on: November 09, 2018, 09:37:55 am »
Then there are people who actually care and each month they eagerly wait for a new MAME release to go through the whatsnew.txt file and see what has been done, which games were dumped, which drivers were fixed and try it out.

Since MAME has started coming out monthly I've been doing this. Near the end of the month I'll remember MAME is coming out soon and start hitting up https://www.mamedev.org/ daily in anticipation of the whatsnew.txt.
Please don't PM me with support questions. Ask in public so everyone can learn!

donluca

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #64 on: November 09, 2018, 10:13:54 am »
Most encouragingly, I think a great many move from type A to type B.

Iíve been quietly fascinated for 20 years.

I hope so, I surely did. I started using MAME at 0.37b which was... many moons ago, I think. I was still a kid and I was so astonished that whenever I didn't use my PC, I'd just start MAME with a game and let attract mode run endlessly, like a screensaver, so that I could dream of having a real arcade cabinet in my bedroom.

After years I started delving deeper in the project (and, meanwhile, I became a software developer, now specialized in Java backends) and I remember when I first opened up one of the drivers' source and reading all the comments in it... it was like opening a treasure chest. Recently MAME has helped me fixing some arcade boards thanks to their documentation and *cough* convert one *cough* to another game. All reversible, though! :D

Anyway, sorry for having derailed this thread, I'll just shut up.

schmerzkaufen

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #65 on: November 11, 2018, 10:03:57 am »
All the Intel CPUs we mention are very similar in single thread performance at stock or cruise speed, all around 2000~2200 STP, which is already great for MAME.
It's the steps up that are bit of a black box, afaik we don't have large "turbo and OC" STP databases for reference.
IMHO it all comes down to what we wish to emulate, and it's good to keep in mind GM needs a little more room for frame_delay, also on the gpu side.
But really what's so exciting in MAME's library that it requires considerable processing power? I wonder sometimes if OC'ing my i5 for MAME would be worth the trouble (rather right now I need more GPU juice)

Following this I did a little monitoring and little OC on my i5-4690k.
With the default steps that CPU does 800MHz > 3.5GHz then up to 3.9GHz when the turbo kicks in. I've moved to limit to 4.2GHz (iirc it can go up to 4.6GHz if you do it properly, which takes time and I don't want to bother with that now)

NB: using W7 GM 0.203 D3D9ex

Purely on the games side no frills added, for instance it eliminated the last remaining little speed % drops I could still see with a couple Gnet and System22 games, it also made Virtua Fighter 2 full speed and Radiant Silvergun playable (though still losing some % in the busiest moments) but not all STV games.
A bunch of other polygonal 3D games worked full speed or close but that's about it for the drivers speed benefits. Note that out of the 4 cores the most used one differs from system-to-system. How beneficial having 4 vs. 2 can be? idk, but it wasn't obvious since as far as I've seen most of the load is always on one core, and eventually there's also a bit of load visible on a second one, never seen the four climb in unison or having close/similar loads together.

With GroovyMAME's lag reduction the gain in CPU processing power translated to higher stable frame_delay values, for instance where I could have cv1k games at 5~6 without much more than filter 1 + prescale 2, I can now play at 7~8 (-1 or -2 if using HLSL depending on game and settings: more effects = higher toll)
With systems that hated frame_delay before (like STV) the deal hasn't changed much, they can handle little bit more, like 3~4, but still collapse and crawl completely at the first big explosion or very busy screen.

My personal conclusion; unless there's a real interest for the rather few well-running polygonal 3D games, or a purpose to get the most out of Groovy's lag reduction for everything 2D (and compensate a bit for using HLSL), I can't see a considerable interest in seeking more CPU power than, say, that 3.5~3.9GHz / 2000~2200 STP average the Pentiums and i3's produce at stock speeds.
Someone who doesn't plan on using frame_delay or barely, and mostly stick to D3D9ex for his low lag fix, and also has no interest in the heavy 3D titles, he will be happy with the entry Pentium G4560 or any CPU new or used that can produce around those 3.5GHz/2000STPs.
And if not for playing like even the cv1k games, then any toaster will be fine (seriously what's a reasonable lower limit for decent MAME these days?)

For my own needs I probably won't ever need more than what this little OC brought me today.
Can I check the STP with passmark here? need to ckeck that for reference.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 12:17:24 pm by schmerzkaufen »

morton

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #66 on: November 16, 2018, 09:25:22 am »
I like CV1K games... so It looks like I can't cheap out  :angry:

Is the G4560 a viable candidate for a processor, or am I better off still looking for a used i3/i5 business machine?
« Last Edit: November 16, 2018, 10:03:48 am by morton »

schmerzkaufen

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #67 on: November 16, 2018, 10:05:28 am »
Well again you can cheap out if cv1k with only d3d9ex as a means to minimize lag is fine for you, a CPU ~3.5GHz/~2000STP new or 2nd hand should be more than enough.

But you can't if you wish to use frame_delay efficiently... (and adding HLSL on top requires yet another bit of extra processing muscle, but since yours will be a 15Khz setup you won't need that last bit)

morton

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #68 on: November 16, 2018, 07:27:04 pm »
I'm not sure which way to go now. I will see what the next month brings in way of income etc and reassess my budget. I'd hate to think $200 keeps me from doing things right if I just wait a little bit longer. Would it be wise to take advantage of Black Friday? Does PC Parts picker reflect those sales? I've never bought a PC via parts.

Also will the windows 7 update disc and key I have from my old Samsung laptop work as an OS or will it not work because it's from a Samsung?

Recapnation

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #69 on: November 17, 2018, 09:37:13 am »
Are you aware that CV-1000 games under MAME are anything but properly emulated and that it does not seem likely that they'll be in the short/mid term?

schmerzkaufen

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Re: Picking a PC
« Reply #70 on: November 17, 2018, 11:15:56 am »
- yes I'll say it again, I will every time -

IMO "anything but properly" is too strong, it's only the timings that are wrong or rather their emulation is absent by default (which of course is a big issue as many games play way too fast)
But if you take (a lot) of time adjusting the sliders you can bring back slowdowns in the games and then experience something that isn't worse all-in-all than the 360 or PC ports.
With that and the smoothness + lag reduction of GM, cv1k games in MAME can be made reasonably playable and enjoyable.

Yet again this requires thorough research for good working settings, some games get pretty close, some haven't been studied enough so good settings are still unknown.

The problem is one of those sliders doesn't save, making that research beyond tedious. Because of that people haven't spent nearly enough time on the matter nor shared settings enough, understandably they gave up, and in the end no one really plays cv1k in MAME, which is a shame (and I suspect is a situation that pleases a number of people who hate the idea these games are played via emulation, but they will never say it loud)

Though yeah Morton, if you don't have the patience to cope with that hair-pulling settings matter, the lack of info, and absurd MAME politics, playing cv1k in MAME sure isn't recommended.
Nor of course spending money specifically for that purpose.

  
 

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