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Author Topic: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?  (Read 8823 times)

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ZombieTaco

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NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« on: June 05, 2009, 10:29:28 am »
Hello everyone,

First time poster here, great to meet you all!

Now that the NVIDIA ION is starting to appear, I was wondering if anyone here has built a cab with one yet.  I've searched around the forums and the net in general, but I have not found any reviews regarding MAME performance ETC.  Anyone here try that yet?  If not, maybe you know where I could find some good info on this?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=nvidia+ION


Take care!

-ZT


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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2009, 10:51:48 am »
Hello everyone,

First time poster here, great to meet you all!

Now that the NVIDIA ION is starting to appear, I was wondering if anyone here has built a cab with one yet.  I've searched around the forums and the net in general, but I have not found any reviews regarding MAME performance ETC.  Anyone here try that yet?  If not, maybe you know where I could find some good info on this?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=nvidia+ION


Take care!

-ZT



Been waiting for opinions on this myself. I have many uses for this little machine if it works well and is priced reasonably.
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MrMojoZ

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2009, 11:16:25 am »
Any thoughts on how much the Atom CPU limits your game options, they aren't know for blistering speed. Otherwise thats a very nice compact setup.

RayB

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2009, 12:44:56 pm »
hmm. 400 and 533mhz? Don't expect it to run anything but older versions of MAME and you'll be lucky if it runs any game newer than 1990.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2009, 02:38:06 pm by RayB »
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2600

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2009, 01:10:27 pm »
Ray, that's the FSB.


For S&G's, I put XP on a Atom 330 I have here.  This is on the Intel motherboard, (DG945GCLF2) with 1GB RAM and MAME .131.  Hyperthreading was enabled.

Default MAME install and using the CPU commandline arguments MAMEUI uses here  Otherwise Benchmarks are useless if everyone isn't using the same format.



Dkong 190%
Pacman 1996%


Dkong is so low because it simulates the sounds which is far more accurate then samples, but takes a lot of Horsepower.

IceCold

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2009, 01:11:29 pm »
It's nice that the Ion platform includes an onboard 9400m graphics chip, HDMI capability, etc. but I doubt this will be any different for MAME than what's been on the market for the last year or so(see this motherboard for $80).  MAME performance is based on processor speed more than anything, and the onboard GMA950 of the board I just posted is plenty sufficient for MAME.

As far as what RayB posted, I'm not sure how the front side bus speed of this motherboard is a problem.  Yes, the Atom is only a 1.6GHz chip, and a slow one at that, but I hardly see it being lucky to play any games newer than 1990.  Mortal Kombat 3 should run on this board, and that's 1995.  NBA Jam TE will run, that's 1993.  I don't own a board with the Atom 330, but I do own a mini itx board with the atom 230(the 230 is a single core atom.  the 330 is the dual core), and even that board is at least comparable with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4.  So when you have a board with the 330(theoretically twice as fast as the 230, if the app takes advantage of it) it should be decent for MAME performance.  Probably won't be rocking out Killer Instinct with it, but it would be a great replacement for those with aging Athlon XP systems and Pentium 4's.  Draws a lot less power too, so you'll save on your electric bill, and your cab won't get as hot.

So, in short, the ion platform is cool, but save yourself ~$100 and just go for that motheboard I posted.  The MAME performance difference will be negligible.  If you'll be using it for any kind of PC games, though, or need HDMI or 6 channel audio, go for the Ion.

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2009, 01:14:38 pm »
Hehe 2600 you posted right as I was typing my reply.  It's funny, you have the motherboard I linked in my post.

I think we're pretty much agreeing in our posts, though.   But yeah, the 400/533 is the front side bus.(to RayB - I can see how it would be easy to mistake that for the speed of the board when looking at the newegg page - I wasn't trying to be a jerk by pointing that out). 

MAME performance with the Atom 230 wasn't bad, so I figured the 330 would be even better(even if one were to use an older MAME version that doesn't support any type of multithreading, at least the one core can be handling background tasks so one core can be dedicated to MAME).

If anybody sees mine and 2600's posts, they were both within about a minute of each other.  I was just a little late.  :P
« Last Edit: June 05, 2009, 01:17:37 pm by IceCold »

2600

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2009, 01:30:56 pm »
nbajam 115%


Also, changed the ini to skip_gameinfo and added multithreading.

dkong 171%
pacman 1566%

cmoses

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2009, 01:34:53 pm »
Can you explain what the skip_gameinfo and multithreading do more specifically?

Are they both turned on/off in the mame.ini ?

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2009, 01:43:24 pm »
They are settings in the ini file.

skip_gameinfo skips the popup that displays info  (I assume that if I left it disabled the calculation would be off since it would start calculating at this screen)

multithreading turns on multithreading.  Since the Atom has 2 CPU's plus 2 HT CPU's I thought I'd try it.  I know some of the video output stuff is multithreaded and some of the bigger games are, but I'm not sure what else is.


Also, a thing to note about the other commands that I am running.  This purely tests the CPU.  Video and Audio are turned off and would actually add to the load if enabled.  For example, I removed those commands and reran pacman with sound and video in a window at a resolution of 240x240 and it ran at 849% and dkong was at 124%.

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2009, 02:39:00 pm »
Corrected my post.

Anyone have a netbook? Try MAME on it. Its pretty much the same specs.

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Blanka

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2009, 03:03:46 pm »
You may be better off using this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813500022
Also Mini-ITX, but with room for any Intel 775 socket CPU and a PCI X16 graphics card. Even cheaper!

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2009, 03:14:59 pm »
I read that they are supposed to be coming out with a dual core one, but don't know when.

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2009, 03:42:18 pm »
ok, now that my post got lost in IE's cyberspace void, I will retry

1. The nVidia hardware offloads a lot of work from the CPU compared to the anemic 945(in my netbook)  :timebomb:

2. This whole thread is speculation so far.  I wish i was back in country to buy the board and test it out.  :hissy:

3. Try more than 1GB of RAM, seriously.  Programs like MAME(and WoW) give the CPU and RAM a lot of crap rather than make use of graphics programming shortcuts, albeit to stay true to the original arcades.  :cheers:

PS - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/zotac-ion-atom,2300-6.html tomshardware had a nice little review of this hardware.

PPS - The 330 atom is the dual core
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Ummon

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2009, 08:30:01 pm »
For example, I removed those commands and reran pacman with sound and video in a window at a resolution of 240x240 and it ran at 849% and dkong was at 124%.

And fullscreen will likely diminish that, perhaps strongly.
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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2009, 03:27:18 am »
Looks like a cheap way to go.

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2009, 10:12:59 am »

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2009, 02:23:51 pm »
Hi,

Well, I ordered the Intel Atom 330 board (no nvidia ion) and I'll report its capability next week sometime when I get it in and test it out a bit.

Thanks,

Alan

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2009, 02:07:44 pm »
skip_gameinfo skips the popup that displays info  (I assume that if I left it disabled the calculation would be off since it would start calculating at this screen)

FWIW, you aren't changing anything changing this setting for benchmarking.  This is automatically skipped if -str is set to a number less than 300:

   /* disable everything if we are using -str for 300 or fewer seconds, or if we're the empty driver,
       or if we are debugging */
   if (!first_time || (str > 0 && str < 60*5) || 
...removed code... )
      show_gameinfo = show_warnings = show_disclaimer = FALSE;


Doesn't hurt, but ignored when benchmarking (unless you changed to run the bench for more than five minutes). ;)
Robin
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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2009, 09:46:01 pm »
Hi,

My friends at UPS delivered the board from Newegg today.  I dropped 2G of memory in it, connected it to small SFX power supply, and fired it up.  Many people complained about the north bridge fan, but honestly I didn't think it was that bad.  I replaced it anyway with the little $3 40mm fan I also ordered and it is quieter.  I got the Atom 330 Intel board which is a dual core Atom running at 1.6ghz/533fsb.  It is not an Ion platform, it is running Intel Graphics.

When you go into the BIOS you get the idea that it is a SLOW board because the BIOS is slow.  You press a key and can literally see it redraw the screen!  Been a long time since I've seen that.  But, once up in Windows it actually feels pretty snappy.  I installed XP x86 and XPx64 on it for testing and loaded the Intel drivers that came on the CD with it.

I ran 3 flavors of MAME (std, i686, and a core2 optimized one) and as I've seen on my other boxes, the std version seems to be as fast as any for some reason, at least with the games I've tested.

I read that the x64 version of MAME offers more performance and since Atom supports x64 I decided to give it a try.

continued...

alank2

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2009, 09:55:20 pm »
Hi,

I am more of classic arcade guy so I ran mspacman, zaxxon, asteroid, dkong, etc. and the Atom 330 runs them all great.  I was a bit nervous with asteroid/dkong because of the discrete sound, but it ran asteroid at about 140%.  Considering that my new core2 notebook (2.533/1066fsb/6mL2) can only do 302%, I really thought this was pretty good.  I don't think anyone will have an issue running older games on this board and an Atom 230 would be 97% as good.  When I enable -multithreading it improves the speed maybe 3%.

MK2 was my heavier processor game to test and the Atom can almost run it.  I get about 95% speed with it.

I read on a site how x64 MAME can show improvements as much as 20% or 30%, but  I sure didn't see them on this platform.  I installed the x64 XP and Intel drivers and tried out MK2 on it and only gained about 2%, so 97%.

If you are looking for a speed demon, I don't think you will be happy with this board, but for playing most older games, I bet it will do fine.  It was $80 for the board and CPU.  You can get the Atom 230 (single core) version for $65.  I paid the extra for the s-video connector this particular 330 board also has, but an extra core is nice too even though MAME doesn't make much use of it!


Good luck,

Alan

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2009, 04:46:25 pm »

If you are looking for a speed demon, I don't think you will be happy with this board, but for playing most older games, I bet it will do fine.  It was $80 for the board and CPU.  You can get the Atom 230 (single core) version for $65.  I paid the extra for the s-video connector this particular 330 board also has, but an extra core is nice too even though MAME doesn't make much use of it!


Good luck,

Alan


I think there was a dedicated Atom thread, but whatever. The real question is, what version of mame are you using?
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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2009, 06:02:33 pm »
I think there was a dedicated Atom thread, but whatever. The real question is, what version of mame are you using?

Please post a link to this Atom thread; I didn't see it and would like to read it.

I am using MAME 132u3.

Thanks,

Alan

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2009, 03:49:47 pm »
Found the one with the dual core.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813500030

"deactivated" :(

WTH?!?!?! What does that mean, they aren't making it now? Weak sauce.

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2009, 04:50:12 pm »
WTH?!?!?! What does that mean, they aren't making it now? Weak sauce.

They came out with a new revision of the board that supports standby power on the USB ports.


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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2009, 09:39:39 pm »
I think there was a dedicated Atom thread, but whatever. The real question is, what version of mame are you using?

Please post a link to this Atom thread; I didn't see it and would like to read it.

I am using MAME 132u3.

Thanks,

Alan


Cool. So for many people, this would run everything they need stellar.
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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #28 on: July 24, 2009, 12:38:02 pm »
Can anyone test this with Black tiger or Trojan? I would be interested to see if it can pull those titles off at 100%?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2009, 06:06:26 pm »
I'm interested to hear how the Geforce 9400M in Ion platforms handles N64 emulation.  Am I correct that no one here has an "true" Ion machine (with both a 9400M video chipset and Atom processor)?  If you buy a mobo with an Atom processor and Intel 945GME graphics, you basically buy a netbook.  I have an MSI Wind with the atom 220, it handles N64 emulation fine but with no Anti Aliasing or Anisotropic Filtering.  I've found some basic gaming benchmarks for the 9400M here:

http://www.engadget.com/2009/04/28/acer-aspirerevo-review/

and here:

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/pcs/2009/03/20/nvidia-ion-platform-performance/9.

No mention of emulation at all.

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #30 on: August 09, 2009, 06:58:37 pm »
Is size really a considderation for a cab?

I mean, cabs are rather large and there is more than enough space to house a full ATX case.  It would be cheaper to use ATX sized components.  For the speeds I'm seeing for the Ion, it doesn't look to be cost effective for a full sized cab solution.  Not to mention the Atom CPUs are far less efficent per clock in terms of what math they can do.

Now, they are absurdly energy efficent, small and compact but all this comes at a financial cost.  My question is, is serious energy efficency and compactness a key issue in cabinate production?

I think you could save plenty of money just by taking far more capable and full sized PC for your MAME purposes.

However there are compact cabs which could benifit here.

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Re: NVIDIA ION: Has anyone built a cab with one yet?
« Reply #31 on: August 09, 2009, 07:02:33 pm »
I think for most people Ion is really only a consideration for bartops, etc, or maybe just a really "Green" PC.  I agree -- my MAME has a full ATX case in it.  Personally, I'm brainstorming a bartop-type setup, would like a really small form factor PC, and would like something that can handle N64 games.