what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc ?

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what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc ?

Unread postby atarioldskool » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:01 pm

Hi all,

I’ve finished my project, building my retro console using xu4 with ORA image and absolutely love it

My next project is to be able to play retro games on a pc
Mainly for Sega Saturn, Dreamcast, possibly ps2
To be honest mainly for arcade games as I was left disappointed when I found out I cannot play Daytona USA , Sega Rally, GTI club on my odroid xu4 as the Sega Model 2 / 3 requires a far more powerful system.

So my question is what sort of specification do I need to be looking at to be able to play the above at full speed and efficiently ??

Any help would be much appreciated or even if you can point me in the right direction ?

Many thanks for all your help who has helped me to build my xu4 and big shout out to mr odroid for his massive help.
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Re: what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc

Unread postby atarioldskool » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:46 am

Hi

Can anyone point me in the right direction where I can get information on what sort of specification computer I require ?
I’m struggling to find a dedicated website or a fb page where retro gaming on a pc is big

Meveric can you possibly help ?
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Re: what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc

Unread postby meveric » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:53 am

Dreamcast has various different emulators. Reicast (which we use on the ODROID) needs nearly no power at all. NullDC and other Windows emulator need higher processors, but shouldn't be too hard on the hardware either.
Any PC/Laptop released in the last 3-5 years should be able to handle it.
Sega Saturn isn't much of a deal either, you can run it without much issues on ODROIDs as well, and speed is "ok", just not great and you have no hardware acceleration.
Once again, any PC/Laptop produced in the last 5 years should be able to handle Sega Saturn nicely.
I have a Laptop from 2012 and it plays Saturn Games just fine. It's no big deal.

PS2 on the other hand is a different matter. In the past you needed a very beefy PC to run PS2 games and even by todays standard you need a decent PC/Laptop with a dedicated GPU or a very good APU like the new AMDs have.
You have tons of options to improve graphics with higher resolutions, anti aliasing and whatever which requires a good GPU to handle it, as well as a fast CPU to keep up with the emulation. I highly recommend Intel i5 or similar CPU of the last 2-3 years as well as a Nvidia GTX 650 or higher or equivalent GPU
Here are official specs, but I don't think you should take them for granted: https://pcsx2.net/getting-started.html

TL;DR
Dreamcast and Saturn is not hard to emulate and even runs on ODROIDs
PS2 requires quite some punch the more you have the better, especially with all the options to improve graphics.
Donate to support my work on the ODROID GameStation Turbo Image for U2/U3 XU3/XU4 X2 X C1 as well as many other releases.
Check out the Games and Emulators section to find some of my work or check the files in my repository to find the software i build for ODROIDs.
If you want to add my repository to your image read my HOWTO integrate my repo into your image.
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Re: what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc

Unread postby atarioldskool » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:17 pm

meveric wrote:Dreamcast has various different emulators. Reicast (which we use on the ODROID) needs nearly no power at all. NullDC and other Windows emulator need higher processors, but shouldn't be too hard on the hardware either.
Any PC/Laptop released in the last 3-5 years should be able to handle it.
Sega Saturn isn't much of a deal either, you can run it without much issues on ODROIDs as well, and speed is "ok", just not great and you have no hardware acceleration.
Once again, any PC/Laptop produced in the last 5 years should be able to handle Sega Saturn nicely.
I have a Laptop from 2012 and it plays Saturn Games just fine. It's no big deal.

PS2 on the other hand is a different matter. In the past you needed a very beefy PC to run PS2 games and even by todays standard you need a decent PC/Laptop with a dedicated GPU or a very good APU like the new AMDs have.
You have tons of options to improve graphics with higher resolutions, anti aliasing and whatever which requires a good GPU to handle it, as well as a fast CPU to keep up with the emulation. I highly recommend Intel i5 or similar CPU of the last 2-3 years as well as a Nvidia GTX 650 or higher or equivalent GPU
Here are official specs, but I don't think you should take them for granted: https://pcsx2.net/getting-started.html

TL;DR
Dreamcast and Saturn is not hard to emulate and even runs on ODROIDs
PS2 requires quite some punch the more you have the better, especially with all the options to improve graphics.


Thank you meveric for this information.

In all honesty it will be more for 3D /3D accelerated games and only for any arcade games specifically things like Daytona USA, Sega Rally, GTI club, a lot of the arcade racing games that do not work on odroid and also things like Tekken 1,2 and 3 even possibly tekken tag, as tekken 1 works on odroid but it runs slow (it is playable but someone who played tekken a lot can tell it’s very slow) and tekken 2 and 3 is very very slow on

As for Sega Saturn and Dreamcast I’ve been told and have read a few sites that say Dreamcast only some roms will work only a handful and as for the Sega Saturn not to bother as its very very slow ?
That is why I thought I might put these consoles on the computer.

If you seem to think Dreamcast , Sega Saturn and PS1 works absolutely fine on the XU4 happy days I will stick this on my xxu4.

As for the computer specification intel i5 is probably what I am looking at as I have come across a few post recommending i5 but what version would you recommend ?? I didn’t even know their are so many !
Would you say between intel i5 version 3 to 5 will be more than capable of doing the job perfectly ?

This computer WILL only be for retro gaming NO new titles from things like PS3, PS4, XBOX one or wii u etc

It will purely be for ARCADE games I may would like to use it for either KODI or things like terrarium tv to watch tv series/ movies
Love to be able to watch in 4K UHD but if that is not possible then true 1080p is more than acceptable.

I am not a proper gamer enthusiast so I have no intention of going crazy and spending silly money on it.

I would say no more than £200 on all the hardware ???
I’m more than happy to buy a refurb computer, as king as it has the specification that I require, don’t need cd/dvd writer to be honest,
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Re: what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc

Unread postby meveric » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:36 pm

atarioldskool wrote:like Tekken 1,2 and 3 even possibly tekken tag, as tekken 1 works on odroid but it runs slow (it is playable but someone who played tekken a lot can tell it’s very slow) and tekken 2 and 3 is very very slow on

Tekken 1, 2 and 3 were released on the PS1 and PS1 emulation on ODROIDs work pefectly fine. In fact they probably run better than arcade as they have 3D hardware acceleration with enhancement options on ODROIDs.

atarioldskool wrote:As for Sega Saturn and Dreamcast I’ve been told and have read a few sites that say Dreamcast only some roms will work only a handful

Where have you heard this? O_o
The XU4 can run hundreds of Dreamcast games. Sure not everyone in existing will work.
Some games require a certain feature, which I have currently forgotten the name of, and rarely any emulator bothers to implement that feature so these games wouldn't run on PCs either (depending on the emulator)
And yes there are some glitches here and there and some games are too slow, but that's mostly a limitation of the Emulator not of the XU4 as the XU4 is running fast enough for Dreamcast games. I personally tried several hundred games and found most of them working.
You can find many videos of different users playing Dreamcast games on the XU4 and they all say it's working really good:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md5ULjF2WuI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01owaKYU0dE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06ZczjmSzHk

atarioldskool wrote:and as for the Sega Saturn not to bother as its very very slow ?

I have a series on the ODROID Magazine where I write about my favorite Sega Saturn games on the ODROID XU4. It's working, but you often have to use frameskipping and some games are even then too slow.
Probably about 30-40% of all titles are working on the ODROID you can still play well over 100 or 200 Saturn games on ODROIDs but it's much easier on an PC, as I said an old Laptop can run Saturn very good.
Still it's working to some degree and there are some games I really like on the ODROID (already talked about over 50 or more games that I really like on the ODROID XU4 in my articles.)

atarioldskool wrote:If you seem to think Dreamcast , Sega Saturn and PS1 works absolutely fine on the XU4 happy days I will stick this on my xxu4.

PS1 and Dreamcast run very good.. Saturn depends on the games.

atarioldskool wrote:As for the computer specification intel i5 is probably what I am looking at as I have come across a few post recommending i5 but what version would you recommend ?? I didn’t even know their are so many !
Would you say between intel i5 version 3 to 5 will be more than capable of doing the job perfectly ?

I have a third generation i5 laptop (i5-3230M) it's enough to play everything up to Wii/GameCube, PS2 I'm not sure.. haven't tried it, probably works as I also have a dedicated NVIDIA GPU. Although I would rather play that on my i7 desktop PC with more RAM better CPU and GPU.

atarioldskool wrote:It will purely be for ARCADE games

Please keep in mind, that MAME (ARCADE emulation) solely relies on CPU power any GPU you have will be completely ignored for MAME.
Donate to support my work on the ODROID GameStation Turbo Image for U2/U3 XU3/XU4 X2 X C1 as well as many other releases.
Check out the Games and Emulators section to find some of my work or check the files in my repository to find the software i build for ODROIDs.
If you want to add my repository to your image read my HOWTO integrate my repo into your image.
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Re: what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc

Unread postby atarioldskool » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:06 pm

meveric wrote:
atarioldskool wrote:like Tekken 1,2 and 3 even possibly tekken tag, as tekken 1 works on odroid but it runs slow (it is playable but someone who played tekken a lot can tell it’s very slow) and tekken 2 and 3 is very very slow on

Tekken 1, 2 and 3 were released on the PS1 and PS1 emulation on ODROIDs work pefectly fine. In fact they probably run better than arcade as they have 3D hardware acceleration with enhancement options on ODROIDs.

atarioldskool wrote:As for Sega Saturn and Dreamcast I’ve been told and have read a few sites that say Dreamcast only some roms will work only a handful

Where have you heard this? O_o
The XU4 can run hundreds of Dreamcast games. Sure not everyone in existing will work.
Some games require a certain feature, which I have currently forgotten the name of, and rarely any emulator bothers to implement that feature so these games wouldn't run on PCs either (depending on the emulator)
And yes there are some glitches here and there and some games are too slow, but that's mostly a limitation of the Emulator not of the XU4 as the XU4 is running fast enough for Dreamcast games. I personally tried several hundred games and found most of them working.
You can find many videos of different users playing Dreamcast games on the XU4 and they all say it's working really good:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md5ULjF2WuI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01owaKYU0dE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06ZczjmSzHk

atarioldskool wrote:and as for the Sega Saturn not to bother as its very very slow ?

I have a series on the ODROID Magazine where I write about my favorite Sega Saturn games on the ODROID XU4. It's working, but you often have to use frameskipping and some games are even then too slow.
Probably about 30-40% of all titles are working on the ODROID you can still play well over 100 or 200 Saturn games on ODROIDs but it's much easier on an PC, as I said an old Laptop can run Saturn very good.
Still it's working to some degree and there are some games I really like on the ODROID (already talked about over 50 or more games that I really like on the ODROID XU4 in my articles.)

atarioldskool wrote:If you seem to think Dreamcast , Sega Saturn and PS1 works absolutely fine on the XU4 happy days I will stick this on my xxu4.

PS1 and Dreamcast run very good.. Saturn depends on the games.

atarioldskool wrote:As for the computer specification intel i5 is probably what I am looking at as I have come across a few post recommending i5 but what version would you recommend ?? I didn’t even know their are so many !
Would you say between intel i5 version 3 to 5 will be more than capable of doing the job perfectly ?

I have a third generation i5 laptop (i5-3230M) it's enough to play everything up to Wii/GameCube, PS2 I'm not sure.. haven't tried it, probably works as I also have a dedicated NVIDIA GPU. Although I would rather play that on my i7 desktop PC with more RAM better CPU and GPU.

atarioldskool wrote:It will purely be for ARCADE games

Please keep in mind, that MAME (ARCADE emulation) solely relies on CPU power any GPU you have will be completely ignored for MAME.


Meveric once again thank you so much it’s all making better sense to me now.

So if I say I decide to get i5 version 4 or 5 in “theory” I should be perfectly be fine in playing a lot of the stuff
Especially Sega Model 2 /3 ?

What I don’t want to be doing is getting something so powerful that it’s ott and the type of roms I decide to play will never ever use the full potentional of the power and it’s just wasted money,
But at the same time I do not want to impulse buy and get something that isn’t capable of playing the roms as not enough power !

I would rather get something that is SLIGHTLY more powerful than what I would actually require.

As for cpu and gpu mame will only use cpu ??
Gpu is todo with graphics so you are saying it does nothing for name ?

CPU 3 and above should be ok then in speed ?
Finally am I right in thinking if I wanted to watch Kodi , terrarium tv etc in 4K uhd that will be down to the gpu ?

Do I need to be looking for a computer that has a separate gpu / graphics card and not something that is dedicated as in part of the motherboard
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Re: what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc

Unread postby rooted » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:25 pm

For emulators on PC you want a CPU with highest per core performance, some emulators are not multithreaded so faster per core performance is the best metric. At least that's how it used to be before GPU acceleration.

Pick one of these closest to the top you can afford.

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/singleThread.html
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Re: what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc

Unread postby meveric » Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:51 am

atarioldskool wrote:I would rather get something that is SLIGHTLY more powerful than what I would actually require.

The newer the model the more "capable" they normally are. The newest i5 also have the best integrated GPU which might be enough for decent PS2 performance.
But you don't need to overdo it. As I said, even my 3rd generation i5 laptop is enough for Saturn games (and even Wii and GameCube).

atarioldskool wrote:As for cpu and gpu mame will only use cpu ??
Gpu is todo with graphics so you are saying it does nothing for name ?

sadly yes. MAME projects emulates everything, cpu, sound, gpu, meaning they don't use a real GPU, they emulate what the GPU of the original system does on the CPU.
Therefore even on modern PCs MAME is often a little laggy as it only utilizes the CPU not the GPU, not even for 3D games :(
It's like back in 1999 where you could play 3D games in "software rendering".
Unreal 1 in software rendering: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXA3360awec
Unreal Tournament in software rendering on ODROID XU4 (through x86 emulation and Wine): https://oph.mdrjr.net/meveric/other/Vid ... .29.23.mkv


atarioldskool wrote:CPU 3 and above should be ok then in speed ?

If you mean 3rd generation i5 processors, yes that should be fine.

atarioldskool wrote:Finally am I right in thinking if I wanted to watch Kodi , terrarium tv etc in 4K uhd that will be down to the gpu ?

Not necessarily, Intel processors can handle kodi just fine, they even support hardware acceleration for video decoding up to a certain degree.
In fact not even all GPUs do support video decoding at all. Same as on ODROIDs GPU does not equal VPU. Some GPU can help hardware decode video, but mostly that is done by the CPU and its capabilities.
If you want 4k video decoding you probably need a very recent CPU as older CPUs and embedded GPUs from intel did not support 4k.

atarioldskool wrote:Do I need to be looking for a computer that has a separate gpu / graphics card and not something that is dedicated as in part of the motherboard

Depends on what you want to play. PS2 yes a dedicated GPU (extra card to plug into the board itself) is better.
If you rather want a silent all in one system a integrated GPU such as AMDs APUs are probably the better choice as they have rather good integrated GPUs in der CPUs.

I'd suggest get a decently good all in one CPU, either a recent one from AMD as they have good graphics cards, or a 6th generation or higher i5 from Intel. That way the integrated GPU should be rather good, and you can try how it works out for you. If you're satisfied with it you're fine, if not you can add a dedicated GPU later, but I don't think you need one if you have a recent CPU (at least as long as you stick with your plan that you don't want to go further than PS2 emulation).
Donate to support my work on the ODROID GameStation Turbo Image for U2/U3 XU3/XU4 X2 X C1 as well as many other releases.
Check out the Games and Emulators section to find some of my work or check the files in my repository to find the software i build for ODROIDs.
If you want to add my repository to your image read my HOWTO integrate my repo into your image.
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Re: what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc

Unread postby atarioldskool » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:02 am

meveric wrote:
atarioldskool wrote:I would rather get something that is SLIGHTLY more powerful than what I would actually require.

The newer the model the more "capable" they normally are. The newest i5 also have the best integrated GPU which might be enough for decent PS2 performance.
But you don't need to overdo it. As I said, even my 3rd generation i5 laptop is enough for Saturn games (and even Wii and GameCube).

atarioldskool wrote:As for cpu and gpu mame will only use cpu ??
Gpu is todo with graphics so you are saying it does nothing for name ?

sadly yes. MAME projects emulates everything, cpu, sound, gpu, meaning they don't use a real GPU, they emulate what the GPU of the original system does on the CPU.
Therefore even on modern PCs MAME is often a little laggy as it only utilizes the CPU not the GPU, not even for 3D games :(
It's like back in 1999 where you could play 3D games in "software rendering".
Unreal 1 in software rendering: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXA3360awec
Unreal Tournament in software rendering on ODROID XU4 (through x86 emulation and Wine): https://oph.mdrjr.net/meveric/other/Vid ... .29.23.mkv


atarioldskool wrote:CPU 3 and above should be ok then in speed ?

If you mean 3rd generation i5 processors, yes that should be fine.

atarioldskool wrote:Finally am I right in thinking if I wanted to watch Kodi , terrarium tv etc in 4K uhd that will be down to the gpu ?

Not necessarily, Intel processors can handle kodi just fine, they even support hardware acceleration for video decoding up to a certain degree.
In fact not even all GPUs do support video decoding at all. Same as on ODROIDs GPU does not equal VPU. Some GPU can help hardware decode video, but mostly that is done by the CPU and its capabilities.
If you want 4k video decoding you probably need a very recent CPU as older CPUs and embedded GPUs from intel did not support 4k.

atarioldskool wrote:Do I need to be looking for a computer that has a separate gpu / graphics card and not something that is dedicated as in part of the motherboard

Depends on what you want to play. PS2 yes a dedicated GPU (extra card to plug into the board itself) is better.
If you rather want a silent all in one system a integrated GPU such as AMDs APUs are probably the better choice as they have rather good integrated GPUs in der CPUs.

I'd suggest get a decently good all in one CPU, either a recent one from AMD as they have good graphics cards, or a 6th generation or higher i5 from Intel. That way the integrated GPU should be rather good, and you can try how it works out for you. If you're satisfied with it you're fine, if not you can add a dedicated GPU later, but I don't think you need one if you have a recent CPU (at least as long as you stick with your plan that you don't want to go further than PS2 emulation).


Once again meveric it’s all making more sense now
Thanks ,
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Re: what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc

Unread postby atarioldskool » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:23 am

Right guys since meveric and rooted helping me out deciding what type of cpu is required I have been searching and searching for deals and the below computers I’ve picked out but I require your expertise to help me decide which one to go for.

I did not really wanting to go about £230 but realised I’ll be getting peanuts.

All the computers below are grade B plus meaning refurbished.
All in price order:

£169- Dell optiplex 3020,
Intel i5 (4590) 3.3ghz with 8gb ram, single thread score 2114

£179- HP 600 G1 ssf,
Quad core Intel i5 (4570) 3.2ghz with 8gb ram, single thread score 2055

£179- HP Elitdesk 800 G1 ssf,
Intel i5 (4570) 3.2ghz with 8gb ram, Intel HD graphics 4600, single thread score 2055

£219- Dell Vostro 3650,
Intel i3 (6100) 3.70ghz with 8gb ram, single thread score 2109

£239- HP Elitdesk 800 G1 ssf,
Intel i7 (4770) 3.40ghz with 8gb ram, Intel HD graphics (I assume 4600), single thread score 2228

£269- Dell OptiPlex 9020,
Intel i7 (4790) 3.60 - 4.0ghz with 8gb ram, Intel HD graphics 4600, single thread score 2284, (this is the only computer that comes with 1TB hdd)

All others are either 250gb or 500gb.
All with windows 10 (I hate windows 10 )
Free delivery on all of them.
Others I have not mentioned graphics as the site did not list it but I imagine it would be the default what would come from the manufacturers.
No keyboard or mouse just power cable (I have keyboard and mouse any way)

In all honesty I don’t really want to be spending £269 for a computer but it is the best spec for the sort of money I am willing to pay.

I would really appreciate if you both can give me your input and narrow it down for me on which one would be best suited.

Like I said this would mainly be for all arcade games Sega Model 2 and 3 is a must because of the type of games and possibly ps2, and would like to use Kodi / terrarium tv preferably in 4K uhd but if not then true 1080p is fine.
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Re: what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc

Unread postby atarioldskool » Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:53 am

Hi any help on this guys ?

Or are you not allowed to say ?
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Re: what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc

Unread postby rooted » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:56 am

I think the Dell optiplex 3020 would be okay but you may want an external GPU.

I would try it without first, then add an inexpensive GPU if you need the extra horsepower.
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Re: what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc

Unread postby atarioldskool » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:36 am

rooted wrote:I think the Dell optiplex 3020 would be okay but you may want an external GPU.

I would try it without first, then add an inexpensive GPU if you need the extra horsepower.


Thanks rooted

I’m in discussions with the guy that’s selling the dell 9020
Seeing if he will let me have it for £250

Talk about over kill loool

I do know I will probably need to get GeForce gtx750 think that’s what it’s called
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Re: what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc

Unread postby meveric » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:42 am

you probably won't find a 750 anymore unless you buy a used one... 1050 is the new 750 so to say ;)
Donate to support my work on the ODROID GameStation Turbo Image for U2/U3 XU3/XU4 X2 X C1 as well as many other releases.
Check out the Games and Emulators section to find some of my work or check the files in my repository to find the software i build for ODROIDs.
If you want to add my repository to your image read my HOWTO integrate my repo into your image.
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Re: what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc

Unread postby atarioldskool » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:06 am

meveric wrote:you probably won't find a 750 anymore unless you buy a used one... 1050 is the new 750 so to say ;)


Meveric there’s a few used one going about for about £40

Am I ok to get a used gpu ? Or is it something not to really be touching ?
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Re: what specification is needed to play retro games on a pc

Unread postby atarioldskool » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:01 pm

Quick update for you all

I went and purchased the Dell 9020 mt pc
Spec:
Intel core i7 4790 - 3.6ghz - 4.0ghz (single thread score 2284)
8gb ddr 3 ram
Intel hd graphcs 4600
1TB hdd

Paid £254 for it hope it’s a reasonable price

I have decided I will also use this pc as a media centre
Mainly to watch movies (stream) and possibly internet tv

So will be upgrading the ram to probably 16gb and also put in a dedicated gpu
Might have to upgrade the psu as well but that’s later.

This will be put to one side for now as I am still concentrating on my amazing odroid xu4
Still need to add a few diffrent consoles and a few tweaks
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