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HTPC Emulation Xbox, PS2, Wii and all the rest

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

I am looking at building my first HTPC really soon and wanted some advice about the hardware needed to run console / arcade emulation smoothly. I have a rough outline of hardware that I want:

Case: Moncaso 312 / 320 (no decided yet)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H61MA-D2V microATX
CPU: Intel i3 or i5 (has to be able to fit into the case, not too noisy, but has to be able to run the last generation of consoles)
Memory: 8GB or though will see what the price difference is for 16GB
Graphics Card: Nvidia 430 low profile
Sound Card: Undecided yet, but it needs to be low profile.
TV Card: BlackGold 3600
Blu-Ray Writer: A short one that fits into this case.
Hard drives: 2x big hard drives if I can fit them in 2-3TB
PSU: Don't know yet, it depends on the power requirements of the other components.

I had to chose a discrete sound card because the motherboard doesn't include S/PDIF (TOSLINK) connection. Maybe there is a better motherboard choice..

I would like my HTPC to run quietly.

Questions:
Can I get away with an i5 processor in this case with out having too much noise and possibly heat coming from it? Conversely, is the top end i3 processor capable of running the last generation of consoles emulators?
Is there a better discrete graphics card that I could be using? I want the emulated games to run smoothly .

Thanks for any help.

Grant
post #2 of 9
An i5 CPU will be perfectly fine for arcade emulation with MAME. These CPUs with the stock cooler and stock speed should be very quiet if you have even slightly decent airflow.

For smooth Wii emulation with Dolphin in great quality, you need a strong CPU and GPU. An i5 is good for the CPU, and a GT 430 should be OK with some graphical features lowered/disabled in most games. Just don't expect the best out of this configuration. However, regardless of what hardware you're using, prepare for headaches with some games.

Things might have changed, but none of the PS2 emulators were very useful with the vast majority of games when I tried them last year. I was not aware of any working Xbox emulators.

While MAME, 8-bit, 16-bit and PS1 emulation programs are a real joy to use, emulators for the recent systems either do not work or require more tweaking than most would care to bother with.

As for a better GPU recommendation, I'll leave that to someone else.
post #3 of 9
There is no good Xbox 1 emulator, believe it or not.

PS2 and GCN games, I gotta say you need more GPU than the 430.
post #4 of 9
I have an i5 2500k (not overclocked yet) and a GTX 560 Ti. I've thought about trying Dolphin, but never fully got around to trying it. I'm not sure if my system would have problems or not.


Hey, regarding MAME, what is the best version of MAME to use if you using a 64 bit version of Windows 7 ?
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony1 View Post

Hey, regarding MAME, what is the best version of MAME to use if you using a 64 bit version of Windows 7 ?

I use "MAMEUI64." It's very user-friendly and perfectly stable under 64-bit Windows Vista and 7.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies guys, looks like I would have increase the case size to fit in a bigger graphics card which I don't want to do. Maybe I will have to sacrifice emulating that generation of consoles.

Lastly is there a more powerful low profile graphics card than the 430? And is it noisy?
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Thanks for the replies guys, looks like I would have increase the case size to fit in a bigger graphics card which I don't want to do. Maybe I will have to sacrifice emulating that generation of consoles.

I'm running into the same situation. Im in the process of building a HTPC that i can use for gaming as well. there are two options for the video card issue.

1) if you can find them AFOX makes a low profile raedon 6850 and 7850, they are sold in the US however, they to pop up on ebay every once in a while like this http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Radeon-HD-6850-GDDR5-AFOX-AF6850-graphics-card-Low-Profile-dual-fan-Japan-/251108011241?pt=PCC_Video_TV_Cards&hash=item3a77342ce9#ht_1885wt_921 its not cheap but it'll work for gaming.

2) there are a few (very few) HTPC cases that have full sized expansion slots. the Lian-li pc c36 MUSE http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=219&cl_index=1&sc_index=26&ss_index=68 is as good one, but again they are hard to find as well. ThermalTake use to make this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811133029 but i havent been able to fine one of these either.\

hope this helps some.
post #8 of 9
Type in hd 6670 or 6570 low profile on newegg or tiger direct etc. What are the exact measurements for the card that you can put in there? As far as I can tell some step up non low profile card are only 1" longer and 2-3" wider. Or do you need a single slot cooler?
I don't think emulation is so much about gpu power as it is about cpu power. Gpu power plays more of a role these days but even low power cards like a 6670, 6570 or gt430 should be able to keep up with a core i3 for emulators if you were to put a low profile 6850 or 7850 in there it would be far more expensive than just getting a 50$ midtower and you wouldn't se the performance benefits unless you had a better processor.
For example i've gone from a 4670 to a gtx 460 to a hd 6950 and I haven't had a chance to upgrade my dual athlon 2 x2 cpu, i haven't seen any performance benefits in emulators (I realize the core i3 is significantly faster though)
If you want I could test with my onboard graphics chip to see if there is even a performance loss from that.

EDIT: I may have worded that wrong, both the 6670 and 6570 can be found in low profile versions not just the 6570.
Edited by Mik James - 7/22/12 at 4:51pm
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info Mik smile.gif
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