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Is this MAME PC overkill?


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I want to place a compact PC in my home cinema room that is capable of playing all MAME ROMs. No monitor is required as it will all be routed through an amp to a TV/projector.

Is this overkill? - http://www.chillblas...ion-Dagger.html

If the answer is yes, could you please recommend specs to suit.

Yeah, it's overkill for MAME on anything but the most graphics heavy 3D games but it'll double-up as a Steam Box, and looks pretty neat. I know next to nothing about these things, but I wouldn't mind one of those myself.

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Yeah, MAME is an exceptionally broad standard - games as modern as Street Fighter III: Third Strike can run on my lowly NC10 Netbook (which is a 1.6Ghz Processor with Integrated Graphics and 2GB Ram!), or even an Android Tablet. On the flipside of that, though, 3D games are notorious for running poorly on MAME, and stuff older than Third Strike (in this example, let's take Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha) will run like an utter pig unless you've got at least a dual core at a reasonable processor speed.

In terms of emulator shenanigans, the heart of operations will always be the processor, but you'll find that even modern emulation (such as Dolphin) only utilises two or three cores at a time and prefers having more instruction sets, so you can consider Dual Cores at a high clock speed as an option if money is tight and you really want to run a majority of PS2 games. But that's digressing from the point, really.

So, the Chillblast PC. Yes, it's overkill. But more importantly, I'm concerned about the specification, so I wouldn't recommend it as such on that alone - While it's packing a 2500k (which is an amazing processor), the motherboard is based on the H61 chipset - If I remember correctly, this chipset wouldn't allow for Overclocking, making the unlocked multiplier which the 2500k is known for (and what makes it expensive) completely redundant. If it can be changed to a H67, that makes it gravy. Remember, if we're strictly going emulation, you're looking at clock speed, and that's free performance you're missing out on while forking out 700 quid on a PC!

In all, have a think about what sort of games you actually want to play. You'd be surprised at what you can get away with at the bottom end of the market - but on the other hand, that extra money can go *so* much further, it's unreal.

EDIT: Turns out that any of the H series of Intel-based motherboards cannot overclock at all, so there goes that idea. For a similar PC though, have a quick butchers at Simmy's dilemma that should be in the PC Building subforum of Ask The Forum about a compact PC - after a few tweaks, it turns out it's a really amazing machine for pretty much anything.

Or, er, look at an Ouya/Raspberry Pi if you're after playing Bubble Bobble. Yes, it really is that broad!

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So, the Chillblast PC. Yes, it's overkill. But more importantly, I'm concerned about the specification, so I wouldn't recommend it as such on that alone - While it's packing a 2500k (which is an amazing processor), the motherboard is based on the H61 chipset - If I remember correctly, this chipset wouldn't allow for Overclocking, making the unlocked multiplier which the 2500k is known for (and what makes it expensive) completely redundant. If it can be changed to a H67, that makes it gravy. Remember, if we're strictly going emulation, you're looking at clock speed, and that's free performance you're missing out on while forking out 700 quid on a PC!

I'd be far more concerned about the fact the 2500k is a Sandy Bridge CPU*. Which was superceded by the Ivy Bridge 3750k about 9 months ago...Which is to be surpassed again by the Haswell in June...

Oh, the GPU is out of date as well.

*I have the same in my PC, and it's almost 2 years old.

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That's fair enough, although I was under the impression that Sandy to Ivy jump wasn't all that great - about 10% performance gains, but it's a whole lot warmer when you attempt to push it for OC, so Sandy pretty much makes those gains up. Of course, the 3570k's a better proposition if you're keeping it stock, or you can't overclock the 2500k, much like this very situation.

Them's the breaks when you're buying a prebuilt, though. It's either old tech or a lop-sided GPU/CPU combination.

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I'd be far more concerned about the fact the 2500k is a Sandy Bridge CPU*. Which was superceded by the Ivy Bridge 3750k about 9 months ago...Which is to be surpassed again by the Haswell in June...

Oh, the GPU is out of date as well.

*I have the same in my PC, and it's almost 2 years old.

From the all powerful thread in PC Building:

"2500K or 3570K?

The 3570K is from Intel's 2012 'Ivy Bridge' line, but performance increases over 2011's 'Sandy Bridge' 2500K are negligible. If both have the same clock speed, there is a 5-10% performance improvement with a 3570K, but it tends to have a lower overclocking ceiling. The main feature advantages of the 3570K are a big improvement in the onboard GPU (largely irrelevant if using a video card), and Quicksync, which is useful if you do a lot of video encoding. Intel's 2013 'Haswell' line isn't due until the summer.


  • Buy a 3570K if:
  • You want to use the onboard graphics and/or Quicksync, and are fine with a maximum overclock of around 4.5Ghz
  • OR it is no more than £15 more expensive than the 2500K
    Buy a 2500K if:
  • You absolutely must overclock to 5Ghz epeen levels
  • OR you aren't fussed about Quicksync and onboard video, and you can nab one for >£15 cheaper than a 3570K

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If you want to run literally everything MAME supports, get the fastest clocked Intel CPU money can buy, as the whole philosophy behind MAME is purity and exact emulation, they don't believe in cheating shortcuts to get performance, so as a result, you need as much firepower as possible to emulate the more modern games it now supports.

MAME is strictly a non-profit project. Its main purpose is to be a reference to the inner workings of the emulated arcade machines. This is done both for educational purposes and for preservation purposes, in order to prevent many historical games from disappearing forever once the hardware they run on stops working. Of course, in order to preserve the games and demonstrate that the emulated behavior matches the original, you must also be able to actually play the games. This is considered a nice side effect, and is not MAME's primary focus.
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