Jump to content
LaunchBox Community Forums

My Arcade Build: Big Box & Virtual Reality


Recommended Posts

Hey guys!   First post here but I've been lurking for a while now.   I've been wanting to build an emulation cabinet for years, and I recently decided to get started.  Just looking for advice, pointers, or any suggestions if you think this is not feasible.   I'm still in the planning stages.

The original goal was to build a cabinet that could run everything from Pac-Man to PlayStaton1, with an i3 CPU build, and use Hyperspin as a front end.  Then after hearing & learning about Launchbox, I completely fell in love with it.  I want to run LB Big Box as my front end now, so I started planning an i5 CPU computer build.  

Then once I realized I could run Steam games through LB, I thought hey, let's do a more powerful CPU build that can run Mortal Combat X, Tekken 7, or additional Steam fighting/platformer games down the road.   This will cost significantly more for the build.

Then while looking through the valve website, I stumbled  into their Virtual Reality setups with the HTC Vive.   Now the costs are getting crazy, but how cool would it be to have a VR setup on this computer as well?   I'd need the fastest CPU & a huge GPU, more RAM, bigger HD & not to mention the costs of the VR hardware.   I know LB can't handle running front end the VR games (can it?), so I'd have to back out to the desktop to launch into the VR stuff.  Not that big a deal.   My game room is big & has plenty of space for the VR.   I could run the cables through the coindoor, or place Vive cable docking station on the frontside of the cabinet.

But first and foremost, this build is for an emulation arcade, and even if I try to do the VR, it would be after I setup the Launchbox side.  So I'm thinking of making a build to handle emulation/steam games, but with a motherboard that can handle overclocking & future VR upgrades (more RAM, big GPU, etc)

Didi mention I'm a Mac guy who knows just the basics of Windows & has never built a PC before?   First time for everything, but I'm learning!  Let's do this :)

PARTS SO FAR:

Rec Room Masters 32" Pro Upright Xtension Arcade Cabinet

Rec Room Masters Xtension Control Board Plus, with two 8-way/one 4-way joysticks, trackball & spinner (might swap joysticks)

X-Arcade single mech coin door 

32" VIZIO D-Series 1080p HDTV

FIRM COMPUTER SPECS:

Intel i7-7700K 4.2GHz Quad Core CPU

Asus Maximus IX Code LG1151 motherboard

250GB SSD for OS & 8TB HDD for games, still unsure on HDD size

1000W Power supply for future expansion

RAM, GPU & liquid cooling dependent if I do VR build  

 

So do you think the VR is feasible, added on top to the Big Box emulation with all the bells & whistles?   Honestly if I do the VR side, it won't be until the arcade is setup how I want it, and I know that will take months to tweak.   With an overclocked i7 CPU to almost 5.0 GHz & decent RAM & GPU, I'm fairly confident that I can run anything up to PS1/steam games without issue.

Any thoughts appreciated :)

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 76
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

you are correct again!  Thank you i forgot I changed the name of the retroarch folder to "retroarch 1.6.3" & the pathway was wrong.  Fixed it & now the games are loading on to contro

Posted Images

Yes.

Way overkill. You do not need a 1000W PSU unless you intend on running like 3 high end graphics cards which in my opinion is a total waste. A single 1080 Ti is enough for VR and more than enough for 1080p gaming since your TV in this build is a 1080p.

This is a seriously high end over the top gaming rig you got planned out here and more than overkill for emulation of pretty much anything, even Cemu (WiiU) will be fine with this.

Personally I think water cooling and overclocking is a waste of money and time unless it is something you are really into doing just to see how far you can push things. Basically if your hobby is building and tweaking go right ahead and do it, do what you enjoy. But if your hobby is gaming then water cooling and overclocking is a massive time and money sink. Not saying you shouldn't do it, it's your money and time and what you enjoy doing with it is up to you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I literally built this exact computer and it has served me well. I have recently upgraded to a 2160p monitor and I could use a bit more video card but other than that it's perfect.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well as I said, I'd like the build to be future proofed for VR, so I'm well aware this is overkill for emulation.   If I run multiple high end GPUs down the road, that could be 500W alone.   So I don't mind if it's overpowered.   Again I'm still deciding on the build.  

I'm also wondering from someone who has done this before, how much HDD space is required for the emulation side (all the emulators, roms, Launchbox, big box extras, perhaps rocket launcher, videos, etc).   Plus adding my steam games.  I'm thinking 8TB?   I really have no idea how much space is required to have a complete emulation setup with every game & system from Pong to PS1.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just my opinion but take what you have said you are putting in there but drop the PSU down to something like 600 W and get a single Nvidia 1070 or a 1080Ti if you really aren't concerned about cost, 16 gigs of ram is more than fine but 32 gigs if you really must do overkill. No games whatsoever will even come close to using 16 gigs let alone 32 of ram. Multiple graphics cards are one of those things that look cool on paper but end up being more hassle than they are worth at times. Not all games support SLI and some even require you to disable the 2nd or 3rd card (if you plan on 3). Remember just because you throw in 2 cards with 8 gigs of vram in each that does not mean you get 16 gigs of vram and it also doesn't mean you get twice the power.

The whole concept of "future proofing" a PC is a bogus notion to begin with, nothing is ever future proof because no matter what you build today it will always be outdated in 5 years or less. This is just a fact of technology.

The system laid out with what you had in mind combined with what I am suggesting 600 W PSU, Intel i7-7700K, 16 gigs ram, 1070 (or 1080Ti) will drive the current VR tech without issues. Just keep in mind that VR is in a very precarious state right now. While I won't go so far as to say it is dead many people believe it is. I believe we haven't seen yet whether or not it will survive beyond its current state but as things stand right now VR is a gimmick. VR still needs the "killer app" to make it really shine and get the sales of VR head mounts. If that happens we will see more and then who knows what sort of VR tech will come out and require for power to drive it. You might just see no matter what you buy today won't be able to push it and you will end up building another system all together in a couple of years time.

If you are building a big badass system for gaming just to show off for epeen points then you are just wasting money you could spend on other things to improve your gaming experience *cough* G-Sync monitor *cough*.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for building the best you can afford but there is a point where you are getting very marginal power increase for your dollar. There is a sweet spot and that is generally the 2nd tier of CPU and GPU. Now if you wanted to use your PC for video editing and stuff like that then yeah more power is great but for gaming you really just don't need all that extra power.

Now in terms of hard drive space required, that is going to come down to just how many games (and the systems) you want to have. If you are planning on having every game for as many systems as possible then you will need a lot. The PS2, PS1, Gamecube and Wii libraries are quite large and the media type (CD and DVD) makes for large files. If you are planning on a more curated 32 and 64 bit collection then you can go with less. All of my stuff fits with room for expansion on a single 2 TB drive, that includes about 10,500 games and Launchbox.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Those are all very valid points (especially on the VR) & I will definitely take them into consideration.   If I was smart I'd forget the VR thing & just build something that can run Mortal Kombat X smoothly on Steam. 

Yeah I looked at those G Sync monitors, but it would be pretty pricey, since I need a 32 inch to fit in my cabinet.  They look sweet though.   I thought 1080p was more than enough resolution for emulation, if not too much.  

Sounds like more HDD space the better, pretty cheap anyways.  I'll still get the M.2 drive for the OS though.   

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

1080p is fine for emulation and yes G-Sync is not cheap but I will tell you from first hand experience it is awesome and worth the money if you are looking to dump some money into something that is going to be used for years. There are newer G-Sync displays coming out that are bigger so they will fit in your cabinet.

But here is the reason I recommend them (to people willing to spend the money). They have extremely low input latency, especially compared to a TV and the ability to have the monitor adjust it's refresh rate to match the game / emulator is extremely handy especially for Mame arcade games which have odd ball refresh rates. There are some discussions about them here on the forums.

In the end it's your system and your money to spend how you want to. I don't know what your total budget for this rig is at but going by the fact you were going to put a 1000 W PSU in it I am assuming you are wanting to dump a couple of grand (or more into it). My advice (and I have been PC gaming for 20 years) is to spend about 1000 to 1500 US dollars on the PC itself and then about another 1000$ on a good gaming monitor. The monitor will carry over to future builds. In my experience in the past a top end gaming rig is just as obsolete in the same amount of time as one that is just one or two notches below and the performance difference is almost always negligible. My currect rig is an AMD 8350, 16 gigs ram, GTX 970 GPU and it handles everything I throw at it running at 1440p and 60+ frames per second. Games like GTA 5 I do have to tinker a little with the settings to get it 60+ FPS but I am running at high to very high settings. Doom (the new one) runs at 90 fps using the Vulkan API at very high settings.

Now obviously my PC is nothing even close to considered high end by todays standards but I have been using it now for several years and it's still rocking it out. I have no intentions of spending any money on upgrading it any time soon (this year). Certainly it could do with a little boost in GPU power for running at 1440p but if I was running at 1080p it wouldn't break a sweat on anything unless I went too crazy with things like maximum graphics settings in GTA 5 which has a huge scalability range.

Just my 2 cents.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I guess my understanding of monitors & emulation is a bit lacking, as I thought that running at 1440p or above was considered a disadvantage, for running MAME arcade classics, NES, etc.   I'm not familiar with input latency & or the various refresh rates for particular old arcade games.   Do those high end monitors adjust the correct refresh rate automatically?   Perhaps you could show me the forum link about these monitors so I can educate myself.  

The more I think about the VR setup, the more I realize what a silly idea it is, at this point.  Perhaps that money could be better well spent. 

I cant see myself playing games like GTA5 or First Person Shooters on my arcade cabinet either.    Just modern platformers like Cuphead or fighters like Tekken 7.   So I'm not sure if the 1440p is really necessary.   60fps would be great tho.   

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll start with the easy stuff first. With that CPU you were planning on an Nvidia 1070 is going to be the best value in terms of power for performance. It is going to run any current game you throw at it @ 1440p 60 fps+ without issue. A 1080 Ti is certainly a better card but more than double the price.

Now for the monitor part of  it. There is zero disadvantage running at resolutions greater than 1080. In fact there are certain advantages depending on your particular tastes. If you are the type of person who wants to mimic the look of a CRT with scanline effects then you will want to run your games at an "integer scale" (i'll explain a little further down) of their native resolution or else the scanlines will be oddly spaced giving a funky and distracting look. If you do not like scanlines than no big deal here at all you can just scale to fit your screen and it doesn't matter.

Integer scale means that the games resolution is scaled at an even, non decimal number eg: 3x, 4x, 5x and not 2.5x or 3.5x. Integer scaling at 1080 resolution means you will see some black bars at the top and bottom of your "game screen". This happens because the original game systems such as the NES, SNES, Genesis and others run natively at a vertical resolution of 240 pixels (give or take a few depending on the system). 1080p divided by 240 equals 4.5. If you use an integer you either scale it 4x which gets you 960 pixels leaving 120 pixels to be split into 60 pixels at the top and bottom, these are the black bars. If you choose to scale at 5x integer this is 1200 pixels high which is 120 pixels split by 2 equaling 60 pixels on top and bottom now being cut off by screen. They are rendered but you just wont see them and depending on the game and where it displays certain HUD elements they may get cut off some.

At 1440 resolution 240 pixels fits neatly at 6x leaving you with little to no black bars at all. I say little to none because not all systems are 240 pixels in height. Sometimes they might be a little off and you will have some small black bars. A 4K display is 2160 pixels high which has a neat and tidy integer scale of 9.

If you do non integer scale what the emulator will do is it will every so many rows of pixels duplicate a row which for the most part is not noticeable at all to most people but to some it is. And if you do decide you want a scanline effect this spacing with a non integer scale will be noticeable.

Ok now on to refresh rates. Most TVs and monitors run at 60 Hz and games that run at 60 frames per second are completely happy with this, especially if you turn on V-Sync. V-Sync comes at the cost however of some added input latency making some games more difficult to play. What G-Sync does is it sets your monitors refresh rate to match that of the game and you can have V-Sync off which reduces your input latency and removes any screen tearing caused by a games framerate not matching that of the display. Generally on consoles the games run at 60 fps (European PAL region games run at 50 fps) but arcade games all run at their own oddball refresh rates. You have 2 choices with V-Sync, you can either tell Mame to use V-Sync which will remove the screen tearing but games such as Mortal Kombat will run faster (I believe the original arcade game runs at something like 54 Hz). This speed up of a game can cause minor but possibly distracting uneven scrolling or even cause certain games to run into bugs caused by the new speed, this though is extremely rare. So yes G-Sync monitors (and Freesync for AMD users) will sync the monitor to the game for smooth scrolling at the games proper speed and no screen tearing. It really is the best of all worlds but at the cost of the price of the monitor and locking yourself into a specific video card type for that monitor if you want the G-Sync (or Freesync) feature. Freesync won't work with and Nvidia card and vice versa.

If you do want to use a scanline shader effect they actually look better on a higher resolution display type because of pixel density. The shader has more pixels per square inch to work with making the scanline effect much better looking.

Now for a bit more on input lag. Generally speaking TVs are worst and can add quite a bit of it though this depends and varies from TV to TV but they can add anywhere from 80 to 160 milleseconds or even more delay. This is because of hardware in the TV for processing the image to make it look better for TV shows and Movies. Most TVs do have a "Game Mode" which turns off this extra image processing but they still have quite a bit of input lag compared to a regular monitor which has significantly less than a TV. But higher end gaming monitors have even less input lag than a regular average run of the mill monitor. My monitor which is an Asus G-Sync has the input latency in the single digits, somewhere around 2 milliseconds. And I can say going from my TV to my PC monitor it is quite noticeable and going from my CRT TV with my Genesis to my PC it isn't noticeable at all, it feels exactly the same with the same game, MUSHA.

Now having said all that I cannot say that an expensive ass G-Sync monitor is for everyone and you do not need to have one to enjoy some good old retro gaming goodness. I often sit on my couch with my TV and play games quite well with the extra input lag. I can however say though that if what I described above does sound like something you would like and you are willing to spend the money on it, it is a worthwhile investment. My monitor cost me 1000$ after taxes here in Canada and I admit I was worried when I bought it that it wasn't going to impress me enough to make me not regret the purchase. I can say that I was not disappointed at all and I was and still am extremely happy with it. Gameplay is butter smooth and controls are responsive and instant making fighting games like Street Fighter an absolute joy to play.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow that was a lot to take in.  Thanks for taking the time to write your detailed response.   Greatly appreciated!  

I think you've sold me on the G-sync monitor.   If I go that route, the VR idea is dead, as the costs will just be more than I'm willing to spend on this project.  I think I'm much better off focusing on just making a great arcade emulator.  That means I can cut back on the 1080 Ti GPU, 32GB RAM, VR equipment, etc and use some of those savings for a decent monitor.

I was planning on running scanline shader effects & had no idea about integer scales.  So based on what you described, I should go with a 1440p monitor.   4K would be nice, but at 32 inches I don't even what to think about that cost.   Perhaps a G-Sync 1440p monitor is the way to go?  Sounds like 4K would work as well with proper integer scales.

So just so I don't get confused..... if you use a G-Sync monitor, it sounds like you have to have a specific brand GPU, specifically an Nvidia GeForce GPU.   Is that correct?    Does the brand of the monitor matter?    Does IPS vs TN really matter?

As far as refresh rates go, what is the ideal monitor refresh rate capability when building an emulation arcade?  60Hz?  100Hz?  144Hz?  This stuff starts to get a little confusing.

This all sounds great, but I think I will have a hard time finding a G-Sync monitor that is 32 inches to fit in my cabinet & is also the right price.   Not many are out there at 32" (most are 27" or 35" which does not fit my cabinet, and this is the only one I could find that checks all the boxes (Acer Predator XB321HK 32" 4K UHD) but it only has a 60Hz refresh rate. 

Curious on your thoughts of these 2 monitors, as one is 4K and double the price of the 1440p... also looks like doing VEGA mount would be no problem on these.

https://www.amazon.com/Acer-Predator-XB321HK-bmiphz-Widescreen/dp/B01A3N60A2/ref=sr_1_7?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1498495579&sr=1-7&keywords=g-sync&refinements=p_n_size_browse-bin%3A3547808011

https://www.amazon.com/ASUS-PB328Q-2560x1440-DisplayPort-Monitor/dp/B00XI4PAD2/ref=sr_1_10?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1498495579&sr=1-10&keywords=g-sync&refinements=p_n_size_browse-bin%3A3547808011&th=1

Thanks for all your help Lordmonkus  :)  Means a lot.   Are you one of the programmers for Launchbox, or only a moderator on the forum?   Just curious   

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Hoakypoaky said:

if you use a G-Sync monitor, it sounds like you have to have a specific brand GPU, specifically an Nvidia GeForce GPU.   Is that correct?

Yes, G-Sync is Nvidea tech and you need Nvidia video cards. AMD video cards support Freesync which is their tech.

 

2 hours ago, Hoakypoaky said:

Does the brand of the monitor matter?    Does IPS vs TN really matter?

Brand no. IPS vs TN, that will be up to you. IPS will give you richer colours and better viewing angles but will cost slightly more and have a very small amount of extra input lag but it is extremely small so nothing to really think about. IPS monitors can also have some backlight bleed which basically means on dark scenes you may see some light bleeding out at the corners.

Mine is a TN and I am fine with it. But it is ultimately up to you. The differences between IPS and TN are minor.

I really cannot tell you which monitor to buy specifically, you have to research each one and figure out the best for your situation in terms of cost and size. Just make sure it is G-Sync, it will say it in the description. I would buy one that is 144 Hz though because that will grow with future gaming on the PC side.

2 hours ago, Hoakypoaky said:

Are you one of the programmers for Launchbox, or only a moderator on the forum?

Just a moderator.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I spent most the day researching these G-Sync monitors, as well as newly announced models coming to market soon.  

There is only one G-Sync monitor being produced (by any manufacturer) that's 32 inches, not curved, and at least 1440p resolution.   It's the Acer Predator XB321HK.   It's over $1200, is 4K resolution, but unfortunately only runs at 60Hz MAX, regardless of resolution settings (1440p, 4K, etc).   So what the hell is the point of dropping this much coin on this monitor if the refresh rate is so low?   

There are plenty of G-Sync options on 27" or larger curved monitors, and the upcoming 27" models run at 4K & 144hz.  Unfortunately none of those size options fit my needs.  

I guess 32 inch flat G-Sync monitors at a minimum 1440p are rare.  So I don't think G-Snyc is going to work for me at the moment.  Maybe when more models hit the market in a year or so.

I guess my question at this point  is.... do you think it's worth it to purchase a 1440p WQHD monitor running at 60Hz max for around $450, or just roll with a VIZIO 1080p TV running at 60Hz for $200?  I guess the only benefit would be proper integer scale.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Curved is a gimmick anyways, so that I wouldn't even care about.

I would still say the real benefit of a G-Sync (or Freesync) is the low input latency and variable refresh rate in Mame. The ability to turn off V-Sync and still have butter smooth scrolling with the games running at their proper speed is very big.

With a 1080p display you can still use integer scaling, you will just have some noticeable black bars at the top and bottom of the screen that are 60 pixels each. Input lag is going to come down to your personal tolerance for it. Some people are very sensitive to it and others not so much but a TV does have more input latency than a monitor so a 1440 60 Hz would be better than a TV. If you are going to abandon the G-Sync idea then look into the BenQ gaming monitors, they are known for their low input lag.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand the benefits of G-Sync, high refresh rates, and low input latency.  

I need a 32 inch flat screen monitor with at least 1440p resolution & 144Hz refresh rate.   Hell I'd take anything over 100Hz at this point.   But it does not exist.   I've looked at all the major manufacturers & searched Amazon, Newegg, etc.    Those BenQ gaming monitors would be great, but again, they don't make a 32" gaming monitor.

The problem is that there are not many choices in the 32 inch flat screen monitor size, so I think I'm stuck.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you aren't going with G-Sync then don't worry about the high refresh rates. In fact those would be problematic, especially if you turn on V-Sync because it will sync the game to the high refresh rate causing issues.

The response time you see advertised is the amount of time it takes for a pixel to go from grey to white and back to grey again. The lower the better and helps reduce motion blurring, anything that is 5 or less is good but 1 or 2 is best.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So if I don't go G-Sync (which is not looking likely), then a 1440p/60Hz monitor would be ok then.   Hmmm. 

I don't think you answered before, but why would they make a 4K G-sync monitor with just a 60 Hz refresh rate?  What's the purpose of that?   Perhaps it's just an older monitor.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah 1440p @ 60 Hz would be fine but I would try and find out the input latency on the display if possible but that isn't always easy to find since it's not in the general specs. I am not sure if BenQ makes a 1440 / 60 display or not but I would look into that since they are known for their low latency displays.

I'm not sure why they would make a 4K G-Sync 60 Hz to be honest, I guess a limit on what they can currently realistically do with the tech but that is purely a guess.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/25/2017 at 11:15 AM, lordmonkus said:

Yes.

Way overkill. You do not need a 1000W PSU unless you intend on running like 3 high end graphics cards which in my opinion is a total waste. A single 1080 Ti is enough for VR and more than enough for 1080p gaming since your TV in this build is a 1080p.

This is a seriously high end over the top gaming rig you got planned out here and more than overkill for emulation of pretty much anything, even Cemu (WiiU) will be fine with this.

Personally I think water cooling and overclocking is a waste of money and time unless it is something you are really into doing just to see how far you can push things. Basically if your hobby is building and tweaking go right ahead and do it, do what you enjoy. But if your hobby is gaming then water cooling and overclocking is a massive time and money sink. Not saying you shouldn't do it, it's your money and time and what you enjoy doing with it is up to you.

Hello, Lordmonkus is 100% right. You don't need 1000W PSU. You should use 144Hz gaming monitor. I also used this and I'm very happy because 144Hz monitor is best for gaming.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I've changed the PC build specs since deciding to ditch the VR idea.  Not going that crazy.   Like to put the money into a high end gaming monitor instead. 

I'd love to find a 32 inch gaming monitor with 4K resolution & 144Hz refresh rate, 2ms response time.   G-Sync would be nice too.  Unfortunately it doesn't exist. 

So have 2 options basically...

1)  Go with the Acer Predator XB321HK now  (32" 4K  60Hz  4ms G-Sync) for approx. $1300

2)  Go with VIZIO 1080p 60Hz TV now for $200, and wait for monitor manufacturers to make the monitor I really want. 

They make those full featured gaming monitors at 27 inches, just not 32 inches.  So I would think someone will make one soon enough.   So I'm really leaning towards waiting & rolling with the TV for now.  

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...