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Portable PS2 project?


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(not sure if I'm in the right section, please move thread to the appropriate subforum if I am not)

Hokay, so, this is a weird proposal that I have no idea if is even possible, but it's an idea I like a lot and would like to look into the possibilities thereof. A while back, Youtuber ETA Prime made a "GhettoPi Boy" that was a pretty neat piece of kit for portable emulation up to the PSX level(if you did it with a Pi 3 B+). But over time I began to wonder if it would be possible to make something similar that could take it a step farther and make a similar piece of kit that could handle up to PS2/XBox/GC.

Obviously we ain't using a Raspberry Pi for this, we're gonna need a fair bit more power. What I'm wondering is if there's ANY sort of mini PC, or even some single-board computer with enough power that I know not the existence of, that would be small enough to make this work? Is it even possible to find hardware that would be able to connect to it in a package that could be kept in dimensions close to what's being aimed for here?

Power would be an issue since we'd need to run it off a portable power bank, and at the power output PS2 emulators need that could be difficult.

But basically I want to look into this in two stages; Is it possible on ANY level, and then is it possible without spending an absolute fortune on it?

Things we need to solve for:
Computer of sufficiently small form factor while retaining sufficient power - will need to have Bluetooth, as well
Sufficient supply of portable power to said computer
Display of about 4-5 inches that will work with the build

The controller is a simple matter - any telescopic controller will work as long as the computer has Bluetooth.

Anyone else interested in looking into such an insane(ly awesome) concept?


EDIT: I should also make note I'm looking to see if this solution can be made solder-free. Something that anyone with the money could slap together easily once they have the parts - I'm sure it's very possible to make a portable system of this type if you can solder things together.

Edited by FormulaFox
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Its not an insane concept. Portable retrogaming is the best! However, I personally gave up the pursuit of finding a small box pc that would work. I settled for getting an Nvidia Shield TV which is pretty damn close. ETA Prime has a video of it emulating Gamecube games. 

Don't forget about storage by the way. Unless you're wanting to lug external hard drives with it, PS2, GC etc are pretty big files. 


Edited by fromlostdays
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Actually, storage ain't that big an issue either... Not with how big flash drives are getting these days. That limits our options for the core unit, obviously, but there a lot of issues limiting that anyway. I doubt storage is going to be our bottleneck.

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  • 2 weeks later...

XboX isnt possible. Currently, the only active Xbox emulator is still a ways off before being considered usable. It only boots several games and only a few of those are playable.

Gamecube is possible Via Dolphin.

PS2 is possible, but the only Proven emulator for PS2 is PCSX2 which is x86 only and not open-source, meaning whichever platform you use has to either be x86 or have an internal PS2 emulator.

Seems to me that your best bet is likely an x86 mini-PC build using BigBox. That said, Storage WILL be an issue. PSX alone is 500+GB for just the complete US RomSet. PS2 has significantly more games and many of them on DVDs rather than CDs (4.5gb vs 700mb), Gamecube discs are mini-dvds so roughly 3x larger than your average CD.

If you want to play the entire GC and PS2 library without issue.... I'd suggest a gen 2 Ryzen APU. Alternatively, you can pick up a 4th gen or better i3 and a gtx 750 or better gpu. Both will probably need 8gb RAM because Win 10 and large BigBox collections can be resource hungry. But by far, your largest issue will be Storage. 2TB minimum for highly curated sets for those two consoles. Also, a bonus, Wii should work reasonably well on any system that can emulate Gamecube.

You can easily consolize a PC to do what you want, but if you were hoping for something as small as a Single Board PC like the Raspberry Pi for this project, we are likely still a several years away.

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1 hour ago, dmjohn0x said:

That said, Storage WILL be an issue. PSX alone is 500+GB for just the complete US RomSet. PS2 has significantly more games and many of them on DVDs rather than CDs (4.5gb vs 700mb), Gamecube discs are mini-dvds so roughly 3x larger than your average CD.

I'm not looking to carry the entirety of any library with me. I'm not that......Hmm...What word should I use to not come off as offensive to any specific group? Bah, better to just elaborate.

My existing GC/PS2/PS1 library clocks in under 100GB, and would not likely be expanded much(if at all) for this, and my NES/SNES/SMS/Genesis/Atari/Arcade library -which would NOT be expanded at all- is under 5GB. In my case, at least, storage would not be an issue. Good 256GB USB3 flash drives are readily available for under $50 these days.

The portability of the system to run it is very much the primary bottleneck to overcome. AFAIK, the only single board PC that hits performance that can, in theory, handle PCSX2 is the LattePanda Alpha, and at that price($300-$400 depending on which version you get) being capable of something "in theory" isn't good enough. And of course mini-PCs aren't exactly "mini" enough for a handheld portable(not ones of sufficient power, anyway), and usually don't work well with portable power solutions(it's hard enough to find a power bank that has enough output to keep the Raspberry Pi from throttling it's performance due to undervoltage).

It may indeed be a few years before this is possible. But I'd certainly like this idea to be in the back of people's minds to come back to as technology develops.

Edited by FormulaFox
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So, ETA Prime -whom I mentioned in my original post- is making a handheld out of the previously-mentioned LattePanda Alpha. His emulation tests of the board never included PCSX2(he's only gone so far as to say it can handle Dreamcast and Gamecube), but he is going to be using BigBox as it's frontend. I've dropped a question for him regarding this matter - don't know if he'll be able to reply, though. Even if it falls just short, it's itneresting to see that single board computers really are THIS close to being able to make it possible for us to get handheld emulation on the PS2 level.

EDIT: I stand corrected. Apparently ETA Prime did some PCSX2 tests on the LattePanda Alpha last year and it actually DOES work - somewhat. Not everything emulates well, but its very close to functioning well.

Edited by FormulaFox
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