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bc320
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I am looking to replace my current HTPC with a new one that will output in 4K.  I am thinking of going with a NUC NUC8i3BEK with 16gb of rab. I want to run launchbox and various emulartos up and including N64 and PS1.  I know the N64 can be a bugger to get to run correctly on some machines. The NUC has an integrated Intel Iris Graphics 655 card. I am not exacytl sure what I should be looking for when it comes to emulating the PS1 and N64. I don't need to emulate the PS2 or 3 or Xbox stuff.  

If this is not a good match, can someone recommend a decent pc (doesn't have to be a mini but needs to run quiet) around $500.  My plan is boot to Kodi then run Launchbox from there. 

I currently have the ROMs on an external HDD, Since I can only afford a 128gb SSD drive with, I don't think I weill be able to move all the roms to it.  I will probably keep them all on the external HDD unless performance off the the SSD is needed for the PS1 and N64.  

 

Edited by bc320
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Coming from someone who owns a very similar NUC model to the one you mentioned, you'll have no problems running PS1 and N64 games along with Kodi and Launchbox. You'll also be able to run Dreamcast and Gamecube games fairly smooth as well, but not much beyond that. However, if you're using BigBox, some of the more detailed/complex themes do lag noticeably, so I'd recommend using the more simple themes with BigBox or spend a little extra money to get a faster CPU and dedicated video card

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If I go this route, I do want to run big box.  I have no Gamecube games but maybe dreamcast.  What if I were not to use big box?  I know that is not as neat, but I am more interested in having an ok front end and everything working well instead of an awesome front end with lots of lag

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7 hours ago, bc320 said:

You have been the only person to answer some basic questions

Probably cause he's one of the few people who actually has experience with a NUC.

I'd love to be able to give you advice on it but I have zero experience with small form factor PCs, I prefer full blown PC builds.

I'm a firm believer of you can never have too much CPU power for emulation since you can always funnel the excess CPU power into reducing input latency.

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I asked earlier for some general pc specs.  Form factor was not really a concern.  The NUC happened to be in the price point I was looking for.  

Since you can offer advice, what would you recommend?  My budget would be $500.  I would like 4k @60hz video output, preferably on-board wifi and bluetooth if possible. 

 

Edited by bc320
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$500 is a pretty tight budget and some sacrifices have to be made in certain places to get in around that budget but here is something I slapped together quickly using pcpartpicker.com

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/vV92x6

Normally Intel CPUs are better at emulation than AMD but the Ryzen chip has closed that gap immensely and is more than adequate for the stuff you mentioned plus it will do PS2 if you choose to give that stuff a try at a later day. PS3, Wii U and Xbox stuff will be very much touch and go with it though it may be fine with it but it will be on the edge. I run a 2700X Ryzen in my system and it handles it all just fine.

Also normally I would not recommend AMD graphics cards because their OpenGL video drivers are a mess and a lot of emulation uses OpenGL but there is no way to get a new Nvidia card to fit in the budget. If you can find a used Nvidia 9xx or 10xx series cards for a good price (<100$) then I would certainly go with that.

I didn't include a hard drive in the build because that will come down to how much you need in your build so I left that up to you to decide.

I also left the OS out because you can figure that one out for yourself as well ;)

If you were willing and able to up your budget to something closer to say 800$ then you can do much better and not cut too many corners at all. You could get a better CPU and Nvidia graphics card. You could even upgrade the ram to 16 gigs if you choose but that isn't really necessary.

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6 minutes ago, Lordmonkus said:

$500 is a pretty tight budget and some sacrifices have to be made in certain places to get in around that budget but here is something I slapped together quickly using pcpartpicker.com

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/vV92x6

Normally Intel CPUs are better at emulation than AMD but the Ryzen chip has closed that gap immensely and is more than adequate for the stuff you mentioned plus it will do PS2 if you choose to give that stuff a try at a later day. PS3, Wii U and Xbox stuff will be very much touch and go with it though it may be fine with it but it will be on the edge. I run a 2700X Ryzen in my system and it handles it all just fine.

Also normally I would not recommend AMD graphics cards because their OpenGL video drivers are a mess and a lot of emulation uses OpenGL but there is no way to get a new Nvidia card to fit in the budget. If you can find a used Nvidia 9xx or 10xx series cards for a good price (<100$) then I would certainly go with that.

I didn't include a hard drive in the build because that will come down to how much you need in your build so I left that up to you to decide.

I also left the OS out because you can figure that one out for yourself as well ;)

If you were willing and able to up your budget to something closer to say 800$ then you can do much better and not cut too many corners at all. You could get a better CPU and Nvidia graphics card. You could even upgrade the ram to 16 gigs if you choose but that isn't really necessary.

I might be tempted to remove the GPU and get a Ryzen 5 3400G APU with vega 11 graphics at $150, and use the money saved there to get more ram so you can allocate a decent chunk to the APU. You could also save money by getting a lower wattage PSU if you dont need to power a discreet GPU. For the systems mentioned to be emulated i think that would be powerful enough, and would also run quieter and cooler and could fit in a relatively small mini itx case.

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Messing about with different things and got this warning:

  • Warning!Some AMD B350 chipset motherboards may need a BIOS update prior to using Picasso CPUs. Upgrading the BIOS may require a different CPU that is supported by older BIOS revisions.
  • Note:Some physical dimension restrictions cannot (yet) be automatically checked, such as cpu cooler / RAM clearance with modules using tall heat spreaders.

This occurred when choosing Ryzen 53400G with Gigabyte GA-AB350N-Gaming WIFI (rev. 1.0) Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard motherboad.  Picked this so no wifi card or dongle needed  Does the Ryzen 4 3400g output video in 4k @ 60hz?

Edited by bc320
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https://pcpartpicker.com/list/cdLFZf

Updated build with a 3400G and removed the graphics card. A reasonable option of course but lacks real punch if you wanna play any modern PC games on it at all.

Building a PC is always an exercise in budget vs needs vs wants.

This is all of course just a guideline for what you can get for the money

12 minutes ago, bc320 said:

Do CPUs come with heat sinks and fans?

They do and the Ryzen CPUs come with a pretty good heat sink and fan which is why I did not include one in the build.

 

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5 minutes ago, bc320 said:

Messing about with different things and got this warning:

  • Warning!Some AMD B350 chipset motherboards may need a BIOS update prior to using Picasso CPUs. Upgrading the BIOS may require a different CPU that is supported by older BIOS revisions.
  • Note:Some physical dimension restrictions cannot (yet) be automatically checked, such as cpu cooler / RAM clearance with modules using tall heat spreaders.

This occurred when choosing Ryzen 53400G with Gigabyte GA-AB350N-Gaming WIFI (rev. 1.0) Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard motherboad.  Picked this so no wifi card or dongle needed  Does the Ryzen 4 3400g output video in 4k @ 60hz?

Use a B450 motherboard, those should work out of the box.

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