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Old 09 August 2014, 03:32   #1
Leandro Jardim
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Computer for WinUAE

Hi, I am planning to buy a new computer, especially to play with WinUAE and other emulators, and I would like to get suggestions about what kind of CPU do the computer need to have to run WinUAE and CE/PowerPC emulation with realism, like on real Amiga hardware. I am looking for a computer dont too costly, but I have no clue of how the technology advanced these last years... Today I have a computer with a motherboard called "Wolfdale", its a DualCore 2.6 GHz and a Radeon HD4000 graphics board, but for cycle-exact emulation and PowerPC support its too slow...

Be welcome and do say what do you think...

Last edited by Leandro Jardim; 09 August 2014 at 17:04.
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Old 09 August 2014, 08:08   #2
Michael Sykes
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Try to find a PC shop that let's you test WinUAE and some old game.
Most smaller shops allow that.
Just throw all you need on a USB stick and check the HW you have in mind yourself.
That way you will not buy a pig in a poke and you could also test some monitors for 50Hz support.
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Old 09 August 2014, 08:27   #3
Toni Wilen
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Modern Intel i5 (Haswell, i5 4x00. Older 3000 series is also ok but only if it is much cheaper than newer model) based system should be good enough. (Intel because you want best single core and clock-for-clock performance). It does not need to be i7 and i3 has a bit too small caches. At least 1600MHz rated memory, emulation needs as much as possible cache and memory bandwidth.

Intel integrated GPU is fine for emulation (at least for emulation that does not need to emulate 3D hardware).
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Old 09 August 2014, 08:39   #4
Pyromania
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@Toni Wilen

If using a GPU card which is better NVIDIA or AMD Radeon?
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Old 09 August 2014, 08:42   #5
Toni Wilen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyromania View Post
If using a GPU card which is better NVIDIA or AMD Radeon?
For what purposes?

I personally would wait 1-2 months, rumors says both nvidia and amd will release new GPUs (new chip, not just a rename..) this autumn.
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Old 09 August 2014, 17:01   #6
Leandro Jardim
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Thanks, I will follow your suggestions, very appreciated.
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Old 16 August 2014, 22:33   #7
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Excellent machines to use are so called "Enterprise" class PC's from HP, Lenovo or Dell.
You can buy a used HP Elite 8300 with i5 3470, 8GB ram, 500GB HD, Windows 7 or 8 license for between US$200-$300 used or "refurbished" (check ebay or marketplaats or some place like those).
These machines are very reliable and are perfect for use with emulation. They also have legacy ports like serial, parallel and PS/2 as well as VGA and Displayport and built in speaker (low quality but good enough if you have no space for external speakers).
If you want to add a graphics card down the road it is ok too (except on small form factor machines which may not have power supply big enough for big graphics cards like AMD R9 or Nvidia GTX). But you will end up spending far more money on just that graphics card than on entire PC!
Get a nice CRT monitor for that "authentic" feel and build a converter to attach a real Amiga keyboard to your PC!
http://eab.abime.net/showpost.php?p=858739&postcount=28

Good luck with your "new" machine!
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Old 17 August 2014, 06:35   #8
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My favorite computer for Winuae is not that fast but has a great display. It is an old Thinkpad with a 1600x1200 UXGA flexview display. Single core, around 1.8ghz, amd gpu with 64mb memory. Around 2005 vintage. Old but not nearly as old as my Amigas. Much faster than a real Amiga for most things. It's the display quality that really does it for me. Almost all rtg and native modes display perfectly in full screen. I'm testing the PPC emulation on a similar Thinkpad with core duo. Faster processor and emulation but the 1400x1050 sxga display doesn't scale full screen video as nicely. I have to set the display to 1280x1080 to get a clear display. Similar ATI gpu.

Winuae can run well on a lot of different hardware. I find it really cool to have an Amiga on a laptop and I've been giving it my old Thinkpad for the most part because I'm not using it for much else and the display quality is so good.
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Old 17 August 2014, 10:07   #9
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For amiga emulation any new laptop from the last 5 or 6 years will be fine.

I have a 1.6ghz netbook that runs WINUAE nicely, sound is a little stuttery though.


I recently got a dell venue 8 pro tablet for £250 which runs winuae perfectly.

just dont go for anything with an integrated video card. if it has dedicated memory and at least a dual core cpu your good.
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Old 17 August 2014, 14:01   #10
Toni Wilen
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OP included word "PowerPC" which equals "CPU needs to be as fast as possible".
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Old 17 August 2014, 20:43   #11
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How about "normal" Amiga? I guess standard A500 doesn't need that much of power to emulate, but how about standard A1200?

I'm asking because I found stumbled FSC Futro S400 on ebay. It's not that powerfull, it is about 10 years odl. It has AMD Geode CPU at 1GHz (CPU is based on Athlon-M), 512MB ram, can use CF for storage, and has IDE connector. And it's cheap.

Would that be able to emulate standard 1200?

Here's another link with details of that thin client

http://www.parkytowers.me.uk/thin/Fu...00/index.shtml
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Old 24 August 2014, 06:01   #12
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I noticed this combo which will be available in late September:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/8401/e...pk-motherboard
The motherboard with CPU will be US$100
Seems like quite a bargain since it will be running at 4.7Ghz!
CPU review here:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/8232/o...ntium-g3258-ae
Seems like it will be quite the price/performance king particularly for applications that don't need a ton of CPU cores.
Would make a great system for emulation platforms like WinUAE.
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Old 02 September 2014, 20:17   #13
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To answer my question, yes, that thin client is powerful enough for A1200 emulation. In the end I bit the bullet and ordered one (actually two, since postage was more than computer itself).

I set up A1200 with 2mb chip and 64 z3 fast ram, 68040 CPU fast as possible -80% and it works OK in CWB. I get 13k dhrystones in Sysinfo 3.24, 27x speed vs A600.
Now I only need to set it to boot minimal XP and then go straight to WinUAE.
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Old 02 September 2014, 20:41   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo761 View Post
To answer my question, yes, that thin client is powerful enough for A1200 emulation. In the end I bit the bullet and ordered one (actually two, since postage was more than computer itself).

I set up A1200 with 2mb chip and 64 z3 fast ram, 68040 CPU fast as possible -80% and it works OK in CWB. I get 13k dhrystones in Sysinfo 3.24, 27x speed vs A600.
Now I only need to set it to boot minimal XP and then go straight to WinUAE.
Wow, that is pretty impressive for the price!
Congratulations on such a nice find.
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Old 02 September 2014, 20:59   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo761 View Post
How about "normal" Amiga? I guess standard A500 doesn't need that much of power to emulate, but how about standard A1200?

I'm asking because I found stumbled FSC Futro S400 on ebay. It's not that powerfull, it is about 10 years odl. It has AMD Geode CPU at 1GHz (CPU is based on Athlon-M), 512MB ram, can use CF for storage, and has IDE connector. And it's cheap.

Would that be able to emulate standard 1200?

Here's another link with details of that thin client

http://www.parkytowers.me.uk/thin/Fu...00/index.shtml
It seems that it has already been discussed here -> http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?...ighlight=Futro
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Old 02 September 2014, 21:16   #16
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Bad performance indeed. still for 10 Euro it's ok.
I stand by my recommendation from post #12 above.
The Pentium G3258 is the most bang for the buck you are going to get for a long time.
Dual core, OC to 4.7Ghz and same cache per core as i5 CPU and DDR3 ram use (did you see the prices on the new DDR4 ram right now!)
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Old 03 September 2014, 08:27   #17
Toni Wilen
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Yeah, I agree that G3258 (aka Pentium anniversary edition) is best option if you want as cheap as possible CPU, especially if overclocked and programs you run don't need multiple cores.
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Old 03 September 2014, 15:20   #18
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Of course G3258 is better. By far, but to me it's a bit of overkill for what I wanted to do. Although I would probably use AMD's kabini platform if I would go to dedicated with more ooomph. I have one currently for my HTPC.
This was intended as small dedicated computer that would run WinUAE and boot straight to workbench, it doesn't need to be ultra fast, only to be able to run standard A1200 configuration to be able to play games via WHDLoad. So far that's achieved . Even a bit better than I hopped for, according to sysinfo this emulated one is twice the speed of my real A1200 with ACA1230. I tried running few games and they also run fine. Only thing I noticed was that mouse in Workbench doesn't have 100% fluid movements. But that could just be me.


There are few more things I need to do, get bigger CF card so I can put both windows and winuae + HDF on it. Currently it has 4GB CF so it's kinda tight.
I've modded XP installation with nlite so when installed and with swap file disabled it takes about 620MB on CF card (ISO is 130MB). Although it would be better when/if I figure out how to configure and use Win XP Embedded. That would make even faster boot and would use less space on CF.


Now I only have to make DB9 to USB adapters so I can use my Comp pros and it's all set. All in all I'm satisfied with results .
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Old 04 September 2014, 01:14   #19
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One thing that shouldn't be overlooked is GPU as well as CPU. I've made a working emulation of my non working A4000D and now I'm putting it on several different laptops. I was having problems with one native Amiga program, Blackbelt Image Master. It was taking forever to load an image, much longer than on my real Amiga with an 060 processor. I found that setting the display to "low latency vsync" was the main part of the problem and when I changed it to "--" it loaded much faster. I'm using a Thinkpad T60 with Core Duo CPU to beta test Winuae. When I put the same hdf files and configuration in an older and slower Thinkpad T42P with a Pentium M CPU, I was surprised to see Image Master load images even faster. The p that comes after the model number in Thinkpads stands for "performance" and these models have much better GPUs, usually the best available at the time they were manufactured. A better GPU makes native Amiga screen modes perform much better. It doesn't make that big a difference in RTG modes.
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Old 04 September 2014, 08:16   #20
Toni Wilen
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Laptops rarely work very well with vsync without adjusting GPU settings, vsync (especially low latency one) won't work very well if normal (dynamic) laptop power saving features are active. It seems any GPU power mode change will add too much extra random latency that break timing (multiple milliseconds, one frame is only 16/20ms)
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