PCem and a new PC

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tk421
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PCem and a new PC

Post by tk421 » Sun 18 Dec, 2016 4:27 am

Good day,

I have successfully run Jedi Knight on PCem using my trusty old A8 laptop running at 2 Ghz. Performance is slow but the game does work, especially with the right drivers installed. The Star Wars Rebellion CD installed, and even updated the video card driver on my emulated Pentium 100 running Windows 95. Rebellion did not work however, but running JK with 3D accelerated graphics was nice since it usually only worked with WIndows XP in VMware or Virtual PC. Sound remains a major issue, as it still stutters badly.

I am considering buying a new PC. I am budget conscious, and I will be running VMware on the new PC, as well as some games, but I am wondering what I should buy to run PCem at best performance?

Thank you for your time,

tk421

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SarahWalker
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Re: PCem and a new PC

Post by SarahWalker » Sun 18 Dec, 2016 8:11 am

Something with an Intel CPU, clocked as high as possible. If you're using 3DFX emulation then you want something with 4 threads - at least an i3, preferably an i5. Otherwise a Pentium would be okay.

Zup
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Re: PCem and a new PC

Post by Zup » Sun 18 Dec, 2016 9:58 am

Why Intel? Although Intel has CPUs with higher performance than AMD (so, in the high end Intel beats AMD), in the middle and lower end AMD usually offers better price for the same performance. On the lower end (APUs), Intel integrated video cards suuuuucks.

Is there any reason to prefer Intel?

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SarahWalker
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Re: PCem and a new PC

Post by SarahWalker » Sun 18 Dec, 2016 10:59 am

My understanding from those who own AMD CPUs is that PCem is a quite a bit slower on them than on Intel chips. PCem really needs good single thread performance, which AMD's currently lineup sadly doesn't have.

startmenu
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Re: PCem and a new PC

Post by startmenu » Sun 18 Dec, 2016 11:09 am

Try a better AMD processor. On my tower PC(with AMD Athlon X2 7750 Black Edition overclocked to 3.2GHz), PCem runs as fast as it does on my i3 2.4GHz laptop. Those are my newest computers. Also, I have a Power Mac G5 Quad 2.5 which is still powerful, but PCem refuses to be compiled on PPC machines. And I dont want to port it.

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SarahWalker
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Re: PCem and a new PC

Post by SarahWalker » Sun 18 Dec, 2016 12:12 pm

What generation i3 is that?

In any case, something like a Pentium G4400 3.3 GHz (which you can get for about £50 in the UK currently) will most likely outperform any of your machines on PCem by a good margin.

startmenu
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Re: PCem and a new PC

Post by startmenu » Sun 18 Dec, 2016 12:23 pm

Ivy Bridge i3 3110M. The PC I emulate is equiped with a PMMX 166 processor and 64M RAM. I usually runs 2D games. Also, Tomb Raider 1 with Voodoo patch works well.

startmenu
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Re: PCem and a new PC

Post by startmenu » Mon 19 Dec, 2016 1:19 pm

A second-hand/used Sandy/Ivy Bridge i5 or i7 processor is also a good idea, if you don't mind. Little do Intel's newer processors make progress in performance recently.

A. Naim
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Re: PCem and a new PC

Post by A. Naim » Sat 24 Dec, 2016 9:42 pm

Or wait to see if Xen/Ryzen/Summit Ridge? is good.

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omarsis81
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Re: PCem and a new PC

Post by omarsis81 » Sun 25 Dec, 2016 3:52 pm

I don't think Zen processors would make a huge difference with PCem, as those processors will have 8 cores / 16 threads but at relatively low clock, and as SarahWalker said, PCem needs a good single thread performance processor

A. Naim
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Re: PCem and a new PC

Post by A. Naim » Mon 26 Dec, 2016 12:57 am

omarsis81 wrote:I don't think Zen processors would make a huge difference with PCem, as those processors will have 8 cores / 16 threads but at relatively low clock, and as SarahWalker said, PCem needs a good single thread performance processor
First, I'm going to apologize. This is going to be ranty; it's not aimed at you, but at the general lack of good information on these topics. There's a lot of misconceptions out there about why Intel hasn't improved the speed of their CPUs much, or what AMD's Zen means, or various other things I'm going to try to clear up here. But please, if anyone's going to reply, read the entire post. :)

That's an internet myth. The demo CPU AMD showed off is their competitor to the i7 6900, running at an underclocked 3 GHz. The minimum speed of a Zen processor will be 3.4 GHz, and the maximum number of cores/threads will be 8/16. In short, that myth is about as accurate as assuming the entire Intel 6X00-lineup has 8 cores / 16 threads and 3.2 GHz based on the i7 6900.

Unfortunately, many people do not know how to read *technical news articles, nor understand that engineering samples are *always* underclocked. Intel and AMD.

You can expect AMD Zen CPUs to be competitive with Intel CPUs. But, I'm going to tell you bluntly, the internet hype over a new race between AMD and Intel leading to massive leaps in technology is largely vapour. Silicon cannot go faster than about 5 GHz. Yes, there are scores up to about 8 GHz. The people who do that use liquid nitrogen, and usually fry their CPU in the process, unless they shut it off in time.

There are efforts underway to transition to materials other than silicon, and to add dedicated processing to CPUs for things such as video encode/decode (indeed, many modern CPUs already have a few of those). However, if a new "race to the highest GHz" begins, it will have nothing to do with a resurgence of AMD.

Those efforts have been underway for literally decades. For example, IBM has announced a lab result of a CPU with 7 nanometer features using silicon-germanium molecules. Silicon-germanium was first proposed for CPUs in 1994 at the latest.

And no. AMD's Zen will not smoke Intel, either. Plainly and bluntly, there is very little room for more speed on silicon.

Yes, there may be a new *Hz race coming up. But that would be due to R&D for decades on a good, cheap, mass-producible silicon replacement.

* Reading technical news articles correctly can depend on technical details that aren't explained in the article. ;)

tk421
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Re: PCem and a new PC

Post by tk421 » Mon 26 Dec, 2016 1:27 am

I would like to thank you for your input and suggestions. It is a big decision and I know you are the experts. I am trying not to spend too much money, but if I go too low with the cpu then I would be better off waiting for the prices to go down for laptops.

I think PCem is a great program. Voodoo emulation is a huge leap forward in virtualization technology and PCem achieves this brilliantly, although in my case a new pc would probably be a good idea. I have yet to successfully test Voodoo 2 capability, but the promise is amazing. A new pc would help me test this latest feature of the program nicely.

The next question I have might be a bit much, but which cpu would be the minimum for P233 MMX emulation? I know I would easily settle for P200 MMX, and even P166 MMX with 3DFX emulation, but it would be interesting to see if I can get this kind of performance from a budget build. I have successfully tested PCem on Windows XP, and it works. My thought was to build an XP machine and save some money, with the option to upgrade later.

I am considering the value of the AMD Zen cpu, but for now I am thinking of building an XP or Windows 7 pc. If the Zen can do this, then I might wait a bit longer, but I am sure those of you responding to my first post would have a better idea of what to buy than I would.

If possible may I ask what do you think of the AMD cpus FX-8350 or 8370 clocked at 4Ghz (turbo 4.2 and 4.3 Ghz respectively)? I know the core i7 is better, and even some core i5s run at 4Ghz, but I am just curious how these higher end AMD processors would perform against the benchmark cpus for PCem.

A. Naim
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Re: PCem and a new PC

Post by A. Naim » Mon 26 Dec, 2016 2:54 am

tk421 wrote:If possible may I ask what do you think of the AMD cpus FX-8350 or 8370 clocked at 4Ghz (turbo 4.2 and 4.3 Ghz respectively)? I know the core i7 is better, and even some core i5s run at 4Ghz, but I am just curious how these higher end AMD processors would perform against the benchmark cpus for PCem.
tl;dr - You can expect them to be about 71% of the speed of an equivalent Intel CPU, and to generally have less support. For the final word, read the last line.

The explanation: There's basically three components to how fast a CPU runs: CPU cycles per second (*Hz, generally GHz), Instructions Per Clock (IPC, or how many instructions are executed per cycle), and the efficiency and effectiveness of the CPU's instruction set. I won't go into that last, because explaining it would take too long. tl;dr is that AMD and Intel both implement the x86 and x86_64 instruction sets, but can and do have different extensions. That's where support comes in; a program might have an optimized version for Intel, but fall back to the default x86* set on AMD, and thus run slower.

In order to get competitive with Intel, AMD needed to increase IPC - After all, Silicon is silicon. Zen has a 40% increase in IPC over their previous architecture. Or, an x1.4 multiplier to get from AMD_Old to AMD_New. Or, a x0.71 multiplier to go from AMD_New to AMD_Old. So, AMD's last-gen is 71% of Zen, or about 71% of the Intel 6X00-linup.

In order for a program to run at the full speed of the AMD CPU, it needs to compile to a version optimized for AMD CPUs. Happily, this is a simple compiler switch in most major programming languages.

As for release date, that's "probably Q1 2017". "Q1" means "first three months", to clarify something that might not need to be clarified. My experience with those predictions is that you can generally expect the release date to slip backwards; but at the same time, AMD doesn't have much room to slip. So, upside of waiting: With AMD competitive, expect the price war to start up again. Downside: Waiting. Note: Don't think I'd generally recommend purchasing a new CPU based on its ability to run an emulator.

Final word: Do not decide what CPU you want, then set a budget. That generally results in overspending. Set a budget, then buy the best you can find within that budget. In a personal note based on my own experiences, set your budget 20% less than what you think you want to spend - Because I, at least, find myself thinking, "well, it's only $X more, for +X to quality..." :)

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