Emulation: The Best Feature Of NVIDIA's SHIELD?

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The crew at eTeknix set out today to see if NVIDIA's SHIELD can be used as a dedicated emulation device.

The Nvidia Shield is one of the most powerful mobile gaming devices on the market, and this is especially thanks to its Nvidia Tegra 4 GPU/CPU, which is not only capable of running many older games such as those from the Super Nintendo and Mega Drive, but also a lot more advanced 3D titles from consoles such as the Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast and more. What I hope to find out today is whether or not these games work well enough to justify using the Nvidia Shield as a dedicated emulation device.
 

Megalith

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This is common knowledge by now. Did the author just wake up from cryo?
 

Dr. Righteous

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Huhh??
Since when is N64 emulation a high water mark??
I installed a android N64 emulator for my son to play nintendo titles on his Cheapo Asus NotePad7.
Works great on mediocre tablets.
That should be baby stuff for something equipped with Tegra4. I would expect the Tegra 4 to handle xbox 360 emulation.
 

Stoly

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Huhh??
Since when is N64 emulation a high water mark??
I installed a android N64 emulator for my son to play nintendo titles on his Cheapo Asus NotePad7.
Works great on mediocre tablets.
That should be baby stuff for something equipped with Tegra4. I would expect the Tegra 4 to handle xbox 360 emulation.

That's stretching it a bit too much. Tegra 4 is faster than Vita which is about as fast as a PS2.

K1 is supposed to be faster than a PS3, so even then xbox360 emulation won't be possible. I don't thenk K1 would be able to do PS2 emulation either.

I think the article has a little bit more to do with convenience than performance. The shield form factor is great as an emulation console because of the controller and screen.
 

jbltecnicspro

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That's stretching it a bit too much. Tegra 4 is faster than Vita which is about as fast as a PS2.

K1 is supposed to be faster than a PS3, so even then xbox360 emulation won't be possible. I don't thenk K1 would be able to do PS2 emulation either.

I think the article has a little bit more to do with convenience than performance. The shield form factor is great as an emulation console because of the controller and screen.

You sure about those estimates? I thought a Vita was definitely faster than a PS2.
 

Unknown-One

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That should be baby stuff for something equipped with Tegra4. I would expect the Tegra 4 to handle xbox 360 emulation.
You need to realize that we're talking about emulation here, not native games.

Rule of thumb with emulation is that the machine doing the emulation must be roughly ten times faster than the original hardware.

To put that into perspective: Right now, you need something on the order of a fast Core i5 or Core i7 in order to emulate PlayStation 2 games without slowdowns.
 

Ashbringer

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Huhh??
Since when is N64 emulation a high water mark??
I installed a android N64 emulator for my son to play nintendo titles on his Cheapo Asus NotePad7.
Works great on mediocre tablets.
That should be baby stuff for something equipped with Tegra4. I would expect the Tegra 4 to handle xbox 360 emulation.
Baby steps there father Grigori. It takes a very powerful desktop PC to emulate something like a PS2 or Nintendo Wii. That Tegra 4 is no Intel i5 or i7. Dolphin emualtor authors have ported their emulator to Android. A Galaxy Note 3 can't even handle Twilight Princess on GameCube.
 

silk186

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from my experience with emulation it's all about CPU power.
 

Ashbringer

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Yes Vita is faster than the PS2, and sheild is faster than Vita, still not fast enough to emulate a xbox 360.

It could be 10 years before anyone sees the hardware needed to emulate a 360. The problem is that modern PCs have multicore processors and emulation really needs single threaded performance. You can't emulate a single threaded cpu on a multicore cpu and expect to see any performance gains. Even the Tegra 4 is built with multiple cores.

Modern day PCs are already 10x faster then an Xbox 360, but like most developers it's hard to tap into that power effectively. An xbox 360 emulator would need some very High level emulation, or a completely new method needed to emulate it. It would be a huge accomplishment from any software coder.
 

Unknown-One

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Modern day PCs are already 10x faster then an Xbox 360
Sorry, but no.

Getting a full ten TIMES the processing power of the Xbox 360's CPU is possible, but not without a purpose-built machine that goes far in excess of any normal gaming rig.

And even when you did manage to coral all that horsepower into a single machine, it would be spread over multiple cores (which makes it nearly worthless for emulation purposes). That's the rub, you need 10x the amount of power per-core to really make headway with emulation.
 

Ashbringer

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Sorry, but no.

Getting a full ten TIMES the processing power of the Xbox 360's CPU is possible, but not without a purpose-built machine that goes far in excess of any normal gaming rig.

And even when you did manage to coral all that horsepower into a single machine, it would be spread over multiple cores (which makes it nearly worthless for emulation purposes). That's the rub, you need 10x the amount of power per-core to really make headway with emulation.

A modern Intel or AMD CPU is most definitely 10x more powerful then the Xbox 360 CPU. The Xeon chip is 96GFLOPS single-precision 58GFLOPS double-precision, while the modern Intel Haswell is 972.8 gigaflops of SP and 486.4 gigaflops of DP. Also consider the Xeon is in-order execution CPU, and not out-order like every x86 CPU since Pentium Pro. A lot of developers find it impossible to hit the reported numbers due to VMX128 instructions.

So a modern x86 CPU is at least 10x the performance, just not per core. Which as you said is what's really needed for emulation. It probably could be done with extremely high level emulation, but emulator authors never jump from A to C and skip B. First they create Low level emulation for accuracy and then move to things like HLE and dynamic recompilation.
 

Unknown-One

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A modern Intel or AMD CPU is most definitely 10x more powerful then the Xbox 360 CPU. The Xeon chip is 96GFLOPS single-precision 58GFLOPS double-precision, while the modern Intel Haswell is 972.8 gigaflops of SP and 486.4 gigaflops of DP.
No idea where you're getting your numbers, but you're so far off it's painful...

The Xenon CPU in the Xbox 360 pulls 19,200 MIPS.
Intel's latest Quad Core i7's top out at 128,300 MIPS

That's 6.6x more, not 10x... but it took 4 cores for the i7 to get there (where as 360 emulators will tend to only use 3 cores, matching the original hardware). That knocks the i7 down to only 96,225 MIPS on the cores that will actually be in-use during emulation of a Tri-Core PowerPC processor.

So that's only 5x more... You're a looooong way off from being able to emulate a 360. Let me know when each individual core is 5x faster than what we have today, and we'll talk.
 

Ashbringer

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No idea where you're getting your numbers, but you're so far off it's painful...

The Xenon CPU in the Xbox 360 pulls 19,200 MIPS.
Intel's latest Quad Core i7's top out at 128,300 MIPS

That's 6.6x more, not 10x... but it took 4 cores for the i7 to get there (where as 360 emulators will tend to only use 3 cores, matching the original hardware). That knocks the i7 down to only 96,225 MIPS on the cores that will actually be in-use during emulation of a Tri-Core PowerPC processor.

So that's only 5x more... You're a looooong way off from being able to emulate a 360. Let me know when each individual core is 5x faster than what we have today, and we'll talk.
Keep in mind that the Xeon chip is not actually performing at the reported numbers Microsoft claims. We are talking about a stripped down CPU with no L3 cache, out-order, and it's also PowerPC which has traditionally been slower then x86. Many developers even claimed the CPU to be sometimes slower then the Intel 733 Mhz from the original xbox. The Xbox 360 even emulates the Xbox which is amazing. I doubt the 360 is 10X more powerful then the original.
 

rat

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Huhh??
Since when is N64 emulation a high water mark??
I installed a android N64 emulator for my son to play nintendo titles on his Cheapo Asus NotePad7.
Works great on mediocre tablets.
That should be baby stuff for something equipped with Tegra4. I would expect the Tegra 4 to handle xbox 360 emulation.

I emulated a Nintendo 64 on a Sony XPeria Play.

Single core ARM SOC @ 1Ghz.

Definitely not a high water mark.
 

Unknown-One

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Keep in mind that the Xeon chip is not actually performing at the reported numbers Microsoft claims.
I didn't use "the numbers Microsoft claims." Here's a table comparing various CPU's using how many millions of operations they can churn through every second (MIPS):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Million_instructions_per_second#Million_instructions_per_second

Modern processors are still around 5 times too slow for emulation of the 360 to be within the realm of possibility. And forget about ANY current mobile system pulling it off.

The Xbox 360 even emulates the Xbox which is amazing. I doubt the 360 is 10X more powerful then the original.
It doesn't emulate an original xbox, not all of it.

Original Xbox games work through a combination of hardware emulation, per-game hacks, and actual per-game patches that substitute-in code that runs better on a PowerPC processor. This is a different animal from an emulator that actually replicates the original hardware well enough to boot unmodified software.
 

Wine

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Huhh??
Since when is N64 emulation a high water mark??
I installed a android N64 emulator for my son to play nintendo titles on his Cheapo Asus NotePad7.
Works great on mediocre tablets.
That should be baby stuff for something equipped with Tegra4. I would expect the Tegra 4 to handle xbox 360 emulation.

I emulated a Nintendo 64 on a Sony XPeria Play.

Single core ARM SOC @ 1Ghz.

Definitely not a high water mark.

The first gen PSP can emulate N64, PS1, and Nintendo DS games with a 222mhz-333mhz MIPS cpu and 32MB of RAM.
 

Disposed

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This notion that X amount of power is required for emulation is incredibly ignorant and just plain false. It all depends on the quality of the emulator, codecs etc.

There are plenty of examples out there if you actually look that disprove that awful notion.
 

PCunicorn

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You need to realize that we're talking about emulation here, not native games.

Rule of thumb with emulation is that the machine doing the emulation must be roughly ten times faster than the original hardware.

To put that into perspective: Right now, you need something on the order of a fast Core i5 or Core i7 in order to emulate PlayStation 2 games without slowdowns.

While yes, you need something significantly more powerful to emulate a PS2 then a PS2 level PC, you don't need anywhere close to a i5 or i7. You actually only need a Core 2 Quad or even higher end Duo, and a GTS 250.

Computers are already plenty powerful to emulate the Xbox, it's just a matter of time for someone to go through the massive work of creating a emulator from the ground up.
 

Unknown-One

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While yes, you need something significantly more powerful to emulate a PS2 then a PS2 level PC, you don't need anywhere close to a i5 or i7. You actually only need a Core 2 Quad or even higher end Duo, and a GTS 250.
Sorry, but I've been with the PS2 emulation scene for a long time, and I know very well that a Core2Quad isn't enough.

You can pull off running a good number of PS2 games at full speed, but not all of them. That's also assuming they work with hardware accelerated rendering, because if you have to fall back to the (more accurate and compatible) software renderer, a Core2Quad is sunk outright.

As far as PS2 emulation is concerned, if you want a worry-free experience, you need something on the order of a 3GHz Core i5. Anything less and you will have to make compromises.

Computers are already plenty powerful to emulate the Xbox, it's just a matter of time for someone to go through the massive work of creating a emulator from the ground up.
And I still say we're a long way off from being able to emulate a 360. Look at the current state of... well... just about any PowerPC emulator for x86. They're all incredibly slow.
 

timta2

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Keep in mind that the Xeon chip is not actually performing at the reported numbers Microsoft claims. We are talking about a stripped down CPU with no L3 cache, out-order, and it's also PowerPC which has traditionally been slower then x86. Many developers even claimed the CPU to be sometimes slower then the Intel 733 Mhz from the original xbox. The Xbox 360 even emulates the Xbox which is amazing. I doubt the 360 is 10X more powerful then the original.

That's simply not true, at certain periods of time PPC has outperformed x86. Sure, things were pretty grim there at the end, but there were many periods where Motorola and IBM's (Hell, I'm not going to include Freescale there! :D ) offerings outperformed Intel's. Then there was the "Megahertz Myth" that so many Anti-Apple people used to dismiss as garbage, which we all now admit and realize is true! (That architecture is often more important than clock speed). It took the PC fanboys a few years but they caught on. ;)

"Throughout the mid-1990s, PowerPC processors achieved benchmark test scores that matched or exceeded those of the fastest x86 CPUs."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerPC
 

PCunicorn

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You need to realize that we're talking about emulation here, not native games.

Rule of thumb with emulation is that the machine doing the emulation must be roughly ten times faster than the original hardware.

To put that into perspective: Right now, you need something on the order of a fast Core i5 or Core i7 in order to emulate PlayStation 2 games without slowdowns.

Sorry, but I've been with the PS2 emulation scene for a long time, and I know very well that a Core2Quad isn't enough.

You can pull off running a good number of PS2 games at full speed, but not all of them. That's also assuming they work with hardware accelerated rendering, because if you have to fall back to the (more accurate and compatible) software renderer, a Core2Quad is sunk outright.

As far as PS2 emulation is concerned, if you want a worry-free experience, you need something on the order of a 3GHz Core i5. Anything less and you will have to make compromises.


And I still say we're a long way off from being able to emulate a 360. Look at the current state of... well... just about any PowerPC emulator for x86. They're all incredibly slow.

Do you know that for a fact? Because I know what I said was. And you know why? Because I did it myself. I was emulating some moderatly demanding games with a low end C2D and a GTX 260 at a solid 40 FPS.
 

rudy

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You need to realize that we're talking about emulation here, not native games.

Rule of thumb with emulation is that the machine doing the emulation must be roughly ten times faster than the original hardware.

To put that into perspective: Right now, you need something on the order of a fast Core i5 or Core i7 in order to emulate PlayStation 2 games without slowdowns.

What exactly is a core i5 or a core i7 you are talking about 4 generations of CPUs mid to high range there. By Moore's law and your claim a core i5 could emulate a core i5 lol ?
 

Acoustique

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becasuse you were too stupid to get an xperia play X many years ago?

or did that huge clunky hack job SNES that still takes real carts not as practical and hip as you thought it would be?
 

octoberasian

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Note: There is no working 360 emulator released publicly in existence today.

The developer of the only 360 emulator has stated that it only goes up to the menu, and that is it. It is at pretty much the same state as one of the very early alpha builds of the PS2 emulator, PCSX2.

I mentioned it in this post here.

As Unknown-One said above, a Core i5 at 3GHz is the bare minimum to run PSCX2. I've followed PCSX2 since their public alpha release and have ran it on a Phenom II X4 840 processor. Emulation got better when I got a Core i5 2400, and is practically PS2-like with my current processor, Core i7 3770. It's pretty much saved me the trouble of buying another PS2 unit. (Don't get a top-loading PS2 unit, that lid is about as flimsy as the top-loading PS1 Slim before it.)

A 360 emulator is going to need something more modern, likely a 3GHz-plus Ivy Bridge or Haswell processor, or a future Intel and AMD architecture at 3.0 to 4.0 GHz with a beefy graphics card. The reason we do not have a working PS3 and 360 processor is because, in my opinion, the complexity of the POWER-based CELL processors these consoles use. The CELL was, according to many developers, a bitch to develop for especially when it came to the PS3 in the early days, and is a wholly different architecture than X86 or ARM. You could easily emulate an ARM-based SoC like those in the DS and 3DS, hence why DS emulators exist, but not the CELL-based 360/PS3 consoles.

The Nvidia Shield is in no way capable of emulating a 360 or PS3 emulator, let alone a PS2. It could definitely run a PS1 emulator, likely one of the Android-based PS1 emulators such as EPse or psx4droid. (I won't link them, Google is your friend.)

Hell, a Playstation 4 emulator is starting to take shape, and I would not be surprised that the XONE and PS4 emulator would be out in the next 5 to 10 years given that they are using a bog-standard X86-based mobile SoC that doesn't even compare to a Core i5 from Intel performance-wise. A 360/PS3 emulator will probably not be out for another ten years, unless there are more people willing to devote their time to making one instead of it being a single man project.
 

Unknown-One

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Do you know that for a fact? Because I know what I said was. And you know why? Because I did it myself.
You're saying that it's FACT that a Core2Duo is enough for PS2 emulation because you've personally run the majority of PS2 games in PCSX2 flawlessly on a Core2Duo?

Sorry, I don't buy it.

I was emulating some moderatly demanding games with a low end C2D and a GTX 260 at a solid 40 FPS.
So what you said WASN'T true. A solid 40 FPS is 100% unplayable in most PS2 games because the game tickrate is directly tied to the framerate (the game actually slows down if you fall below 60 FPS).

What you've effectively said is that you were playing all of your games in solid slow-motion... less than half of full-speed. In what universe is that "enough"?

What exactly is a core i5 or a core i7 you are talking about 4 generations of CPUs mid to high range there. By Moore's law and your claim a core i5 could emulate a core i5 lol ?
Not sure what you're talking about with the Moore's law reference, but I had "Sandybridge and newer" in-mind when I made that comment.
 

Disposed

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You're saying that it's FACT that a Core2Duo is enough for PS2 emulation because you've personally run the majority of PS2 games in PCSX2 flawlessly on a Core2Duo?

Sorry, I don't buy it.


So what you said WASN'T true. A solid 40 FPS is 100% unplayable in most PS2 games because the game tickrate is directly tied to the framerate (the game actually slows down if you fall below 60 FPS).

What you've effectively said is that you were playing all of your games in solid slow-motion... less than half of full-speed. In what universe is that "enough"?


Not sure what you're talking about with the Moore's law reference, but I had "Sandybridge and newer" in-mind when I made that comment.

I know I ran ffx on my old core 2 system and it ran fine until the lightning fields where it kept crashing. I do recall though if you fell in fps the game would crawl but I thought it was 30 fps not 60.
 

Unknown-One

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I know I ran ffx on my old core 2 system and it ran fine until the lightning fields where it kept crashing. I do recall though if you fell in fps the game would crawl but I thought it was 30 fps not 60.
I did already mention that a Core2-based system would run some PS2 games well enough. That doesn't mean a Core2-based system is enough for PS2 emulation as a whole (or even in-general), though.

FFX is a fairly poor benchmark if you're trying to determine if your machine is ready for general PS2 emulation. It's a launch title, which means it doesn't employ all the strange hacks and low-level optimizations that were discovered and implemented in later games. FFX doesn't push the PS2's hardware, and by extension, doesn't push the emulator... really, it's nearly a best-case-scenario for emulation purposes.

If you want to make sure your system is REALLY ready for PS2 emulation, fire up Guitar Hero II. It's one of the most demanding PS2 titles in existence thanks to all the crazy optimizations that were used to keep timing tight and gameplay hitch-free.
 

Disposed

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I did already mention that a Core2-based system would run some PS2 games well enough. That doesn't mean a Core2-based system is enough for PS2 emulation as a whole (or even in-general), though.

FFX is a fairly poor benchmark if you're trying to determine if your machine is ready for general PS2 emulation. It's a launch title, which means it doesn't employ all the strange hacks and low-level optimizations that were discovered and implemented in later games. FFX doesn't push the PS2's hardware, and by extension, doesn't push the emulator... really, it's nearly a best-case-scenario for emulation purposes.

If you want to make sure your system is REALLY ready for PS2 emulation, fire up Guitar Hero II. It's one of the most demanding PS2 titles in existence thanks to all the crazy optimizations that were used to keep timing tight and gameplay hitch-free.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhcnYfJtOmU

Done already by someone else. GH2 with a core 2 now please quit spreading the bullshit. Seems to me you just didnt know how to set up PCSX2 because it seems to do great with core 2 setups... Even the developers of PCSX2 say a core 2 clocked high enough is good enough for most games.

http://forums.pcsx2.net/Thread-Sticky-Will-PCSX2-run-fast-on-my-computer
 

Unknown-One

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhcnYfJtOmU

Done already by someone else. GH2 with a core 2 now please quit spreading the bullshit.
How about you post a video that's actually relevant? Speed hacks don't count (especially when there are still obviously slowdowns)

I can crank all the speed hacks up and make it look like it's running ok-ish on crap hardware too, but the timing is terrible and the gameplay is awful.

Seems to me you just didnt know how to set up PCSX2 because it seems to do great with core 2 setups...
I have yet to see GH2 play flawlessly on any Core2-based setup (that includes the video you posted).
 

Unknown-One

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Also, to be abundantly clear, ANY deviation below 60 FPS is unacceptable in Guitar Hero titles. Speedhacks are also unacceptable because they screw with sync.

Show me a Core2Duo running Guitar Hero II with all speedhacks disabled and without ever once dropping nelow 60 FPS with V-Sync on and you'll have something. Those are the tolerances needed to come close/match running the game on a real PS2.

Anything less is a compromise.

As Unknown-One said above, a Core i5 at 3GHz is the bare minimum to run PSCX2. I've followed PCSX2 since their public alpha release and have ran it on a Phenom II X4 840 processor. Emulation got better when I got a Core i5 2400, and is practically PS2-like with my current processor, Core i7 3770.
I'm also not the only long-time PCSX2 user saying that a Core2 isn't enough ^
 

Disposed

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I'm also not the only long-time PCSX2 user saying that a Core2 isn't enough ^

This comment alone is enough to completely disregard everything you say.

You are a long time PCSX2 user that apparently dont know how to fucking use the program properly. Plenty of examples on youtube alone running games great on core 2 systems.

But its not possible according to you!
 

rat

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I'm also not the only long-time PCSX2 user saying that a Core2 isn't enough ^

Add me to that list. When I had a Core2Duo, PS2 emulation was still unplayable. Even when overclocking.

You need raw speed and performance for PS2 and GameCube emulation.
 

Unknown-One

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This comment alone is enough to completely disregard everything you say.
Pointing out that there are multiple people making the same point is enough to disregard NOT ONLY said point, but all points made by said party? I'm not following your line of reasoning :confused:

You are a long time PCSX2 user that apparently dont know how to fucking use the program properly. Plenty of examples on youtube alone running games great on core 2 systems.

But its not possible according to you!
Because it's not.

"Perfect" = No speed hacks + never dropping below 60 FPS + v-sync enabled.

Still have yet to see a Core2 system achieve that.
 

Disposed

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Because it's not.

"Perfect" = No speed hacks + never dropping below 60 FPS + v-sync enabled.

Still have yet to see a Core2 system achieve that.

Perfect != playable. You keep changing the argument. First its unplayable then when thats disproven it must be perfect.

And the line of reasoning is simple. "I have been using it for x years" is not a valid argument.
 

Disposed

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Add me to that list. When I had a Core2Duo, PS2 emulation was still unplayable. Even when overclocking.

You need raw speed and performance for PS2 and GameCube emulation.

And the development of the emulation software codecs etc. has just completely stopped since then right?
 

Unknown-One

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Perfect != playable. You keep changing the argument.
I said Guitar Hero II, which is only truly playable when it's perfect.

First its unplayable then when thats disproven it must be perfect.
Hasn't been disproven. The one video that was posted is not what I'd call playable.

It's a proof of concept, and you might be able to complete the easier difficulty tiers like that, but it's not running correctly yet.

And the line of reasoning is simple. "I have been using it for x years" is not a valid argument.
Sorry, I'm just the guy who made all of the current Eyefinity (48:10) patches for PCSX2. I guess I have no idea what I'm talking about :rolleyes:
 
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