Playstation Classic Torn Down and Benchmarked

AlphaAtlas

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The folks over at Digital Foundry just got their hands on a Playstation Classic, and they've already torn it down. The tiny console sports a 16GB flash module and a Mediatek MT8167A with 4 ARM Cortex A35 cores running at 1.5GHz, which is paired 2 512MB DDR3 chips. While this hardware may seems somewhat underpowered, DF claims that it should be enough to emulate the original Playstation, which featured a 33.9Mhz MIPS CPU and 2MB of RAM. Unfortunately, when Digital Foundry benchmarked the Playstation Classic, they ran into a number of issues. Some of the bundled games are PAL versions instead of NTSC, which means they often run at 5/6 of the intended speed, and some NTSC titles don't run particularly well.

Remarkably, even the NTSC games have issues. You can see that with the performance snapshot of R4 Ridge Racer Type 4 embedded below. Original hardware runs this title locked at 30fps with perfect frame-pacing - a new frame is delivered every two screen refreshes without fail. Running under emulation on the PlayStation Classic, not only are frames delivered with 'blips' adding some stutter, but there also appear to be performance dips too - which do not occur in the game running on original hardware. So even if Sony had delivered a full NTSC line-up, we'd still have problems with this product falling short of the quality delivered by the actual PlayStation.
 

McCartney

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it seems all of these classic consoles are just ways to saturate the consumer market with ARM devices.

MIPS procs aren't all about the clocks. Indeed, even mips linux doesn't have a cpuclock function included for /proc/cpuinfo.

pretty sure current versions of arm linux also forked off Ralf's mips linux, but I could be wrong on that.

The differences between mips and arm are more than just how we interpret "clockspeed"...
 

MacLeod

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This is a cool product. The PS1 is still my all time favorite console. So much so that I've still got one and all my games and I still play them occasionally. Of course I have to hook it up to my really old CRT 27" TV otherwise the graphics are so bad it'll give you seizures.
 

Monkey34

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I still have my PS1 and games, so there's no way I'd buy this to begin with......but seeing the lackluster games bundle, lack of dual stick controller, and the poor implementation of the interface really nailed it.

Glad to see hardware curiosity tho....the fact something works is not as interesting as HOW.
 

gamerk2

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I just don't understand that after this many years they don't know EXACTLY what it takes CPU wise to emulate all PS1 games.
I know my Pentium 4/FX 5500 (I know, i know) could do so under XP; it's not like PS1 emulation is even remotely hard by todays standards. Hell, my old PC that was running Win98 (Pentium Pro/GeForce 2 MX) could handle PS1 emulation for the most part.

Hell, they're using stock PCSX for crying out loud. And PCSX runs fine...on Windows. We're probably seeing performance sub-optimizations inherent to the ARM port.

Which gets back to the point I made when the NES Classic came out: What's the point? It's not like your smartphone/labtop/PC can't emulate everything without issues these days; what's the point of getting a specialized piece of HW?
 

The Mad Atheist

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They should've not molded the back door, thought there might have been something there. :(
Be nice to snag a shell to stuff it yourself tho.
 

Armenius

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Yeah, no. PAL/50 is a no-go for me.
I just don't understand that after this many years they don't know EXACTLY what it takes CPU wise to emulate all PS1 games.
Depends on the plugins, generally. I was running every game just fine on a 600 MHz Celeron back in the day with ePSXe and Pete's plugins.
 
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Krazy925

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Any word on if it’s hackable like the Nintendo consoles?

I kinda want one and I’m open to side loading what should have came installed*.

*My PSX collection has all the games I want but my backwards compatible PS3 won’t live forever
 

WhoMe

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what's the point of getting a specialized piece of HW?
I don't know about others, but my PC uses a hell of a lot of power. I don't have a phone capable of running anything much (flip). So I'd be interested in something like this: if it worked well.
 

gamerk2

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Yeah, no. PAL/50 is a no-go for me.

Depends on the plugins, generally. I was running every game just fine on a 600 MHz Celeron back in the day with ePSXe and Pete's plugins.
Ding ding. PCSX is actually better nowadays, but in the day it was ePSXe and Petes OGL2 plugin if you could run it.
 

piscian18

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I was half expecting it would literally be a Raspberry Pie under the hood running emustation for all the effort they put into this product.
 

Evil Timmy

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Seems like Nintendo's strong first-party titles served them well, as they could get so many of the top 25 hits on there, this one managed 4 of the 25 top rated PSX games (thanks TechRadar). They may be riding the same wave of nostalgia, but the Nintendo throwbacks are on an Uncle Zog's-coated surfboard and this PS is a rotting plank.
 

Master_shake_

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Any word on if it’s hackable like the Nintendo consoles?

I kinda want one and I’m open to side loading what should have came installed*.

*My PSX collection has all the games I want but my backwards compatible PS3 won’t live forever
they have to program it so probably.

just takes time.
 

Wiffle

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Yeah I will just stick to my pc emulator. I still have a PS, and I made ISO's of my original disks a long time ago.

The best part about running emulators: Fast load times, Save states, and you can crank up the resolution on your favorite games for a superficial "HD" version... some games look absolutely amazing, especially the JRPG titles.
 

toast0

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Which gets back to the point I made when the NES Classic came out: What's the point? It's not like your smartphone/labtop/PC can't emulate everything without issues these days; what's the point of getting a specialized piece of HW?
For the NES/SNES, you got a system that pretty much just works, with nice controllers, and a pretty nice catalog that's small enough to easily browse through. As a bonus, it turned out to be pretty easy to add extra titles, if that's your thing. I have a lot of fun playing on ours with my 7 year old.

For this one, it looks like you get a mediocre catalog, and worse performance than the original hardware.
 

gamerk2

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For the NES/SNES, you got a system that pretty much just works, with nice controllers, and a pretty nice catalog that's small enough to easily browse through. As a bonus, it turned out to be pretty easy to add extra titles, if that's your thing. I have a lot of fun playing on ours with my 7 year old.
The exact same bullets apply to emulators.
 

ccityinstaller

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The exact same bullets apply to emulators.
There is something to be said for "plug and play"....I bought mine just because. I sold a couple extra's and mine ended up costing me basically nothing except the cost for the spare NES controller and extension cords for the controllers...The sad thing is that I use the SNES controllers since they are way more comfortable! I like to take it to the in laws since we go there nearly every holiday and often otherwise, and there is nothing to really do. Its easy for me to stick this in an HDMI port and go to town. I could have gotten a Pi with the Pi game OS, but the NES style cases and HW would have cost a lot more then what my two cost me. To each their own.
 

McCartney

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I know my Pentium 4/FX 5500 (I know, i know) could do so under XP; it's not like PS1 emulation is even remotely hard by todays standards. Hell, my old PC that was running Win98 (Pentium Pro/GeForce 2 MX) could handle PS1 emulation for the most part.

Hell, they're using stock PCSX for crying out loud. And PCSX runs fine...on Windows. We're probably seeing performance sub-optimizations inherent to the ARM port.

Which gets back to the point I made when the NES Classic came out: What's the point? It's not like your smartphone/labtop/PC can't emulate everything without issues these days; what's the point of getting a specialized piece of HW?
great perspective.

there is no real point except to saturate the market with ARM devices, so that ARM can maintain a stranglehold on the embedded segment that is not a result of their product but instead of their volume.

ARM processors are not very good. i understand there are some fans here, but i have some experience with them and i would like to say when floating point gets factored in: ARM is a pure shitshow.

for example, the infamous ARMv7 could be sold with different floating point units (FPU): VPEv3 VPEv4 or NEON. this was the way it went for other lines as well for quite some time (i'm not sure if they've homogenised it yet).

the only "robust" offering ARM has in terms of the FPU i believe is the 3DS SoC? and i think it uses a highly customised design, which is very much unlike many of the offerings outside of this market.

regardless, the volume of these chips, their inconsistencies in terms of the FPU microcode/design (in segments like these, and of course mobile) has lead me to believe that they're only relying on volume to win the segment.

thankfully they have not yet dented MIPS' throne in terms of the telecommunications industry (many set top boxes use MIPS and are often not clocked more than a few hundred MHz, and they can process 1080p... so make of that what you will).

give me an SH-4 with a proper compiler and i'll happily make it work. i think the people shoving ARM down our throat know that, because i've found it super difficult to find a proper kit that would allow me to really get my hands dirty.
 
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J3RK

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It's not like your smartphone/labtop/PC can't emulate everything without issues these days; what's the point of getting a specialized piece of HW?
$$$ - Method to monetize. People like the trinket-hardware to go with the emulation. (well, that's the point of making them... not necessarily to "getting" them)
 
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I was half expecting it would literally be a Raspberry Pie under the hood running emustation for all the effort they put into this product.
You might as well get your own Pi for the price, and be able to run any number of emulators, not just PS. And from the sounds of it, run better as well.
 

Krenum

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Yeah, I still have my original Playstation in mint condition. I'll be sticking to Retroarch for emulation.
 

dgz

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great perspective.

there is no real point except to saturate the market with ARM devices, so that ARM can maintain a stranglehold on the embedded segment that is not a result of their product but instead of their volume.

ARM processors are not very good. i understand there are some fans here, but i have some experience with them and i would like to say when floating point gets factored in: ARM is a pure shitshow.

for example, the infamous ARMv7 could be sold with different floating point units (FPU): VPEv3 VPEv4 or NEON. this was the way it went for other lines as well for quite some time (i'm not sure if they've homogenised it yet).

the only "robust" offering ARM has in terms of the FPU i believe is the 3DS SoC? and i think it uses a highly customised design, which is very much unlike many of the offerings outside of this market.

regardless, the volume of these chips, their inconsistencies in terms of the FPU microcode/design (in segments like these, and of course mobile) has lead me to believe that they're only relying on volume to win the segment.

thankfully they have not yet dented MIPS' throne in terms of the telecommunications industry (many set top boxes use MIPS and are often not clocked more than a few hundred MHz, and they can process 1080p... so make of that what you will).

give me an SH-4 with a proper compiler and i'll happily make it work. i think the people shoving ARM down our throat know that, because i've found it super difficult to find a proper kit that would allow me to really get my hands dirty.
You need to post more often. Please do
 

T4rd

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This thing seemed like a bad value to begin with at $100, even if the emulation was perfect, because they missed out on a lot of objectively more iconic PS1 titles than most on there; Crash games, Tomb Raiders, Vagrant Story, Parasite Eve, etc. I would much rather use my already-existing PS3 (which any PS3 can play PS1 games in case you've forgotten, only the first few versions can do PS2 emulation though) with wireless controllers and I'd bet the emulation done on that is just as good if not better than on this dedicated console.

The only reason I can see buying it is just for the cool aesthetics of it and as a conversation piece for anyone that happens to see it in your entertainment center, which I'm sure many will buy it for that alone too because nostalgia is good product seller.
 
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tetris42

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I just don't understand that after this many years they don't know EXACTLY what it takes CPU wise to emulate all PS1 games.
Let's stop and realize how impressive this, this is almost a perfect storm of failure here:

-They have access to the original source code
-They have access to the original schematics
-They instead just use a free emulator someone else made
-They couldn't be bothered to give it enough power to run properly

Other than having the games crash, or not including games at all, I'm not sure how this could have been handled more poorly. They had EVERYTHING going for them and did almost the worst job possible. I imagine most people in this forum could have slapped something together better than this on their own. It's easy to talk generally about corporate incompetence, but it's another to see it in all its glory.
 

gamerk2

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Not really for someone that has no tech skills trying to get them to ues a emulator makes you want to jump off a bridge.. much easier to just give them something like this
Start program, insert CD, hit "Run".

Not that hard.
 
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J3RK

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Start program, insert CD, hit "Run".

Not that hard.
Agreed. I've been running emulators since A64 (C64 emulator on the Amiga 500) :D It wasn't always easy, but all of the current emulators for a given system (possibly with the exception of some MAME builds, and maybe WinUAE) emulation is as easy as it gets. As you say, install or extract the emulator, run it, point it to the media. Done. If you want to get further into it and tune it, things can get a bit more complex. However, anyone who's ever run a PC game should be able to run an emulator. People that think current Windows-based emulators are difficult should have been around during the DOS era, or try compiling one for Linux :p It's nothing like that now with Windows ones. Finding a BIOS file might be the trickiest thing in some cases.
 

gamerk2

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Agreed. I've been running emulators since A64 (C64 emulator on the Amiga 500) :D It wasn't always easy, but all of the current emulators for a given system (possibly with the exception of some MAME builds, and maybe WinUAE) emulation is as easy as it gets. As you say, install or extract the emulator, run it, point it to the media. Done. If you want to get further into it and tune it, things can get a bit more complex. However, anyone who's ever run a PC game should be able to run an emulator. People that think current Windows-based emulators are difficult should have been around during the DOS era, or try compiling one for Linux :p It's nothing like that now with Windows ones. Finding a BIOS file might be the trickiest thing in some cases.
You mean "legally making a backup of BIOS for a system you already own", right?
 

J3RK

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You mean "legally making a backup of BIOS for a system you already own", right?
That's the ticket! :p I found the "BIOS" inside my "console", and bypassed the "encryption" and then made a "backup" using a "cable" or "device" to then "copy" or make a "backup" of that "information".

Honestly, I have backed up my share of BIOS / Firmware data. ;)

However, in some cases, I've bought third party like legal Amiga Forever ROMs for my WinUAE/Amikit setup because they work better than the originals.

In other cases I may have a console still, but still find an image, because.

In yet other cases... no comment.
 
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