Building a dedicated media server/emulation PC

Discussion in 'The Arcade' started by VTMMAFan, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. VTMMAFan

    VTMMAFan White Belt

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    Greetings Sherbros! I have decided that with my bonus in October I would like to build a new PC for my living room. I intend on using it as a media server (smart TVs and Roku boxes on the dumb TVs in the house), occasional web browsing/streaming, but I also want to use it for video game emulation.

    I'd like to emulate 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, Atari 2600, Atari Jaguar, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, Microsoft XBox, Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo Super NES, Nintendo 64, Nintendo GameCube, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Sega 32X, Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast, SNK Neo Geo, and Sony PlayStation 1 (would emulate Wii as well, but I already have a modded Wii with 600 games on it). I'm quite sure these consoles can be emulated by even a mediocre rig, but I'd also like to emulate XBox 360, PS2, PS3, and arcade games. As far as I know the 360 and PS2 have been emulated, but require a pretty powerful machine and I don't know a damn thing about PS3 emulation. Is it reasonable to expect that I can build a machine that will cover at least up to GameCube and PS2 games for less than $1000? Please recommend a build if you have any expertise in this area.

    Also, I've been doing some reading about MAME to emulate arcade games. I intend on using this program, but I'm wondering what kind of hardware accessories I need and what ones are highly recommended. Can I use just about any USB joystick on MAME? Do I need a double stick setup for 2-player games or can I use 2 single sticks? What about 3 and 4-player games? Could I use a double stick and a (or 2) single stick(s) or would I need a quad stick setup? I really don't want to build an arcade cabinet, so I think it'd be more convenient to just use single joysticks, but I suppose a double joystick could be set on the coffee table for 2 people. How difficult is it to emulate light gun games on MAME? What kind of hardware would I need for that?

    So I guess I'm just looking for as much advice you can offer and as many questions you might be able to answer. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Cygnus A

    Cygnus A Brown Belt

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    There is far too much to answer here. You will be reading and watching videos for awhile.

    For major emulation setup check out Hyperspin.

    For media center applications, check out Kodi (used to be XBMC).

    Also Steam Big Picture mode is great.

    When my HTPC boots it goes straight into Kodi. From there I have shortcuts to launch Steam or Hyperspin for emulators.

    Good luck!

    Edit: You will not be emulating Xbox or later consoles. Anything older is easy and doesnt require a powerhouse of a system. $1k will easily get you up and running. The harder part is going to be configuring all of your emulators and ROMs
     
  3. VTMMAFan

    VTMMAFan White Belt

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    Well I appreciate what you were able to advise me on anyways. Anyone know of a good tutorial/guide I can follow? The most recent guide I found is over 3 years old. In the world of PCs I assume that makes it obsolete, though they did get PS2 emulation working for less than $700 nearly a half of a decade ago... That is encouraging!
     
  4. Bohdan

    Bohdan Blue Belt

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    If you have experience with VM's I highly recommend UNRAID with XEN.

    I run a simple htpc/gaming rig /w a i5 16 gig ram.

    1) Run Minidlna, deluge, Sickrage, Couchpotato as dockers to the unraid dom 0.
    2) Use PCI passthrough on the video card and a usb addon card and assign them to a Win 10 VM. (I personally assign 2 cores and 8GB ram to the VM)

    The beauty of this setup is that you can have windows crash or any of the dockers crash and it won't take down your server. It has the ability to setup large 30 drive arrays of mixed drives /w parity and hot spare. Unraid will only spool up the drive you are reading from (say streaming a movie). A traditional raid would have to spool up all of the drives to stream that same movie. It makes a huge difference when you are running 5-10 drives. The system ends up sipping power.
     
  5. Cygnus A

    Cygnus A Brown Belt

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    Are you only playing emulators in the VM? Or can this handle full blown gaming via Steam?
     
  6. The Diplomat

    The Diplomat Peace Among Worlds

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    PCSX2 is the best PS2 emulator out, and here are the *recommended* requirements (not minimum)

    Windows Vista / Windows 7 (32bit or 64bit) with the latest DirectX
    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 3.2 GHz or better OR i3/i5/i7 @ 2,8 GHz or better OR AMD Phenom II @ 3,2 GHz or better
    GPU: 8800gt or better (for Direct3D10 support)
    RAM: 1GB on Linux/Windows XP, 2GB or more on Vista / Windows 7

    These are all old by now, so you could easily get a machine that can play most PS2 games for cheap.
     

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