View Full Version : Opinions? Raspberry Pi or Android MiniPC (PC on a USB Stick) for emulators?

August 15th, 2013, 04:21 PM
There seem to be a plethora of (probably disposable) cheap arm based computers with SD card storage, some form of built-in ethernet, and HDMI (1080p) out these days has anyone tried these much with vintage gaming or other vintage collaboration? What's your opinion? Regret the purchase or would have gotten a different model?

I was watching a youtube review last night on one of the dual core android TV (I'll have to link to it later to remember which one). It was quite impressive although it's still hard to tell on a video what the real experience is like (browsing the web on it he said wasn't too terrible but was definitely slower to load some things like flash videos). The emulators it came with were quite impressive though for what they were. He ran everything from Atari 2600 to Playstation 1 games on it and the only caveat shown was the SNES emulator didn't accept his gamepads key assignments. Everything else like video streaming seemed ok on it though.

I'm not sure if there's much hackable future for them such as the Pi becoming a Commodore floppy, etc. That's what I'd be curious about. Sure on the android you have linux and about anything you can compile to play with but you'd have to interface through USB and USB devices which may or may not be a problem. The Raspberry Pi at least has some ability to be hacked with other options and sensors on the back making it a bit easier to interface with nonstandard or electronic devices (x10, etc).

Anyone here try both or one and have some opinions?

- John

August 16th, 2013, 12:50 PM
I have a PI but I have only ever run X-Box media player on it...
... reports say its slow on emulators.....

August 27th, 2013, 12:13 PM
I have a Pi and I find it great yet I haven't tried any emulators on it other then just the mame thing that is in the pi shop on the desktop. But I think the Pi would be a good option with its on-board I/O you could set it up so you can use those as direct joystick/button inputs instead of using a usb to i/o converter. Also the Pi uses straight linux and can run with many different versions of linux while android devices are usually stuck with android. But if your familiar with android and just want to use android since you may not know too much linux then maybe go for an android device. My personal view though is raspberry pi all the way... two different models, both cheaper then 50 dollars, overclockable, huge fan base to ask questions to, and its quite versatile (you can use it for anything from a web server to a game emulator to just a web browser). I think I've ranted enough. I'll stop now :rolleyes:

August 28th, 2013, 12:06 PM
No need to stop, I was a bit surprised at the lack of replies :-) Maybe I'm just a simple minded guy and games come to mind (well getting any new gear to play old games at least) seems to be an initiation rite when coming to my place. I still haven't made any decision, it does look like the android devices are quite a bit more powerful processing wise which I guess gives a better experience using them for graphical projects. The Pi seems to have a pretty good video card but for whatever reason lags a bit behind, but you're right. Multiple linux distros (perhaps some tuning can be done too) and the ability to wire stuff to it make it a great project box for more serious work. I've seen plenty of use cases with the Pi being a DVR (security system), NAS head for USB device/streaming, emulating a few slower systems, etc.

I'm plenty familiar with linux although admittedly I haven't had to fix many issues over time (often blessed with stability of systems I've played with), I don't know what else has been ported to the android tv systems. It's still just a linux port but that's something to look into as well.

I like seeing the Pi starting to be available from different sellers (probably not the point and yes they all jack the price up) but I have a small gift card for Amazon that I was intending on burning on one of these.. either that or some game I won't have time to play :-)

August 31st, 2013, 12:36 PM
I got my first raspberry pi from amazon but really only because I wanted it shipped quickly.
Also here: http://lifehacker.com/how-to-turn-your-raspberry-pi-into-a-retro-game-console-498561192
Your supposed to be-able to emulate...

Amiga (UAE4All)

Atari 2600 (RetroArch)

Doom (RetroArch)

Final Burn Alpha (RetroArch)

Game Boy Advance (RetroArch)

Game Boy Color (RetroArch)

Game Gear (Osmose)

Intellivision (RetroArch)

MAME (RetroArch)


NeoGeo (GnGeo)

NeoGeo (Genesis-GX, RetroArch)

Sega Master System (Osmose)

Sega Megadrive (DGEN)

Nintendo Entertainment System (RetroArch)

PC Engine / Turbo Grafx 16 (RetroArch)

Playstation 1 (RetroArch)


Super Nintendo Entertainment System (RetroArch)

Sinclair ZX Spectrum (Fuse)

Z Machine emulator (Frotz)

So yea quite a list for you... While on the subject of the raspberry pi and emulators I'm wondering if anyone has made it so the raspberry pi could emulate say LDOS or just DOS and put it all in a nice package and have a portable little computer about the size of the trs-80 model 100 or something... I've got two raspberry pis and one I made into a little digital badge that you hang around your neck so you can wear it around conventions and display random things. Plenty of people have proved you can run the pi as a battery powered portable device quite easily. I just would like the idea of a small laptop type device to emulate some kind of old DOS system to play around with. The only real small portable device that I can make some simple programs on now is my TI-85 calculator which isn't as fun or capable. But yea I haven't even really looked around to see if someone has done such a thing yet so I may be asking for something that has already been done. But if not then yea.

September 3rd, 2013, 07:29 AM
I have a raspberry pi but I'm not impressed with it...it is very slow for general computing jobs ie for browsing (I don't know how good it is for emulation).The android stick has a dual core processor and if you can find emulators for it,go for it.Raspberry is more "hacker friendly" but the android sticks have a lot of power..

September 3rd, 2013, 10:48 AM
For the Pi, some folks hacked it to work with that keyboard/screen docking station that some cell phone was using for a while. (some google fu = Motorola Atrix Laptop Dock). So with that yes you could have a poorly performing laptop lol. Since it has so many emulators (well since linux does) I'm sure there's a dosbox for it, but not sure how well it'd run. Definitely seems to come down to the single core processor emulating x86 not that well.

September 5th, 2013, 03:34 AM
I have put wheezy on it and installed a MAME emulator. Not that great but I did not spend too much time with it. I then put PiDora on it (PI Fedora). Not sure why but it runs better and faster than Debian, so I stuck with it. I have experimented with three or four versions of Linux. I don't use the Pi for vintage games but over time I will probably use as a terminal gateway that allows a vintage computer to connect to the internet by using the wireless capabilities of the PI.

September 28th, 2013, 04:06 AM
If you haven't bought your device yet, For 20$ more than a raspberry Pi, you get a quad core Exynos 4412. They call it, the ODROID-U2. The U is sold out apparently.