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First PC build EVER, Mostly Emulation, VR maybe?

Posted: Mon May 04, 2020 8:07 pm
by fredthezombie
Hello! As the subject entails, I want to do my first build. I am currently researching the heck out of PC compnents and as I'm sure it goes without saying there's quite an overwhelming amount of variety going on there. I grew up on consoles. Originally I only wanted the PC for emulation, RPI is not powerful enough to run Sega Saturn (personal favorite). I landed on Ryzen 3 3200g for my cpu as it will more than handle what I want it to do. Mainly Sega Saturn, GCN, and PS2, and it's integrated graphics can handle it.

Theeeen I saw that a new Half Life came out, and it's only in VR on the PC. Which got me wondering, is there a good GPU I could pair with the Ryzen 3 that can handle medium-higher settings with good-great frame rates? Sure I could get VR for my PS4, but no Half Life there. But If I cant get good performance using a ryzen 3 I probably wouldn't bother. Sure VR would be sick down the road! But, really isn't a deal breaker for me, like I said it was originally only meant to be an emulation build!

I'm pretty set on the Ryzen 3 3200G though as it has integrated graphics to hold me over before I could get a Graphics card. Definitely would consider 3400G if it was worth the bump in performance though. Sure I'd love to get a better cpu but I'm really depending on the integrated graphics of the Ryzen 3 at the moment. I really am not to worried about having a beast of a machine. I play my Sega Genesis and SNES far more than my PS4, It would be cool to play some FPS games with a mouse and keyboard though. If it could push 60fps 1080p medium-great setting for regular games that would be great, maybe even 30fps

If I need a cpu better than the 3200g to run VR well, I probably wont worry about it then. A mere curiousity in VR is not worth the cost to me if I can't tie it in with my current project (Emulation build) I've got a portable ish arcade setup as well as a haggard old Sega cabinet from 1982 that I am going to restore!

Any recommendations on all of this confusing stuff would be thoroughly appreciated. Thank you!

Re: First PC build EVER, Mostly Emulation, VR maybe?

Posted: Tue May 05, 2020 4:27 am
by Anapan
If you're concerned with emulation mostly, single-core clock speed is I think the most important. Not many emulators are multithreaded (use more than one core). Also specifically for emulation, the GPU is only really important when you're playing 3D games on emulators that utilize the 3D capabilities of your graphics card to render the 3D and/or upscale the graphics - PS2, Wii and later. For the most part emulators use only the CPU to render the graphics. My friend was talking about the PGXP PS1 rendering that needs a pretty beefy system, but dramatically improves 3D rendering.

I don't have any VR hardware, and haven't even tried any newish stuff, but from what I read, your experience is mostly dependant on how much you spend on the VR hardware first, and then also very dependent on how powerful your modern-gaming-centric hardware is. is a good guide for putting a "balanced" PC together. Specifically, it has several example builds that have matched CPU, GPU, RAM etc so no component is more powerful than the rest of the build would be able to keep up with.
I just noticed they even have an article on emulation and retro-gaming.

For specific games, I just go to

Re: First PC build EVER, Mostly Emulation, VR maybe?

Posted: Tue May 05, 2020 12:48 pm
by fredthezombie
Interesting so, do you think I would be able to run emulation up to Dreamcast off of just a good cpu without a GPU? I was pretty set on getting a Ryzen with integrated graphics, BECAUSE of the integrated graphics. I thought maybe it would be needed to have at least decent quality integrated graphics. for emulation. But now that we are talking about it the Raspberry PI pretty much addresses most of what I want and that definitly doesnt have a GPU or a good CPU either. If that can run emulators decently, am I wrong to think I could build a computer without a GPU but have a really good CPU, PSU, ram, ssd, etc. that could hold me over while saving for a VR capable GPU?

This project was originally only meant for emulation and general computing, but I've always had a mild desire to get VR eventually. I figured If I can achieve my original emulation goals without a GPU but still be able to start the beginnings of a future endeavor (VR) by getting a better CPU, that would be awesome!

Another thing, a friend of mine offered to lend me an old GPU to hold me over so I could just get a good CPU for the time being. Thing is I think it's 10 years old, NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250. Would I be able to pair that with a modern CPU (i.e. Ryzen 5 3600) and a modern motherboard (i.e. ASRock B450M)

Random other question: I heard that all motherboards come with some basic integrated graphics, if that's the case I really don't need a GPU at all for emulation?

Sorry I gotta be asking the most redundant questions! It really is all new and confusing to me!

Re: First PC build EVER, Mostly Emulation, VR maybe?

Posted: Tue May 05, 2020 4:05 pm
by Anapan
For only older games and emulated systems, I think you can definitely get away with only using integrated graphics on a brand-new CPU. Another thing to possibly consider is that you may be able to achieve a much more powerful system all-around by purchasing mostly used components to make a cheaper but more powerful system rather than only using all-new parts.
About 5 years ago I built the system I'm currently using out of new parts. I balanced it but went for a slightly cheaper GPU than the rest of the system could handle planning to add another beside it for better graphics (turns out that's not exactly how it works). It's been doing fine for mostly everything, and only recently some games and emulators not quite getting the frame-rate I want.
Now that I'm planning to upgrade I'm looking at getting an entirely new system as I don't think the motherboard, power supply and RAM can handle the newer graphics cards I'm looking at. I think I'll need to basically start from scratch.

I'd suggest if you plan to get into VR soon-ish, you plan out a system that can handle the vr headset properly.

I think that mostly all modern CPUs have some sort of onboard GPU, and the motherboard just routes that to the onboard HDMI, VGA, DVI port(s).
Those newer Intel Core and AMD Ryzen CPUs likely have a better GPU onboard than such an old card. I use Google searches to compare graphic card benchmarks eg. "vega 8 vs GTS 250" and click on or whatever.

You might notice I use the words "I think" in my responses here. The reason is that I'm not in any way an expert in these things, and much of my knowledge is outdated. I really recommend skimming the beginners sections of the sites I linked earlier for more reliable current information.

Re: First PC build EVER, Mostly Emulation, VR maybe?

Posted: Tue May 05, 2020 8:11 pm
by fredthezombie
You know after a lot of digging and thinking, I think I’m just going to stick with the Ryzen 3 3200G. Or probably 3400G I could eventually add a capable GPU for new games and vr down the road if I wanted to. I’ve found some forums of a few people that have used the same CPU with decent results in VR. If I did go that route, what’s another extra +$200 for a cpu to go on top of the $700ish for a GPU and headset?!

That right there is my reasoning, I could get vr for my PS4 for less than half what I would need for PC, Half Life: Alyx worth it? Probably not…

You know it’s funny you posted the emulation build link, I know I looked at that a couple months ago, but kind of disregarded it because I was originally going to source parts for an Optiplex build. The cost is half-ish compared to the new PC build, yes. But I feel like I’d be bummed buying something old, that’s going to stay old…

What’s really funny is my amazon shopping cart has pretty much everything from that entry level build on that link too! How ironic, months of researching and digging and somehow I forgot about an article that told me exactly what I needed! Lost in a sea of (already-clicked-on) google links!

Plus I’m pretty set on the cheap Ryzen for a couple reasons.

the clock speeds, I know I can get (almost) perfect Saturn emulation. GCN and PS2 I’m sure would be great too. As well as all the previous gens and Arcade boards. Run-ahead latency, upscaling N64s resolution (Yay!) etc.

I’m more or less just upping the crap out of my Raspberry PI game! :D Plus I have an arcade cabinet I’ve been working on that this would be great for.

Plus the Ryzen is soups cheap. I live pretty frugally, over the past decade I’ve been slowly selling off from my console collection. I use the proceeds to buy newer hobby related things, It’s far easier to justify pricey things but selling old stuff taking up space in a small apartment. Sure what a depressing mindset! But do I really need a model 1 and 2 Sega CD or a trackball for an Atari 5200 to play with 1 time a year!? Plus It’s pretty ridiculous moving through multiple apartments by yourself with 20ish consoles and a ton of games and peripherals! I’ll be happy as a clam to be able to have my old games in one place again! well… sort’ve ;) After my (far more successful than I thought) first ever sales on Ebay, I decided to finally pull the trigger on the PC.

I sure do miss my consoles though, but years of general up keep like drive replacements, soldering fixes, mod chips, region locks, etc. led me to this! My current interest in what I play is stuck in the mid 2000s and before. The newest game I played recently was Shenmue 3!

Never felt much need to keep up with new stuff, why bother now? I have a PS4 for that, and still kinda just barely play it!

Thanks for all the advice, your thoughts were a help in me in reaching my final decision!

But who knows! I still gotta wait for all the ebay sales to making it safely to the buyers to get paid. There is time yet for me to overwhelm myself looking at PC parts!

Re: First PC build EVER, Mostly Emulation, VR maybe?

Posted: Wed May 06, 2020 1:06 am
by Anapan
Sounds like you got it figured out, and I'm glad you decided on a fully-useful system. I have a box full of various Raspberry PI hardware and boards. They really do push the limits of almost doing what an old 2008 PC can do. I was still emulating Saturn successfully in 2008.

I bought my PS4 Pro for the VR, but then found out there's so few VR-capable games; All the rest of the games are just viewed in theater mode - you see the flat screen from a distance. Kinda disappointing, but I use the system seldomly anyway it's for the best that I didn't waste my money on a headset.

The PC VR scene is where the real action is at; They're always tweaking game engine mods so you can play games in VR. There's always a chance that some game you beat in the past can be fully experienced immersively, if it wasn't already modded for it. I know that PPSSPP has been for years capable of emulating in VR. I've been tempted to get a good VR setup - probably HTC Vive Pro, but just like my PS4, it'd mostly be my nephew that would play it. I'm still finding new awesome SNES and PS2 games I never knew existed.

I think the onboard GPU in your system will do okay at nearly all PS2 games. Might still have problems with stuff like Shadow of the Colossus unless you do a bunch of speed hacks, but it's best to experience that on PS4 anyway.

Re: First PC build EVER, Mostly Emulation, VR maybe?

Posted: Wed May 06, 2020 7:11 am
by fredthezombie
That's crazy, what was emulating Saturn well in 2008? I know SSF was/is supposedly decent.

I had a feeling PSVR was limited compared to PC, I've got time to hop on the wagon for that. It really is just a mild curiosity at this moment. But I was wondering if people would try modding older games to work with it. Promising to hear they do. Pokemon snap for the N64 would be so rad! I just want to try flight simulators sitting in front of a fan! :lol:

Older VR hardware is bound to go down price-wise as new models come out, perhaps I should bide my time, and dip my feet when the price is right.

PS2 emulation is in the back ground a bit for me, except for a few things, mostly stuff better played with an arcade stick. But yes "Shadow of" I would probably play via ps4, and honestly I just remembered I have an old modded ps2 with that game on it along with Ico!

Re: First PC build EVER, Mostly Emulation, VR maybe?

Posted: Wed May 06, 2020 12:18 pm
by 8bit
For PS2 or newer, getting an inexpensive dedicated GPU over the integrated APU is recommended... ETA Prime is my go-to for information on these types of topics

FWIW, its overkill but my emulation PC is the Intel NUC Hades Canyon with AMD GPU... its a beast for a compact emulation system and VR machine. Pretty neat if you want something super sleek.

Re: First PC build EVER, Mostly Emulation, VR maybe?

Posted: Thu May 07, 2020 6:28 pm
by fredthezombie
8bit wrote:For PS2 or newer, getting an inexpensive dedicated GPU over the integrated APU is recommended... ETA Prime is my go-to for information on these types of topics

FWIW, its overkill but my emulation PC is the Intel NUC Hades Canyon with AMD GPU... its a beast for a compact emulation system and VR machine. Pretty neat if you want something super sleek.

Haha, I watch the shit out of ETA Prime! One of my go to channels on emulation for sure. I'm really bummed he never tackled Saturn emulation using a Ryzen 3200G at least using Mednafen (which is what I want to use) One of the reasons I came here for build advice!

I was looking at a NUC or Asrock Deskmini at one point, but for a first build I want to get something not so niche, that is up-gradable down the road. I'm not to worried about PS2 emulation at this point honestly. Back in those days I played mostly cross-platform titles So I'm kinda strugglling to think of any PS2 only titles that blew my socks off! I DO intend on doing some digging for obscure and import titles once I get the PC in my hands though. I gotta rewatch some episodes of Gamesack, I know a few pointed out caught my eye.

Yes I totally agree on needing a GPU eventually to step up my game. That is a whole new can of worms for me though, I need to do some digging to find a good match, looking to eventually throw down the $ probably looking at between $200-$300, It's gotta be able to do VR though! Otherwise it seems redundant to build a system that does PS4 level stuff, I have one which is why I say.