Alternative Portable Gaming Machine!


Hansel75

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Hey guys, just wanted to say i acquired a Toshiba NB550D Netbook and i did some emulation tests on it, and i have to say it's simply superb.

It runs Win7, has 1gb ram, 250gb hd, an Amd 1ghz dual core cpu and a Raedon inbuilt 6250 gpu.
The machine is a little sluggish in general because of the lack of ram, running one app at a time is best.
But i will be upgrading it to 4gb ram soon which should mostly fix this.
It comes with a lot of features, and is quiet small and light weight.

Emulation is simply awesome on this netbook.
I tried these windows emulators on it, CCS64 and Winuae for the c64 and amiga.
Both ran games flawlessly, the NB550D is uttely superb for commodore emulation. No frameskipping needed, just full speed silky smooth scrolling games.
And being a netbook you get the added bonus of a real keyboard to, and the games look great on the small 10in screen.
Plus being a windows based machine, there is no shortage of choice of emulators, and no waiting for ports.

I also tried Project64 on it, the N64 emulator. And to my surprise it ran the half dozen games i threw at it perfectly at full speed, mario64 etc.
The N64 games also looked really good on the small screen, i was running the N64 games at the netbooks native screen res of 1024x600.

I haven't tested out PSX emulation on it yet, but if it can play N64 games at fullspeed, i would expect PSX emulation to be perfect as well.
The dreamcast emulator is also on the list of things to try on this netbook, although that might be pushing it a bit, will see.

I thought i would just mention this as it's a really nice way to get perfect portable commodore emulation. With the added benefit of being able to emulate more powerful systems(n64 etc).
There's also the added bonus of being able to do lots of other things with it because it's a normal windows pc.
I even got the pc version of GTA:SA to play nicely on it, Angry birds runs perfect, Flatout2 also ran great and apparently WOW is playable on this to.

There quite cheap to, around $400 here in Australia, simply plug in an xbox pad and your good to game.
Could be a great alternative to the Pandora and Caanoo, yes larger, but also more powerful and still portable.

It's now my alternative to the caanoo's commodore emulators, since there not perfect on the caanoo and onscreen keyboards are fiddly.
The only downer is the battery life isn't as good as something like a caanoo.

Some info and pics about the netbook here-
http://www.cnet.com.au/toshiba-nb550d-339310820.htm#image0

Also any other netbooks of similar specs would be fine for emulation purposes.

Han.

PS: I still love my Caanoo, it's perfect for most console/arcade emulators, it just has on older brother now lol.
 

rohezal

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If you want a laptop for gaming (needs a table, has more power and a bigger screen etc) buy a laptop. If you want a small easy to carry handheld, which can be used without a table, but with a small screen buy a handheld (Caanoo, PSP, Nintendo DS. /thread
 

Klumpen

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Too bad, that netbooks do not have gaming controls and a very long battery life, like the pandora or the Nintendo DS
and are not as portable as caanoo/wiz/pandora/DS/etc.... ;)

Besides: Windows is not everyones favourite OS.
 

darklight1138

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I picked up an Asus EEE from a friend for $60. Haven't tried any emulation on it but about to order a cheap USB gamepad and then will try emu.
 

Hansel75

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Hi guys, just wanted to say that when i mentioned about a netbook as a emulation machine, i didn't say it's a replacement to handhelds, it's an alternative.

As for portability, a netbook is much lighter then a laptop(no dvd drive etc), plus there also a lot smaller, and they can easily be used on your lap while sitting, no table required.

And yes they don't have gaming controls builtin, to remedy this is easy, plug in a usb gamepad.
Personally i am using a wireless xbox pad. There is also the benefit when emulating something that has a keyboard to(c64, amiga), in that you have a real keyboard to use.

Last night i was sitting on my lounge, netbook on lap with xbox pad playing Mario64 perfectly, show me a handheld that can do that.
Then after that i played some perfectly smooth c64/amiga games, caanoo commodore emulation simply doesn't compare.

Battery power isn't as great as a handheld, but still i can get 3-5hrs out of my netbook, which really isn't that much less then a handheld anyway.

Also windows may not be everyone's prefered OS, but there is no denying that windows has the largest range of emulators by far.
I guess i could install linux onto it, but i don't see the point as then your limiting yourself to about 1% of the range of software that windows has.

And when emulation isn't perfect on our chosen handhelds(c64/amiga on caanoo), then a netbook is a fantastic alternative.

I love my caanoo, i really do, but there are some things it just can't do, or doesn't do well.
And that's where a netbook is the next best thing in my opinion.

Han.
 

Klumpen

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I wanted to buy a netbook and build attachable game-controls (clipped over the keyboard) myself some time ago,
but then i got a used pandora and am very happy with it.

If you want more portability and very fine controls, you should stick to the pandora,
if you want to play windows-games like Fallout, you shoul get a netbook (and maybe make controls for it).

Both have their advantages.
 

Hansel75

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So about the pandora, can it emulate n64 games perfectly?
My netbook is pretty much flawless with the n64 games i have tried.

I also here that the pandora's build quality isn't that great, cheap plastic, crappy dpad etc.

What is the current support like for the pandora, is there still stuff getting released/ported to it?
I read somewhere that it seemed to be dying out, kinda like the caanoo is because of the popularity of the ipod/android market.

At least with a netbook and windows, lack of support and software simply isn't an issue, and never will be.

Also Klumpen, i like the thought of making attachable game-controls to clip over the netbooks keyboard, i will look into it, nice idea there dude!

Han.

PS: To all the people who dislike windows, i simply can't understand that these days. Sure windows has had it's ups and downs over the years, but these days it's great.
I really think the windows haters need to get over it, but if drastically limiting the range of software/games/emulators that you can use is more suitable for you, then by all means, go for linux or some other obscure OS.
That's just my opinion, everyone is entitled to one, and i don't mean any offense to anyone.
 

Exophase

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Hansel75 said:
Last night i was sitting on my lounge, netbook on lap with xbox pad playing Mario64 perfectly, show me a handheld that can do that.

Pandora can do that, although I'm not sure why you'd want to hold it on your lap with an XBox 360 controller instead of just playing it directly. Playing with a controller while it sits on my lap sounds very uncomfortable to me, since if I'm using a controller I like to rest my hands on my lap or at least have them somewhere that isn't right in front of me so I can see a screen on my lap. I don't really like using laptops on my lap anyway, I'd much rather use them on a table. At which point using a controller is more reasonable, but given any kind of option I'd much rather play it on a 21+" monitor, or better yet a decent sized TV. Handhelds are nice because you can take them around and use them wherever. You can kind of do this with netbooks but that goes down a lot when you need to use external controllers.

I'm sorry to hear that Caanoo doesn't have as good C64 emulation. Caanoo is kind of a neglected emulator platform because a lot of emulator developers didn't feel like porting to it since the hardware is almost identical to Wiz, yet not software compatible.

Hansel75 said:
I also here that the pandora's build quality isn't that great, cheap plastic, crappy dpad etc.

Where'd you hear that? Pandora has one of the best dpads I've ever used. XBox 360, on the other hand, has one of the worst I've ever used in a mainstream console.
 
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Hansel75

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There was a topic in the gp2x pandora forums i read, and a lot of people mentioned that certain parts of the pandora were cheaply made, some of the case plastics etc.
I'm sorry i don't recall the link, but i'm sure if you looked for it you would find it.

Also i just checked up about N64 emulation on the pandora, they have ported mupen64, which in all honesty doesn't compare to project64.
I also just looked at some youtube videos of n64 games playing on the pandora, are you sure there full speed? Do they have perfect sound?
There were only a few games that were shown to be playable on it, project64 supports almost every n64 game.
Can you simply throw any N64 game at the pandora emulator and be confident it will play perfectly?

So how's the compatibility with mupen64, i remember trying mupen64 on windows years ago and it simply didn't compare to project64.
I also see that the original mupen64 hasn't been updated since 2005 according to there official site.

Han.
 

Exophase

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The Pandora's plastic IS kind of cheap and can crack in some places, usually not much to the detriment of its actual usability. But that doesn't take away from the quality of its dpad, which is very good. These days it's getting rarer and rarer to find gaming controls where the designer actually shows some understanding of what makes them successful. You say you hear it has a crappy dpad, I'm sure if I look for that I WON'T find that opinion.

You asked if you can do this with one particular game, Mario 64, which is one of the less demanding N64 games to emulate. I can't speak for everything. I don't use it myself. Videos on youtube are often out of date. You should probably also use Mupen64plus on PC NOW because unlike Projec64 it's actually being actively developed. Note the "plus", this is not the same as the original Mupen64. Further to that, what's on Pandora is not just a "port", both the CPU emulation and the GPU emulation have been heavily developed for Pandora's hardware and hardware like it. And while I'm happy for your success of PJ64 on your netbook I'm sure you can't be confident ANY game will run perfectly there either. There are N64 games that HLE-style emulators like Projec64 still can't play, at all, regardless of the hardware you use.
 

Klumpen

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I have used A LOT D-Pads over the years because of quite excessive "Street Fighting"
and the one on the Pandora simply is one of the best i know.

Gamepad with screen on the lap really is not very comfortable.

N64 would be the last reason for me to buy an emulation machine
and the good RPGs for windows are best played on a big screen at a decent desktop.
But that's just my opinion.
 

Klumpen

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Hansel75 said:
Also Klumpen, i like the thought of making attachable game-controls to clip over the netbooks keyboard, i will look into it, nice idea there dude!
Thanks! Please let me know if you find something like that.
I am just a woodworker and do not have much knowledge of electronics.

All you would need is a wider version of a flat gpad like the iControlPad
http://www.gp2x.de/shop/product_info.php/cPath/45/products_id/173
and make special clamps for it,
although i would prefer six buttons on the right side to shoulderbuttons in any case.
 
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monstercameron

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on my acer, I am running beyond good and evil @30-60 fps, the controls are simple enough that I could play on the go. I can use a BT mouse and play some Max Payne 2 which runs 30fps maxed out!
 

Hansel75

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Hi all, Exophase your right about Project64, i tried some more games with it on my netbook with mixed results.

Most games work fine, ones like Mario64, Mario Kart64, Banjo, Zelda etc, run perfectly.

But when i tried some other, more hardcore games they ran slow and sound stuttered, games like Goldeneye, Conkers, Donkey Kong64 etc.
I would say it plays 50% of the n64 games good enough though.

Project64 on a more powerful desktop pc runs all these games fine, but they must be to much for the emulator on a netbook.

I will try out Mupen64plus and see how that goes, thanks for letting me know about the plus version, i was unaware of it, my mistake.

I also just got my new 4gb of ram for my netbook today, unfortunately the win7 32bit os that's on it only detects 2gb of the ram.
My next mission is to install win7 64bit onto it and get the full 4gb of ram:) Should be a great little machine then.
I also have an 8gb sdcard in it for readyboost!

I'm still looking into attachable controls for netbooks, will report back when i find out anything new.

And i still agree with you all, the caanoo is obviously the better more portable machine, with builtin gamepad etc.
I still use mine all the time simply for convenience and comfort, but there's no harm in having a pandora/netbook as a larger, more powerful alternative.
There both great toys to play with in my opinion.

Han.
 

zsonance

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I used to have a Lenovo S10 that was upgraded to 2 GIG of RAM, and a USB dual-shock joystick controller, and I must say it was AWESOME for emulation. Some of the systems I play on include ( MAME various arcade games, NEOGEO, Super Nintendo, Genesis, NES, etc.)

But i also love the caanoo as well, just because how compact it is, and i like the display and the way the colors look.

But yes, I agree. net books are rad!
 

coldfish

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I've considered re-casing my eeePC into something like this:

GBr.jpg


http://www.thepixelpump.com/widdershins/images/GBr.jpg

Sort of a netbook/handheld hybrid = best of both worlds?
 

Hansel75

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Hi, i would just like to add that i have now installed Android-x86 4.0 onto my netbook as well:)
I would like to test the waters with android and thought this would be a good way to go about it.
Plus it gives me more value out of my netbook, making it more versatile and fun to play with!

I have it setup with dual booting, so on starting my netbook i can either boot into Android or Windows 7!
I'm interested in getting some game and apps installed onto android, but since i have never owned an android device before, it's all a bit foreign to me.
I would also like to test out some emulators for the android os, to see how the compare to the win7 emulators on a netbook!

It just shows how versatile a netbook can be, i have android, win7, plus programs like mobipocket(for ebooks).
I also have a lot of windows emulators on it like PSX, N64, latest Mame! It's also a great little movie player!
Oh and i also have Angry birds on it to:)

Han.
 
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