Back From The Front: Gp2x Vs Psp


vaustein

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To celebrate my birthday + tax refund, I picked up a PSP and began playing with homebrew. Here are my impressions of how the PSP performed compared to the GP2X. Although I've owned a GP2X since last year, I don't believe I carried any bias against the PSP. In fact, I expected the PSP to replace my GP2X; didn't happen, surprisingly. Also, these comments are based upon 10-12 hours with the PSP.

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Handhelds
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PSP: Purchased last week at Target. Initially FW 2.71 (indicated by the letter "K" above the bar code). Downgraded to 1.50 then upgraded to Dark_Alex's 3.10 OE-A homebrew-friendly firmware.

GP2X: Mk2 model purchased last year from gp2x.co.uk, just arrived (kidding! :lol: ). FW 2.1.1.

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Emulators
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Most emulators on PSP found at PSP News: http://psp-news.dcemu.co.uk/
All emulators on GP2X found at GP2Xtreme, natch.

NES: NesterJ vs GPFCE
- NesterJ scales to the PSP display's height with the correct aspect ratio. Fullspeed at default settings.
- GPFCE must be overclocked to 233 via Cpuspeed (popular GP2X overclocking app) for fullspeed.
- NesterJ: slightly better interface and default performance. GPFCE: slightly smoother animation, compared to NesterJ slight flicker. Both emulators easy to install via simple drag-and-drop with a card reader.
+ No clear preference

PCEngine/TG16: e[mulator] + PCEP + HuE PSP vs Hu6280 + CPCE + gp2xengine
- It's a wash. Performance, features, audio are indistinguishable. The PSP never outperforms the GP2X in this area, nor vice versa. Also, there is no single best PCE emulator on either platform: one that has fullspeed with audio lacks real-time save.
+ No preference - and some emu developer ought to take up this cause

Gameboy/Gameboy Color: Rin vs GnuBoy2x
- Both up-scale to the full display height with correct aspect ratio (and gameboy graphics look ugly that close...).
- Better audio on GnuBoy2x; however, Rin has a better interface without the ponderous scrolling marquees of GnuBoy2x.
+ Somewhat prefer GP2X

MAME: Mame4All vs Gp2xMame
- Mame4All no apparent built-in overclocking nor any or orientation adjustment (e.g. flip to landscape orientation for cocktail mode). Also lots of wasted screen real estate. And less compatible than the current release of Gp2xMame. Less friendly interface than Gp2xMame.
- Given the slower hardware, Gp2xMame hits a performance upper bound for more demanding titles. Sometimes, 250Mhz overclock just isn't enough.
+ Strongly prefer GP2X

Megadrive/Genesis: Megadrive for PSP and DGen vs PicoDrive
- Megadrive hasn't been updated in over a year. DGen is still being developed, but PicoDrive has a far superior list of features. Did not attempt nor discover Sega CD emulation for PSP, which PicoDrive supports.
+ Strongly prefer GP2X

Commodore Amiga: UAE PSP vs UAE4All2x
- GP2X control handles mouse emulation quite smoothly. By contrast, the PSP analog control is jerky and difficult to use as a pointing device.
- UAE4All2x has a far better interface
- Performance practically identical
+ Strongly prefer GP2X

SuperNES: Snes9X PSP + Snes9X PSP Optimized vs PocketSNES and SquidgeSNES
- All of the above have good runtime configuration menus.
- Do-Re-Mi Fantasy - Milon no Dokidoki Daibouken is my SNES torture test. Little Milon deserves the best :wub:
- All emulators were set to frameskip = 0 and audio_frequency = 44KHz.
- Both PSP emulators averaged at least 10fps worse than SquidgeSNES and 15-20 fps worse than PocketSNES. For more detailed performance numbers on SquidgeSNES and PocketSNES, check their compatibility lists @ wiki.gp2x.org.
- At the initial Do-Re-Mi Fantasy title screen, both GP2X emulators are 60fps with perfect sound. However, both PSP emulators *lag* to 45-55 fps!
- EDIT: Tested PSPSNES_TYL v0.4.2, both "standard" and "Media Engine" releases. PSPSNES_TYL is the latest and greatest SNES emulator on PSP. Both releases crashed on loading Milon - my first time seeing PSP's BSoD. Since this emulator claims to fully utilize the PSP's graphics hardware, it probably outperforms Pocket and Squidge on other games.
+ Strongly *and very surprisingly* prefer GP2X (in the absence of further testing)

PSX: 3.10 OE-A built-in PSX emulation vs GP2PSX
- Here's your reason to get a homebrew-friendly PSP. The GP2X will never get close.
- PSP FW 3.10 OE-A launches PSX ISOs directly. It's a little more circuitous to set up GP2PSX.
+ Strongly prefer PSP

CPS: CPS2PSP vs CPS2EMU test version 8
- Each has a clean interface. Both are packaged with the "rom convert" tool that generates required cache files from rom packages.
- While audio and performance are nearly identical, the PSP's wide screen shines here. Fonts in particular look crisp on the PSP and distorted on the GP2X due to aspect ratio differences. It's similar to what happens to a widescreen film projected onto a fullscreen television: either the vertical dimension is scaled (letterbox mode with black bars on top and bottom) or each frame is forced to a non-native resolution (causing distortion).
+ Strongly prefer PSP

ColecoVision: Columbo vs Columbo + Gp2xMess
- Both Columbo ports suffer from poor sound quality, confusing control mappings, and sync problems that resemble dropped frames.
- Columbo for PSP has a better GUI but is less stable. During one session I loaded and ran a game, then returned to the GUI, reloaded the same game, and the emulator locked up. Hard reset time.
- GP2XMess includes first-rate ColecoVision emulation. It's only lacking virtual numpad support and real-time save/load. Please note that it does include a virtual keyboard but lacks the numpad portion of a standard keyboard. Since XMess maps numpad keys to numpad buttons on the ColecoVision controller, this results in some confusing control mappings as well.
+ Strongly prefer GP2X running GP2XMess

NeoGeoPocket: NGPSP vs RACE
- NGPSP failed to work. I could navigate the GUI but "LOAD ROM" was a no-op. The last update was September, 2005. The author's comments in the readme mention working real-time save/load but "ungodly bad" sound that was recently added.
- As for RACE, the audio seems perfect, and SRAM is supported, but there is no real-time save/load.
- RACE is known to be frustrating to set up. It took me an hour of editing GPE files. Part of the problem is RACE's integration with Selector, the generic "drop-in" file selector frontend popular among developers who lack the time or inclination to write and maintain their own GUIs.
- RACE also features an *extremely loud and obnoxious jingle* that plays at maximum volume on boot. Luckily, the jingle is easily disabled by replacing its WAV file. And what are WAV files doing on a GP2X? I'm guessing that feature is owned by "Flavor", the developer chiefly credited with porting RACE to the GP2X. I'm not sure whether to thank him or kick him.
+ Prefer GP2X after some customization

Gameboy Advance: Did not test. I use my NDS for this.

MSX: Did not test on PSP. However, fMSX2x needs function key support before Metal Gear and Solid Snake are playable. Also lacks real-time save.

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Ergonomics
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PSP Pros: Impressively lightweight for such a packed handheld! Good case width for a comfortable grip over extended periods. Excellent battery life. Widescreen display that benefits from freeware media players that are compatible with homebrew-friendly PSPs.

PSP Cons: The PSP analog control is poorly calibrated and curiously positioned toward the bottom-left of the case; it's difficult to reach the analog control without cradling the case with the left hand. Also, having 4 directional buttons rather than a D-Pad was pure idiocy! It is simply the worst control mechanism I've ever used. And trust me, I've suffered through a year with two different GP2X stick caps.

GP2X Pros: Although not widescreen, the GP2X display subjectively appears to be sharper when playing games. Also, the PSP suffers from blurring during fast-motion scenes; this is particularly evident when playing some commercial PSP titles such as GTA:LCS.

GP2X Cons: Suffers from poor battery life. Is there a LI-ON replacement for AA batteries that would fit the GP2X battery compartment? And that stick - it's better than the PSP's control by far, but a D-Pad mod would be nice.

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Conclusion
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+ Strongly prefer the GP2X

Also, I just received my new Tapwave Zodiac 2 and spent several hours setting it up. Most emulation doesn't approach the GP2X. However, naturally mouse-based games like ScummVM, PalmUAE (Amiga), and CliFrotz (Infocom) work better with a touchscreen and stylus. Between the two, it seems that I've attained the Holy Grail of feature convergence B)
 

jimid2

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I agree over all - in fact, I do all my classic emulation on my GP2X because it simplifies things immensely - but you neglected to mention PSX EMU, which is really a thing of beauty on the PSP. I'm playing Final Fantasy VII right now, with Dragon Warrior VII and Metal Gear Solid waiting in the wings, and I could never give up my PSP simply for that. Of course, I'm a racing game addict as well, and the numerous excellent racers on the PSP make it a must have system for me... So I strongly advocate getting both systems - in fact, I could argue that with just these two systems, all my gaming needs are adequately covered, imho...
 

therealadmin

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vaustein posted on Mar 14 2007 at 02:52 PM said:
GP2X Cons: Suffers from poor battery life.
Now this was the only thing I could think of that I think is wrong. The GP2X definitely gets better battery life and you also can carry 2 or more batteries on you (which don't take up any room in your pocket) and play even longer.
 
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Ravnos

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therealadmin posted on Mar 14 2007 at 02:21 PM said:
vaustein posted on Mar 14 2007 at 02:52 PM said:
GP2X Cons: Suffers from poor battery life.
Now this was the only thing I could think of that I think is wrong. The GP2X definitely gets better battery life and you also can carry 2 or more batteries on you (which don't take up any room in your pocket) and play even longer.
I don't have a PSP so I can't really compare, but I've heard from a few people that the PSP actually gets pretty decent battery life when it doesn't need to spin that damn UMD drive. If you run everything off the memory stick, it's apparently not too bad.

Being able to swap out batteries on the GP2X is nice, though.
 
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Goemon4

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good post, i see you didnt go into CPS2 and Snes emulation, but still great post. i personally dont like the psp, its very stylish yes, but its just to much of a hassle for homebrew with sony doing all they can to stop it (hence why i like the 2x since its open to homebrew)

i hate the psp's controlls to, they are very poorly calibrated which is a pain cause at time it is useful having a dpad and joystick... as far as commercial games, yeah the psp wins, but im broke, so idrc...

and the zodiac, its awsome! it is very good for scummvm (which i use it for) and its games (commercial adn homebrew) are very nice (if only the joystick didnt go after a few months :( )

and yeah the psp has nice battery life, ive been using it for music (since my ipod broke) and cps2 stuff during school and it lasts pretty much the whole day..... but the 2x's aint that bad with nice 250 mAh batts (lasts for a good deal of time) but i definatly prefer the psp's
 

mdinire

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Ravnos posted on Mar 14 2007 at 08:26 PM said:
therealadmin posted on Mar 14 2007 at 02:21 PM said:
vaustein posted on Mar 14 2007 at 02:52 PM said:
GP2X Cons: Suffers from poor battery life.
Now this was the only thing I could think of that I think is wrong. The GP2X definitely gets better battery life and you also can carry 2 or more batteries on you (which don't take up any room in your pocket) and play even longer.
I don't have a PSP so I can't really compare, but I've heard from a few people that the PSP actually gets pretty decent battery life when it doesn't need to spin that damn UMD drive. If you run everything off the memory stick, it's apparently not too bad.

Being able to swap out batteries on the GP2X is nice, though.

GP2X weight - 161g (w/o Battery)
PSP weight - 280g (w/ Battery)

See how many hours you get with 119g of AAs (around 5 batteries?)
 
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vaustein

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I edited the original post to reflect comments in the thread. However, I'm standing by my statement about battery life :p

Also, with the right starting firmware, moving to 3.10 OE-A is easy. It's just takes 1) an Internet connection, 2) the ability to read, and 3) courage and composure when it *looks* like you bricked it ;)

IMHO, the PSP has essentially become a homebrew handheld. Think about it - how much new content do you see on the PSP shelf next to the PS2, PS3, Wii, and XBox displays? FPSs like GTA and Gun Showdown don't map well to an awkward handheld. And who wants to repurchase a movie in the UMD format, incompatible by default with any other device? In essence, I am comparing two homebrew handhelds. It happens that one is marketed to the homebrew community and the other isn't.
 

J201605

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comon... lets say your on a 7 hour bus ride. All you have is a backpack with clothes and stuff. Your PSP will last like 5 hours. Your gp2x lasts like 3 hours. But wait, you have a 4 pack of AA's in your backpack... which means the gp2x lasts the whole ride and the PSP leaves you bored for 2 hours. A combination lithium ion and double a pack like on the xbox 360 wireless controller would be awesome though.
 

imhotep

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This is a very well thought out comparison. Well done!

I am surprised about SNES emulation also. I guess the GP2X has improved a lot in recent weeks in this area.

Your info regarding the control scheme was interesting. I didn't realise that their d-pad was 4 way only. OMG! I guess they have their analog nub, but everyone seems to hate this too (positioning of it and calibration).

A CPS2 and Neo Geo comparison would be good (using our excellent front ends Capex and RAGE2X obviously :D )

A GBA comparison should wait until Zod's public release of his new optimized port of Gpsp.
 

therealadmin

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GBA does need to wait for Zod to finish. And I didn't know you get better life when not playing commercial games on the PSP. I guess I don't like the PSP's long ass width of a figure. I'm sure its cool too though.
 

vaustein

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therealadmin posted on Mar 14 2007 at 07:37 PM said:
GBA does need to wait for Zod to finish. And I didn't know you get better life when not playing commercial games on the PSP. I guess I don't like the PSP's long ass width of a figure. I'm sure its cool too though.

Good point. I've spent less than 15 minute total playing commercial games on UMD format. Parts not moving in the UMD drive surely makes a positive difference in battery life.

I'll edit one more time with NeoGeoPocket and CPS comparison.
 
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imhotep

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vaustein posted on Mar 15 2007 at 11:48 AM said:
I'll edit one more time with NeoGeoPocket and CPS comparison.
Excellent.

If this wasn't just a software comparison, you could also mention things like the GP2X's advantage of using SD cards, TV out functionality and BoB.

Alert: Gpsp2x has just gone public. Could be another comparison for you to make!
 
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gaterooze

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imhotep posted on Mar 15 2007 at 12:10 AM said:
I didn't realise that their d-pad was 4 way only.

It's not. You can do diagonals, but it's far more difficult than it should be. And having a gap in the middle of the directions give it a "virtual deadzone" far greater than the GP2X's (ie your thumb has to move further to change from left to right).

But the comparisons, while I almost completely agree, are moot for many people. The GP2X does not have PSX or PSP commercial games, so it cannot compete on those levels. For everything else, I prefer the GP2X though, and overall, yes, the GP2X wins for me. But only because I'm not big on PSX/PSP games.
 
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vaustein

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But the comparisons, while I almost completely agree, are moot for many people. The GP2X does not have PSX or PSP commercial games, so it cannot compete on those levels. For everything else, I prefer the GP2X though, and overall, yes, the GP2X wins for me. But only because I'm not big on PSX/PSP games.

Not to seem picky, but the PSP doesn't "have" PSX games, either. PSX emulation is enabled via downgrading. Furthermore, browsing a typical retailer convinces me that PSP commercial content is failing in the marketplace. My point being, why do people still buy PSPs really? I'd argue it's for homebrew and for the hardware capacity.

EDIT: Well, it turns out the PSP *does* have PSX games after all, as Goemon4 points out down the thread. However, Sony only enables the PSX emulation for PSX content downloaded through PS3 subscribed services.

The great news is this: GP2X's emulators are being updated more frequently. Speaking of updates, I ought to edit again to change PSOne to PSX and add some details about how I tested the SNES stuff.
 
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Goemon4

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Dont forget the ps3 and its ability to dl psx games to the psp..... (psx emulation isnt only for homebrewers)
 

vaustein

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Good point. Still, that's a curious reason to spend Five Hundred and Ninty-Nine U.S. Dollars on a PS3.

The weakest link in my original post is that I didn't test SNESPSP_TYL Standard Version v0.4.2. I'll try to do that tonight.

Edit: Just tested on both the "standard" and "Media Engine" versions of SNESPSP_TYL v0.4.2. They both crashed on Do-Re-Mi Fantasy. I fed the identical rom to PocketSNES as a sanity check and it worked fine.

I really don't have time to test further right now, so it stands as is.
 

jimid2

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vaustein posted on Mar 15 2007 at 02:04 AM said:
Not to seem picky, but the PSP doesn't "have" PSX games, either. PSX emulation is enabled via downgrading. Furthermore, browsing a typical retailer convinces me that PSP commercial content is failing in the marketplace. My point being, why do people still buy PSPs really? I'd argue it's for homebrew and for the hardware capacity.
Well, I don't want to be too picky either, but if I'm running Dark Alex's 3.10OE-A firmware (and I am), I'd hardly consider that a "downgrade" - sure the installation process involved "downgrading" the official Sony firmware briefly, but there isn't a commercial title available for the PSP today that I can't run with DA's brilliantly hacked firmware. :)

...but of course, it's still miles behind the GP2X in terms of "user-friendly" emulation... mostly 'cause Sony are dicks... :p

As for the "failure" of the PSP, I've heard that before too, and if the PSP is a failure with only 17 million units sold, then what's the GP2X? Granted, UMD as a "media" format for movies or music is dead in the water, but the truth of the matter is that the PSP's least successful commercial games have probably sold more copies than there are GP2Xs on the planet. Games like Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops and the GTA games have sold something like 20 times as many game cartridges as there are GP2Xs on the planet. Has the PSP been able to push Nintendo from the handheld throne like so many of us thought it might when it was first introduced? Nope... But no other non-Nintendo handheld, ever, has been half so successful as the PSP. If I was Sony, that would be the kind of failure I could live with... :lol:

And just for the record, a couple other minor observations in the PSP's defence: I actually own 62 UMD games for our PSPs (there are two in our household), and I have learned that the improved battery life makes ripping a couple favorites for the memory stick well worth it, but there's really no need to rip every game I play - the battery life I get is a very acceptable 4-5 hours of game play. And extra PSP batteries are easy to find - I own three, and it's no more trouble carrying extra PSP batteries about than extra AAs... I honestly don't see any real world difference in battery life between my PSP or my GP2X - there's a battery pocket in each of their respective cases, and I always carry an extra set of charged batteries for them.

Oh, and batteries or no batteries, the GP2X is noticably lighter than the PSP, especially for extended play periods... B)
 
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gaterooze

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vaustein, the PSX emulator is not homebrew, it's made by Sony.

And the vast majority of PSP owners don't use their units for homebrew. Most people don't even know how to. We're a very different bunch here as GP2X users :)
 
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