Buy Gp2x Or Wait For Xgp Mini?


zaiprzie

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Hey guys. I am new here to the gp scene:)

About 2-3 years ago, I discovered the GP32 and the amazing homebrew and emulation scene it had, but unfortunately for some personal reasons, I couldn't buy it.

But now, I look at the scene and see the amazing GP2X, which is very tempting to buy. But then I noticed that the original GamePark is making the XGP series. Only the mini version caught my eye, which seems a lot similar to the GP2X(and a bit more powerful at certain areas) For example, what's making me think the XGP is better:

1) The XGP Mini has a CPU of 266 MHz speed.(higher than the gp2x)
2) It has a 2d and 3d accelerator(which the gp2x doesnt have)
3) Cheap(150$, 50 less then the gp2x)

But:

1) The GP2X has 64 MB Ram(while the xgp mini has 32)
2) The GP2X has double CPUs.
3) The GP2X is already released( I don't have to wait for the xgp mini then)
4) The XGP Mini has no shoulder buttons :eek:

What I'd normally need ask from it would be emulating Genesis,GBA, SNES, SMS and SNES.(PS1 would be very hard to get playable). I would put the occasional song or video, and for playing what the GP2X has to offer in homebrew.

Oh, and let's not forget, I will also be coding for it :lol:


So, the question is: Do you think I should buy the GP2X now, or should I wait untill the XGP Mini is released and buy that instead? Because If I buy one of them, I won't buy another handheld for another 2/3 years <_<

Oh, and what would be the best place to buy a GP2X, taking into consideration I am living in Egypt(with the occasional visit to Middle East)?

Thanks in Advance.
Extreme Coder
 

Digitalrat

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3) Cheap(150$, 50 less then the gp2x)

Well, this price is for sure without things like taxes, profit for the distributor and shipping costs (to the distributor).


5) The XGP mini isn't expected to ever be released. ;)
 

Fishbong

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Look, the xgp mini´s release is probably still not very close. Also Gamepark wants to release 3 Handhelds, which i think is unrealistic, they surely won´t release all of them, they ´re more prototypes and their hardware is far from being final.
And if it gets released, i think the programmer´s attention may be split between the other new handheld consoles and the mini. It will probably get nothing but ports from other Handhelds for the first time.

Plus it has a miniscule screen.
 

___

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The hardware specifications are not yet fully decided on. They might still change some stuff, and also nobody knows for sure if it`s going to support homebrew fully as far as I remember. Think about the gp2x, it has linux on it and a nicer screen. The mini is really tiny. I would go for the gp2x as it already has a supportive scene. But it`s your choice.

EDIT: Damnit Fishbong! You beat me again.
 

Epicenter

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Extreme Coder posted on Sep 6 2006 at 06:33 AM said:
1) The XGP Mini has a CPU of 266 MHz speed.(higher than the gp2x)
2) It has a 2d and 3d accelerator(which the gp2x doesnt have)
3) Cheap(150$, 50 less then the gp2x)
Specifications and price aren't set in stone; the VRENDER-3D chipset GP originally intended to use has a 180 Mhz or 200 Mhz ARM920T depending on which page of MagicEyes' confusing site you trust-- they probably put 266 MHz due to overclocking results, like Craig calls the GP2X's main (ARM920T) CPU '240 MHz' when it's really rated for 200. GP's told me they are considering my suggestion of the Samsung S3C2460 SoC which would carry a 266 MHz ARM9 processor overclockable to a probably 333 MHz (the architecture scales to ~400 Mhz.)

Extreme Coder posted on Sep 6 2006 at 06:33 AM said:
But:

1) The GP2X has 64 MB Ram(while the xgp mini has 32)
2) The GP2X has double CPUs.
3) The GP2X is already released( I don't have to wait for the xgp mini then)
4) The XGP Mini has no shoulder buttons :eek:
GP seems to be reworking the RAM specification; last I heard was 128 MB for the XGP and 96 MB for the Mini, IIRC. That's more feasible. The XGP Mini renders and photos I've seen showed shoulder buttons. As for the GP2X's 2nd CPU, it's pretty hard to use and the apps that can take advantage of it are a bit limited. It is a benefit but not as great a benefit as a 2D/3D accelerator or an FPU/Vector processor.

Extreme Coder posted on Sep 6 2006 at 06:33 AM said:
What I'd normally need ask from it would be emulating Genesis,GBA, SNES, SMS and SNES.(PS1 would be very hard to get playable). I would put the occasional song or video, and for playing what the GP2X has to offer in homebrew.
Well, the GP2X can do all of that except PS1 at anything close to full speed; due to 3D acceleration, whichever SoC GamePark picks, it should reach, or come very close to, full speed. SNES probably gets to full speed in most games as well, though it runs quite nicely on the GP2X already. Genesis and SMS work excellently on the GP2X. GBA should work extremely well once development is further along, should work great on the XGP as well, better due to 2D acceleration of the more complex video functionality.

Extreme Coder posted on Sep 6 2006 at 06:33 AM said:
Oh, and let's not forget, I will also be coding for it :lol:
The GP2X is very easy to program for, and GP promises an SDK and full homebrew capability on the XGP series as well.

Extreme Coder posted on Sep 6 2006 at 06:33 AM said:
So, the question is: Do you think I should buy the GP2X now, or should I wait untill the XGP Mini is released and buy that instead? Because If I buy one of them, I won't buy another handheld for another 2/3 years <_<
That's a tough call; the GP2X is out now and if you don't mind the stick issue, it's a very capable system and a great dev platform. The XGPs will not be out for quite some time as they are still in the design phase- but I'm sure you'll see them within a year and a half at the most, it couldn't take much longer than that to build an SoC-based handheld. :) The XGP series will probably hold the advantage by that point. If you could afford to by an XGP unit later, I'd get a GP2X MK2 now.

At any rate if I had to pick one XGP console down the road it'd be a full model, the screen on the Mini is too small for me. I can tolerate screens that are tiny, like the GBA Micro's, but I don't really enjoy them over a larger display like the GP2X's big vibrant one or the large one the full XGP unit will have.
 
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zaiprzie

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Ok. I think I'm almost convinced. But, what about the place to buy it from?

And, do you mean you can't run C code as easily on the second CPU as on the First?

BTW, I also coded for the NDS with its Double CPU structure too ;)
 

___

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dude! You have done some incredibly awesome things with the DS. If you release something at least as cool for the gp2x scene... man. Go get a gp2x so we can appreciate your coding skills :D :D hehe
 

Epicenter

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Extreme Coder posted on Sep 6 2006 at 07:06 AM said:
Ok. I think I'm almost convinced. But, what about the place to buy it from?

And, do you mean you can't run C code as easily on the second CPU as on the First?

BTW, I also coded for the NDS with its Double CPU structure too ;)

Well, on the DS you don't have the same limitations where both chips can work independently, just writing to their own displays most of the time .. the restrictions are different. It's a lot like 'Sega Saturn Syndrome'. The 2 chips must compete for RAM bandwidth; using the 940T often slows down the 920T more than it would to just run the process on the 920T if not handled EXACTLY right. To keep the 940T from hitting RAM all the time, you must try to run code out of its cache, which is a tiny 4K whereas the 920T's caches are 16K! The 940T has no MMU so it cannot be seen by the Linux OS and used in Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP) in the traditional sense; the 920T must deliver instructions to the 940T so you must give the 940T instructions to run with and be left alone, or it will further burden the 920T.

I'm not sure of the best place to buy in the Middle East .. probably EvilDragon's shop in Germany or Lik-Sang in Asia.

EDIT: Extreme Coder, what have you worked on in the DS scene? I'm interested to hear about/see your projects ...
 
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zaiprzie

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thanks xnopasaranx(geez, I had to copy and paste it:p) when I get a gp2x, i will hopefully get around to porting my mario and zelda game.

EpiCenter: so the main chip(940T) has control of about everything? and the other chip is kinda a helper? I think it would be cool if you used the second chip as a 2d/3d graphics accelerator...

Oh and btw, the DS isn't divided the way you think. The ARM9 controls the main stuff and the graphics, while the ARM7 takes the input of the touchscreen and outputs sound.

You can check out my projects at www.extremecoder.co.nr

So far, apparently the cheapest place i could find is play-asia.com (for 170$) Does anyone know how much shipping would cost?
 

Epicenter

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Pretty much, except that the 'in-charge' chip is the ARM920T, and the 940T is the 'helper'. The tiny cache and memory contention issues are probably going to make it tricky to use for any large blitting operations in 2D, but I have seen some simple 3D acceleration done using it-- you can check out some of MadDog's work, among others, in the GP2X Development subforum here on GP32X for more info about those sorts of endeavors.
 

DaveC

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Extreme Coder posted on Sep 6 2006 at 11:33 AM said:
Hey guys. I am new here to the gp scene:)

About 2-3 years ago, I discovered the GP32 and the amazing homebrew and emulation scene it had, but unfortunately for some personal reasons, I couldn't buy it.

But now, I look at the scene and see the amazing GP2X, which is very tempting to buy. But then I noticed that the original GamePark is making the XGP series. Thanks in Advance.
Extreme Coder


Don't forget though, besides all of the CPU talk do you really want a tiny 2" screen? The GP2X has a screen almost 1.5" bigger.

Plus that tiny little system with small controls can't be all that comfortable to play for any long period.
 
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zaiprzie

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But the screens do are still the same in terms of pixels(320x240), right?

Some more questions: When using the 2 cpus, do you build one binary for each cpu, and eventually combine them to make one binary?
Would one of the cpus, when used alone, be able to give some good graphics(something like the n64 or ds) at a good speed?

What 3d libraries out there are ported to the gp2x(and are at a mature state)?
I've seen ports of yeti3d,vincent and some other similar stuff.. But they seem pretty immature imo?(the ones i saw were posted either end of 2005 or a few months ago)


I know I know, I might look like someone who's crazy about using 3d, and you will then probably tell me to get the xgp or psp, but its not because I am crazy about having 3d on the gp2x.(Part of the reason is that i want to port my zelda game)
I also had a bunch of questions(much more than the questions above) about 2d, but searching the dev forums always seemed to present the answer.
Unfortunately, it's not the same with 3d.
I think I might end up making my own 3d engine after all.
 

DaveC

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Extreme Coder posted on Sep 6 2006 at 05:13 PM said:
But the screens do are still the same in terms of pixels(320x240), right?


Yes they are the same resolution. The mini is only 2.2" and the GP2X is 3.5" that is a big difference on a handheld. I suppose if you don't mind tiny screens then you are ok. That is a big deal for me though.

Plus the mini uses special batteries meaning once they stop making them the unit is worthless.
 
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Julius

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The wiki should asnwer most of your questions:
http://wiki.gp2x.org/

3D sadly isn't really in a mature state on the GP2x, but there have been very promising things lately, like the one demo from the Democompetition (I think it was called "code alone") that used the second CPU als a 3D accelerator. But much works needs to be done in that area.

Concerning the XGP -mini,kids, etc: In my oppinion they are pure vapourware. All they have are some prototypes and designs that are still at least a year away from a mature product, and the specs arn't really great either.
But the most important thing is that I doubt that they will be able to secure the needed funding for the initial production. The handheld market is too crowed for any investment bankers to support such a product, and financing it via preorders like it was done with the GP2X isn't going to work due to the GP2X (and the only small dedicated community).
 

zaiprzie

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DaveC: I really have to agree on your battery point. Something earlier happened to me with my DS that really shows me the value of having a standard AA battery.

Julius: do you know where I could find this code alone?
 

Epicenter

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Extreme Coder posted on Sep 6 2006 at 12:13 PM said:
But the screens do are still the same in terms of pixels(320x240), right?

Some more questions: When using the 2 cpus, do you build one binary for each cpu, and eventually combine them to make one binary?
Would one of the cpus, when used alone, be able to give some good graphics(something like the n64 or ds) at a good speed?

What 3d libraries out there are ported to the gp2x(and are at a mature state)?
I've seen ports of yeti3d,vincent and some other similar stuff.. But they seem pretty immature imo?(the ones i saw were posted either end of 2005 or a few months ago)


I know I know, I might look like someone who's crazy about using 3d, and you will then probably tell me to get the xgp or psp, but its not because I am crazy about having 3d on the gp2x.(Part of the reason is that i want to port my zelda game)
I also had a bunch of questions(much more than the questions above) about 2d, but searching the dev forums always seemed to present the answer.
Unfortunately, it's not the same with 3d.
I think I might end up making my own 3d engine after all.

Combining 2 binaries is one method you can use; Dzz's 940 OGG decoding code shows off that method.

Using the 2D blitter in conjunction with just the 920T, you can achieve most of the 2D graphical capability of the DS-- you just won't have such things as scaling and rotation 'out of the box'. Other things like transparency are natively supported and you can work out some hardware scaling if you take advantage of the zoom functions in the MMSP2 that were meant for cameras. For rotation I'd write some highly optimized ARM9 ASM. The DS has a dedicated GPU which the GP2X does not, so its 3D performance is very primitive as it must be done in software on the 920T/940T. I would personally recommend you stick to 2D projects, though you might gain satisfactory results with 3D, the framerate will be rather low if the scene is at all complex.

I think the Yeti3D engine stopped being maintained, but IIRC it was quite snappy on the GP2X if you didn't load the scene down with too many polys. Like I said you need to mostly stick to simpler stuff there.
 
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zaiprzie

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Sounds similar to the DS.

about the 3d, dont worry. I think ~1000 polys can be mantained with good speed,right?

And even if the GP2X doesn't support 3D at all, I am still going to buy it. After reading around here, it seems that the XGP Mini is something that won't materialize...
 
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