Official Gp32 Vs Other Handheld (zodiac, Etc.)

pixelator

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[Mod - NO FLAMING ALLOWED, SERIOUS DISCUSSIONS ONLY.]

This is how it breaks down for me, right now. Bear in mind, I'm usually pretty platform-agnostic although I do tend to find certain systems are definitely better at certain things, or better for some people.

I'm trading for a Zodiac1 with a bunch of games later this week, so I'll have a lot of opportunity to compare it to the GP32. The systems are actually very different in many ways, but in the more obvious-to-the-eye aspects, they're really pretty similar.

Most everyone here knows the GP32 specs, so here's Zodiac1 specs for posterity:

ARM9-compliant 200MHz CPU @ 200MHz (overclockable)
32MB Flash RAM
3.8" 480x320 Backlit TFT Transflective LCD display supporting 16-bit color
8MB ATI Imageon W4200 2D graphics accelerator

The new GP32 BLU is really quite similar, with the CPU being slower, 8MB internal vs. 32, screen being a tad smaller and lacking the 8MB ATI chip.

The Zodiac presses the 'on paper' advantage with a pretty slick analog joystick similar to some console systems, internal vibration capability, TWO slots for higher-capacity SD cards, integrated Bluetooth, touchscreen, full PDA functionality through PalmOS and backward compatibility with tons of existing PalmOS games and applications.

Nevertheless, I've picked up some pretty solid points that show the apparently all-superior Zodiac may well be an inferior game system. First among these is reliability and durability. I've heard numerous joystick complaints from users, for example. Second is battery life, which the FLU -and possibly BLU- is clearly better with. Third is emulation scene - Most Zodiac and PalmOS emulators are NOT FREE, costing an average of $20 from what I've seen. Fourth would be the poor pro developer scene on Zodiac - many of the announced games have never appeared, like Neverwinter Nights (although games aren't popping out for the GP32 anymore, there's still many more original titles for it than the Zod). Fifth is price - even a brand new BLU is still a fair amount cheaper than the bottom-level Zodiac1.

So what do you guys think?
 

Enslaved

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I think that the 32MB built in is just like a mini harddrive to store files on and not the RAM. I heard that both the Zodiac 1 and 2s only have 8MB of RAM like the GP32. But thats just what I heard.
 

DaveC

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No offense but this GP32 vs Zodiac thing has been done ad nauseum on this board and Zodiac gamer already.

Do a search on "zodiac" here and get what you need. These posts usually end up in a flame war, Hopefully this will not.
 

Azure

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No it's actually the ram. The Z1 has 32 and the Z2 has 128, but you can also store stuff in it, like programs.
 

TandeM

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No it's actually the ram. The Z1 has 32 and the Z2 has 128, but you can also store stuff in it, like programs.
But the Zodiac only has an 8MB usable heap for applications, I believe (and half of the remaining 24MB is automatically reserved for system use...)
 
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rcx21000

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I think it's like this:

To run something, you have to load it into RAM from card or computer
You run it, and programs/datafiles (ROM) can be accessed as fast as from any type of RAM
There is only 8MB to store variables and stuff like that (but no need to store whole ROM there, transfering bits of it takes almost no time RAM->RAM)
When you turn it off, it always uses a small amount of power to keep the RAM data

Even though I'm probably wrong ;)
 

pixelator

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No offense but this GP32 vs Zodiac thing has been done ad nauseum on this board and Zodiac gamer already.

Do a search on "zodiac" here and get what you need. These posts usually end up in a flame war, Hopefully this will not.
No offense taken. Nevertheless, since there's no *recent* thread with this content and I think the advent of the BLU puts a sufficiently different slant on this topic (as does the imminent release of Zodiacs in CompUSA and non-Tapwave online retailers like J&R Musicworld).

I'm one of those odd people who thinks that, although threads with a similar subject have existed in the past, that doesn't mean we can't ever bring the topic up again.

When you turn it off, it always uses a small amount of power to keep the RAM data
This is exactly right - I was playing Scrabble on my Tungsten T|2, turned it off last week and turned it back on tonight - the game was still at the same point. Palms also save states when you exit the application, which is a bit different than how the PocketPC does things (you normally have to save your game in progress).

But the Zodiac only has an 8MB usable heap for applications, I believe (and half of the remaining 24MB is automatically reserved for system use...)
Also true - part of the system RAM of any PalmOS device will always be reserved for 'heap' or running application-reserved memory. I suspect the 8MB is for the Zodiac1, while the Zodiac2 has more to spare. Out of 32MB, probably only 24 or so is available for storage. PocketPC devices are (again) different, but the user can select the amount of system memory to allocate to storage or programs.
 
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CrazyDesi

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Although this topic has been brought up a bunch of times. It usually ended up in a flame war. Maybe this time we can actually DISCUSS the Zodiac vs GP32 instead of people writing that the GP32 developers have been taken from us for 7 pages.

The Zodiac has a huge problem with the joystick, which is my main problem with them. Also the company said that they would pay for shipping for me to send it back but they never did. This has gotten me extremely upset with the Zodiac.

The 32MB of RAM the Zodiac1 has is available for both storage and regular RAM usage. The problem is that only 8MB(I believe) is available directly. The rest is used when programs specifically call for it.

The screen is never a big problem for me. I think they both have great screens, but there are some rumors about the BLU going to 200mhz. Which would equal that of the Zodiac.

Also the Zodiac has no homebrew software designed specifically for it other than BOR. Which almost everyone has. This causes a major disadvantage for me.
 

Dozer

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I'm pretty sure its 24 megs free space to store things to. The gp32 would not equal the zodiac at 200mhz, because the zodiac also has extra hardware to push it further. Also, people *won't* overclock to 200mhz constantly, it's just a theoretical test. 200mhz would just be impractical for battery life unless you have it plugged into a wall socket, which defeats the object of a portable machine.
 

finty

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I can remember discussing the RAM in a Zodiac with (I think) Squidge, and he said that both the Z1 and Z2 only have 8mb of RAM directly avalible to the coder, but there is a bit more avalible for storeing some other stuff, but not stuff that has to be accessed alot. I think thats it anyway :)
 

Dozer

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I can remember discussing the RAM in a Zodiac with (I think) Squidge, and he said that both the Z1 and Z2 only have 8mb of RAM directly avalible to the coder, but there is a bit more avalible for storeing some other stuff, but not stuff that has to be accessed alot. I think thats it anyway :)
I'm sorry but I'm sure that there is more than 8 megs available for the coder. This is why it'll be possible for much bigger roms on the z1, and even bigger ones on the z2.
 
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Charge

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I can remember discussing the RAM in a Zodiac with (I think) Squidge, and he said that both the Z1 and Z2 only have 8mb of RAM directly avalible to the coder, but there is a bit more avalible for storeing some other stuff, but not stuff that has to be accessed alot. I think thats it anyway :)
I'm sorry but I'm sure that there is more than 8 megs available for the coder. This is why it'll be possible for much bigger roms on the z1, and even bigger ones on the z2.
I also remember squidge saying that. Apparently in both Zodiacs there is 8MB system ram + 8mb graphics ram. The rest of the memory is storage ram and is too slow for games. Note I am only going off what I remember from squidge. (who - you must admit, knows his stuff).
 
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Guyfawkes

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Not a flame but I want to clear up some wrong information.

- Not all emulators are commercial. Theres Castaway, Columbo, LittleJohnZ (public soon), ScummVM and GuineaPig amongst several more. I agree that there are more commercial emulators than free but they do exist and are very good. The Zodiac version of Castaway and ScummVM looks amazing compared to the GP32 version!

- Homegrown scene on Zodiac is very small at the moment. Several reasons for this, the availability of the Zodiac is the main issue as up until this month it was only really available online in US. The shop retail release should make it easier for people to buy. There are a few homegrown games made specifically for the Zodiac such has TetriAttack, PacMan remake off the top of my head and many many Palm OS games which are Zodiac compatible or enhanced.

When GP32 was first out the homegrown scene was fairly small, its only in the last 18 months or so that development has really picked up. I would say that by the end of the year it should be the same for the Zodiac. It takes time to write games, emulators as I know myself from coding on GP32 and Zodiac so by the end of the year there should be alot more homegrown software available.

- Neverwinter nights is expected by the end of this year so its not cancelled. Duke Nukem is ready for release and should be on sale next week. Theres several other Zodiac specific games in the pipeline.

- Price is more expensive, everyone knows that but remember you are getting alot more for your money when compared to a GP32 Blu. Larger screen, more memory, faster CPU, Graphics and Sound chips, Touchscreen, bluetooth, infra red etc. I wrote a comparison chart a few months ago on these forums.

- Reliability was an issue especially the joystick problem. There were ALOT of people experiencing the joystick problem but the v1.1 ROM update has fixed the majority of this. If you visit the Zodiac Gamer forums you will see hardly no posts about the joystick problem now. Before the ROM update this was totally opposite!

- Just to clear up the storage questions, Z1 has 32MB of memory and the Z2 has 128MB. 12MB on each is reserved for the operating system. The remaining memory can be used as storage but games can use this memory at runtime so in theory you could run out of memory if the Zodiac is full of programs. Easily solved with a SD card though which I recommend buying straight away, I am using around 1MB of the Zodiac memory and everything else is on the SD Card. Also, when you switch off the Zodiac it isnt actually switched off, its the same with Pocket PCs and other Palms. A small amount of power is used to refresh the RAM and not loose the data, kinda like the sleep option on some GBA games.
 

Dozer

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I can remember discussing the RAM in a Zodiac with (I think) Squidge, and he said that both the Z1 and Z2 only have 8mb of RAM directly avalible to the coder, but there is a bit more avalible for storeing some other stuff, but not stuff that has to be accessed alot. I think thats it anyway :)
I'm sorry but I'm sure that there is more than 8 megs available for the coder. This is why it'll be possible for much bigger roms on the z1, and even bigger ones on the z2.
I also remember squidge saying that. Apparently in both Zodiacs there is 8MB system ram + 8mb graphics ram. The rest of the memory is storage ram and is too slow for games. Note I am only going off what I remember from squidge. (who - you must admit, knows his stuff).
No way :eek:. What's all this balls about buying a Z2 to make sure it's future proofed then? Might as well just get a z1 with a fat card or 2 :S.
 
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Guyfawkes

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I'll check up on this 8MB limit of RAM question because I am not too sure myself exactly how the memory is managed (I have a Z2 so wouldnt know if memory is an issue). My understanding is that say in the case of a Zodiac 1 with 32MB memory, 12MB is reserved for the OS and the remainder can be used for both storage and game memory. The graphics chip does however have a seperate 8MB memory which I know for definate.

I will find out the answer to this from Tapwave and post later on, probably tomorrow as I am out all night for the england match :)
 

daveyfontan

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Zodiac Versus GP32...hhhmmm...
Well , i have both and i wouldn,t be without either.
For some things i use the Zodiac and others the GP32.
I really couldn,t choose one as they are not only both similair but also very different.
I guess you can say the specs put the Zodiac top and to be honest the screen is slightly larger but it makes no difference to me if i,m playing Lost Vikings on the GP or Final Fantasy on the Zodiac.
Both are great consoles and compliment each other if you can afford them both.
Treat yourself and have double the fun.
Davey Fontan...
Original Mystical Ninja :ph34r:
 
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