Is SNES9x more resource intensive than ZSNES?

jmckutchin

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Hi all,

I recently acquired a AspireRevo R1600, a little nettop powered by an Atom 230. Definitely not the most powerful thing in the world, but with hardware acceleration it makes a decent streaming PC. My main goal for this nettop, however, was to turn it into a SNES/NES emulator that hooks right up to my TV. Until recently, I've used SNES9x gx on my Wii for my SNES needs, but I would like to be able to run an HQ filter without the frame rate dropping.

So I've read a couple of things about how SNES9x is typically more accurate (especially the SPC-7000 core) than ZSNES, but whenever I try to put any filter on, the audio starts stuttering. ZSNES used to be my emulator of choice in the wayyyy back when, but I know it hasn't been updated in a while. Still, when I loaded it up it ran the game perfectly with the HQ filter applied.

I fiddled with SNES9x for at least a half hour, but I just couldn't get it to work right. Is this simply a limitation of this nettop, or am I missing something?
 

jmckutchin

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I assumed as much... Currently the nettop only has 1GB of ram, 256MB of which is dedicated to the integrated GPU. I have another 1GB stick on the way, so its final stats will be 1.6 GHZ Atom 230 and 2GB of ram with 512MB dedicated to the GPU. Should I bother trying to get SNES9x working well or just stick with ZSNES and endure a slightly less accurate experience?

Thanks!

Edit: Also, now that you mention it, what are some of those reasons? I'm curious to hear your thoughts though I think I may already know why.
 

spinal_cord

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You could try a couple of earlier releases os snes9x. It was originally designed to run on windows 95/98, I remember running it on an old 233mhz pentium2. Just remember, you don't need all those fancy gfx filters and the sound quality doesn't really need to be anything above 32k.
 
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Rydian

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More RAM won't speed it up if it's CPU-limited.

Reasons for it being slower?

It's gotten more accurate, which is more resouece-intensive to emulate. Compare ZSNES's requirements with BSNES (the most accurate emulator, plays everything, but needs a Core 2 Duo for fullspeed). The average hardware level has increased slowly over time, so now the emulator can afford to do things in a heavier (but more correct) way than it used to. Do note that the Atom 230 is around 1/5th to 1/10th the power of most processors nowadays (but it's not like nettops and HTPCs are made for CPU-harsh functions anyways, what with even the atom being able to stream modern video formats when paired with a decent IGP).
 

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Snes9x 1.52 ran fine on my Intel Atom CPU Chromebook (on Linux Unbuntu), albeit with a few adjustments. Snes9x uses Blaarg's SPC700/S-SMP audio emulation core (same as Bsnes), which is spot on with a real SNES as far as accuracy is concerned. Zsnes is dead last in the sound department, so naturally system requirements are higher for Snesx, but not overwhelmingly so. I highly recommend Snes9x over Zsnes any day.
 

jmckutchin

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@Rydian That's pretty much what I assumed, but I had no supporting opinion. As far as being CPU limited, I'm not sure, but it's the obvious bottleneck. I get sound hiccups and the frame rate drops to ~55 fps, but task manager is only reading 60%-80% CPU usage. Ram usage is at about 80-85%. Increasing the ram will also allow me to increase the amount of memory I can dedicate to the GPU (512MB is restricted unless you have 2GB). I've heard outputting in OpenGL will take more advantage of the GPU, but switching from Direct 3D makes it even worse.

@the_randomizer what adjustments did you use to get it running on your chromebook? and did you have any filters enabled?
 

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@the_randomizer what adjustments did you use to get it running on your chromebook? and did you have any filters enabled?

I had to adjust the input frequency to around 31600Hz or so to reduce crackling and install video drivers (which are NOT fun to install on Linux). For filtering, I ust used the most basic bilinear filtering. Even then, it was a real pain to get working, but once I did those, it ran full speed.
 

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Thanks for the advice. Here's the current situation:

Running Task Manager, GPU Monitor, and Snes9x in windowed mode while playing Actraiser on hq4x makes the game extremely choppy with fps around 30fps, yet task manager says CPU is maxing out at 80% and GPU load is around 15%. Any thoughts as to what's going on?
 

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Because those effects don't happen in GPU, but CPU clocks. (different threads)

Also, ZSNES for speed. SNES9X compatibility albeit quite slow. I prefer anyway having my Wii hooked through component cables then using a wavebird GC controller to play SNES. It's unique.
 

raulpica

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ZSNES is faster because most of it is written in highly-optimized x86 assembly, which is also the reason why it hasn't been ported to any other platform.
 

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