recommend a laptop for Dolphin emulator

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by regnad, Oct 17, 2010.

Oct 17, 2010
  1. regnad
    OP

    Member regnad Button Masher

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,602
    Country:
    Japan
    Looking to buy a new notebook.

    Can anyone recommend a computer that would handle the Dolphin emulator and is not too ridiculously priced?
     


  2. Bulit

    Member Bulit GBAtemp Regular

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Messages:
    293
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Country:
    United States
  3. campbell00

    Member campbell00 GBAtemp Regular

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Messages:
    126
    Country:
    United States
    I bought the ASUS N61JQ for 1,000 dollars even.

    There are a few questionable design choices, the keyboard is clicky, and the screen is a little too reflective.

    Aside from all of that, however, is one hell of a gaming Laptop. It's powered by an i7 quad-core, a respectiable graphics card (ATI HD 5370), and 6 Gigs of ram. While I'm not really one to pirate things, I wanted to test a few GC isos. I can report that SSBM worked at 60 FPS with a little tweaking, and Super Mario Sunshine would vary between 55-60 FPS.

    It really depends on how much you are willing to spend
     
  4. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvertâ„¢

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    27,883
    Location:
    Cave Entrance, Watching Cyan Write Letters
    Country:
    United States
    Is a desktop an option at all? Laptop processors are usually only 2/3rds the power of their desktop counterparts (if that), and the processor is the main thing.
     
  5. murkurie

    Member murkurie GBAtemp Fan

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Messages:
    316
    Location:
    California, Redlands
    Country:
    United States
  6. Bulit

    Member Bulit GBAtemp Regular

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Messages:
    293
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Country:
    United States
    Yeah, like campbell00 said, it all depends on how much you are willing to spend.

    And Rydian is right.
    A desktop would be a better option, but it seems like you really want notebook.
    But if a desktop is an option, I highly recommend you build your own.
     
  7. I2aven's_Sag

    Member I2aven's_Sag GBATemp Otaku

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Messages:
    726
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Country:
    United States
    I suppose it really depends which games you want to play and what your definition of "playable" is. Getting a desktop is the best answer frankly, but the laptop's recommended in this thread are a good fit.

    I suppose, as far as a recommendation from me goes, it really depends on what other things you'll be using the computer for. For example, if you're not going to make use of the quad core with things like photo-shop, video-editing or encoding, then why not just opt for a dual-core?

    If you're going to want to play things at the GC's native resolution (whatever it may be) then you really don't need all that much power. Emulation is primarily processor based, all graphic cards really seem to do is help according to how much scaling you want to do (whether you want to play the game at a higher resolution). Something in the 5650/5730 range should do fine.

    You're going to get a far more powerful desktop in comparison to a laptop within this price range. When you're running any power intensive task you're pretty much tethered to your AC adapter anyway, so if building a desktop is at all a possibility, I'd go with that.
     
  8. regnad
    OP

    Member regnad Button Masher

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,602
    Country:
    Japan
    Desktop isn't really an option because I move a lot to different countries. I'm presently in Japan, but will be moving to the US or Germany (hopefully) within the next year.

    So a laptop would be best obviously.
     
  9. Jotokun

    Member Jotokun GBAtemp Regular

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    165
    Country:
    United States
    Dolphin is heavily dependent on the CPU, much more so than the GPU. So as long as you have a dedicated graphics card it shouldn't matter what GPU your using. For the CPU, get an i7. That should run anything you throw at dolphin.

    This isn't counting higher resolutions or anything fancy like anti-aliasing.
     
  10. Fishaman P

    Member Fishaman P Speedrunner

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Messages:
    3,174
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Country:
    United States
    That's because Frame Limiter is on. SMS runs too fast on Dolphin otherwise. This is on my Core 2 Quad, so I'm sure your i7 would do MUCH better... maybe 10000 FPS [​IMG]
     
  11. campbell00

    Member campbell00 GBAtemp Regular

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Messages:
    126
    Country:
    United States
    Actually, that's not the case, as counter-intuitive as that may sound. Dolphin isn't programmed to take advantage of four cores; two cores makes a difference to one, but the jump from two to 4 is negligible.

    In fact, I have a lower-end i7 (720 m, which denotes that it's a mobile processor) and an average graphics card. I woulnd't be suprised if you got better performace than I did.

    I should note that my tests were conducted BEFORE I disabled Catalyst Control Center; Fucker was limiting my CPU speed by %66 when I would open and close my laptop. Pretty sure I tested it after a fresh reboot, though
     
  12. regnad
    OP

    Member regnad Button Masher

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,602
    Country:
    Japan
    Looking at the comments on Newegg, almost everyone has giant mouse cursor and frequent bluescreen errors, and returning this computer for a replacement doesn't seem to fix the problem, which one poster said the manufacturer admitted is a "hardware problem".

    Have you guys experienced this as well? Seems like a deal breaker on what generally looks like a good computer.
     
  13. unnkown95

    Member unnkown95 GBAtemp Regular

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Messages:
    198
    Country:
    United States
    acer aspire 5741-5763, got mine for 499$ has an i3, 300 gig, intel hd graphics, 4gb ram
     
  14. unnkown95

    Member unnkown95 GBAtemp Regular

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Messages:
    198
    Country:
    United States
    check dealigg, they ahve the best links for best deals on laptops
     
  15. Lodis

    Member Lodis GBAtemp Regular

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2007
    Messages:
    281
    Country:
    United States
    With Dolphin you want the highest clocked Dual Core processor you can get. More than 2 Cores won't add anything and you want a decent GPU to run at a nice high resolution.
     
  16. granville

    Member granville GBAtemp Goat

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Messages:
    4,977
    Location:
    Naples, Florida
    Country:
    United States
    I've got a Lenovo i just bought recently. I will concede to having the "giant cursor" glitch, but besides that, it has been perfect. The mouse glitch doesn't affect performance or functionality either. It is a glitch, it's there when it shouldn't be, but it really has no negative impact on the system. The functionality of the mouse remains intact and everything. The mouse just enlarges itself about 3-4 times its normal size. The glitch happens at random too it seems. It can apparently be reversed by changing resolutions back and forth, or possibly enabling mouse trails in the mouse settings (control panel). People on the lenovo community think it is an ATI driver fault and not a hardware issue. At any rate though, the issue was so unobtrusive that i simply ignore it. It is just an extremely minor graphical glitch that randomly occurs. It won't affect the mouse functionality and it's not going to break your system or anything.

    I've not had a single BSOD no matter what kind of power hungry app i've run at it. I've run Dolphin AND PCSX2 on it for many hours at once. Not a single problem thus far. And i'm very pleased with it so far. Be noted that you WILL get slowdowns in heavy Wii games. You need a heavily overclocked good processor to get fullspeed (and even then it's not perfect). Gamecube games run great though. And most Wii game run great in fact. Just some of the more stressful games like Mario Galaxy drop their frames sometimes. Not that if you're getting an i7 quad like i did, the two extra cores won't do you any good in PCSX2/Dolphin. They can't use more than two cores. Turbo Boost is your friend here, it lets you direct more clock speed to individual cores. And the speed increase is important for emulators which favor high clock speed.

    And regular PC games work great on it too. I've been playing Prince of Persia Forgotten Sands, Prince of Persia (2008), and Star Wars Force Unleashed. Games run fullspeed at the highest resolution (that my laptop can support- 1366x768) and settings. No hiccups so far.

    For the record, i got this laptop-
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16834146850

    So far i love it. I had to get a laptop due to mobility. It doesn't have the best battery life though. It's an excellent gaming laptop so far. It's certainly capable of handling all the latest games at high resolutions. And capable of playing most PS2, GC, and Wii games at fullspeed or near it (and high resolution). It's worked great for me thus far. Not a single crash or blue screen despite pushing the laptop really hard for hours on end. It seems the people who had this either messed their system up somehow (perhaps tried to install graphics drivers they shouldn't have) or got a dud. I guess i neither messed it up nor got a dud, because it runs great... [​IMG]
     
  17. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvertâ„¢

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    27,883
    Location:
    Cave Entrance, Watching Cyan Write Letters
    Country:
    United States
    The mouse overlay is controlled by the GPU, so yes it'd be a driver issue most likely.

    Also anybody complaining about a "BSOD" without more info can be disregarded if they don't even know what a BSOD actually is.
     
  18. I2aven's_Sag

    Member I2aven's_Sag GBATemp Otaku

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Messages:
    726
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Country:
    United States
    The strongest laptop dual cores are the i7-620M and the i7-640M (2.66-3.33) and (2.8-3.46). Just throwing out some more specific information [​IMG]. As far as GPU's go something along the lines
    of a mobility 5650 would be best. In the mid-range of CPU's the i5-540M is a good compromise (2.53). Ideally for PCSX2/Dolphin you want to get as close to or past 3Ghz as you can. As Rydian
    said most emulators don't have multi-core support and even if they did implement it there wouldn't be all that much more than a 20% gain.
     
  19. granville

    Member granville GBAtemp Goat

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Messages:
    4,977
    Location:
    Naples, Florida
    Country:
    United States
    The benefits of multi core support would probably diminish in laptops anyways since turbo boost relies on you disabling some of the cores to delegate a higher clock speed for the remaining cores.

    Maybe if all 4 cores were running at a constant 3ghz, you might get a performance increase. But in the case of laptops, well just take a look at how my lenovo works with turbo boost enabled-

    4 cores- 1.73ghz
    2 cores- 2.4-2.6ghz
    1 core- 2.93 ghz

    So as you see, if the emulator developers added multicore support, it wouldn't be likely to help someone like me very much. You're sacrificing a far lower clock speed for more cores. If the speed increase is only going to be 20% or less, i'd probably actually get superior speed running on two cores with turbo boost.

    The thing is this- both PCSX2 and Dolphin are still young. Sure they've been out for years, but there is still so much progress to be made. Speed will likely increase over time with even current gen PC's. As a matter of fact, i saw a message from two of the pcsx2 coders on their forum the other day saying they still had plenty of speedup tricks in store for the future. They're quite confident in this. It's just a matter of coding and time. Besides all this though, they and the Dolphin team have stated on numerous occasions that they have no plans to add support for more than two cores. It would require a massive rewrite of the emulators themselves and they don't believe the benefits would be sufficient enough to warrant such an undertaking. They'd also end up breaking a ton of games doing this.
     
  20. regnad
    OP

    Member regnad Button Masher

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,602
    Country:
    Japan

Share This Page