This hardware and software combination is really something any enthusiast can put together. I built the wife an emulator box so she can play Scramble and Discs of Tron, among other favs.
It was really easy but rather time consuming.
Order parts from Amazon, ebay, and Arcade Controls
Assemble the parts
Install and configure the emulators
There is a ton of wiggle room and possibilities here. First of all, with software emulation one is not limited to what is available on FPGA or limited to what FPGA boards (or cores) are currently shipping. To be 100% fair you're limited to what software emus are available, naturally. But software emulators are so easily customized, look at all the options in any contemporary emu. And there are literally thousands of motherboards and processor combos that will power-up any given emulator!
So a generic fanless ITX-i7 fit the bill here. It can be assembled and become fully functional in an evening. Plenty of power to play thousands of favorites and double-up as a real PC. No frame skipping, no stuttering sound. None of the glitches you might encounter by simply running an emulator on your laptop. Quality components throughout bring the grand total to just under $1400. Sans monitor, speakers, keyboard, controllers. Just the box.
Step 3 is what takes the time. Polishing and making a rig absolutely perfect takes time. Nearly a month working 2 or 3 hours each evening if you want THE best of the best. Each emulator has to be configured just right for your exact bit of hardware and just how you want to do things. This button does this, this stick moves that, this here switch resets. You have to "interview the customer" to find out exactly what they're looking for and how they want it to work. What their expectations are. What controllers do they want? How sensitive? What kind of layout and mapping? What era is being focused on? All important questions. Certain games require extra attention and tweaks all their own. Not all, but some. And in problematic/unique/special/favorite situations, you can easily do a custom instance for a specific game. You need to know the exact monitor and speakers being used too. And then bring it all together.
This Seedi thing is someone's low-cost interpretation and variation on a homebrew emulation rig that is trying to appeal to all. You're paying for the time and assembly and configuration work really. It's nothing you can't do yourself if so motivated. You can build them on the cheap, less than $100. Or be elegant and sophisticated with high class hardware. Anodized metallic keyboard, automotive grade case finish, joystick/flightstick with all metal construction. Dual m.2 drives. SuperCapacitor 3 minute battery backup. The options are limitless.
So with Seedi you're essentially paying for the cheap hardware and a bit extra for someone to bring it all together for you. Sounds reasonable to me.
The experience of an emulator box IS going to be different than that of original hardware. One goal is to come damn close to recreating the winter mornings cozied-up with a 70's console or two..all the while utilizing modern hardware's capabilities and conveniences.
For example I've never owned a VCS or C64 or Atari 400/800 that was as reliable and as consistent as Stella-WinVice-Altirra. And if something does break, everything is modular and available today and tomorrow.
Edited by Keatah, Tue Oct 3, 2017 6:40 PM.