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Dell WYSE Z90S7P thin client for emulation?


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#1 XC-3730C OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 7, 2019 2:54 AM

I got fed up with Raspberry Pi 3B and it's poor performance with N64 and PSP emulation. I just got a Dell WYSE Z90S7P thin client from a buddy of mine after an upgrade. Here are the specs:

Chipset: AMD G-T56N
CPU: 1.6GHz
GPU: Radeon HD 6320
RAM: 2GB PC3-10600
SSD: 4GB Flash

It seems to have a lot of potential due to it having plenty of expansion options, and I have seen a couple of YouTube videos as far as it running Windows, but I would really like to run RetroPie/Emulationstation, since I love the interface and themes.

I was wondering what would be the best distro of Linux, and the best way to install it? I also want to replace the 4GB SSD with a 2TB 2.5" HDD via the SATA via a male to female SATA cable.

Finally, I have several .img files for use with Raspberry Pi 3B/3B+, so is there a way to extract the games/emus/artwork for those images for use with this thin client?

Edited by XC-3730C, Mon Jan 7, 2019 2:58 AM.


#2 youxia OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 7, 2019 4:01 AM

To be honest these specs don't look like any major improvement over RPi, in regard to N64 emulation at least. Last I've checked it was still glitchy even on monster PCs.



#3 XC-3730C OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 7, 2019 4:40 PM

To be honest these specs don't look like any major improvement over RPi, in regard to N64 emulation at least. Last I've checked it was still glitchy even on monster PCs.


Ok, fair enough, but what would be the best course of action to install Retropie/Emulationstation on this thin client? Also, how can I extract the contents of many of of the Raspberry Pi 3 .img images ?

Also, check this link out where someone turns this thin client into a gaming PC:

https://youtu.be/hOLf7yJ8oB0

Looks like it has some good horsepower!

Edited by XC-3730C, Mon Jan 7, 2019 5:21 PM.


#4 youxia OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 7, 2019 8:04 PM

About N64 it's not even all about horsepower but the fact that it was an extremely complex system and emulating it is a pain. Plus, the scene seems to be fairly stagnant. Personally I would rather buy the real thing and flashcart.

For other 2D emus such as MAME it's more about CPU Mhz count so that's why I said it's not such a big upgrade over RPi. If I was building a new mini emu-PC I'd go for minimum 2.5 Ghz since such i3s-i5s are fairly cheap these days.

 

But since you've already got it, might as well use it. It's kinda cute. And yeah, there will be some performance gain, at least in the realm of 2D such as SNES, and maybe even PSX since it has better GPU.

 

I don't use Linux so can't comment on specific distros. But Linux does not automatically mean "faster than Windows". You could try Win 7 plus some of Windows launchers such as Launchbox. Or, if you really want RetroPie, just install it on top of some distro, like these guys: https://retropie.org...rum/post/122537

 

I have some Rpi backups and use Linux Reader on Windows to access .img files. You can copy stuff from them to your harddrive. On linux, just probably mount it as another drive or something.



#5 XC-3730C OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 7, 2019 8:31 PM

Thanks for the reply. I am not that worried about N64, but I figured since Original Xboz runs N64 pretty decent, why not give it a go with my thin client? I would be happy if arcade, PSX, and other 32bit/16bit/8bit systems worked well using Retroarch.

I have no experience with Linux, but I was thinking of going the Lubuntu + Retropie route, as I have read that this would be better than Windows (and even though Emulationstation is on Windows, isn't as up to date). It would probably finally get me learning more about Linux.

At very least, I will probably add another 2GB of RAM.

Edited by XC-3730C, Mon Jan 7, 2019 8:50 PM.


#6 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 4:40 AM

I think retropie requires a debian based linux. https://retropie.org.uk/docs/Debian/
Lubuntu is probably a good choice. If you're good with Linux you could skip the desktop environment. Four GB is not a lot of storage and as has been said, that cpu is on the slow side. You should be able to copy game files from a raspberry pi setup.

I notice that this version of retropie is only 32-bit. That could be limiting. I'd consider skipping retropie, go 64-bit, install emulationstation and emulators individually.

Edited by mr_me, Tue Jan 8, 2019 4:49 AM.


#7 XC-3730C OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 4:48 AM

I guess a good question is, would I gain any performance shoukd I choose Linux vs Windows? According to my reading, Emulationstation is on Windows, so if I don't really lose performance by going the Windows route, I will do that, as I have no Linux experience, but if I can gain performance by using Linux, I have no problem learning Linux.

In any case as far as storage, I would take out the included 8GB SSD, and replace it with a 2TB 2.5" drive via SATA male to female cable. I would also increase the RAM to 4GB.

Edited by XC-3730C, Tue Jan 8, 2019 4:49 AM.


#8 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 4:58 AM

Windows has a lot of crap running in the background that's becoming more and more difficult to control e.g. windows update. Other than that and ram usage I don't see why one would perform much differently than the other. I think the slow cpu might be a problem for the more demanding emulators regardless of the operating system.

Edited by mr_me, Tue Jan 8, 2019 5:03 AM.


#9 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 8:53 AM

When it comes to Windows vs. Linux in the emulation world - the question to ask is which OS supports the emulators I want to run and hardware I want to use. Not forgetting the filesystem style and available utilities/tools to help you along your way.



#10 youxia OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 9:09 AM

I'd definitely go with 120/240 GB SSD as the main HDD. The difference in speed is huge, not for games themselves but general quality of life. It would also be more than enough for all the non-CD systems and quite a few .isos too. And  if you still need space you can always connect an external HDD.



#11 XC-3730C OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 1:43 PM

Youxia,

I installed Linux Reader, and mounted a .img, but where can I find the games and artwork? So many folders say there is nothing recoverable.



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#12 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 5:06 PM

Game rom files should be here.
/home/pi/RetroPie/roms/

System rom files here.
/home/pi/RetroPie/BIOS

#13 XC-3730C OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 5:10 PM

If I wanted to combine multiple images, all I would need is to extract the games and artwork from them? Or do I need to do something else in Emulationstation?

I appreciate your help! I have been mostly an Origina Xbox fan as far as retro emulators, but wanna finally dive into emulation on a thin client.

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#14 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 5:29 PM

Emulationstation is programmed to look for rom files with specified extensions in specified folders. Retropie is a little more complicated but similar. There's nothing more to do than place the rom files in the appropriate folders.

It's not really a thin client since everything is running locally.

Edited by mr_me, Tue Jan 8, 2019 5:30 PM.


#15 XC-3730C OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 5:52 PM

Emulationstation is programmed to look for rom files with specified extensions in specified folders. Retropie is a little more complicated but similar. There's nothing more to do than place the rom files in the appropriate folders.

It's not really a thin client since everything is running locally.

I will probably go with Windows and just run Emulationstation as a frontend. I just want to extract and combine the contents of these IMG files, and have an internal 2.5" HDD. It is physically a thin client, but I know it isn't any more since everything is local.

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#16 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 7:46 PM

there is retropie for x86, its not a full distro so you have to install a Debian based Linux and a desktop, and I have never gotten it working with joysticks (even though the underlying OS saw them fine) but that may be me

 

so at that point you may be better off with an os with ES on top or something like lakka (which is what I ended up with on my tabletop arcade) though the retroarch stock XMB menu run like ass if you have an older video card that doesn't support open gl something version … which you can turn off but its editing a config file to do so and blah blah blah

 

its not as easy as retropi has made it, course there's a gazillion configs of computers out there so its understandable … its neat though cause even my little 1.6ghz netbook with intel graphics handles heavy games better than my 3B as the IPS of even a basic x86 is much higher



#17 XC-3730C OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 7:52 PM

Osgeld,

Yea, I am considering Lakka with ES on top of that, but how would I install ES once Lakka has been installed? My initial though was Lunbuntu + ES + RetroArch, but I really don't have to much time to spend hours on end configuring everything.

My thin client has a Radeon HD 6320 GPU built in, so it should be able to hand PSX and hopefully N64, and maybe even Saturn.

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#18 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 8:24 PM

well there's not a real way to install lakka, you can image it to a hard disk like you would image it to a USB stick 

 

once you do that its a extremely bare bones linux distro with retroarch installed, there's no package management and about the only tools you get is retroarch and the nano text editor and some file stuff

 

the retroarch XMB system ... once figured out is not as flashy as emulation station but for the most part functions very similar, mine's setup with different backgrounds for each system and has box art and all that jazz 

 

as far as power goes, even my netbook can do PS1 games with an atom cpu and decade old intel graphics, though it does start to drop frames on later / more complex games, but its an atom with intel graphics...



#19 XC-3730C OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 8:30 PM

Then I will install LUbuntu + Retroarch + ES

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#20 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 8:45 PM

Shit. A Pentium-M from the dotcom era will run most PS1 games, even when saddled by onboard "Intel Extreme Graphics 2"!

#21 youxia OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 8:46 PM

To be honest, I envision lots of trouble if you try and patch things together from old images and so on, plus learning Linux on the go.

If I was you, and tried to avoid headaches, I'd just start with a fresh Win7 install and throw Windows based frontend on it, such as Attract Mode, Hyperspin, Launchbox or similar. There are already art packs or scrapers available for them so no need to reanimate the old stuff.



#22 XC-3730C OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 8:50 PM

To be honest, I envision lots of trouble if you try and patch things together from old images and so on, plus learning Linux on the go.
If I was you, and tried to avoid headaches, I'd just start with a fresh Win7 install and throw Windows based frontend on it, such as Attract Mode, Hyperspin, Launchbox or similar. There are already art packs or scrapers available for them so no need to reanimate the old stuff.

Yea, you are probably right. Is there a way to make a leaner version of Windows 7 (probably 32-bit)? Also, will increasing the ram to 4GB be of any help? Finally, would you reccomend Retroarch for most systems?

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#23 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 9:37 PM

Nothing wrong with grabbing rom files from the various images. Determine what emulators you want; if any are windows only that will determine your os. Nothing wrong with EmulationStation for a front-end for windows or lubuntu. I'd go 64-bit; windows would need the 4GB ram. Lununtu has file managers, networking and lots of support on the internet so you'd be fine going with either os.

#24 youxia OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 11:39 PM

People love to squabble and split hair over nothing in threads like these so maybe just try a few configs if you have time and patience for it, and if not just do the Easy Mode option which is the one I mentioned a post earlier. I wouldn't worry too much about 64bit, it probably just hasn't got any bearing on the level you will be operating at but if you really need to know then research specific emulators and how it affects them vs the specs you're on (good luck with that :). 4GB is always a good idea, 8 though would be a total overkill.

 

Like Osgeld said Retroarch is also fine, just not so flashy, it's what I personally use too coz it supports CRTs well and is so configurable, plus is constantly updated and developed. Not the most user friendly though, it's many-menus and break-everything updates are quite (in)famous.

 



#25 power OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2019 11:47 PM

checkout phils computer lab, he does some neat tc stuff. 

 

https://www.youtube....pBdT3zpZfHPtbDJ






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