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Best platform for Retropie or Retro gaming? What are you running?

  • Hi all,

    I've built an Arcade Cabinet based on Retropie on a Pi 2B (V1.1) that I had lying around.
    However; the SD card got corrupted and I was working on improvements anyway.

    I have the following hardware available:

    • Mac Mini (Dual-core Intel Core i5 (i5-4260U))
    • old 'desktop pc' and buying used graphics card
    • Odroid C2
    • Raspberry Pi 4B
    • Raspberry Pi 2B (V1.1)
    • Nvidia Shield

    However; I'm considering to buy the Pi 3B+ as it's indicated as best hardware according to the installation guide.
    The only thing holding me back is the 1GB RAM and no chance to emulate Wii/PS2.

    • I've tried the Odroid C2 and actually got it to run; however NeoGeo games do not seem to start (copied/working on RPI 2B)
    • I've tried the Pi 2B, but can't get it to boot from an external drive
    • I haven't yet tried the Mac Mini, since I believe it doesn't support Retropie.
    • It seems the Raspberry Pi 4B is not supported; but one of my colleagues was stating it "would work fine" and there's guides that show it works.

    So my questions are:

    • I think the Pi 3B+ is adequate for Game Cube (mario kart double dash) but the Mac Mini could run Mario Kart Wii (Dolphin emu) and a desktop + GPU could potentially run PS2 games (depending on specs). Is this somewhat correct?
    • Is the Pi 3B+ is (still) the most solid option for Retropie? (but a PC with custom software may work for newer consoles) and what are the implications of running it on a Pi 4B?

    Also; what hardware do you use for Retropie or Emulation in general; and how does it perform for you? For example; does anyone use the Odroid C2 with succes?

  • @sommers9 I use
    *Pi 3B+ with RetroPie as a cocktail arcade cabinet
    *Pi 3B with RetroPie as an upright arcade cabinet
    *Pi 3B unused, but setup with RetroPie
    *Pi 3B+ as a desktop for file management

  • @sommers9 Depends on what you want to run. The best platform is always a pc, especially for arcade. Might be able to use latest mame and call it a day. Most if not all of these arm devices can't handle it. Not sure if you can install a linux distro onto that mac and then retropie on top.

    The pi3b+ is not good enough for gc/ps2 and ram is not the limiting factor...

    Saying that, the pi4 does quite well for most of these old consoles. Fullspeed snes. I moved more arcade games to fb-neo since it can now handle more games. There's mixed results of it running gc but atm it requires gentoo.
    I manually installed retropie from their repo.

  • @Darksavior @sommers9 Agree. It all comes down to what you have and what you want to play.

    If you already have a Wii console, you can hack that and run Wii/Gamecube games from a external HDD.
    If you already have a PS3 console that is jailbreakable, you can use that to run PSX/PS2/PS3 and even PSP games from either internal or external HDD by using custom firmware.

    My recent idea was to customize my Pi 3B further and add an 2.5 SATA HDD drive for running all the PSX games from it, but apparently the blue PS2 to USB adapter that i received from Ebay won't work correctly with my original controller as intended. I might still add an HDD to it anyway just to make more storage available as i have some spare HDD's laying around.

    Since my PS3 Slim is jailbroken it runs PSX and PS2 emulation pretty good and even my original Dualshock (SCPH-1200) works with a different more simple adapter. It is nice to enjoy playing Tekken 4 and TimeSplitters again with an original Dualshock controller that i remember from my old PS2 days. :-)

    My current setup at the moment:

    • Pi 3B RetroPie 64gb micro sd, customized Quattro case with a safe power button

    • Pi 4B 4gb RAM 64gb micro sd, official case testing with a stable Lakka release.

    Original NES, SFC, PSX Dualshock, PSOne Dualshock and a PS3 Dualshock 3 controller + adapters

    For now i will keep the Pi for anything from Atari 2600 up til SNES + Arcade.

  • @Darksavior thank you, in short, I was wondering if raspberry Pi was a better platform as PC.

    But to be honest, with retropie it's mainly cheaper/easier.
    I had ordered the Pi 3b+ already anyways, but I think I'll stick to it for now. It's a true upgrade (compared to pi2b) with the Bluetooth and WiFi build in.

    A colleague of mine is building a PC based arcade, if it turns out better, we may swap it for the Pi, and use the Pi for another project.

    I'm neighing towards not using the Odroid C2 for arcade as it's only marginally better as the Pi (I believe, let me know if this isn't), but not as well tested and has no wifi/bluetooth.

  • Global Moderator

    @sommers9 said in Best platform for Retropie or Retro gaming? What are you running?:

    However; I'm considering to buy the Pi 3B+ as it's indicated as best hardware according to the installation guide.

    That refers to the best hardware for Raspberry Pi models, but RetroPie also runs on a PC. In fact, if you're targeting Wii/GC/PS2 games, then I'd advise you use one instead of a SBC (Raspberry or Odroid).

  • I'm all over the place. I even run RetroArch on my Galaxy S9+ with really good results. I don't have a controller case for it so I don't run a lot of action-heavy games on the phone. I just got a Pi 4 but that is going to be more of a general purpose machine. Most of my retrogaming is with a controller-mounted Pi 3B build. I have a 3B+ hooked up to the TV with the same games as the 3B, but that one doesn't see much use except for when people are over. I even have a ZeroW but debating what to do with it, I haven't done a micro build yet, so thinking about that. I saw some guy with a keychain build, but that is a BIT small for my taste.

  • For up 16bit era stuff I'm running a Pi 3B+ in an R2D2 that I think I will make another of when there is official support for Pi4. I also have a GPi case with a ZeroW for portability and such.

    I've got a few other 3B+ builds sitting around in Retroflag cases. I've got a 10L beer keg that I was thinking of turning into a portable emulation machine but I don't think it would get much use.

    For more intensive emulation I have and Odroid XU4 in that snazzy N64 style case with the screen on it. It's a great little board but I use my Pi setup a lot more.

    Not really relevant but I'm thinking of modding my Wii to be able to play GameCube games from an HDD.

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