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So, my friend wants to start gaming. He told me he is really interested to try Nintendo games, but he doesn't have a specific console in mind. I suggested he should just get a PC, so that he has access to way more games. I visited The Emulator Zone and took a look at the Nintendo console emulators. They didn't seem all that difficult to run, but I'm not that knowledgeable about emulation. The PC needs to be able to emulate all Nintendo consoles.

The target resolution is 1080p with a frame rate of 30FPS. I'll probably give him my graphics card (Gigabyte 1050Ti Windforce OC) after I upgrade. The only component I need help with is the processor.

Do you have any recommendations on what CPU he should get to be able to run the aforementioned emulators with no problems? We haven't set a specific budget, so feel free to mention even a relatively expensive processor. (As always the cheaper the better)

  • Currently there is no emulator for the Switch. Is that fine? – JMY1000 Jul 10 '18 at 13:14
  • Yes JMY of course. It'll probably exist towards the end of its lifespan – kostas5m Jul 10 '18 at 18:39
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Switch emulation isn't quite a thing yet, but Nintendo has always been pretty emulation-friendly as far as minimum requirements.

Your target software is probably the Dolphin emulator, since it covers a breadth of Nintendo emulators. NES, GB, GBC, and SNES (including SGB adaptation) are simple emulation on any modern machine, and it won't really matter what you have. I wouldn't recommend less than an i5 processor for N64, GBA, or 3DS. A 1050Ti should be just fine as far as video card here.

When you get into the GC, Wii, and Wii-U, you're going to need more RAM. An i7 or higher-end AMD processor wouldn't be a bad idea, either. Emulating these systems is significantly more demanding and usually has hooks that make use of your hardware a bit more instead of just isolated emulation. I got almost flawless performance in all games up through the GC and some Wii games on an i7-2600k with 16GB of RAM and a GTX 760, so your hardware picks should still be fine.

Seeing as you can get an i7 for not much more than an i5 these days, I'd definitely go that route.

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  • Thank you for your answer! What about an AMD processor? Would an FX 8350 be enough? Of course there would be an issue with upgradability but I think it would be cheaper for now. If not what about the Ryzen 5 1600? Can I go lower than that? – kostas5m Jul 10 '18 at 18:45
  • Loose hardware recommendation IMO, I'm going to try and nail down some more specific recommendations and a better price point. I'll have an answer hopefully soon – JMY1000 Jul 10 '18 at 19:13
  • When I build an emulator box, i tend to keep it to the intel processor line, as I usually also emulate DOS on the same box and I've had some bad experiences with AMD in that respect. – CDove Jul 11 '18 at 11:18
  • I did a little research on the 2600K. it seems it's a very powerful processor and is not very expensive. I can buy one for 144.20$ from amazon. Seems like a good deal. I'll work on a build and see how low I can go (regarding the price) – kostas5m Jul 12 '18 at 11:12
  • Compare it to the lower-end 7000 and 8000 series processors from Intel before you buy. THere's not a huge difference in performance between them for this purpose, but the 2600k is an older processor. You don't want to accidentally spend more for less if a modern i7 goes on sale for the same price or something. – CDove Jul 12 '18 at 12:37

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