Forget about TVBoxes for emulation, the best is a MiniPC

In recent times it has become very fashionable to see low-cost retro systems appear. These are based on very cheap mobile processors, but with enough power to play console and arcade games until the first half of the 90s and if you hurry, even the occasional 2D graphics arcade from the end of that era. However, if we can opt for a MiniPC by emulation it will always be a better option.

One of the handicaps that the PC has is its lack of vertical integration, since software and hardware are not sold as a single product. Well, this limitation is the manufacturers of Chinese consoles, who for their products benefit from the good faith of the community to resolve the problems of their systems. As if that were not enough, many devices are left with incompatibilities with the games.

Why is a MiniPC the best platform for retro emulation?

The answer to this is very simple, and we can approach it from two different perspectives. The first of these is in the field of hardware and is that any CPU of a MiniPC will be better even if it is based on an Intel Celeron as a processor and a low-end integrated. Think that the Chinese devices that they promote so much lately have chips that today they do not want even for low-end mobile devices.

The other issue is software, that is, emulators. Which on PC are optimized for being the most used platform. Instead, hardly people will optimize for a Linux distribution intended for an obscure device and as soon as attention turns to a more capable device it will be abandoned by the community in charge of making the corresponding updates and improvements. Let’s not forget that there are titles that do not have enough with emulation and require special configurations to run correctly and these are not dependencies in the hardware field.

As you can see, these are two weighty arguments. We could add the third one that is none other than when we reach a certain capital we can emulate much more powerful systems in MiniPCs. Although this depends on each one’s budget, from our point of view the famous TV Boxes turned into retro consoles will always be inferior to a computer.

What models to choose?

MiniPCs have become commonplace in offices, but they are excellent both as multimedia centers and also for being able to play games of yesteryear from our television without having to worry. However, we are aware that for many of you, spending more than 200 euros to play Nintendo or SEGA is not logical.

  • The first model we have chosen is a MinisForum PC with a Celeron N4020 processor, 4 GB DDR4 and 64 GB of storage. It has USB 3.0 ports to expand storage and an M.2 slot to expand memory and a VGA port, in case you want to connect an old CRT monitor and enjoy games on such a screen.
  • As a cheaper option we have opted for a BMAX MiniPC with 6 GB of RAM, although the Celeron N3350 is a worse processor, but with the rest of the benefits of the Minisforum model.
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