Which cores for old Android phone?

Someone gifted me an old Android phone, HTC desire HD. Specs are too low to use it for anything like youtube etc. So i thought i could use it for portable retroarch gaming with an ipega controller. It has a Snapdragon S2 single core armv7 32bit 1.0ghz, 768mb ram, 800*480 4.3", Android 4.4.2. Question is which are the fastest cores this phone will be able to run? Should i download the latest retroarch or stick with an old version?

I think latest should work. That’s too slow for quite a few cores, but PCSX-ReARMed may be full speed, maybe snes9x2010 and that sort of thing.

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Snes9x doesn’t! Tried the 2005/2005 plus/2010, only 2005 is almost there with 40-55 fps. The other two not, 2010 is 20-25 fps lol. Uae4arm standalone almost runs full speed though, 45-50 fps which was surprising. Vice-x64 crash at start. Frodo works. Genesis plus gx doesn’t load anything (i guess because roms are zipped). Picodrive works perfectly.

gpsp, picodrive, gambatte, quicknes, nxengine, fuse, frodo, run full speed. PCSX-reARMed around 35-45 fps. So i guess 8/16 bit is ok with exception of Snes9x 2005 with some frame drops. Which is normal since the specs probably are around rpi 1st generation. Would be interesting to see snes9x-2002 but it doesn’t exist on android (?).

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Installed another custom rom, aospX-1.0.0-MR1 (Android 4.0.4), the previous had a battery hog app and using 100% cpu all the time. Now PCSX runs almost full speed 53-57 fps with a bit overclocking from 1,0 ghz to 1,2 that this rom provides.

A round up vs my PSP:

+Better emulation of arcades - fbalpha, Amiga - uae4arm standalone, probably a bit better snes emulation snes9x2005. I think there is an old standalone snes9x ex+ that runs full speed.

+Capable of running a simple scanline shader

-slightly worse ps1 emulation, much worse cap32 emulation, worse c64 emulation (frodo not running all games) but there is alternative standalone emu.

In the end i would prefer this, not playing arcades and Amiga games well on PSP is important.

Lock the min/max CPU speed to 1 ghz, or set governor to performance (use Kernel Adiutor or something similar). It will provide much smoother performance. Also, if available in the kernel, modify the CPU temperature treshold, to reduce throttling.

Retested with newer cores, now Vicex64 runs well full speed (before not working), hatari starts but not appending disks in virtual floppy (before not working) so it just starts at the green OS, puae works around 40fps and 50 at some simpler games (before slower and crashing), caprice32 still not full speed, around 30-35 fps (surprising as it can run Neo Geo but not an 8bit).

Too bad newer RA versions require Android 5.0 as this device has 4.0.4 and i wouldn’t risk testing another version as everything works fine now. So this device is stuck with RA 1.7.7, 32bit Android single core Snapdragon overclocked @ 1.4Ghz. On my other phone which is 64bit Snapdragon 8 core everything works and full speed btw except some heavy shaders.

I use a phone with pretty much the same specs for emulation. These cores will most likely run full speed

Nes: nestopia, FCEUmm Super Nintendo: Snes9x cores Sega genesis/Mega Drive Sega Cd and 32X: Genesisplus GX, Pico Drive PlayStation 1: PCSX-reArmed NeoGeo: Final Burn 2012 or Final burn Alpha (now discontinued but you can find it on this forum) final burn neo (for some odd reasons v1.0.0.3 crashes but the previous version works just fine) Gameboy Advance Gameboy: Mgba core

Sega dreamcast may also work at a playable speed I played resident evil code veronica using standalone flycast app but apparently retroa

Use the standalone Mupen64plus FZ old versions for N64 emulation

Use Drastic DS for NDS emulation

I use n64oid and it runs full speed (some games like RE 2 has graphical issues). With a ipega gamepad and an 8gb sd card i had spare is probably better than RG350 handheld. I can run Amiga too full speed with UAE4all2. Not tested Dreamcast or Nintendo DS. Now i ordered a new battery 2900mah-to replace the old default 1200mah that probably has some wear 50% or more as it only keeps the phone alive for 1 hour.
And did another thing lol, i measured the true size of Gb-GBC-GBA-Gamegear screen and resized the screen inside Retroarch options to be identical to the real machine (bilinear on). In my opinion these old phones can have a purpose as retro gaming stations although this was a flagship phone with Snapdragon, don’t know how the cheap ones would perform.

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@DariusG cheap phones nowadays have a minimum of 2GB of ram and a decent GPU so their performance are better than flagship phones released back in 2015. A 30$ cheap modern phone can actually run dreamcast and sega saturn at full speed (mostly). you can’t install redream or yaba sanshiro apps on old devices thanks to their old OS. A cheap 30 - 50$ android box like HK1 Max or T95 max plus which have the Amlogic s905x3 chip can outperforme raspberrypi 3 in performance even most psp games run at full speed on these cheap boxes you can find them cheaper than 30$ box on ebay it doesn’t matter what brand it is as long as it has Amlogic s905x3 chip and 2 to 4GB of ram if you spend a little more money and buy an Android box with Amlogic S922x chip it’ll be even better. Always use the android OS and avoid things like EMUELEC (which is an OS you install on Android boxes). I recommend using Dig app on any android device as it’s able to organize your games like an actual gaming console.

Arc Browser is better (paid app).

I installed a newer version of Android 4.4.3 with a lot of hit and miss until all work and that allowed me to install a newer Retroarch 1.8.9, Drastic and some games. Drastic almost runs full speed with some frame skip.

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Summary of what such a slow device (O/[email protected] 1.5ghz single core) can emulate, x means acceptable with frame skip, xx means too slow-unplayable.

  • PSP xx (standalone-ppsspp)
  • PS1
  • NDS x (standalone-drastic)
  • N64 x (standalone-n64oid)
  • CPS1
  • GBA
  • GBC
  • GB
  • MD
  • SMS
  • GG
  • MSX
  • PCE
  • MAME
  • NES
  • SNES
  • AMSTRAD CPC (standalone-droid cpc)
  • ATARI ST (standalone-hataroid)
  • AMIGA (standalone-uae4all2)
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