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McTrinsic

by McTrinsic posted Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:15 am

Hi all,

today I'd like to briefly share an activity from inbetween days: emulated emulation.

Maybe you know this situation: you set up all your programs, and are happy about how everything works. The you update your PC or a harddrive/SSD fails, or whatever ... and you start from scratch. All whole scratching your about all the little helper programs you installed over the time, all the adaption and so on. Like setting paths in some programs to some file or specific non-standard folder - whatever.

I got tired of it and therefore have finally decided to emulate my emulation environment. Having a nice Xeon (E5-2687) CPU makes it possible to dedicate enough CPU power to emulate an Amiga or C64 - or whatever legacy / retro system you like within an emulated environment. Luckily I also have more than enough RAM with my 64GB. I dont think I have to replace that system some time soon, even if its already ca. 6 years old.

The idea is to set upa virtual PC and then install everything in this virtual PC as you would on a normal one. So when you change the system you just need to set up the Virtua machine / the program for it and ready you are. The downside is you get a HUGE file on you HDD/SSD, like 70GB. I consider it worth it. As a bonus, I plan to keep this virtual machine running as long as all the programs in it support it. Meaning, I have a virtual Windows 7 in it. As long as e.g. WinUAE runs on Win7, there will be no need to change that. This makes it possible to add some legacy hardware available that wont have drivers for Windows 10.

Here are some pics.

2019-01-06_15-09-30.png
The machine in its virtual "sleep" state.


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The machine "starting", i.e. restoring ist status. I dont usually shut it literally down. More like closing the lid of a laptop.


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The GameBase-Systems I have currently installed.


I also have Acid64 installed, as I have a HardSID Play - that unfortuantely is defunct now but maybe I get another one.
Also I have the drivers for and the Kryoflux write program (Wildewutz).
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McTrinsic

by McTrinsic posted Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:17 am

2019-01-06_15-17-44.png


The installed emulators.
No need to reinstall after a system change!

Plans to expand do especially include an Amiga / WinUAE - setup.
All WHDLoad Games in one machine :).
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Bulletdust

by Bulletdust posted Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:04 am

My own system is a slightly older dual X5675 Xeon system with 24GB of ECC DDR3, still an amazingly capable machine even today and I have no doubt I could do exactly what you are doing.

However I found an easier way, I run Linux as my main OS. Due to the fact that my 250GB m.2 SSD only holds the OS and absolutely everything else is contained within my home directory which is dedicated to it's own drive entirely, I can reinstall my OS from scratch or change distro's and I don't loose a thing!

Back In Time backs up the home drive every day, so everything's protected in the event of HDD failure - Although I already encountered one impending failure (Seagate click of death), DD'd the drive to a new replacement, changed the UUID in fstab and everything was running perfectly again - Half an hour's downtime.

Here's a shot of the system running FS-UAE (Right click and 'View Image' to see larger image. Sorry, dual 1200p monitors):

Image

Interesting concept though. ;)
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McTrinsic

by McTrinsic posted Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:09 pm

Hi bulletdust,

indeed I think your system should very well be able to manage the same. As a side note, I am surprised how well I can live with a roughly 6 year old core system. The SSDs are a bit newer, admittedly. I mean, imagine you would have had an A1000 as your main system in 1992 and wouldn’t be much impacted by the little difference to the better systems. For me it’s an indication of a certain slowdown in the computer technology. Not necessarily if you look at synthetic benchmarks but in the usual all-day appearance in computer technology. Even the mobiles are less thrilling every year.

Anyways, I guess your main point is that due to your use of Linux you won’t ever have to reinstall e.g. FS-UAE? I do t know Linux well enough. Every 3-4 years I either have a new system or Harddrive or for whatever reason reinstall the system. Unfortunately with Windows and its programs and the way it mounts harddrives (/SSD) it doesn’t work to just copy the content to a different drive.

The good thing about my solution is that in worst case I can take the ‘container’ and put it in a different system. Of course you have emulators for Linux as well which can host a Windows virtual machine.

So I am confident I will take advantage of this for quite some years :) .

... and I am too lazy to switch to Linux admittedly ;) .
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Bulletdust

by Bulletdust posted Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:57 am

McTrinsic, I've upgraded this machine with a bootable m.2 to pcie SSD for the OS, dual SSHD's for my /home and /storage. I recently installed the 24GB of ECC DDR3 1333 in triple channel per processor and added the second X5675 Xeon processor, added a GTX 980Ti GPU as well as a LSI HBA controller flashed for IT mode for SATA 3 6Gbps passthrough that's faster than native.

Running dual 1200p IPS monitors, you'll have to pry this thing out of my cold, dead hands. It games brilliantly!

Latest and greatest? Pffft! I've got 12C/24T and loving it.

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