GPU thoughts


Athsrueas

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So I've been popping in and out since the original shenanigans with the OP and following development of the Pyra. Looking at the GPU that has been chosen for the Pyra I'm not all that excited. Maybe I'm in the minority but I am primarily looking at the Pyra as a way to game on the go (I know it can be much more than that but I'm a simple man) and the GPU doesn't look like its all that powerful.
a thing:
it just looks outdated next to the kind of gpus being put in modern mobile devices.
Now that the switch has been revealed I'm torn between that and this even more.
Anyone have more knowledge of the kind of performance that can be expected? Point me to a thread I missed in searching? Whatever
 

drock

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The prya is a small batch project. Unless you plan on making units in the millions many companies won't even hear your out. EvilDragon had to design and build a unit based on these limitations. The chip we have will be very effective here. A newer GPU would have been nice, but it just wasn't in the cards.

This community is loaded with capable people that will push it to its limits. Just look at was accomplished on the Pandora.

If you want to play mainstream commercial games this is probably not the system for you. This system will have many great emulators to play a plethora of games. Lots of indie and homebrew games. Just don't expect to play the latest Zelda.

One thing to point out though is that it may be upgradable down the road as the CPU/ram chip is modular and if a new one is made it can be swapped out.
 

rygD

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If you want to play mainstream commercial games this is probably not the system for you. This system will have many great emulators to play a plethora of games. Lots of indie and homebrew games. Just don't expect to play the latest Zelda.

One thing to point out though is that it may be upgradable down the road as the CPU/ram chip is modular and if a new one is made it can be swapped out.
I think these are two important points to explore. If you are looking for more recent games, especially Windows only games, or recent handheld/console games (mostly talking about Nintendo here) then the Pyra probably isn't a great choice. If you are fine sticking with older or less resource hungry games, go for the Pyra. Since you only want a portable gaming device, decide what games you want to play. It doesn't look like the keyboard offers you much, so I am wondering what the appeal of the Pyra is. I don't like pushing people away from the Pyra, but it seems to me like the Switch may be better for you. Where are the games you want to play? Is the Switch battery life going to last long enough for you?

Although nothing is guaranteed, something that interests many of us is the ability to upgrade later. It's the chance of these upgrades something that would tip the scale? With the Switch you are buying a disposable device to use for the next few years. The Pyra will probably stick around and get some form of support for a longer period of time, and you have a lot more personal freedom in how you use it and what you play on it (not just Nintendo's official releases and pirated games with a little homebrew thrown in here and there, with those last to potentially voiding a warranty). Even if official support for the Pyra evaporates you will have community support, and I am sure a handful of us will poke around with it for well over a decade.

As I recently said in the Switch thread here, pretty pictures and sounds aren't as important as good games. The best GPU in the world doesn't ensure you will be able to play all the games you are interested in on the Pyra, but what we will get doesn't mean you won't have fun. Which is more important to you, specs and numbers, or thegames you will actually be playing? The Pyra will have vastly more games than the Switch, and if you can get over not having top of the line graphics you will have a lot more great games. The Pyra should also be easier to fit into a pocket to take with you.
 

levi

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The Pyra as a whole will be underpowered in terms of measurable power compared to the switch, sure, but I don't think it's really comparable - for me at least it's a whole lot more portable, and should have better battery life.

But the big difference is that the Pyra is a proper computer, while the switch is just a games console. And the awesome community here makes sure we can play hundreds of free games, and based on my experience of the Pandora a good couple dozen of it are good enough to be compared with Nintendo games both new and old (especially if you can forgive more primitive presentation), and thanks to emulation you can still play all of your old carts that you backed up.

If you really only use a Pyra for it's gaming chops, and don't even use it for browsing the web or twitter/emails/diary keeping/video player or any of the other stuff it can do, then it's about 550EUR for the model closest to the Switch in terms of its primary interfaces (no GSM modem in the Switch), which in terms of a switch+games is worth about one switch and five games. Now the Pyra will probably never get HD rumble, or be compatible with your Amiibos, or be able to recognise rock-paper-scissors hand shaped held on front of it, but you may consider that to be so much fluff (especially if you experience of the Wii's waggle was anything like mine), and it will have a proper d-pad and more buttons in their proper places. And hundreds of games!
 

rygD

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I think it would be possible to access Amiibo data and do rock paper scissors type stuff with additional hardware (which can be used due to the availability of USB ports) and proper software, if someone wants to bother with it. I expect rock paper scissors to be in huge demand when we find small, decent quality, affordable cameras, or whatever. No, I am not serious. The Pyra does offer a lot of flexibility, though.
 

Exophase

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Looking at the GPU that has been chosen for the Pyra I'm not all that excited.

For a device like this there's no freedom to choose the GPU, instead you have to pick a single chip that contains the CPU, GPU and many other parts. Unfortunately, most of those chips are made with smart phones in mind, where they expect order quantities in the hundreds of thousands at least and there's only an interest in running Android. When your device is low volume and runs a more standard Linux distro like Pyra does the options become very, very limited.

If you're only really interested in portable gaming have you checked out the GPD Win? It should have more horsepower than Pyra, and since it runs x86 (and Windows) it'll be compatible with the Steam library along with some emulators that don't have ARM equivalents. I suspect the gaming controls aren't as good as Pandora's or what I expect Pyra's to be like, maybe someone else who owns one can comment on this, and I know for sure that the keyboard will be a lot worse. But it still seems like a much better compromise for your requirements. And it'll offer a lot of games that a Nintendo Switch won't, while possibly also being more pocketable.

Pyra is great for power users who want a Linux distro they can do a lot with and an assortment of versatile inputs, and it'll have a decent amount of potential for being tuned for a wide variety of emulators. For those who appreciate their Pandoras it's a nice upgrade. But it makes some tradeoffs to hit its niche and it's not for everyone.
 

benoitb

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Sure the GPU will be outdated but if you think about the games that will be available on the platform (the software), does it matter ?
I am not sure it would limit any available Linux open source games (that we can run on ARM) in 720p. Any example in mind of a game that would be limited ?

As far as I'm concerned, Quake 3 and Dreamcast emulation don't seem like they would be limited by it.
If I can run the Android version of Hearthstone as well (and maybe a few other Android games) with some compatibility layer, this is all I'm wishing for.
 

rygD

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For a device like this there's no freedom
That should be the slogan.

The GPD Win might be a good option, so I say check it out if the Pyra seems lackluster. If you decide to get one and still want to help the Pyra in a little way you can buy from ED.

If I can run the Android version of Hearthstone
I have heard about it but not actually looked into it. Is it worth trying to throw CM or something on an old smartphone that works fine for everything else I do (except a Star Trek game I wanted to check out)? I tend to get bored with Android games.
 

benoitb

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I have heard about it but not actually looked into it. Is it worth trying to throw CM or something on an old smartphone that works fine for everything else I do (except a Star Trek game I wanted to check out)? I tend to get bored with Android games.
You can try it on PC to see if you like it. If you played Magic (the card game) you might like it. It doesn't run well on my Moto G (snapdragon 400) so if your phone is old it may not be a good experience.
 

FaeMinx

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I played Hearthstone for a few months... bought the two expansions at the time... It is a fun card game, very satisfying when you manage to pull off a strategy successfully.
I stopped because you will have to keep on spending money on the game just like paper MTG. .. A pity. I wish someone would make a nice game like this with a locked down set of cards, no expansions no 'subscription' required to keep on playing.

I actually hate blizzard now. They suck. Funds.

Sent from my GT-S7580 using Tapatalk
 

gpsqueeek

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rygD

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Sounds like it might be something I enjoy.

For the limited card games, you need to go with a game that is either out of print and have no new cards at all, or go with one where you get all or a portion of the entire set, and lose out on the collecting aspect if that appeals to you. Under no circumstances should you play 1000 Blank White Cards.
 

Kippykip

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I think these are two important points to explore. If you are looking for more recent games, especially Windows only games, or recent handheld/console games (mostly talking about Nintendo here) then the Pyra probably isn't a great choice. If you are fine sticking with older or less resource hungry games, go for the Pyra. Since you only want a portable gaming device, decide what games you want to play. It doesn't look like the keyboard offers you much, so I am wondering what the appeal of the Pyra is. I don't like pushing people away from the Pyra, but it seems to me like the Switch may be better for you. Where are the games you want to play? Is the Switch battery life going to last long enough for you?

Although nothing is guaranteed, something that interests many of us is the ability to upgrade later. It's the chance of these upgrades something that would tip the scale? With the Switch you are buying a disposable device to use for the next few years. The Pyra will probably stick around and get some form of support for a longer period of time, and you have a lot more personal freedom in how you use it and what you play on it (not just Nintendo's official releases and pirated games with a little homebrew thrown in here and there, with those last to potentially voiding a warranty). Even if official support for the Pyra evaporates you will have community support, and I am sure a handful of us will poke around with it for well over a decade.

As I recently said in the Switch thread here, pretty pictures and sounds aren't as important as good games. The best GPU in the world doesn't ensure you will be able to play all the games you are interested in on the Pyra, but what we will get doesn't mean you won't have fun. Which is more important to you, specs and numbers, or thegames you will actually be playing? The Pyra will have vastly more games than the Switch, and if you can get over not having top of the line graphics you will have a lot more great games. The Pyra should also be easier to fit into a pocket to take with you.
Don't know if this will be related enough but I've had a lot of handhelds in the past and my favourite is the PSP. Why? A lot of people say the PSP's game library lacked a lot, personally I only play the 2 GTA games.
However what makes it more fun than the other handhelds is the community hacked it to death and made a lot of homebrew for it.
Just being able to run all my old favourite games on emulators or the PSX2PSP converter tool on the go was flipping amazing for me at the time and I still use it for handheld gaming today while my 3DS collects dust.
However the Pyra, is open from the get-go so you can already do everything the PSP can do but far FAR better because it's a ENTIRE Linux Debian computer! Also having all the storage for roms/isos, being able to emulate far more consoles/handhelds due to the power, all the stuff you would do on a regular PC like video/photo editing, web browsing, programming on the go, the list goes on!

Sure it's power won't be able to run the latest games at all, but in my opinion the older games are the best ones to play.
However the switch while it can run a lot of new games, but can't be used as a replacement computer/phone. There's the possibility of homebrew/emulators on it but most likely nothing like the Wii/DS/PSP level homebrew due to Nintendo's stance on it.

Ok I got WAY off-topic, but that's why I'm excited for the pyra anyway, it's probably not the handheld for some people who just want to play modern portable games but that's just me anyways.
 

x1212

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I don't think the GPU will be too slow (I mean it should be a lot faster than the one in the Pandora ... at least on the paper) but what I don't like is that it still only supports GLES 2 and not GLES 3 (which from my perspective means there is no improvement over the Pandora on the Graphics API side of things ...).
For example it looks like the godot game engine will drop support for GLES 2 sometime in the future and will only support GLES 3 from that point on ... and since there will be some nice looking effects that will only be possible with the GLES 3 renderer, I guess a lot of developers will use that instead of the GLES 2 one even before support is completly dropped ...
 

ingoreis

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a Question from me about GPU:
Do we not simply have a new GPU with another CPU?

We have an upgradeable CPU Board on the Pyra and can we not simply Upgrade sometime in the Future to
a CPU with a GLES3 supported GPU inside??
Then Dolphin would work and much more.

There are a good posibility for newer CPUs.
For the Moment we have the "Pyra Starter CPU Board"

For me this entire Thread is not so important because we can Upgrade the GPU here....or not?
Did i missunderstood something?
 

WizardStan

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Yes, the point of the Pyra's design was to be able to upgrade the CPU board. That means when a new SoC becomes available, with a better CPU and GPU, ED can release an updated version without the need for a hefty investment like he did this time.
 

Athsrueas

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Thanks for all the great responses guys! I sort of knew while writing this post that the pyra wasn't exactly what I wanted, but having followed the teams since the openpandora I was interested in giving it a shot. I never bit the bullet and bought the op so I actually know very little about the intricacies of it's software beyond what I saw written about on here. The possibility of upgrades, the great battery, the amazing community support, and the fact that it is a linux pc vs a proprietary game system are all positive things in my mind. If I did get the pyra I know I would get a ton of use out of it and enjoy everything it has to offer. To the point of upgrades, how likely is it that ed will sell upgrades as opposed to just new units? I imagine high, but I'm not sure.
To weigh in on card games;
I played Hearthstone for a few months... bought the two expansions at the time... It is a fun card game, very satisfying when you manage to pull off a strategy successfully.
I stopped because you will have to keep on spending money on the game just like paper MTG. .. A pity. I wish someone would make a nice game like this with a locked down set of cards, no expansions no 'subscription' required to keep on playing.

I actually hate blizzard now. They suck. Funds.

Sent from my GT-S7580 using Tapatalk
I have played a ton of magic the gathering, it would be great if they'd get off their buts and port their electronic client to platforms beyond pc but hearthstone is also good. With the op the android implementation was never stellar from what I saw of the gingerbread builds, but with the recent optimizations made to android i bet it would be possible to get a lot more mileage out of the pyra.
 

benoitb

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With the op the android implementation was never stellar from what I saw of the gingerbread builds, but with the recent optimizations made to android i bet it would be possible to get a lot more mileage out of the pyra.
Well I hope we will eventually see something like an Android compatibility layer similar to what is available on Jolla's Sailfish or Blackberry's QNX. So you can keep using the lovely Debian OS and run a few Android apps.
 

AnimatedFreak

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Well I hope we will eventually see something like an Android compatibility layer similar to what is available on Jolla's Sailfish or Blackberry's QNX. So you can keep using the lovely Debian OS and run a few Android apps.
I would love that too. Apparently this one dev is working on doing that for Ubuntu Phone http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2017/01/dev-work-run-android-apps-ubuntu-phone
I don't know if that could spin into something for general Linux distros in the future, but one could hope.
 

rygD

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I have played a ton of magic the gathering, it would be great if they'd get off their buts and port their electronic client to platforms beyond pc but hearthstone is also good. With the op the android implementation was never stellar from what I saw of the gingerbread builds, but with the recent optimizations made to android i bet it would be possible to get a lot more mileage out of the pyra.
I can really understand where FaeMinx is coming from with continuously spending money on card games. That is why I stopped buying MtG cards. (Why spend money on a game that I nearly never get to play and that I am not looking at as some form of investment or collectable? I already lost a lot of cards, so no need to go through that again.) I just want to play the games. I wish there was a good way to implement rarity and keep me interested in playing since it isn't face to face (and I prefer playing against people, not the computer).

Maybe we should work on creating a libre online card game like these specifically for the Pyra. I know there are Magic things out there, I just don't enjoy any I have tried (feel free to point me toward some I may have missed). I don't even know why they don't work out for me.
 
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