I recently acquired a Gigabyte Brix Pro (this one) and decided to turn it into an emulator/steam powerhouse. For what it is, its pretty impressive for its size. I’m able to fit an mSATA drive (64gb) AND a 2.5in HDD (1TB) along with 8gb of RAM. It runs great with an i7 Haswell processor, and Intel 5200 Graphics. For the price I paid for it, totally worth it.
I decided to run Windows 8 on it, since the frontend I intended on using (HyperSpin) only runs on Windows. I’ve ran HyperSpin on other machines, so I already have the config files, XML files, yadda yadda yadda already set up. There was a major flaw in my plan though that I didn’t think of. Hyperspin’s video previews look corrupt on Intel chips. It’s a known issue and having the video preview available on game “hover” was a great UI feature. I tried multiple workarounds with disabling 3D acceleration, DirectX settings, nothing worked. So I started looking around for an easy alternative.
Enter GameEx, after messing around with it for about a day now, I love it. No crazy XML file editing, no bulk renaming files. You just point it to a directory, say these are the ROMS, this is the emulator, for this system. DO IT. And it just works, and it’s beautiful. No mucking around with Autohotkey scripts, no odd strict directory structures, it “just works”. It even has a sync program for EmuMovies to grab all the preview videos for every game.
For example, I wanted it to launch Dolphin along with an ISO of a GameCube game. I just pointed it to Dolphin.exe and the directory of ISO files, and it auto-read them and put them into GameEx. Select a game, boom it’s playing. Conversely with Hyperspin, I would have to edit an XML file (or rename the ISO) to match up perfectly, then autohotkey script dolphin to run full screen blah blah blah, none of that matters with GameEx. I just point to directories, and done.
(I’ll also mention that GC/Wii games work nearly perfectly on the Brix Pro at 720p, Wiimotes work great with it too).
I’m pretty sure I’ve abandoned Hyperspin for GameEx. It’s on sale for $18 right now (for all of July 2014) and I highly recommend it (it’s free if you can sit through a nag screen every boot up, I couldn’t >_<). The only “maybe” issue I have is the themes, it definitely does not look as great as Hyperspin, but it’s WAYYYYY more productive/functional that it makes up for it. That said, the next version (GameEx Evolution) looks to be the answer to that, and I’m excited try it out once it’s released.