Question Which CPU is better for DOS Emulation for DOS Games?

Dave3000

Golden Member
Jan 10, 2011
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Which CPU is better for DOS emulation (via DOSBox-X) for DOS games, especially non-3D accelerated FPS games at 1024x768 and higher resolution from the mid 90's? i7-12700K or Ryzen 5800X3D?
 

bononos

Diamond Member
Aug 21, 2011
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I think those cpus are over powered for DOSBox-X games. What games did you have in mind?
Edit- I think even old cpus like 3rd gen Cores and probably older ones are fast enough for playing 90s DOS games.
Not sure if PS3 emulation is within reach nowadays.
 
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DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
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If you're talking DOS4G type stuff, my old P5-100Mhz was way overpowered for any of it. You can play stuff like that on a refrigerator. If you get sick of Skyrim.
 
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TheELF

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Dec 22, 2012
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Well the 12700k has an iGPU so it would be able to do DOS emulation without an additional GPU.
But I very much doubt you are going to get either of these CPUs just for DOS games.
The CPU itself is irrelevant since it's emulation it will run the same on any CPU that is fast enough, you can run DOS games on a raspberry PI or any ARM device and you would be none the wiser.
 
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Dave3000

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Jan 10, 2011
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Well the 12700k has an iGPU so it would be able to do DOS emulation without an additional GPU.
But I very much doubt you are going to get either of these CPUs just for DOS games.
The CPU itself is irrelevant since it's emulation it will run the same on any CPU that is fast enough, you can run DOS games on a raspberry PI or any ARM device and you would be none the wiser.
What about the DOS games that depend on native CPU speed? Surely a Pentium MMX 233 will run a DOS game at a higher frame rate than a Pentium 90. If you want to emulate the performance of a PC that runs a DOS game around the performance of a Pentium MMX 233, a much more powerful CPU would be needed than running that same DOS game on a Pentium 90. DOSBox is not emulating a PC, it's emulating an operating system. Now if you are emulating an actual PC, such as using a program called PCem, sure you will get the same frame rate on a slower host CPU and CPU won't matter in terms of frame rate for DOS games in this case but then you will get stutters and audio dropouts if the host CPU is not fast enough enough for the frame rate that the emulated PC can perform.
 
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Dave3000

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Jan 10, 2011
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Since you are using a VM, you can configure the VM and lower the clockspeed of the virtualized hardware. Or if you really need to, you can old school it like we did back in the day and run something like moslo:

I'm talking about DOS games that will perform better the faster the CPU is and don't depend on a timer (start running in fast motion if CPU is too fast for the game) such as Duke Nukem 3D or Quake. I'm not currently using a VM but I did try PCem in the past.
 

podspi

Golden Member
Jan 11, 2011
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What exactly are you trying to do? A smart toaster could probably run these games faster than native.

Are you asking which one is the absolute fastest so you can get 10,000 fps in say, frogger?

Regardless, you will be limited by your monitors refresh rate with either of those CPUs.
 

DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
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I'm talking about DOS games that will perform better the faster the CPU is and don't depend on a timer (start running in fast motion if CPU is too fast for the game) such as Duke Nukem 3D or Quake. I'm not currently using a VM but I did try PCem in the past.
Oh so you mean fps glitch games. Got it.
 

TheELF

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Dec 22, 2012
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What about the DOS games that depend on native CPU speed? Surely a Pentium MMX 233 will run a DOS game at a higher frame rate than a Pentium 90. If you want to emulate the performance of a PC that runs a DOS game around the performance of a Pentium MMX 233, a much more powerful CPU would be needed than running that same DOS game on a Pentium 90. DOSBox is not emulating a PC, it's emulating an operating system. Now if you are emulating an actual PC, such as using a program called PCem, sure you will get the same frame rate on a slower host CPU and CPU won't matter in terms of frame rate for DOS games in this case but then you will get stutters and audio dropouts if the host CPU is not fast enough enough for the frame rate that the emulated PC can perform.
If you just want to see the highest FPS possible then sure, but most DOS games are made for a specific FPS and you will get serious issues if the FPS goes too high.
You have to understand that a todays CPU at 3Ghz is running the original DOS x86 code 10 times faster than a 300Mhz one just from clocks alone and the architecture/cache/ram and everything else adds so much more to that.
As I and the others already said, any semi modernish CPU can run any DOS game at very high FPS.
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
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As I and the others already said, any semi modernish CPU can run any DOS game at very high FPS.
I'd say ultra high. Probably in the thousands of FPS. Even with one of those new 480Hz monitors, you should be plenty covered with pretty much any CPU from the last 10 years. My old Athlon X445 is plenty capable of running any DOS game, and that's a 2010 CPU.

But, what's a few thousand frames per second between friends?
 

Mopetar

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2011
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You have to understand that a todays CPU at 3Ghz is running the original DOS x86 code 10 times faster than a 300Mhz one just from clocks alone and the architecture/cache/ram and everything else adds so much more to that.
Some of these old games were built to fit into system memory that's smaller than the amount of cache you can get on some chips. In some cases with earlier games the L2 for a core will even be enough.
 

Dave3000

Golden Member
Jan 10, 2011
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Can't really say that until OP clarifies what they're trying to do. Never enjoyed timing glitches myself...
More specifically, I just want to know which CPU gives higher fps in Chris's Bench (SVGA) from the DOSBench suite via emulation through DOSBox-X and also Quake and Duke Nukem 3D via emulation through DOSBox-X.
 

TheELF

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 2012
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More specifically, I just want to know which CPU gives higher fps in Chris's Bench (SVGA) from the DOSBench suite via emulation through DOSBox-X and also Quake and Duke Nukem 3D via emulation through DOSBox-X.
Probably the 12700k because of the higher clocks and as already mentioned these old games don't use much ram so the huge cache of the 5800x3d will probably be useless, but without looking at a benchmark nothing is for sure.

I'm sure that if you put together a bundle with dosboxX configured how you like it and the benchmark in a super easy way for anybody to run it and start a topic and ask people nicely to run it and give you results you will get enough to make up your mind.

See here as an example.
 
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noeticitservices

Junior Member
Jun 24, 2022
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Most modern CPUs are capable of running DOS games, but if you're looking for the best performance then it may be worth considering a CPU from the early days of PC gaming. The i7-12700K is a great option for DOS emulation because of its high clock speed and built-in support for SSE4A. This means that your games will run faster as opposed to using an older processor that doesn't have this feature. Additionally, Ryzen 5800X3D offers excellent performance when it comes to 3D accelerated FPS games at 1024x768 and higher resolutions. It has more than enough processing power to run these types of titles without any issues. However, keep in mind that they may not be playable on lower resolution monitors due to the graphical intensity involved.
 

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