Cheap MAME computer build (will this work)


(I do own quite a bit of arcade boards, so I don’t want to get into the legality of it all.) I own an ST cabinet but the CPS2 board looks like it’s biting the dust.
My father is handing me down a 3.0 P4 with a little over a GB of memory (will grab more from a junker when I find one), a old radeon gfx card with S-Video out, and it will be running to a 27inch CRT.
I only want to run old capcom fighters, neo geo stuff, nothing new (I don’t have the boards to new stuff anyway). Will this computer handle it?
Can I download the newest mame build and use mamewah (low resource front end) and it be ok? Or will I need to hunt down old versions of mame and old romsets for this to work?
What is the cheapest way to wire up my arcade controls to the computer for inputs? This will be a dedicated machine. I’ve seen USB encoders but unsure of which to get, as I’m on a tight budget, but it seems like there would be an easier way.
I’ll be using the headphone output to run into an amplifier that is already connected to the overhead speakers.

Any help or ideas on this at all would be great!


Yeah, I had neo rage running everything on a system comparable to this back in the day.


Cheapest control option? Pc only zd encoder maybe? I’ve never tried that version, for reference.


Even that is a little pricey, I’m thinking a keyboard hack, or maybe finding some old ass gamepad’s to solder to that are USB. ZD would work great, but it’s overkill for this application.
Maybe if I could even find a encoder for the old school PS2 connections that were used for the keyboards, that would work.


ZD encoder pricey? They’re like 10 bucks dude. lol
Those would definitely be the way to go.


Considering that $10 includes wiring, that’s tough to top. Couldn’t ask for an easier hook up either.


get a ZD so cheap so easy.


bro i was playing kof 99 on this


Looks like I’ll have to get two of the zd. Was going there would be a diy that would be cheaper but it doesn’t look like it. Now to find a front end that isn’t a resource hog!


for the time you save and with all the wiring, $20 for 2 is still good.
Unless you have all the solder, wire and a mechanical keyboard floating around (plus time).

Either way do whatever makes you happy and tell us about it dude!

edit: Oh and I had mame under Linux running Neogeo roms back in 1999 with high FPS. p2 266mhz.
As long as you steam line the OS (no running services/programs you do not need ) it should be fine for the older stuff and most of the newer stuff.
Get that ram sorted like you mentioned and it should be ok.


Thanks for the heads up! I’m kinda bummed the ZD’s only ship from china (no stateside sellers!) and it’s harder to find junker PC’s around here than I thought!


Where you located? I’ve got at least 6 or 7 computers of various age that could use a home. One or two are really pretty decent.


I live in Shreveport Louisiana, and I’ve found a computer, and I think an older IDE drive that will work! The main problem now is I want to wire up the controls quickly, but the only sellers for the ZD’s are in China, I may have a look at the trading post and see if anyone has some.


Microcenter in Houston has a nice selection of refurbished PC’s and laptops. You can spend as little as $150 on a decent desktop.

If you really think the ST board is biting the dust and have no intention of using it, I recommend you consider ebaying it to offset some of your cost. ST board will easily fetch $200-$250


that system is more than capable, ive got the old school fighters and shmups running on an og xbox im sure you an get them running on this