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Could PCSX2 benefit from an FPGA.
#1
I've recently been wondering about whether or not an FPGA processor could be used to emulate PS2 games.

What are your thoughts?
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#2
If i see it correctly there are two advantages of FPGA's over CPU's:
1. You can 'hardwire' often used function. Which then can outperform CPU's because of their higher flexibility but higher time consumption.
2. You can easily parallelize and to an higher extend than MultiCore-CPU's.

Point 2 is not helpful since pcsx2 is hardly able to use more than three threads. Maybe the software GS thread could be better parallelized on a FPGA.
Point 1 is to my knowledge not helpful since you have to emulate all instruction sets of all ps2 processors. I guess that if you hardwire all instruction sets of a CPU in an FPGA you get again something similar to a CPU.

But the disadvantages are probably the lower flexibility and that you just have a CPU in your desktop pc. If you need to build something just to emulate something else it doesn't really sound like emulation anymore.

I think if you try to use an FPGA you can as well use the ps2 itsself.


(But just my opinion here... not really much knowledge available)
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#3
i think we had a similar thread before. fpgas are barely usable for that. the effort to program logic blocks to emulate a single 128 bit cpu register to keep the data is already way too high. it's possible to include some very specific things as fixed standard components (that are usually faster too) you can further connect and programm, but for the very design of the ps2 you'd end up better including the whole mips core as it is. which is basicly a ps2 processor you'd have then.
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#4
At least one of us know well FPGA design Tongue2

So it depends of a lots of parameter, hard to says. For example you could imagine to implement the MMU part of the PS2 to convert the address, currently we need 6/7 operations, the fpga could do it in 1 cycle for example.

But I think there will be some limitations to fpga.
1/ communication between the FPGA and the others part of the CPU.
2/ I don't think consumer will have an FPGA in the CPU die Tongue2
3/ The biggest issue, FPGA is much slower than ASIC (i.e. your CPU). If the FPGA is limited to 50Mhz, it won't be useful to emulate a 300Mhz (maybe 150Mhz for the VU) component.
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#5
So you have experience in FPGA design? Gotta take a note on that! Wink
(240p analog video scaling processor, "snes on a chip", "sega mega drive on a chip", multi game controller adapers, i can think of more Wink )
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#6
Trust me you don't want to use an FPGA when you can use a CPU Wink Hardware design is slow and painful. Fpga will be limited to pro anyway. It is too costly for us and I don't see any application for us (general consumers).
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#7
(07-10-2015, 01:50 PM)gregory Wrote: Hardware design is slow and painful

Quoted for truth. I implemented a very simple super scalar processor in a computer architecture class in university and it was one of the most difficult projects I've ever had. Using normal old verilog and not some higher level HDL made it even worse (we couldn't even use SystemVerilog Sad ) And besides, the implementation would never be fast enough. I work at a really big semiconductor company now where we map an entire chipset to many FPGA boards. The resulting chipset-implemented-in-FPGA runs at 1/300th the speed the final fabricated chipset will run at. Of course we make chips that are more complicated than those in the PS2, but still, I don't see an FPGA PS2 implementation attaining fullspeed in the near future Smile
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