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Portables Software Hardware Linux

The Portable Linux Based GP2X is Here 232

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the might-as-well-have-a-laptop-with-all-these-portal dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today sees the opening of the Official GP2X Site where you can see the new console from Gamepark.com, who last brought you the GP32 a fantastic console for homebrew developers. This console is a major step up with Dual 200Mhz cpus and is basically a Portable Linux handheld that can easily do ports like Quake, Doom and Emulators like Mame. Its Open Source SDK gives all amateur and commercial Developers the ablity to release software on a brand new console like the old Amiga/Commodore 64 days. More screenshots of the GP2X can be found at GP2x news."
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The Portable Linux Based GP2X is Here

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  • by BluhDeBluh (805090) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @06:07AM (#13588741)
    UK pre-orders for the machine are being taken at GP2X.co.uk [slashdot.org] (formerly GBAX) at £125 for the machine. It's shipping in October :)
    • Borked link (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Working link here: GP2X [gp2x.co.uk]
    • Anybody have a link for US pre-orders? I've just figured out what I'm getting my MAME-crazy brother for Christmas.
      • I've looked all over the site and can't find any mention of this, which is sad. Apparently you can hook it up to the TV and double your resolution, which is AMAZING -- but are there any other interface ports on this machine? Do you know how much fun I could have with this thing and some Palm-based accessories? A little roll-up keyboard? A little USB laptop mouse? I know it's not the target use at all, but the Linux kernel has good USB peripheral support, so all the coding is done for you.
        • Just order it from Craig in the UK using the (corrected) link above. He's a good guy and does game dev on the machines too. I got my GP32 from him with no probs.

  • Capacity? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sorthum (123064)
    What kind of storage can you realistically get on SD cards? I have to wonder, given that most XBox/PS2 games are now pushing the 4-5 gig range. Quake was good, but a smidgen outdated.

    I do realize there are games that are less than a gig, but does this have a realistic chance of becoming a mass market item?
    • Re:Capacity? (Score:3, Informative)

      by crwl (802043)
      You can now get SD cards with at least 2 GB of capacity, and they're getting cheaper all the time. I wouldn't worry about the storage.
    • Re:Capacity? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Nichotin (794369)
      You do realize that this is a handheld console? The storage capacity of SD cards should be enough for a lot of apps (emulators), some music, maybe an episode of American Dad, plus tonnes of snes, nes, and gameboy ROMS.
    • Re:Capacity? (Score:4, Informative)

      by romiz (757548) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @06:28AM (#13588791)
      What kind of storage can you realistically get on SD cards?

      The theoretical limit of the format is 4 GB without formatting. Nowadays, it is commonplace to find 1 GB flash cards, or even 2 GB cards, but quite pricy (~60 $ per GB). Read-only cards, when produced in large quantities, would probably be less expensive.

      I do realize there are games that are less than a gig
      The size of a game doesn't make its quality. And we're still talking about portable games, where the UMD is the largest format to date, with only 1.8 GB...
      • Hah, $60/gig pricy? I payed $100 for a 32 meg of flash in 1999.
      • You would be supprised what everthing has now. UMD is 1.8GB, Nintendo DS cartiridges vary, but are well into the 100's of MBs. The thing is, the stuff that takes up lots of space is video textures. These tiny consoles don't have the power to display tons of texures, hence less need for space. I don't think any developer right now is whining about the limits of either format.
    • You can get 2 gig cards for around $140 now, and they're dropping fast. SD is a really good format... still thick enough to be tough, but easily tucked into a wallet or other small carrier. CF can store a lot more, but the cards are much less convenient.

      Realistically, SD sizes aren't likely to be a drawback. As an example, my entire Thief2 installation, including the unofficial T2X mod (which is a bit uneven, but really amazing for a fan remake), weighs in at about 1.8 gigs. That's voice, movies, and e
    • Re:Capacity? (Score:3, Informative)

      by donscarletti (569232)
      Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 was far less than a gig (about half of one) and managed to have some pretty cutting edge content. Oh, and one must remember that the gamecube disks don't fit much more than 1 GB.
    • IIRC, DS games are only 128 Megabytes (1 gigabit) in size, max. So, pretty darn big. I may be off -- it may be 1 Gigabyte (8 gigabit), but still... SD cards aren't exactly 1.44 meg floppies, ya know. ;)
    • A little less than a gig, last I checked.

      Most XBox/PS2 games I've played have very nice pre-rendered cinematics. HL2's "cinematics" are all very simple and animated real-time.

      I'm guessing it's got to do with resource management.

      Oh, and by the way, if it's supposed to be portable, why do you want to play more than Quake on it?
      • Check again. The GCF files for HL2 are 3.3GB.

        They could have saved some space by compressing assets, however uncompressed files lead to faster loading and lower CPU usage. On a PC game, this is an acceptable tradeoff.

        Textures and sound account for about 2GB out of that 3GB, so if we assume that texture and audio compression would have netted a 50% size reduction, the game would indeed cut down to 1.3GB, which would fit on a 2GB SD card. However, it is important to keep in mind that the GP2X has a slow CPU (
        • 40MB finally, but 80MB during installation. I still remember it...

          "Where are we going to free up 80MB (!) just to install this thing!?"

  • Battery Life (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jeffv323 (317436) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @06:17AM (#13588762)
    With two processors and a screen as big as it is, how long will 2 AA's last I wonder?

    I think it would be fantastic to see this take off, perhaps it could jumpstart open source games. (yeah yeah insert comment about Tuxracer)
  • um.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by metricmusic (766303)
    seems in some ways a downgrade.

    they went from a 4inch screen to a 3.5 inch one. screen res went down and they took out the wireless.
  • Awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rm999 (775449) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @06:34AM (#13588805)
    Wow, this looks really cool. I especially like the AA batteries. I have about 10 rechargeable AAs and could easily pack them with me on vacation and keep this thing going for a long time. Not something you can do with proprieatary batteries
    • Yeah...'cause keeping extra AA batteries around is far more convenient than plugging your gaming device into an outlet when you're sleeping or driving...

      Oh, wait...no it isn't. Why is it better, again?
      • Re:Awesome (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bufalo_1973 (898479)
        Think about going to a place where there is no power plug (remember: cities don't cover the whole Earth), maybe for a weekend. With 4-8 hours each pair, taking 8 batteries lasts until you come back home. And more important: what if you have your console running well in 2015? If it uses AA batteries you can buy other pack and play. If it runs with a propietary battery you are out of luck.
      • I was thinking specifically of airplanes. I frequently make 30+ hour one-way plane trips (obviously including layovers). Airplanes often don't have outlets.

        Also, my car doesn't have an outlet. And I don't neccesarily want to buy and carry around a car adapter for all my electronics.
    • Wow, this looks really cool. I especially like the AA batteries.

      Damn, this does look cool... but Actually, I'm not so hot for AA's, since standard AA's aren't recylable, and NiMH rechargeables have bad power curves and frequent charge requirements.

      However, if the AA case happens to support CR-V3 batteries, then I could add a rechargeable CR-V3 [steves-digicams.com] Lithium-Ion... which would probably take the battery life to stratospheric heights... not to mention the incredible shelf-life of lithium.

  • Resolution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jeffv323 (317436) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @06:35AM (#13588812)
    I'm a bit miffed on the resolution of the device. The big bold text claims 720x480, while the specs say 320x480. I am going to guess that it's the latter, as 720 on a 3" screen would be a really expensive lcd.
    • Re:Resolution (Score:5, Informative)

      by saldek (139594) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @06:49AM (#13588845) Journal
      And a bit further on :

      Yes that's right, this handheld can connect to the TV, console style. Watch your DivX movies on the TV. Play emulated classics on the TV. Try big screen Quake. Or just play them all on the GP2X's large 320*240 backlit screen. You get the best of both worlds.
    • Re:Resolution (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      the LCD has 320x480 resolution but the machine can play divx files upon 720x480.

      For example, as divx players for the TV, they cannot manage every resolution, they have a top one.

      You'll see the films and games in 320x480
  • I'm curious if twin CPUs is enough to handle the likes of Doom and Quake full speed. I'm using a Sharp Zaurus (Linux PDA) with a 400Mhz+ ARM processor. On it, Doom is a bit jagged around the edges. A Gameboy Advance ROM barely gets off the ground. I'm sure the likes of a Commodore 64 is possible though, but I'd hope the thing is fast.
    • When Quake was originally released, my housemate had a PC with 64MB of RAM and a 200MHz Pentium Pro, and I remember Quake running just fine.

      Of course, when he later downloaded GLQuake it ran like an aboslute dog without a 3d accelerator card, but that's a different story...
      • by bani (467531) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @09:18AM (#13589146)
        your ppro has 256k (or more) l1 and l2 cache. it can also issue and execute instructions out of order. the strongarm has none of these features.

        the cache alone makes an enormous difference, the out of order execution on top of that results in a cpu which is about 50% faster than the strongarm right off the bat.

        not to mention -- much of doom was hand coded x86 assembly. the zaurus arm port obviously can't use that, and afaik no arm assembly equivalents have been written so the doom port uses straight C.
    • A bit rough around the edges? Have you tried turning AA on?
    • I think it's not enough. Its lack of 3D hardware is another nail in its coffin. Can it compare with PSP in gaming? No at all.
      • Re:Not enough (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Haeleth (414428)
        Its lack of 3D hardware is another nail in its coffin. Can it compare with PSP in gaming? No at all.

        Bear in mind what a lot of people are saying about the PSP: "Okay, there's no games on it apart from half a dozen identical racers, but it's really cool for running homebrew software! I hope I don't have to upgrade to firmware 1.50 and break all my emulators!"

        This GP2X? It's half the price of a PSP, and while it doesn't have the racing games, it does have the cast-iron guarantee that the company that makes
        • Re:Not enough (Score:3, Insightful)

          by KillShill (877105)
          calling it "homebrew" does a disservice to people who try to own their own property.

          it's called Arbitrary Code Execution.

          you wouldn't call programs written by non-corporate people as "homebrew", would you?

          they're all just programs but full access to those devices are willfully denied to you, the true owner of the product. using legal and technical means to remove property rights is immoral and unethical.

          if you want to rent devices, then call it renting and treat it accordingly. but if you sell something the
    • I should it would run, it ran pretty good on a machine that was 40mhz. How could it not run on a 2x200mhz machine?

      Quake might be a little bit different but lets not also forget that this screen is an awfull lot smaller then even my monitor was at the time. Still I had some pretty good matches on a 90mhz pentium and that was with bloated NT sucking up resources in the background.

      No 2x200mhz is a lot of power for old games. Wether it can equal the PSP I am not going to debate. This thing is a lot cheaper an

      • Doom was a little slow on my 16MHz 386 but ran fine on a 25MHz 486. Quake ran okay in 320x200 (the default resolution) on a P100. I'm not sure how much either of these will get from a second processor - they are both single-threaded - but a 200MHz ARM chip should be fast enough for either.
    • Hi there, I'm the proud owner of a vintage GP32, and I would be extremely confident at the GPX2's ability to run Doom and Quake full speed.

      My GP32 *already* runs Doom II at full speed (60fps), and it can play Quake at maybe 5-8 fps. That's with a single CPU @ 166MHz.

      This new one has 2 x 200MHz ones. :)

      Some other things the lowly GP32 could do:

      Near perfect emulation of NES, Genesis, TurboGrafix16, and numerous others. Playable (but somewhat slow) SNES emulation. Many other systems emulated to various degr
  • The `screenshots' in the link look more like photographs than captures of the device's screen. I think the article submitter might need to spend some time away from the computer, and realise that not everything in the world is displayed on a screen...
  • It says it uses SD storage, that almost guarantees there wont be open source drivers.

    Usually SD slots can be used with open mmc cards.

    Poor choice of storage...
    • by Malor (3658) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @09:38AM (#13589213) Journal
      What crack are you smoking? I've been using SD cards with Linux for years. If you don't have a device that uses the security features (nearly all of them), then it just works like any other flash device would.

      It might be possible to lock content on an SD card so that it wasn't accessible from Linux, but one you purchased blank and formatted yourself isn't going to give you any problems.
      • And you have open source drivers for the SD card reader ?
        • by Malor (3658)
          I use a 4-in-1 reader and it just works. With everything. I don't have it handy right now to look at, but it was a $25 or $30 job at Best Buy. (I *think* the brand name was ImageMate, but that could easily be wrong.)

          Support's built right into the kernel. Plug it in, wham, it works. No hassle. Each slot looks like a different SCSI device. I've used it for both CF and SD and it works fine.

          Via VMWare, the built-in card-reader on my monitor also works perfectly with OpenBSD and with Linux, both for CF and
      • "If you don't have a device that uses the security features (nearly all of them), then it just works like any other flash device would."

        You mean it works as an mmc card, you can get open source mmc drivers, not open source sd drivers.
        • by Malor (3658)
          It JUST WORKS. Plug it in and you're good. You don't have to think about SD or MMC, you just get a universal reader, plug it in, and off you go. The SD encryption features aren't used by any device I know of. You can argue semantics about it "being used as an MMC card", but no normal human cares about that. They want to plug it into the computer and have it work. If you buy an SD card, that will happen. That's all that matters.

          SD is better than MMC anyway... the MMC cards are so thin they're pretty f
          • From wikipedia

            "Like most memory card formats, SD is covered by numerous patents and trademarks, and licensing is only available through the Secure Digital Card Association. The SD Card Association's current licensing agreement does not allow for open-source SD drivers, a fact that generates a fair amount of consternation in the open-source and free software communities. The usual workaround is to develop an open-source wrapper for a closed-source SD driver available on the particular platform, but this is f
            • by Malor (3658)
              So all SD cards must support MMC mode. MMC mode works. Therefore....(left as an exercise for the reader).

              I did say, if you notice, that nothing uses the encryption capability of the card anyway. It doesn't *matter* what the internal protocol is, as long as it works to do what we want, which is store and retrieve data. I can take an SD card, plug it into an SD slot, and it just works. That's all I really need. You can think of SD as MMC in a better package, with a write-protect tab.

              If they change the ru
              • I agree with you on everything but point C. Real MMC cards were pretty much killed by the switchover to SD cards. I don't know of anyone that's manufacturing them anymore.

                I believe the deal was that no plain-vanilla MMC cards would be manufactured with a capacity greater than either 128 or 256MB. I don't know if that was a tacit agreement on the manufacturers' parts, or if that was just the point in the product's life when they switched over to SD ... but I've never seen a large MMC card.

                On the MMC Associat [mmca.org]
              • you can also not financially support DRM by not buying inSECURE digital technology.

                compact flash is cheaper and more robust and is free of Insidious Computing Inside. (pronounced icky).

                so you support OPEN source but not OPEN hardware.

                maybe you can change your alignment at a local shrine. i hear they don't charge for first timers.

                it's not wise to prop up the rope companies who are looking to hang you.
                • But they don't really have any power over me. The fact that this gizmo has extra functions I can't use is pretty much irrelevant to me. I don't care about those functions. And they're not going to be turned on against my will. They don't have a magic wand that will suddenly lock me out of my own data.

                  I just don't see what the issue is here. This isn't Bitkeeper, where I'm using the product at the sufferance of an asshole. They can't take my cards away or make them stop working... so what's the problem
                  • you make it possible, in a small way, for them to continue making DRM-crippled products.

                    i'm just saying, in these, the DRM dark ages, we must be ever more vigilant. we have to make it far too costly for the DRM industry to keep making digital handcuffs.

                    every little bit helps but what helps the most is education. tell you family and friends, if given a choice, take compact flash over SD or sony "magic gate" type products. i mean you are certainly being charged for having those "features" in there yet you wil
  • Name issues (Score:2, Funny)

    by Neeex (768224)
    Should we tell them they've plastered "GP2X" all over the website, but the device clearly has "GPX2" written on it?
    • Re:Name issues (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The machine was renamed to gp2x some time ago. promo pics still have the old name on them.
      Additionally the model sold is black, although the pictures show the white model.
  • by ewe2 (47163)
    tasty.
  • I walked by Regent street yesterday

    Is this the same gadget that they have a store devoted to promoting? There was even a night club beneath the store with bouncers

    portable PS is pretty big in the UK for 200 quid, don't know how well this thing will sell here...
  • Come on guys (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    All of you folks (myself included) that push for open standards and open hardware need to put our money where our mouths are.

    Bonus 1 - the device runs linux

    Bonus 2 - the architecture is open

    Bonus 3 - the creators say they won't ruin homebrew

    What if we code games/apps for this in a platform portable way? That could mean a bunch of new games (albeit old-style, but what's wrong with that?) for Linux.

  • "Firefox users any problems please use Opera or Internet Explorer."

    Jeez!

    • "Here is your order summary, including shipping costs and any taxes.

      Items in cart: 2 x GP2X Console Value Pack
      Total Items cost: £ 249.98
      Shipping cost: £ 17.5 (International)
      Total cost with shipping: £ 267.48
      To pay please click proceed.

      Firefox users any problems please use Opera or Internet Explorer."
  • official website??? (Score:5, Informative)

    by PePeBoTiKa (903062) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @10:43AM (#13589420)
    :-O

    That's not the official GP2X website. That's the GBAX website, an online GP2X distributor. Hardcore-gamer [hardcore-gamer.com] is the distributor on spain.

    Here [gpx2.com] is a list of official distributors.

    The official website is still www.gpx2.com

    The console will be released in october/november
  • I can't seem to find more details than are on the webpage, just a short list of features, and nothing else.

    Where can I find details?

    Some questions that arise: Is that 'USB2' port just a cardreader for the SD card, in which case I'll probably leave it on the shelf, or is it a full USB2 host port that I can connect (externally powered) keyboards/mice/hard drives/... to?

    Can it supply any power?

    What's the power consumption idle with screen on, idle with screen off, idle with external screen on, playing m

  • I spose the PSP and GP2X markets over lap, but i believe the GP2X will always be cheaper. If we take linux as an example, about 85% of all software for linux is open-source based, this same trend would naturally continue on the GP2X, even tho Game Park Holdings have included the DRM feature to help and encourage commercial games. Take a look at the PSP, it costs what £179 on play.com/amazon with a memory stick OR 1game, with case and headphones. Each game will cost about £29.99 as well as the UM

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