The newer Pandora 1Ghz model is all the rage nowadays, since there is a noticeable speed difference compared to the regular/older CC/Rebirth editions. But should we completely forget about the Rebirth? Is it time to throw it away and forget about it ? Well, probably not, since there are still many things a Rebirth can do very, very well, and at lower price if you cannot afford a 1Ghz. Let’s see that in details.
This is sourced from a post from rohezal on the Pandora boards. He described his experience with numerous applications using a Rebirth… and talked about performance. I made some additions/modifications to his original statements.
I was myself a Pandora Rebirth owner before getting a 1Ghz, and I still use it frequently. As you can see from the below points, the Rebirth is still a very capable machine overall, while the 1Ghz is obviously providing some nice boost in certain applications.
Nintendo DS emulation (Drastic): Works fine, most games run well at 600 mhz, some need 800 or 1000 mhz to run at the right speed. One can complete Mario 64 DS, Mario Kart DS (in some courses a bit slow, but very playable) and Mario and Luigi Brothers in Time. No problem so far.
Jedi Knight 2: When overclocked to 1000 / 380 mhz, the first level works like a charm. The outer giant area of the second level is a bit slow but still very playable. In the interiors it plays perfect again. The Quake3 engine is known for having issues with large outside areas.
PSX emulation (PCSXreARMed): Perfect. That was precisely one of the big selling points of the original Pandora. ’nuff said.
GBA (several emulators): Perfect. Note that gpsp has a few bugs in a couple of games, but the other emulators don’t.
Super Tux Kart: It runs a little slow. This can be improved when you overclock the gpu to 110% but it still remains a wee slow. Not sure if overclocking the GPU at 380 mhz would make a difference.
PSP Emulation (PPSSPP): Mana Khemia (Student Alliance) is playable when overclocked (cpu 1000 Mhz / gpu 380 Mhz). It’s almost perfect when running around in 3D levels or in the world map, while it slows down a little in battles (or with high frame skip some minor graphic bugs appear). In dialogs it’s just like the real thing. The alchemist menu is laggy but can helped by tweaking the frameskip.
N64 emulation: Mario Kart 64 is playable. The 180 Snowboard game is really slow but playable. Most games do not work properly, however. That is probably one of the remaining weaknesses of the Pandora in terms of emulation. This could change if someone decides to pick the work where it was left…
Surfing: Works well and fast. Sometimes very heavy java script addicted sites are slow at loading. You should be using Qupzilla as your main browser in terms of speed/quality of rendering, and Firefox in case you really need some specific extensions. The good thing is that the additional RAM of the Rebirth compared to the earlier CC models makes it possible to run all browsers without swap partitions.
Youtube: You can forget about watching youtube directly in the browser, it’s not fast enough. The best solution is to use YTDownloader to download the video files off youtube directly.
Music: Works great if you sshfs to get access to your music on your server. Audacious is the player of choice, while DeadBeef does a very good job as well. Both are very suitable for streaming. And in terms of sound quality, you do not get any advantage using the 1Ghz over the Rebirth. They both have the same capabilities in that regard.
Administration: Vnc, ssh, sshfs work without problems. You need to install Java via the Java PND for vnc to work. No problem otherwise.
Pandebian: Perfect if you need some specific access to Debian packages. Note that it does not always interact very well with the default OS.
Coding&More: Rohezal is using QT Creator with open cv for his Master of Computer Science studies. QT Creator works very well, while it has some problems with auto-complete in some cases. Sometimes it becomes a little slow during auto-complete, this could have to do with the SD Card speed (Rohezal used an average 32 GB SD card).
Compiling: The Rebirth is a good enough base to compile most programs on the Pandora. Even PtitSeb did most of his earlier works on Rebirth, too – and was famous for compiling LibreOffice on it by letting the compilation run for three days! Most applications do not take THAT long, and while the 1Ghz certainly provides a nice boost for this purpose, I still compile stuff on my Rebirth from time to time, just because it’s sitting there when I am using my 1Ghz.
As you can see, even if you are on a tight budget, getting a Rebirth is certainly not a bad investment. There’s a lot of inventory in Dragonshop.de (I saw more than 90 yesterday when I checked) so it’s still widely available, while I believe they are not produced anymore. You could also get it second hand. By the way, one point regarding the overclocking capabilities: they can differ from one model to another. Not all Rebirths can clock to 1000 Mhz and be stable. Mine, for example, is unstable past 850 Mhz. Still, going to 850 Mhz provides a noticeable speed increase over 600 Mhz (33% up!) so it’s very much appreciated when I need to boost things up a little bit.
Finally, since all Pandoras are compatible with each other, you are in no way left behind with a Rebirth as you can enjoy the growing amount of software available on Pandora. Except for a few exceptions, most of the applications/games will work very well on Rebirth too.