Well, I always get the massege from the customer, what system is the best, what option I can get? So below is my opinions
The hardware pandora box, pc, or raspberry pi, even there are so many variations, but I believe these 3 options are good to go.
Let's talk about pc first.
what pc you should pick up, depond on the what is the hardest game you want to play. For instance, If you only play any classic arcade games, ( before ps2) the spec you should look at i5 3470 4c 4t, 4gb ddr3 1600, 150hdd. That spec you can fully enjoy any roms before ps2. and you can download any Frontend from "arcade punk". System options is coinops. Bigbox,Hyperspin, or betocera(linux).
affortable price, the pc recommend is hp8300, market price only like $150. and full speed play any retrogames without laggy or tearing.
ultimately, you can do any configuration, flig-screen, 4player, spinner, tracking ball. pinball, anything. There is no bondary for your setup, can bring all your dream games into play.
Not good for people who not good at pc. most of Frontend running under win10, and you need to be a little skillful about the tech.
price is affortable, but precondition is you have to buy second hand pc. You need to take the risk of teardown. So I suggest buy second hand pc from reputative second hand pc trader rather than individral.
Than raspberry pi refering the credit-card-sized pc, smaller. It is the best way to do a smaller size arcade. I mean if you doing the 7inch- 15inch arcade bartop or control panel, It will fit in without any difficulties. But don't expect it has house power, if you want to play hardcore game like MK2.3 or Ki1.2 mame version, I can tell you stay away!!! don't wast your money.
samller size, portable, energy-saving, repliable. recommend 3b+, or pi4. 3b+ can do most of arcade games before ps1 and part of dc games. pi4 and do better.
repliable quanlity, already 4th gen, I have do over 100units, never got one broken ones yes.
price is not that good compared to pc or pandora. it would cost you more than 200+ nz dollars for pi4( psu, cable, heat sink, ). Unfortunately, the performance is worth than the pc hp8300.
you need to learn the linux coding. If you are amature, believe me stay away. there are a lot of settings, you need to figure out yourself. If you are not confident about the coding linux, let go for alternatives.
Last, Pandora Box.
Many of you I belive hate pandora box. Because pandora can't do, 4:3 screen, laggy, can't adjust game difficulty, can't saving process, and so on. Yes, It was ture, if you talke about pandora boxes 5years-ago- version. And why still some people think, nowdays pandora box is still a piece of rubbish? becasue you bought wrong versions. You hold the low-end pandora box saying it is rubbish, Now I tell you Because you are holding the knock-off, a piece of rubbish, that is way you wastes your money for not buying the official one, genunine one. I will post another blog showing your guys which one is best version. And I am a quanlified person to give your advise because I am reseller for pandora box in NZ.
Good price, make every cent counted. Only like 120-150 nz dollars. You won't break a leg to make one.
easy to setup, user-freindly. I know a lot of arcade cabinet builders using pandora and sold many in nz. So you can think about make one for your family with your kids. Super simple, plug wire, and power, connect to the monitor, DONE!!
evolved a lot. Now you can do 4player setup( playing simpson family, nba jam, wwe, ninja turtle, and more). save and load process. ( play from where last time ended). and faster. new version compitable with tracking ball.
Stable system. most of games are tested and running, unlike pc version or pi roms not
not horse power, can't run ki1.2. mk1.2 arcade version. but still best for retrogaming before ps2.
not as many things been configured as pc or pi setup.
How to select your hardware and frontend, deponds on your budgets and expectation for games.
If you want to have the decent arcade,running the fancy, nice system UI, go for the pc set up.
A reminder that you should spend the good money if you expect play games like Tekken7, MK11, SFV, You need to have pv worth 1000+.
for causal player, build portable one and you are confident in tech, let us go for pi.
You build one, for kids, for your company entertainment room, for school, for public, do hesitate, go for pandora.