Best CPU for emulation

Alright guys. Im thinking of building a HTPC for mainly emulating older consoles, What Im wondering is will a ps2/Gamecube emulator benefit more form a i3 with stronger cores or a AMD APU with better graphics?

If anyone was a a6/a8 or and i3 that feels like downloading an emulator and running some tests that would be super awesome as well

If you thant to build a small emulator, you can go with the AMD APU. That way you don't spend a whole lot of money. But if you whant a beafy emulator, you can best go with a intel core i3 or i5 and build a seperate videocard in your system.

I should think that an APU would be fine. Benefit of additional cores and better graphics.

ya I was thinking that the apu's on board graphics would be better, I just wasnt sure if the emulators would need more CPU power, thanks guys

It should be noted that emulators do not run particularly efficient in Windows, and if you're going to use Windows emulators, you'll need an i5 to get a satisfying gaming experience. If you're running linux emulators however, an AMD APU should do just fine. If you're only going to play emulator games, I would recommend an i5 with the best Intel graphics you can get you hands on in a linux OS. You don't really need the extra graphics power for emulators, fact is, consoles don't have it either, but you need as much IPC as you can get, and the i5 quad-core CPUs pack a lot of power for that. Combined with the huge improvements of the Intel graphics drivers in linux, if you're running a modern kernel, you'll get great results with emulation. That said, I run emulators on a core2duo laptop for a 8-year old to play with, and consistently get +30 fps (in linux, with a bleeding edge distro, using a basic nVidia GPU card running on nouveau open source drivers, which is eaten alive by Intel iGPU graphics). The key aspect is to run the emulator efficiently, and sadly, Windows just can't do that very well. An emulator is not the same as a hardware abstraction layer, the CPU of the PC the emulation runs on, has to constantly provide a completely virtualized hardware environment, which is a lot more taxing than just translating instructions. The strong point of linux here is that it's made for kernel-based cross-platform virtualization, and that makes emulators far more efficient.

I know my way around Ubuntu fairly well, So if I can get away with a cheaper APU and run everything off linux that would be a possibility. All my emulators work on Linux so that's a plus. The only thing Im worried about is the wireless receiver I have that lets me use my wireless xbox controllers. Idk if their is a lunix driver for it. 

Also if I did go with an Intel, Do you think a hyper-threaded i3 would have enough power?

It might, I don't have any i3 system to be honest, and never had, I don't know how much slower than a quad-core they are, but I do have a 2.5/3.1 GHz i5 dual core with HT laptop, and that is not particularly faster than a Core2 CPU in my perception, in fact, I find it pretty slow sometimes, but on other occasions it's pretty fast. The Intel performance is "tweaked" performance, the benchmarks show huge results, but in general, I find the performance to be very application-dependent.

That said, on Fedora 20 release, which is what I use on my production machines (with fedora-updates repos enabled, so on kernel 3.12), performance on Intel and AMD graphics equipped machines, performance has taken a considerable boost, it's noticeably snappier and has a hugely improved fps in games (I would say at least 30-40%!) with the open source drivers. I also have an Intel laptop with Fedora rawhide, which runs on Mesa 10 and is compiled with a later version of C compiler which supports more graphics functions, and even on the pretty modest Intel iGPU that system uses, the results are simply spectacular, they are at the point now of a decent nVidia laptop graphics Intel CPU laptop, for which sadly, because of the anti-linux attitude of nVidia, there has been no graphics performance benefit whatsoever since Fedora 16-17, a couple of years ago, and that's just sad, because the nVidia graphics is an expensive option for laptops, it's about 100 EUR more than an AMD 8000-series graphics equipped Intel CPU laptop, and about 200 EUR more than an Intel iGPU laptop.

I need a new laptop right now, and I'm waiting for a Broadwell laptop with Intel graphics and no dedicated graphics card, I'm hoping for a Chromebook with good specs because they are all CoreBoot compatible, which makes them irresistible to me to be honest. If I were to make a suggestion to you, as you're gaming with emulators in linux, so linux would be your main OS, I would definitely also suggest waiting a couple of months for a nice Broadwell i3 with HT and a stronger iGPU. The reason is that Intel has come a very long way with Beignet, and that should make it extremely competitive with AMD APUs in linux. I don't know when Ubuntu is catching up with Mesa 10 and the HSA-optimized design of Fedora 21 (rawhide), but everything goes pretty fast in the linux world, in six months, computer performance, especially at the low end of the spectrum, may well be a completely different notion that what it is now.