I've been dabbling with Raspberry Pi's for probably 3 years or so now. I'm starting to get more and more comfortable with the environment, and learning how things work with it. But, alas, I'm starting to become irritated with the hardware limitations of the Pi. Specifically for Retro gaming. The Pi 3B+ is only just BARELY capable of running a handful N64 games. There are lots of games for that system I'd love to play. Also, there are only a couple of games for the PSP and Dreamcast that the Pi is just remotely capable of playing. I've given up on the idea that I'll be able to play PS2 and GameCube games. But it doesn't have to be that way. Sure, I can build a dedicated gaming machine. But I'm limited to something in a huge case or spend a ton money on something like ITX. That's what led me to discover ODROID. Their XU4 device is a small SOC form factor, only a little larger than the Pi. They have a C2 model too that is practically identical to the Pi. The C2 supports 4k output (wow) whereas the XU4 actually has better "under the hood" equipment. Both are capable of gigabit LAN (Pi is still sitting at 100mb). Both have eMMC capabilities whereas the Pi only has MicroSD. Both are superior to the Pi in terms of onboard RAM, CPU speed, etc. Although not for me, both can run Android as well as Linux (whereas the Pi's are limited to Linux). The XU4 has 2 USB3.0 slots, Pi's are only USB2.0. It's a no brainer. Not to mention there is a growing community of users who swear by XU4 as being nearly perfect for retro gaming! So I've made my decision and I'm building a new system using the XU4!
ODROID-XU4 - Currently on sale from the manufacturer for only about $10 more than the Pi! ODROID-C2 - Same form factor as a Pi but with 4k video! Perfect for Kodi!
I intend to fill this thread with my building progress like I did my "NintendoPi" so it can help other would-be builders. I've already got an order processing. But here's a breakdown of what my plans are:
Take my time and do it right! Once I got the ball rolling, it was easy to do rush jobs and hacks to make the system work. I really want to have a solid piece of quality. So that means no crappy drilling and sawing unless absolutely necessary.
Most likely going in another NES case. The internal capacity of the case is ideal for hiding cables and things that would otherwise take up too much space inside some other case like a Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. I also like the nostalgia look of the case, it instantly screams "retro".
I'm ditching what I did with the current NES as far as controllers go. I pulled out all the stops by having the NES controller ports run to a USB encoder as well as installing 2 DB9 plugs in the case so I could have ATARI/SEGA controllers too. It's nice, but really unnecessary. I NEVER use them. So instead, I'm going to keep everything simple with USB and Bluetooth. The XU4 doesn't have built-in Bluetooth (or wifi, unlike the Pi's, unfortunately) so I ordered a dongle. I'll just get some inline USB adapters for my other controllers.
I'd like to rid myself of having those huge ugly adapters inside the case. It was a great design idea that did work, but the way the device gets it power is different. I'll have to experiment and see where I can take this.
I plan on running this on Linux with RetroPie again. I'm familiar with the system now and migrating shouldn't be that difficult. Still, GameEx would be awesome!! (hint hint).
I'm going to stretch this out as my 2019 project. You know, keep me sane and not depressed, etc.
Planned system name: RETROID.
Step one at taking my time and doing it right is acquiring the hardware. That requires a few steps too.
PHASE ONE - Computer
ODROID-XU4 ($49.99) - On Sale!
5V6A Power Supply ($12) - Extra Amps for Hard Drive
16gb eMMC Module ($14.90) - Replaces the MicroSD for up to 7x faster speed!
USB eMMC Module Writer ($9.90) - I need this to read/write backups of the eMMC
Wifi Module ($7.90) - v5A, Supports dual band
Bluetooth Dongle ($3.80) - v2, Supports v4 BLE technology
PHASE TWO - Hard Drive
4tb ($99.99) - Mostly Likely Candidate
PHASE THREE - Case
NES Classic Case ($??.??) - To Be Determined
At this point, Phase One has been ordered. Once I receive the device and the other bits, I can start building. The Hard Drive will come after more money is available. I might buy it locally rather than online, depends on how the costs look when I'm ready to buy. I know I want 4tb because I intend on having more systems installed, and the newer systems are much larger in filesize. My current build with 1tb is reaching max capacity. I also plan on having a similar setup to my current one, where I have video screenshots, so that eats up a lot of space. So right now, I'm waiting for delivery!