Archive

Posts Tagged ‘gaming’
Orange Pi Development Boards

$210 GPD XD Plus Handheld Android Game Console Launched with Mediatek MT8173 Cortex A73/A53 SoC

January 25th, 2018 No comments

Not everybody is willing to spend around $650 on the recently announced GPD Win 2 portable Windows game console, and for people with a lower budget and happy to play Android games, the company has now launched the expected GPD XD+ console with GeekBuying and GearBest taking pre-orders for $209.99 including shipping.

GPD XD+ will be an upgrade of the previous GPD XD console with Rockchip RK3288 replaced by a more powerful Mediatek MT8176 processor, and RAM capacity increased to 4GB. The rest of the design is pretty much unchanged.

GPD XD Plus specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek MT8176 hexa-core processor with 2x Cortex A72 cores @ 2.1 GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores @ 1.7 GHz, and Imagination PowerVR GX6250 GPU
  • System Memory – 4GB RAM
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC flash (GearBest shows 64GB instead), micro SD slot up to 128GB
  • Display – 5″ 720p capacitive touch display
  • Video Output – 1x mini HDMI
  • Audio – Dual speaker, via HDMI output, 1x 3.5mm audio jack
  • Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • Buttons – Power button, cross button, dual-character button(A/B/X/Y;△/○/×/□), L1/L2/L3/R1/R2/R3, joysticks, Start/Select button, Volume +/-, Back,Android function, Home, Keymapper button
  • Sensor – 3-axis gravity sensor
  • Battery – 6,000 mAh @ 3.7V
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 155 x 89 x 24 mm
  • Weight – ~300 grams

The console runs Android 7.0, and support emulation for NES / FC, GB, GBC, SMC, SMD, SFC / SNES, GBA, MAME, N64 and SONY PlayStation games. It ships with a power adapter, a USB cable, and user manual in English. Pre-orders for GPD XD+ should start shipping around mid-February around mid April (GeekBuying changed shipping estimate from 25 days to 79 days).

Via AndroidPC.es

Pandora’s Box 5S Arcade Game Console – Teardown and Mini Review

January 22nd, 2018 14 comments

Last year – and even in 2016 – , there was a fair amount of new retro gaming news, with products such a Nintendo SNES Classic Edition or GameShell Portable Retro console, as well as community supported firmware such as RetrOrangePi 4.0. GearBest asked me if I wanted to review something a little different: Pandora’s Box 5S (aka Pandora’s Key 5S) arcade game console with 999 games most (all?) designed for two players.

This looked fun, and I was particularly interesting in checking out the hardware design, and hacking potential, e.g. if there could be a way to replace the board or firmware with your own. So in the review, I’ll focus mostly on the teardown, before shortly testing out the system and a few games.

Pandora’s Box 5S Unboxing

The device comes ins a large package (~70 x 24 x 16cm), so I’m surprised customs did not ask any questions, and it just went through without any issues.

Click to Enlarge

Once we open the package, we can see a bunch cables and accessories.

Those includes a bilingual (English/Chinese) user manual, 12V/3A power supply and power cord, VGA cable, HDMI cable, USB cable, as well as two spare gaming buttons (is that a bad or good sign?).

Click to Enlarge

Once we’ve removed all those from the package, we can take out of arcade game console itself with two sets of joystick, play/pause, player, and A/B/C/D/E/F buttons.

Click to Enlarge

The rear panel comes with an ON/OFF switch, the power jack, HDMI and VGA video output, an audio jack, a volume rocker, a CFG button, and two USB ports.

Click to Enlarge

Pandora’s Box 5S Teardown

Opening the device is very easy: Loosen the three screws on the front of the device…

.. and open it up like a car’s engine cover. I used a chopstick to keep it open.

Click to Enlarge

There’s plenty of space inside the case, with the mainboard in the middle, and RGB LED strip, fan, and speaker on the sides, and fairly neat cabling.

Click to Enlarge

The right side is used to other player 2 buttons and joystick, and is fitted with the single speaker for the system…

Click to Enlarge

… while the left side comes with player 1’s inputs, and a fan.

Click to Enlarge

The main board – Xiyangyangs2_V55dRX – is powered by Allwinner A13 Arm Cortex A8 processor combined with 256MB (2 Gbit) SKhynix H5TQ2G63GFR DDR3. Other chips include three HC245 3-state octal bus transceivers, some STMicro 78422 IC…

Click to Enlarge

… an STMicro STM32F103C8T6 Arm Cortex M3 MCU likely used to handle I/Os from the volume rocker, buttons, and joysticks, a Lattice SII9022-ACNU HDMI 1.4a transmitter with 24-bit RGB input, and two more HC245 chips.

Where’s the storage chip? There’s none, and instead we’ll find an 8GB micro SD card with the firmware under the QC stickers. This should allow to mess around with the firmware, and potentially use it for other applications. If we have a quick look into the content, we can see the system calls /usr/init at boot time:

then a program called “emulotar” in /usr/emu.

We’ll find some audio and photo files in that directory, but those are not used by the games. Instead you’ll find game data in /usr/sd/ with game data (roms) stored in zip files, and some avi videos stored in movies folder. Both need to be accessed as root.

If you’d like to use the enclosure and buttons, and replace the board with something more powerful, you may want to check Grant Likely’s open source arcade control panel that appears to be using very similar buttons and joysticks, but with a custom wooden enclosure, as well as DragonBoard 820c board combined with STM32F3-Discovery board. ARMDevices.net has a video about his console that was showcased at Linaro Connect.

Pandora’s Box 5S Mini Review

Time to put everything back together and start playing. So I connected the device to the HDMI port of my TV, and the latter reported “Mode Not Supported”. Oh well, switching to VGA worked. Audio is going through the internal speaker, so I tried to connected my USB powered speakers to the USB port and 3.5mm audio jack of the console, and no audio from those external speakers, only from the internal speaker. Never mind, I could still play a few games as you’ll find out in the video below.

The fan is not exactly quiet, but you may not really mind with the game audio, and noise made by kids or friends may cover it up… I go through the full list of the games at the end of video. I found at least two games I used to play when I was a younger self: Mortal Kombat and Bomberman.

This should be a lots of fun for kids and adults alike. Just keep in mind that not all HDMI TV may support the game, so make sure you have a monitor or TV with VGA input as a backup. I was also unable to use anything else than the internal speaker for audio. I tried it on my other LG TV, and HDMI worked with audio, but the picture is not centered, and the left side is cropped out.

I’d like to thank GearBest for sending Pandora Box 5S for review, and if interested, you can purchase it for $146.99 shipped [Update: coupon CNX122 brings the price down to $130.99 (Valid until  2018-03-29)]. There are other Pandora’s Box 5S or Pandora’s Key 5S hardware around, but it’s often different hardware, some kind of DIY expansion, or a similar model as the one reviewed above but for a single player.

GPD WIN 2 is a Handheld Game Console Powered by an Intel Core m3-7Y30 Processor (Crowdfunding)

January 15th, 2018 7 comments

GPD Win was a Windows 10 portable game console powered by an Intel Cherry Trail processor launched in Indiegogo in early 2016, that managed to raise over $700,000 from nearly 2,300 backers.

The company has been teasing an update for a while now, powered by an Intel Core m3-7Y30 processor with 8GB RAM, a 128GB M.2 SSD, and has just launched it on Indiegogo where it has raised close to $600,000 from almost 1,000 backers in the first few hours.

GPD WIN 2 external design has gone through some tweaks, but it’s mostly the same as the first model except it’s larger with a 6″ instead of 5.5″ and some buttons have been moved around, but the real differences can be found under the hood:

  • SoC – Intel Core m3-7Y30 dual core quad thread Kaby Lake processor @ 1.00/2.60 GHz (burst frequency) with 24EU Intel HD graphics 615 @ up to 300/900MHz; 4.5W TDP
  • System Memory – 8GB LPDDR3-1866
  • Storage – 128 M.2 2242 SSD (replaceable), micro SD card
  • Display – 6″ capacitive touch IPS screen; 1280×720 resolution; Corning Gorilla Glass 4; H-IPS technology
  • Video Output – micro HDMI 1.4, or DP 1.2 via USB-C port
  • Audio – Via micro HDMI, 3.5mm headset jack, built-in microphone and dual speaker
  • Connectivity – Dual band WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac up to 867 Mbps, and Bluetooth 4.2
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 3.0 type C port with DP Al mode supports
  • HID – QWERTY keyboard with DPAD, two ALPS Joysticks (including one acting a mouse when needed), ABXY controls, volume and gaming buttons
  • Sensors – Hall effect sensor
  • Misc – Power LED, double vibration motor, active cooling (i.e. fan)
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A via USB type C port
  • Battery – 2x 4,900 mAh Li-Po battery in series, good for 6 to 8 hours
  • Dimensions – 162 x 99 x 25 mm
  • Weight – 460 grams


The console will ships with a power adapter, a warranty card, and specification sheet. GPD WIN 2 runs Windows 10 Home 64-bit and is said to support AAA games including GTA5, Heroes of the Storm, World of Warcraft, etc… as long as you run them at low quality settings. Nevertheless, the new GPD Win 2 is a big improvement of GPD Win as framerate often doubles, or even triples in many games.

The company has already sent out beta units, and we already have early reviews such as the one uploaded by The Phawx which discusses performance, thermal design, video output, Linux support, replacing the battery, and so on. Overall a rather positive review. You’ll also find games demo on his channel, as well as Mobimaniak3000 channel.

Intel Core m3 processors are not exactly know for their cheap, but the doubling/tripling of performance, also comes with a doubling of the price, with GPD Win 2 game console going for $599 initially for the first 1,000 units. But that’s now gone and price is now $649. Shipping is planned for May 2018 with free worldwide delivery.

Popcorn Hour Transformer Media Computer / NAS Launched for $95.90 and Up

January 4th, 2018 11 comments

Last month, we wrote about Cloud Media’s Popcorn Hour Transformer, a platform based on Rockchip RK3328 processor that could be used a 2.5″ drive NAS, and/or a 4K HDR TV box, and looked like an interested alternative  to ODROID HC1 NAS system.

The company has now officially launch the device, and is taking orders for $95.90 or $115.90 for respectively the 2GB RAM/16GB flash, or 4GB/32GB versions.

Click to Enlarge

Popcorn Hour Transformer specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3328 quad core Cortex A53 processor with Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB or 4GB LPDDR3
  • Storage
    • micro SD slot
    • 16 or 32GB eMMC flash (removable and upgradeable)
    • 128 Mbit SPI NOR flash
    • SATA interface via USB 3.0 to SATA bridge chipset for 2.5″ HDD/SSD
  • Network Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K 60Hz with HDR (HDR10/HLG) support
  • Audio Output – Via HDMI, and 3.5mm audio jack (analog stereo or optical S/PDIF)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 type A ports including one OTG port
  • Misc – Power button, IR receiver, RTC
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A via power barrel jack
  • Dimensions & weight – TBD (aluminum casing with passive cooling fins)

The transformer ships with a 5V/3A power supply, and an IR remote control.

Two variants are offered with exactly the same hardware, but while the “Media Computer” version is pre-loaded with Android 7.1.2, the NAS version comes with OpenMediaVault instead. The company also mentions community supported images for the device, which should be (mostly) software compatible with Pine64 ROCK64 development board, including Lakka (RetroArch) for retro-gaming, open source Android TV and Xenial Mate Desktop both maintained by ayufan, LibreELEC maintained by Raybuntu, and others.

At first, I found the price gap to ODROID-HC1 (sold for $49) ludicrous, but Transformer does include 16GB storage, and a power supply, which needs to be purchased separately for the Hardkernel mini NAS, so while the gap is still there, it’s not as large as the advertised prices entail. Popcorn Hour Transformer also supports video output, and comes with a fully closed case.

Rockchip RK3288 To Be Phased Out Soon? GPD XD+ Android Console To Get Mediatek MT8176 SoC, 4GB RAM Upgrade

December 7th, 2017 23 comments

[Update: I have now seen an email exchange with ASUS replying that Rockchip RK3288 will still be in production for 5 years, so GPD claims that manufacturing will stop for RK3288 may be incorrect, or misunderstood

Update 2: Rockchip has now confirmed RK3288 will not be phased out. So I’m guessing there may have been info lost in translation with GPD simply not manufacturing their own RK3288 board anymore]

Rockchip RK3288 32-bit Arm processor was first spotted in a company presentation in the summer of 2013, before being announced – with some confusion (Cortex A12 vs A17) – at CES 2014 in January. The quad core Cortex A17 processor had then its moments of glory with inclusion in products such as Chromebooks (2015), and ASUS Tinker board SBC earlier this year.

Another product based on the processor is GPD XD Android game console, but according to a report on reddit, GPD will soon launch an upgraded version call XD+ powered by Mediatek MT8176 Hexa-core Cortex A72/A53 processor with 4GB RAM, mainly because “Rockchip are phasing out sales of the RK3288”. If true, it means most products based on the chip will soon be phased out or upgraded to another solution. How long each product will keep selling will depend on the stocks held by the manufacturer.

GPD XD+ console preliminary specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek MT8176 hexa-core processor with 2x Cortex A72 cores @ 2.1 GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores @ 1.7 GHz, and Imagination PowerVR GX6250 GPU (as used in Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 tablet)
  • System Memory – 4GB RAM
  • Storage – 32GB and up internal storage, micro SD slot
  • Display – 5″ 720p capacitive touch display
  • Video Output – 1x mini HDMI
  • Audio – Dual speaker, via HDMI output, 1x 3.5mm audio jack
  • Connectivity – Dual band WiFi, Bluetooth
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • Buttons – Power button, cross button, dual-character button(A/B/X/Y;△/○/×/□), L1/L2/L3/R1/R2/R3, joysticks, Start/Select button, Volume +/-, Back,Android function, Home, Keymapper button
  • Sensor – 3-axis gravity sensor
  • Battery – TBD
  • Power Supply – TBD
  • Dimensions – 155 x 89 x 24 mm
  • Weight – ~300 grams

The device will run Android 7.x, and as you’ll see from the video below some people already got prototypes, with the device achieving 74,500 points in Antutu 6, and a the following Geekbench scores: Single core: 1375; multi core 3529.

The physical aspect of XD+ looks exactly the same as XD, but performance should be quite better with the Cortex A72 cores and PowerVR GPU in the Mediatek SoC, and some games did run better on the new model in the video above. Some games also only work with 64-bit Arm, so more games will be supported.

GPD XD+ is expected to start selling in Q1 2018 with some resellers mentioning January, while other telling the February-March timeframe is more likely. It will all depend on results of testing of the beta units, and other potential production delays.

I contacted Rockchip to try to get more information about the timeline of RK3288 end-of-life status, but I did not get an answer in time for this article. I’ll update it if I get an answer.

Via Liliputing

Sega Genesis Flashback Retro Game Console is Powered by “Monkey King 3.6” Processor, Runs Android

December 3rd, 2017 No comments

Retro gaming is cool again with products like Nintendo NES Classic / SNES Classic, DIY solutions based on firmware like RetrOrangePi, and the upcoming Atari console  among others.

Another model is AtGames Sega Genesis Flashback, a smaller replica of Sega Model 1 Genesis with 85 pre-loaded games including the Sonic series, Mortal Kombat series, Phantasy Star series, and Shining Force series games.

 

The console ships with two wireless controllers, connect to your TV via HDMI with 720p resolution, and includes a cartridge slot that works with Sega Genesis and Mega Drive cartridges. The console has been out for several months, and it would be an understatement to say reviews are not very positive with titles / bylines such as “do not buy” (partially because the console requires a power adapter….), This Genesis does not do what Nintendoes, or “More like Trashback“.

But what caught my eyes is ETA Prime’s Sega Genesis Flashback HD Teardown And Review (embedded below), which reveals the board is powered by Monkey King 3.6 processor.

Click to Enlarge

A new silicon vendor? My search attempts were unfruitful, but as we continue watching the video and ETA prime connects the box to his PC via USB we find the answer. Monkey King 3.6 processor is actually a re-branded Rockchip RK3036 SoC with a dual core Cortex A7  processor and Mali-400MP GPU, and the system runs Android 4.4. So eventually it could be feasible to add your own game. The actual review is fairly positive except for some specific games (frame skipping), contrary the gaming sites linked above.

Thanks to theguyuk for the tip.

RetrOrangePi 4.0 Released

November 6th, 2017 9 comments

RetrOrangePi is a retro gaming & media center firmware based on Armbian Debian image and working on Allwinner H3/H2+ based Orange Pi boards, Banana Pi M2+, and NanoPi M1, as well as Beelink X2 TV Box.

Right at the end of last year, I reviewed RetrOrangePi 3.0 on Orange Pi One board to which I connected Mars G01 gamepad, and I could play some games like Wolfenstein 3D and Quake, and watch videos on OpenELEC/Kodi 16. The firmware also comes with various emulators, but you’d have to load the ROMs yourself due to intellectual property / license issues. The developers have now released RetrOrangePi 4.0.

RetrOrangePi 4.0 changelog:

  • Latest Armbian v5.32 (Debian Jessie kernel 3.4.113)
  • RetroPie-Setup v4.3.3 (unofficial fork, upgradeable)
  • New RetrOrangePi repository for easy updates and fixes
  • EmulationStation v2.6.5 with video and game collection support, Desktop/OpenELEC shorcuts from main menu
  • New ROPi “Attract-Mode”-like theme (based on Cosmos theme)
  • Retroarch 1.6.7 – Retroachievements tested
  • Kodi Krypton 17.4 (hardware acceleration provided by MPV + VDPAU): IPTVsimple included, quit button fixed
  • OpenELEC (Kodi Jarvis 16.1) with CEC support by Jernej Skrabec (optional installation)
  • Slim and Full versions for all compatible boards
  • All Libretro cores updated
  • All RetroPie themes available for installation
  • Experimental new libretro cores: DOSBox, MAME2014, VICE, X68000, Amiga PUAE
  • PPSSPP latest v1.42
  • Mupen64Plus standalone emulator (with hires textures support)
  • AdvanceMAME 3.5
  • AdvanceMENU frontend integrated
  • AdvanceMESS (support for ancient platforms, tested OK: Bally Astrocade, BBC Micro, Channel F, Colecovision etc.
  • New Quake 2 port (Yamagi Quake)
  • New Streets of Rage Remake port (needs BennuGD engine downloaded to home folder)
  • Improved Amiga emulation – fullscreen UAE4ARM with JIT support, optional WHDLoad
  • Hatari 2.0 (SDL2) – atariST emulator
  • Vice 3.1 (SDL2) – Commodore emulator
  • Boot selection – from Desktop (EmulationStation, Kodi, AdvanceMENU, RetroArch, Desktop)
  • Onscreen keyboard (Florence)
  • Overscan fix in AV outputs (Allwinner_TVOUT_manipulator)
  • New Desktop wallpaper, wifi config, ES, Kodi, Donate and Support icons
  • Customized Retroarch configuration (optimal settings, appearance tweaks, original aspect ratio)
  • New HDMI/Analog AV configuration tool (thanks Jose Rios) + our overscan fix
  • New exclusive ROPi Radio beta version
  • Scraper by Sselph update
  • Universal XML Scraper integration and tutorials
  • Binary cores updates
  • GPIO driver can be installed from driver section.
  • RetroPie services tested: USBROMSERVICE – create a retropie-mount folder in your FAT32 flash drive, Virtual gamepad
  • Custom ES splashscreen by Francois Lebel @MagicFranky – the number 4 was on us :p (great skills!)
  • Custom MOTD with ROPi invader + Armbian info
  • Improved filesystem support: FAT32 automount, ExFAT support

The full images are not yet available, but if you are an existing users with ROPi 3.0.1 instead, you can upgrade to version 4.0 by running ropi4.sh script in your board/device as pi user:

The images for new users will be coming later once one of the developers involved get more free time. In the meantime, you’d have to download & install RetroOrange Pi 3.0.1, and run the script to upgrade to 4.0.

You’ll find more details about the release in the forums, where you can also ask for support questions. The source code can be found on github.

Orange Pi Lite Based Seedi Retro Gaming Console Takes Your Old DVDs or CD-ROMs (Crowdfunding)

October 6th, 2017 4 comments

Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi family is a nice collection of low costs ARM Linux development boards that can be used in all sort of projects, just like Raspberry Pi boards, but cheaper at the cost of requiring more skills, and/or efforts to complete a project. One popular use for Orange Pi boards is retro gaming thanks to community supported images like RetrOrange Pi supporting games for Atari, Amiga, DreamCast, and other consoles.

The implementation looks good enough for startups to sell their own products based on Orange Pi  hardware and RetrOrangePi software, as we’ve already seen with RetroEngine Sigma Retro Game Console which had a very successful Indiegogo campaign with $629,368 USD raised. “Seedi Team” has now launched their own game console apparently based on Orange Pi Lite, but it’s a little different as instead of copying “ROMs” , you can simply insert your old CD-ROMs or DVDs.

Seedi game console hardware specifications:

  • SoC – Quad core ARM processor
  • System Memory – N/A
  • Storage – 32GB micro SD cards, CD/DVD reader / CD burner
  • Video Output – HDMI up to 1080p60
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Case – Horizontal or vertical orientation

The CD/DVD drive can play PSX, TurboGrafx, Neo Geo, and Sega CDs, but you can also read any other CD or DVD disks, as the drive is allegedly region-free. A separate Retrode adapter will allow you to use cartridges to play games from Sega Genesis, Game Boy, etc… For other platforms, including NES, MAME (arcade), Atari 2600, or TurboGrafx 16 you can always load the ROMs in other ways. Ports of Doom, Quake, or other DOS games are also available.

Beside the specifications above, the developers only mention it’s been developed using open source hardware and software, but based on various photo of the device and screenshot, it’s pretty clear the console is powered by Orange Pi Lite board with an Allwinner H3 processor and 512MB RAM, and runs RetrOrangePi with Kodi [Update: The list of software used is here. Not based on RetrOrangePi, but still based on Retroarch + Libretro]

The console launched on Indiegogo a few weeks ago, and raised a little over $20,000 out of its $50,000 target. A Seedi System with a vertical stand, a Bluetooth game controller, a controller charging/pairing cable, and power adapter requires a $125 pledge, and they also have other rewards  with a retro green case, or multiple controllers. The cartridge reader is not sold in the crowdfunding campaign. Shipping adds $10 to the US, $15 to the rest of the world, and delivery is scheduled for March 2018. They’ve sent early prototype to reviewers, and I included one of those video reviews below.