Atari VCS Is Powered by 14nm AMD Ryzen APU with Radeon Vega Graphics

cageymaru

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Atari has announced that the upcoming Atari VCS will now be powered by a 14nm AMD processor featuring high-performance Radeon Vega graphics architecture and two "Zen" CPU cores. The hardware team at Atari has replaced the AMD "Bristol Ridge" processor with the new AMD Ryzen APU. The new AMD Ryzen platform will bring welcomed upgrades such as greater efficiency, faster speeds, and cooler temps; allowing the VCS to benefit from a simpler and more effective power architecture and thermal solution. The new processor includes built-in Ethernet, Native 4K video with modern HDCP, and a secure frame buffer that fully-supports DRM video (Netflix, HBO, etc.). The North American schedule is now targeting end of 2019 for delivery of the Atari VCS system for Indiegogo backers. Thanks MixManSC !

This upgrade will translate to better overall performance in a cooler and quieter box--all with minimal impact to our manufacturing processes. While additional specifications about the new AMD processor will be announced closer to launch, be assured that the new AMD Ryzen processor is a much better fit for this project in multiple ways and will further enable the Atari VCS to deliver on its promise to be a unique and highly flexible platform for creators. Atari cannot thank our great partners at AMD enough for bringing forward this exciting new--and thus-far unannounce -- product for us to utilize in the VCS.
 

J3RK

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I still have no idea how this thing will do, but I think this was a wise move on their part. The project has been kinda rough, but at least it's headed in a slightly more positive direction. I could still see tossing one of these on one of my TVs for the hell of it.
 

Krenum

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Depending on the cost when its released, I may get one of these for an emulator box.
 

RanceJustice

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Back when this originally launched for funding, I was considering purchase and wrote to them asking them to modernize the hardware to Ryzen-era. At the time I was told that they would be sticking with the ancient Bristol Ridge which led to me canceling my pledge; a pity. I'm glad they modernized to an APU with Vega graphics and Zen-powered CPU, but... 2 cores? Last I saw the Ryzen era APUs had at least 4 CPU cores, so that's a little concerning. If they're going to delay until the end of the year, it seems to me to use the latest version (ie at least those Ryzen Zen+ APUs, if the Zen2 ones won't be ready) with options for as much APU horsepower as possible. At least they included 8gb RAM though, though it wouldn't hurt if technically adept users could more.

Still, this is a step in the right direction over the awfully ancient hardware and low specs from before. Overall I am hoping for the success of the device here as fully Linux based and uses standard PC hardware, meaning it could be a fantastic HTPC entertainment box for emulation, gaming, media (Kodi), and other tasks for a reasonable price. For only a little more than many of the ARM chip, "throwaway media boxes" you get some decent PC hardware and Linux from the start! Too bad all of the "classic wood panel" versions are gone by now, though. I'd think that if the new hardware excites users, they could make a second run of those with the retro design for new buyers.
 

viivo

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I hope the one with woodgrain on the front is an early design prototype or optional - because that fugly.
 

masquap

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So three things from me (FWIW)

1. Running Linux rather than Android (I applaud it for this) means that it's going to live or die by the software designed for it. I don't know how much lean-back style software there is for Linux but based on how hard Android TV stuff is to get already (most software is designed around touch) and that there's a lot more Android TV devices out there than 'Linux' I get the feeling this is gonna struggle

2. Going to be over 500 dollarydoos, that's twice what I can spend on an XBone most days of the week, for an emulator box with lack of any real support and an OS not generally developed for this sort of use case. I'm feeling a bit of an Ouya vibe TBH.

3. Do those orders not stack up or am I missing how IndieGoGo works? 4mil+ in funding but only 150ish units sold? I assume I am failing to understand how it works (against Kickstarter which I am, granted only passingly, familiar with)
 

J3RK

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3. Do those orders not stack up or am I missing how IndieGoGo works? 4mil+ in funding but only 150ish units sold? I assume I am failing to understand how it works (against Kickstarter which I am, granted only passingly, familiar with)
You're looking at the numbers! Never look at the numbers!

:D

Honestly, I'm not sure how all that pans out. However, I'd guess that there were higher tiers perhaps with some kind of additional compensation. That's my guess anyway.
 

MixManSC

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There are over 11,500 backers with just over 3 mil raised.
A lot of the original packages are sold out and gone from the site. They did offer a second run of the real wood front ones. It appears those sold out too.

I think I read at some point they are looking at potentially including at least 1 SODIMM slot and 1 or more M.2 (pcie) slots on the board which would give the potential to add an NVME SSD and more RAM. Very happy to see they are updating it with much more current silicon for sure.
 

ChadD

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So this is basically just Ryzen APU PC running Linux.

So other then the controllers there is nothing unique here.

For 500 bucks you can easily build a Ryzen 2200 with bluetooth and more then decent enough specs to basic current 1080p gaming and all the emulation you can load.

Only way this makes real sense is if the controllers are to die for... and they refuse to sell them on their own.
 

Burticus

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Depending on the cost when its released, I may get one of these for an emulator box.
$40 can get you a Playstation Classic which can be modded into whatever you want, or a RPI3 even better.

This stupid thing is a non starter, regardless of it's specs. Sure they are decent PC parts (I'm a Ryzen fanboy) but just WHY. And like others have said you can build a nice Ryzen APU system super cheap.

This is just a cash grab if the thing ever comes out.
 

sirmonkey1985

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$40 can get you a Playstation Classic which can be modded into whatever you want, or a RPI3 even better.

This stupid thing is a non starter, regardless of it's specs. Sure they are decent PC parts (I'm a Ryzen fanboy) but just WHY. And like others have said you can build a nice Ryzen APU system super cheap.

This is just a cash grab if the thing ever comes out.
not everyone is computer savvy enough to build something like this but still want it thus the reason it exists. we're definitely not the demographic they're trying to sell this too, lol.
 

Burticus

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not everyone is computer savvy enough to build something like this but still want it thus the reason it exists. we're definitely not the demographic they're trying to sell this too, lol.
True, but also that's the thing. Who are they marketing this towards? Going to be way too expensive for casual, and why would they know or want what's in it anyway? And for US, the Hard... it's a joke. So it doesn't make sense. Especially not when we live in the sub $200 Xbox One S era.
 

Krenum

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$40 can get you a Playstation Classic which can be modded into whatever you want, or a RPI3 even better.
I know, I have two already which I bought for $30 running Retroboot. :)

Good point though. Why would I need this? I guess the only answer would be that it could run the more demanding shader sets. But I doubt the pros will outweigh the cons.

Thanks for being the voice of reason lol.
 

brogers

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not everyone is computer savvy enough to build something like this but still want it thus the reason it exists. we're definitely not the demographic they're trying to sell this too, lol.
I fall into the generation that played the original 2600 as a kid. I find it hard to believe there will be significant sales beyond those that backed the project funding.
 

knowom

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Back when this originally launched for funding, I was considering purchase and wrote to them asking them to modernize the hardware to Ryzen-era. At the time I was told that they would be sticking with the ancient Bristol Ridge which led to me canceling my pledge; a pity. I'm glad they modernized to an APU with Vega graphics and Zen-powered CPU, but... 2 cores? Last I saw the Ryzen era APUs had at least 4 CPU cores, so that's a little concerning. If they're going to delay until the end of the year, it seems to me to use the latest version (ie at least those Ryzen Zen+ APUs, if the Zen2 ones won't be ready) with options for as much APU horsepower as possible. At least they included 8gb RAM though, though it wouldn't hurt if technically adept users could more.

Still, this is a step in the right direction over the awfully ancient hardware and low specs from before. Overall I am hoping for the success of the device here as fully Linux based and uses standard PC hardware, meaning it could be a fantastic HTPC entertainment box for emulation, gaming, media (Kodi), and other tasks for a reasonable price. For only a little more than many of the ARM chip, "throwaway media boxes" you get some decent PC hardware and Linux from the start! Too bad all of the "classic wood panel" versions are gone by now, though. I'd think that if the new hardware excites users, they could make a second run of those with the retro design for new buyers.
Ryzen 3 mobile 2200U and 3300U 2c/4t so could be based on one of them.
 

Lakados

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At $329 I doubt I could build something cheaper that looked as good and legally licensed the game library it comes with.
 

emphy

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Back when this originally launched for funding, I was considering purchase and wrote to them asking them to modernize the hardware to Ryzen-era. At the time I was told that they would be sticking with the ancient Bristol Ridge which led to me canceling my pledge; a pity. I'm glad they modernized to an APU with Vega graphics and Zen-powered CPU, but... 2 cores? Last I saw the Ryzen era APUs had at least 4 CPU cores, so that's a little concerning. If they're going to delay until the end of the year, it seems to me to use the latest version (ie at least those Ryzen Zen+ APUs, if the Zen2 ones won't be ready) with options for as much APU horsepower as possible. At least they included 8gb RAM though, though it wouldn't hurt if technically adept users could more.

Still, this is a step in the right direction over the awfully ancient hardware and low specs from before. Overall I am hoping for the success of the device here as fully Linux based and uses standard PC hardware, meaning it could be a fantastic HTPC entertainment box for emulation, gaming, media (Kodi), and other tasks for a reasonable price. For only a little more than many of the ARM chip, "throwaway media boxes" you get some decent PC hardware and Linux from the start! Too bad all of the "classic wood panel" versions are gone by now, though. I'd think that if the new hardware excites users, they could make a second run of those with the retro design for new buyers.
I distinctly recall them also claiming at that time that a ryzen chip would not give a significant improvement in performance due to the thermal and power envelope.

The modern atari is a nostalgia-milking company which, I get the impression, has no clue what is involved in actually getting a production run going, as evidenced by their earlier claims of shipping the thing first quarter 2019, despite them not even having a working prototype back in september (a bog-standard amd dev-board does not a prototype make).

Ryzen 3 mobile 2200U and 3300U 2c/4t so could be based on one of them.
More likely, they have something like the athlon 200ge in mind.
 
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Derangel

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Well, when your product is essentially vaporware and bullshots you can claim it has any hardware. Until they show a real, working, unit this is nothing more than blow smoking up people's asses.
 

Marees

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At $329 I doubt I could build something cheaper that looked as good and legally licensed the game library it comes with.
I have a DELL inspiron mini connected to my HDTV
It came with phenom 3 LE and Win 7 upgraded to Win 10

I have a cheap usb controller, purchased xpadder software and mapped the buttons to Atari emulator profiles

I play atari games using emulator on the web browser and also an emulator in win store

Don't understand why this 'console' is so costly !!
 

jnemesh

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Cant wait to buy one of these! It can go right next to my Phantom!
 

BlackManx

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I ordered one of these during the original indiegogo offering as nothing but a nostalgic toy. Funny that it keeps surpassing my expectations, keep it coming. It seems to me that for those of us who were part of the Atari Generation, it's a cool throwback. Also, this demographic is not a bad target to aim for since most of us are financially comfortable in our lives at this point and look for new toys constantly to keep us young. I would love to see it become a viral success but don't really give a damn because out of the box - I am getting what I paid for. Now it seems, more. Since as I have gotten older, the lower I set my expectations with new technology, the more often I am delighted and surprised.
 

zkostik

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Depending on the cost when its released, I may get one of these for an emulator box.
I recall seeing somewhere these are going to be as much as $1K in higher end configuration. I guess this is plausible given what Intel asks for their NUC Extreme. IMHO, it is too much for what you get unless you just gotta have a small device for some reason.
 

Krenum

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I recall seeing somewhere these are going to be as much as $1K in higher end configuration. I guess this is plausible given what Intel asks for their NUC Extreme. IMHO, it is too much for what you get unless you just gotta have a small device for some reason.
Holy shit. Nevermind then lol.
 

zkostik

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Holy shit. Nevermind then lol.
Yeah, I was hoping for an emu box but these are way too expensive. I highly doubt it will be anywhere close to a Shield in terms of price. I you look up the recent crop of AMD Ryzen SOC such as a V1000, mobo alone is something like $350. That Smach Z console that many consider vapor is in a $600-1000 range. I would think that would be a better emu platform as it's portable but it is rather expensive and is a niche device. I suppose Atari can probably get a better price on this thing but I don't think they can target $200-300. I mean if it does come at around $300 or less with these rumored specs, then I'm probably game. I did however finally ended up buying a Nintendo Switch the other week and have been really happy with it (and so is my daughter). They have several classic packs for Genesis and SNK so that might be good enough for me.
 

MixManSC

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If you commit now on Indigogo you will get one for $239 plus shipping.... or $329 with both style gave controllers included.

I also see a large part of the market for this as being nostalgic but also with an important difference from enthusiasts. It is for those who want to just pull it out of the box, plug it in, and easily start using it. Not build something from scratch and then install and configure an OS all of the drivers needed, then load some emulator and all of the various tweaks needed to get get each and every pirated game to run properly.
 

TheOne&OnlyZeke

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Ah I can't bring myself to get one. I feel like, if I wanted a retro console, I'd just use a Pi and a Bluetooth SNES type controller and that would do the job a lot cheaper.
 

J3RK

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Ah I can't bring myself to get one. I feel like, if I wanted a retro console, I'd just use a Pi and a Bluetooth SNES type controller and that would do the job a lot cheaper.
I guess it really depends on what you want to emulate. The Pi probably won’t cut it for more modern emulation tasks.

This thing would probably run CxBx even, or full blown WinUAE+AmiKit.

If SNES emulation is your thing though, yes, a Pi will do it.
 

steakman1971

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This is my thought as well. I'm literally the target demographic as the Atari was my first real console and I still fail to see the value
The Atari VCS was my first console - I had Combat, Space Invaders and Missile Command. That's all I had for about 3-4 months. Later, Asteroids and Yars Revenge (loved that game) entered my collection. At some point, I got Star Raiders (not as good as the Atari 400/800 version my friend had).
I'm not sure I really want to replay any of the 2600 games. I have a rom collection somewhere - showed my kids what old games looked like. They were shocked at them :)
 

Marees

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I'm not sure I really want to replay any of the 2600 games. I have a rom collection somewhere - showed my kids what old games looked like. They were shocked at them
I still play Berzerk, Keystone Capers and Space Invaders.
The kids love Keystone Capers and like to watch me play the other games
 

DedEmbryonicCe11

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I guess it really depends on what you want to emulate. The Pi probably won’t cut it for more modern emulation tasks.

This thing would probably run CxBx even, or full blown WinUAE+AmiKit.

If SNES emulation is your thing though, yes, a Pi will do it.
This is exactly what I don't understand about the constant "just build it yourself with a pi" arguments. If you're going to spend the money on a dedicated emulation machine, wouldn't you want to ensure that when the PS3/XBox 360 era emulators are mature you have plenty of processing and graphics power to display those at higher than their native resolutions? Okay, maybe not everyone cares about that generation of consoles but surely it's still an issue that shouldn't be ignored with blanket statements.
 

J3RK

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This is exactly what I don't understand about the constant "just build it yourself with a pi" arguments. If you're going to spend the money on a dedicated emulation machine, wouldn't you want to ensure that when the PS3/XBox 360 era emulators are mature you have plenty of processing and graphics power to display those at higher than their native resolutions? Okay, maybe not everyone cares about that generation of consoles but surely it's still an issue that shouldn't be ignored with blanket statements.
Exactly. That said, I think (and this is an educated guess) that the largest emulation demographic is the Genesis/SNES era followed closely by the 8 bit consoles. MAME likely sits somewhere in that mix, and I would guess out of those who use MAME, the bulk would be early-mid 2D machines. So, in these cases, which are probably the majority, a Pi might make sense. It's also somewhat easy to set up, flexible, and has a LOT of documentation out there. It's kind of a entry-mid-level DIY project, that I think people can enjoy.

For those of us that demand a bit more though, a decent PC is definitely in order. My living room PC will run pretty much any functional game in MAME up through the 3D era (provided the emulation is working) with software rendering. It'll also run Dolphin, CxBx, etc. I mostly just dabble with the latter, but I do use Dolphin pretty heavily. We still have a Gamecube and all my discs in the house, but it's just easier to pull those up on the PC and play them in higher resolutions. Not to mention play all my games in Steam (except most FPSes are still played on the desktop machine).

Anyway, back to the topic of this VCS jobby. I think it looks great for what it is. It may not have the widest audience, and there are plenty of people that it's not for. However, I can't see anything that's actually wrong with it. (assuming it actually gets released sometime :D ) This would easily run most emulators, indie games, media playback, and it's small. Yes, there are other boxes out there that fit this description, and this isn't going to take over for my living room PC in the slightest. However, on another TV in the house (and there are countless displays in my house) I can't really see any reason not to toss one of these on. I will wait until it's actually released though, just to make sure it's not abandoned or anything like that.
 

Domingo

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What was the last successful piece of hardware Atari even made? The ST? Feels like a brand they'd be better off renaming. I know 80's nostalgia is cool, but I can't see a device like this capitalizing on that.
 
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