9 votes

Recommend me a small SBC!

So I'm looking to do an improved version of this project from a couple of years ago that rebuilt the dreamcast VMU into an emulator system that could even interface with a modified dreamcast controller using the original connector. That project was really neat, but it used a raspberry pi zero, which is frankly anemic for running any emulators past the SNES, and I'd like to find one that's powerful enough to emulate the dreamcast itself, but small enough to fit inside a VMU. To that end, my requirements are:

  • Must be of a similar size to the pi zero. Smaller would be better, but it absolutely cannot be more than 40x65mm.

  • Must have a processor at least as powerful as a cortex A53, preferably something more powerful like the A72.

  • Must have a release of armbian (or similar) with drivers for full video acceleration.

  • Must be able to drive a display over SPI.

  • Must be available. The NanoPi NEO Core 2 is pretty close to what I need, if maybe a bit underpowered, but it seems to be discontinued and I can't find it anywhere but aliexpress at double the list price.

  • Composite video out would be nice.

  • Analog audio out would be nice.

  • Availability without soldered headers and large ports would be nice, like the pi zero or nanopi neo.

7 comments

  1. [5]
    Greg
    Link
    Very cool idea! Is the Raspberry Pi compute module an option? You get a full RasPi 4 inside 55x40mm - the downside is having to build your own IO breakout, but in a project this tight on space I...

    Very cool idea! Is the Raspberry Pi compute module an option? You get a full RasPi 4 inside 55x40mm - the downside is having to build your own IO breakout, but in a project this tight on space I figure that might not be such a bad thing?

    3 votes
    1. [4]
      spctrvl
      Link Parent
      I might end up going that route if I can't find something more to my liking, but I'd hoped to find something that avoided the hassle of breaking out a tiny and obscure 100 pin connector. If the...

      I might end up going that route if I can't find something more to my liking, but I'd hoped to find something that avoided the hassle of breaking out a tiny and obscure 100 pin connector. If the compute module had exposed gpio pins it would've been perfect.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        Greg
        Link Parent
        Yeah, that's fair. Not sure if this might be of interest? Seems like they're still in the early stages of manufacturing, but the IO and form factor look good if you can get your hands on one.

        Yeah, that's fair. Not sure if this might be of interest? Seems like they're still in the early stages of manufacturing, but the IO and form factor look good if you can get your hands on one.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          spctrvl
          Link Parent
          That might be the ticket, but it's a little overkill. Do you know of anything in a similar form factor that just breaks out the gpio and maybe the pins for analogue av? I would've thought that'd...

          That might be the ticket, but it's a little overkill. Do you know of anything in a similar form factor that just breaks out the gpio and maybe the pins for analogue av? I would've thought that'd be available but I couldn't find anything.

          1 vote
          1. Greg
            Link Parent
            Nothing I've seen that's available off the shelf in the form factor you need, unfortunately. Closest I can think of would be something starting from this schematic, but by the time you've...

            Nothing I've seen that's available off the shelf in the form factor you need, unfortunately. Closest I can think of would be something starting from this schematic, but by the time you've rearranged it to fit and had your own prototype board made, you've probably gone past the overkill board in terms of project complexity!

            1 vote
  2. [2]
    moocow1452
    Link
    This might be something of interest to you? I don't recognize the manufacturer, but it seems to be about in your ballpark. https://forum.radxa.com/t/introduce-the-radxa-zero/6550

    This might be something of interest to you? I don't recognize the manufacturer, but it seems to be about in your ballpark.

    https://forum.radxa.com/t/introduce-the-radxa-zero/6550

    3 votes
    1. spctrvl
      Link Parent
      That's pretty much exactly what I was looking for! May have to wait some time for availability though.

      That's pretty much exactly what I was looking for! May have to wait some time for availability though.

      1 vote