Atari Upgrades VCS to AMD Raven Ridge APU

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After debuting nearly a year ago, Atari has finally revealed it will update the hardware inside its Linux-based Video Computer System (or VCS), something Atari doesn't describe as a "console" but more akin to a low power gaming PC that will feature some of Atari's most iconic games from the early days of video games. It can also play other games supported on Linux. Atari has been working with AMD since 2017 to bring the VCS to reality.

While Atari says its VCS was originally designed to use Bristol Ridge-based APUs from AMD, the company has opted for Raven Ridge instead. It's pretty obvious why: Bristol Ridge is based on AMD's older Bulldozer architecture which debuted in 2011, and while Bulldozer-based APUs were quite fast graphically when they first launched, they don't hold up well anymore. In contrast, Raven Ridge is AMD's most recent architecture for APUs, andit's featured in Ryzen Mobile, AMD's desktop APUs, and things like the Smach Z.

By moving to Raven Ridge, Atari can push performance and power efficiency higher than if it had stuck with Bristol Ridge. Atari is giving the VCS a dual-core APU, which will probably be based on the same silicon features in the Athlon 200GE series. These APUs are definitely not the fastest in the world, but the graphical performance is significantly faster than what Intel has to offer, which is what matters for a gaming-oriented system. Atari says the VCS will launch towards the end of 2019, and that will make the choice of hardware a little dated, but still modern.

Matthew Connatser

Matthew Connatser is a freelancing writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes articles about CPUs, GPUs, SSDs, and computers in general.