Since the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 arrived on the scene in late 2020, there have been murmurings from retro gaming enthusiasts eager to have the power of Raspberry Pi 4 in portable retro gaming rigs. Experimental Pi, well known for its PiBoy DMG, a "homage" to the classic Nintendo Gameboy, seems to be working on two new handheld Compute Module 4 powered handhelds. Right now, the only source of this information is via YouTuber ETA Prime, who has been given "leaked" images from "DarkPi." Take the news with a grain of salt, but let's delve a little deeper.
Going for a wide, Gameboy Advance-style design, the PiBoy CM4x features a 3.5-inch 640 x 480 IPS display protected by a tempered glass cover.
A plethora of buttons and controls, including digital and dual analog inputs, are on either side of the screen. At the top of the case, four shoulder buttons (L1, L2, R1, R2) are useful when emulating Playstation games. An HDMI output provides a means to bring your games to the big screen, and boot media is a micro SD card, a slot for which is on the side of the case.
Internally, not much is really known. The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 is the brains and the brawn of the kit, so all we really know is that Experimental Pi has developed its own carrier board used to connect the Pi to the PiBoy CM4x electronics. Looking at the renders, we can see a central "bulge" where there are two grills, presumably for air intake and output. The Compute Module 4 will most likely be placed there with active cooling to keep the CPU cool. Access to the hardware seems to be via the removal of six screws.
The PiBoy SRX is a Raspberry Pi 4-based handheld, which means it will be a little chunkier than the CM4X. Featuring a design that mimics the original Nintendo Gameboy, albeit in a wider form factor, the PiBoy SRX has a range of buttons and dual analog sticks. The shoulder buttons are slightly different; in fact, looking at the renders, they look much more comfortable than the CM4X. PiBoy SRX comes with the same 3.5-inch IPS display with tempered glass protection.
Despite the physical differences between the CM4X and the SRX, the only real hardware difference is the choice of board powering the kit.
We have noticed something odd in the renders, though – the orientation of the Raspberry Pi 4 in the SRX render shows the Ethernet port to the left and the LEDs to the front of the case. This would mean the GPIO pins, which would be used to power the Raspberry Pi 4 and provide connections for the screen and controls, face the rear of the case. This means that the Raspberry Pi 4 does not directly interface with SRX; rather, there is some form of breakout connection/board present. Or it could be a mistake in the render. The latter seems the most likely option, but until we get the hardware, that remains to be seen.
Both of these handhelds have enough power to emulate consoles and computers up to and including the Playstation Portable era. Your mileage may vary as some games are harder to emulate than others.
We currently don't have pricing or a release date for the PiBoy CM4x or SRX. We don't expect these to be cheap, as the PiBoy DMG often retails for $150. But for your money, you get a lot of gaming power in your pocket!