Atari VCS Retro Game Console Pre-Production Commences, Ryzen APU Internals Displayed

Atari VCS Production Board
Now more than two years in the making, the Atari VCS is finally coming together in a literal sense—pre-production of the retro game console is underway, and at least for the prototype build, a printed circuit board (PCB) with an AMD Ryzen APU installed exists, as shown in the photo above.

It has been a somewhat long and turbulent road getting to this point, or an "ongoing journey...filled with plenty of twists and turns," as Atari describes the situation. First revealed as the Ataribox at E3 in 2017, the Atari VCS is finally "nearing mass production," though Atari is not yet ready to change its status on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo from "Prototype" to "Production."

The implication there is more changes to the hardware and design could be coming. As it stands, however, a pre-production board exists. Some of the things we can see in photo above are the following:
  • AMD Ryzen APU
  • 2x USB 3.0 ports
  • 1x HDMI port
  • Power connector
  • M.2 slot
Atari notes the M.2 slot can accept SATA-based solid state drives, seemingly suggesting faster NVMe SSDs will not be supported. That remains to be seen, though.

Atari VCS Pre-Production Board Closeup

There are a few things not visible in the various photos Atari shared. For example, the production board features 8GB of DDR4 memory by way of twin 4GB SO-DIMM modules. This can be upgraded. There are also a couple of additional USB ports that will be accessed on the front riser of the VCS.

Atari also discussed the custom cooling solution it has implemented.

"The AMD APU has thermal sensors and a fan controller system that monitors the APU temperature and adjusts the fan speed according to the unit’s needs at a given moment. It is supported in its efforts by the two large vent ports on the the back fascia of the unit," Atari says.

Slotted vents on the back of the system suck cool air into the unit, while hot air gets pushed out of the vents on the left side of the console.

As for making that leap into mass production, Atari notes the tool (molds) for the plastic bits are "largely complete." There is still some fine tuning to do, but Atari claims once things shift into mass production, the factories building the various parts will be able to "build thousands of units quickly and efficiently."

Barring another delay, the Atari VCS will see a retail launch in spring 2020, with an Antstream Arcade subscription service in two.

Images Source: Atari