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Handheld gaming console Smach Z gets significant CPU upgrade

By onetheycallEric ยท 7 replies
Aug 26, 2019
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  1. Smach Z, the upcoming PC gaming handheld, is slated for another change in CPUs. Originally, the Smach Z was intended to ship with AMD Merlin Falcon RX-421BD chips, but a disruption in manufacturing plans set the launch window back.

    In the interim, AMD released its Ryzen Embedded V1000-series of processors, and Smach opted to upgrade the machine to a Ryzen V1605B SoC that boasted four Zen cores and eight Vega compute units (CUs). Now, plans have changed again, as the Smach Z will now come with a Ryzen V1807B SoC instead.

    The Ryzen V1807B is the flagship of the Ryzen Embedded V1000-series, and offers four Zen cores and 11 Vega CUs. The Zen cores clock in at 3.35 GHz base, with a 3.8 GHz boost -- a significant upgrade over the previous 2.0 GHz base and 3.6 GHz boost clocks of the Ryzen V1605B. However, the bigger upgrade lies in the graphics.

    The V1807B runs 11 CUs with Radeon RX Vega 11 graphics, opposed to the 8 CUs based on Radeon Vega 8 offered with the V1605B. With the V1807B, the GPU operates at a frequency of 1.3 GHZ, a 200 MHz increase over the V1605B. The extra CUs and higher clock speeds should net a tangible improvement for graphics and frame rates on the Smach Z.

    However, the upgrade isn't without caveats. With a more capable chip comes a higher TDP, meaning more heat waste to deal with. The V1807B comes with a configurable TDP between 35W to 54W. Even at 35W, the V1807B is nearly three times the 12W minimum for the V1605B, which offers a TDP between 12W and 24W. Presumably Smach will have to go back to the drawing board with its cooling design. It's also unknown how the Smach team will address battery life now that the console is using a more power hungry chip.

    Cost is the next issue, as Tom's Hardware reports that the move from the V1605B to the V1807B will affect pricing. The extent of the price increase is unknown, but the current pricing for the Smach Z is already pretty steep, with the base unit going for $699. The Smach Z Pro and Smach Z Ultra are currently priced at $899 and $1099, respectively.

    Permalink to story.

  2. MattS

    MattS TS Evangelist Posts: 589   +152

    Unacceptable price ranges... easy pass
  3. Nero7

    Nero7 TS Evangelist Posts: 498   +236

    Thats only the entry price. Its overall much cheaper than a Switch where you are forced to pay absurd prices for everything that comes after buying the console.
  4. Slappy McPhee

    Slappy McPhee TS Addict Posts: 167   +86

    The fact that this may even come to market is stupid as hell. there are SO many other options to go portable and get your higher range gaming fix on via things like steamlink and nvidia geforce now, etc. this will be an absolute failure, but I commend them because it will help push advancements.
  5. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,834   +436

    NO THANKS (upon first glance)

    Edit: ****IN NO WAY (after reading through the article)
  6. Medallish

    Medallish TS Rookie

    I'm a backer and mod at the smach z subreddit, so take that for what it's worth.

    All of those alternatives you mention are streaming based, that's a non-starter for a lot of us, I live in Norway where data is expensive and I can't imagine connection to a streaming server would be great during my to and from work commute on a bus, the signal moving from cell tower to cell tower, and that's exactly where I'd want a portable device.

    I actually think the Smach Z potentially stands unmatched when it comes to "range", at least in it's form factor. Largely due to it's controller scheme, if you've ever used a steam controller, what's amazing about it, is it's versatility in titles you normally wouldn't be able to use a controller in. I say potentially, because at least initially we'll have to rely on their own software to set up the controller.

    If the Smach Z fails, it wouldn't be because of the existence of streaming services.
  7. Medallish

    Medallish TS Rookie

    According to the team, there is a 15W & 25W setting on the V1807B, I don't really doubt this, as the current cooler can not handle 35W at all, if you see The Phawx(currently the only reviewer that has an early preproduction unit) videos he's managed to get it working with 25W through some secret means, but he's also explained that this doesn't always work, depends on the heat concentration. Unfortunately the team has always had a semi blind spot when it came to cooling, they've come a long way since the initial campaign, but there's still improvements to be had.

    The V1807B also isn't meant to replace the V1605B, but be an option. For backers, it's anyone who backed the Pro unit or abiove.

    As for price, it's surprisingly expensive to make something like this, the initial price they aimed for was way too low, but it was also aimed at the idea that engineering was done by another company, when that deal fell through they hired engineers to do the work themselves, for comparison, the GPD Win 2 is $775 for a 8GB soldered memory and I believe 128GB m.2 SSD?

    I do hope we see more of this kind of "indie HW" that tries something new and cool.
  8. Morris Minor

    Morris Minor TS Addict Posts: 122   +62

    Think I'll stick with my laptop

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