The fake-Atari VCS project — which, again, has nothing to do with the original Atari — has been in various stages of production for the past few years. Originally, the platform was expected to use an older Bristol Ridge chip, but we now know the Atari VCS will be deploying one of two chips in AMD’s Ryzen Embedded R1000 SoC family.
If you’re wondering how these chips compare with the already-announced Ryzen Embedded V-family, that’s easy: They’re lower-end cores (for the most part) with fewer cores and lower top-end frequencies.
And here’s AMD’s R1000 SoC family:
Most of the V-class processors are quad cores, while the R1000-based R1606G and R1505G are both dual cores with SMT enabled. Baseline frequencies are set a bit higher than the lower-end V- parts, but well below the upper-end chips. GPU frequencies are commensurate.
The problem with the R1000, of course, isn’t actually the R1000. We’re confident the chip can play whatever games actual Atari games ship on the VCS because the original Atari probably can’t out-compute a modern garage door opener.
The problem with the Atari VCS is twofold: 1) Every game ever manufactured for the platform worth playing has been reprinted and issued endlessly over the past decades, such that there’s no reason to buy a dedicated box for it. 2) None of the additional functions this machine will be capable of will be all that much fun when run on a low-power embedded dual-core. Support for emulating other low-end platforms of yesteryear may provide some additional minor capability, but this is a box expected to sell for several hundred dollars. We’ve gone into detail before on our thoughts on the hardware, so I won’t belabor the point — but moving from a Bristol Ridge or Carrizo APU to an embedded Ryzen, while undoubtedly a step forward in terms of raw performance, doesn’t exactly turn this into a must-have for anyone.
The AtariVCS will support features like H.265 decode and VP9 when it eventually ships. Supposedly the solution supports 2x 10Gb Ethernet ports, but while those may exist on the platform, the chances you’ll be able to pick up a pair of 10Gbe ports on this class of hardware is nil. The listed hardware, according to the IndieGoGo page, is a single gigabit Ethernet port.