In the world of stealth gaming PCs, it doesn’t get much better than cramming a rig into a retro console. Along those lines, a modder managed to cram a Ryzen 4650G APU, 2TB of storage, 16GB of RAM, and a dual-band Wi-Fi chip into a Sega Dreamcast shell to create the perfect stealth mini PC for retro fans.
Temujin123 showed off their work on the ComputerBase forums, including a video documenting the process of hollowing out the Dreamcast shell and adding the new components in. Step one was the disc drive, which the modder replaced with a Matshita DVD drive wired up to a magnetic switch. The switch triggers the drive to spin when the lid is closed and stop spinning when it’s open.
Thankfully, that looked like the most complicated part. Temujin123 fashioned a mounting plate with standoffs out of sheet metal to mount the mainboard. Instead of an off-the-shelf motherboard, they used an ASRock X300M bare-bones kit. The tiny board comes with the essential connections for a build like this but nixes PCIe connectivity for builds that don’t need a graphics card.
Critically, the board includes connections for M.2 SSDs and Wi-Fi cards, allowing Temujin123 to install a 1TB Samsung 970 Evo, 960GB Corsair Force MP510, and a dual-band Intel Wi-Fi chip directly on the board. They also managed to fit a 120GB Samsung 830 SATA SSD, which sits below the mainboard.
To keep everything cool, Temujin123 chose the Noctua NH-L9a CPU cooler, which is only 37mm thick. Still, the cooler juts slightly out of the bottom of the Dreamcast shell. Temujin123 installed the mainboard upside down to draw cool air in through the bottom, with warm air being exhausted out the side. After a coat of paint and a few USB ports in place of the controller jacks, the Dreamcast gaming PC was finished.
As for performance, the Ryzen 4650G can run recent AAA games between 30 frames per second (fps) and 60 fps at 720p with Medium settings. Although the aging Vega graphics cores inside the chip can’t stand up to a discrete GPU, they still provide enough power for indie titles and games that are a few years old. It’s not a high-end gaming PC, but it’s hard to argue with that kind of performance inside a Sega Dreamcast.
Temujin123 says they are planning a “Dreamcast Two” for AMD’s upcoming but still unannounced Ryzen 6000 APUs. These APUs reportedly feature new RDNA 2 graphics cores, which should greatly improve performance.