Looking for recommendations on building a battery powered retro emulator

Hey all,

Just wanted to get some advise on what hardware I should be looking at for building a battery powered portable retro emulation gaming pc. Yes there’s lots of handheld stuff pre built, I’m more interested in a desktop and a portable USB c powered 17” monitor. I’m not interested in handhelds. I’m going on a international flight in a few months time so I was looking at building a small portable pc that I can take onto the plane with me to play some PS1/PS2 games and watch some youtube/movies.

I’ve been looking at some SBCs as something like the AMD V1000 embedded processor with Vega 8 graphics looks like the most suitable thing. I also had a look at the raspberry pies/Arduino powered systems but have extreme doubts they would be powerful enough.

Only issue with the V1000 is it looks like a lot of the boards for these things are powered via barrel jack rather than USB c. I’d rather something that runs off USB c that way I can charge it off a power bank.

The systems going to be used for watching YouTube videos and playing ps1/2 games so I’m leaning towards something that can run android that way I can install something like SmartTube so I can pre download videos as I obviously won’t have a network connection in the plane.

Thanks for your assistance.

I feel like this can go one of two ways. To DIY or not to DIY, that is the question!


Literally every small build/cyberdeck/DIY anything I have ever seen on the internet invariably has a comment saying something to the effect of “Good luck getting past TSA trying to take that on a plane!”

Even if you use purely off the shelf parts in a system that doesn’t look like you assembled it yourself, and could get TSA to look the other way on everything else, the battery to power it would almost certainly be confiscated. I can’t imagine running a system in that manner and trying to fumble through numerous USB boost packs, and that is if they allowed you to carry all that juice on in the first place. Having separate devices with numerous bucks/boosts to the voltage will kill efficiency compared to a laptop.

If you wanted something to use at your destination then I would box it up and ship it. Trying to sneak batteries in your luggage probably won’t go over well either. You can get a cheap laptop with the same guts in a unified package for less money than the Ryzen SBC + portable monitor and not be detained at the airport.

ETA Prime on YouTube has tons of videos testing out everything portable, from handhelds, to laptops, tablets, phones, and more. If you don’t want to miss your flight and possibly all of your money invested in the project, it would be extremely wise to not DIY this one.

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When you plan to build a Laptop, I have to ask why you do not want to buy a Laptop?

Cuz cyberDecks

They aren’t practical and you’ll never get on a commercial flight with one, but they are pretty creative! It’s one of those labors of love and not particularly practical, like cosplay for spare PC parts.

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For those, I can see the appeal!

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Thanks for the input all. Airport security was exactly why I wanted something that is powered off of USB c that way I can use a power bank. I take them on the plane with me all the time, and I’m told the limit is 28000Mah so plenty. Unfortunately finding a mini pc powered by USB c has been futile, everything uses a barrel jack.

As to why I’m not just buying a laptop they would be a lot more expensive. Here the cheapest laptop I can find is 800 bucks and comes with a 12” 720p screen and a celeron. And despite the potato power, you’ll be lucky if they give you 3 hours battery life. If you want zen your looking at 2K minimum no one wants to stock the entry level zen stuff.

I might have a look into seeing if I can mod my current laptop to a bigger battery. I’ve got a zenbook pro duo with a 9900hk and a 2060 but the battery when brand new lasted a hour if I was lucky, and now it lasts 40 minutes if I’m lucky.

Well, “building” a device could be as simple as mill/drill/file a hole where previously was plastic (or metal) and fitting a USB-C PD handler board in there.

Alternatively, taking the “Cyberdecks Reddit” into account, you could get a powerful SBC and DIY your own “almost a laptop” from scratch. Which as mentioned above, will likely not get on a plane with you.

Arduinos (based on ATMega chips) are micro-controllers, not computers. While they can pull the strings on some impressive installations or projects, they are somewhat limited in compute.