Single Board Computer capable of ~2008 AAA gaming? (no dGPU)

I have absolutely no idea which category this would belong to so sorry in advance if it’s not appropriate one

So I’m looking for some tiny SBC (Single board computer) capable of running Windows 10 (could be ARM variant I guess? I mean Win 10 ARM iirc does have x86 emulation which is not too shabby) and older AAA titles. To make ir clear - I’m NOT looking for great performance. I’m looking for [email protected] or something around this level with games like Skyrim @ ultra low.

I thought it’s gonna be easy since duh it’s game from like what 2011? It should run on Raspberry Pi grade stuff. Buuuut it seems I wasn’t quite right. So I bought NVidia Jetson Nano just to realize it doesn’t run win 10

Oof

(well at least it runs Minecraft lmao). So after this I decided to make some research and look around for AAA gaming on SBCs. And to my surprise there’s… none. I mean yeah sure there are guys attaching 1080Ti to LattePanda and stuff like that but it’s not what I want. I’m looking for actual SBC that will draw like 10-20W tops and run games like Skyrim, GTA IV etc without Frankenstein strap-ons at specs I mentioned ([email protected], may be even a bit less I’m not competitive gamer really, I used ultra potato PCs before)

I saw Udoo Ryzen based SBCs to run that at specs way above my expectations but then again they’re a) expensive b) draw lots of power c) use 19v DC so it’s quite hard and inefficient to power them using car cigarette lighter which is 12v or 5v with off-the-shelf adapter (since I’m ultimately gonna put this in car that’s why I want it to be low power since it’s you know… car and car has battery which is actually pretty small unless you ride damn Tesla and it’s winter so it’s already hard to crank up even without 180w PC draining battery until it’s almost deeply discharged)

So what’s your view on that topic? Is it doable? Or is there no hardware like that for now? Or are my expectations unrealistic?

Besides, display is non-issue there’s crapload of Raspberry Pi, USB powered low power LCDs. I got that covered. I don’t want to use 230v AC inverters since they’re really inefficient. Especially pure sine ones, especially @ lower load. REALLY inefficient. I already have 300w one.

Huh, seems you have 2 issues- mobility and miniaturisation.

I am really not a console games, but wouldn’t a switch or something fit the bill?
If power was not the issue, you might find a Nuc that might be powerful enough, but that would be expensive

The Geforce 8200 motherboards might be sufficient (theres a few different manufacturers) Most of which are ITX or m-ATX.

For that grade of hardware, the most expensive thing will be the motherboard, memory and cpu will be cheap (its generally AM3 or Intel from that era).

Toss a low power Phenom II in there, some higher frequency (supported ofc) DDR2 memory, 8g is my suggestion (2x4G).

The system will easily run on a cheapy power supply with room to spare.

Alternatively you could always look at the wonky chinese boards that have everything integrated on Aliexpress etc.

Random musings…

Modern intel iGPUS are as powerful as near top end GPUs from '08.

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Especially the ones with AMD GPU’s integrated into them

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Quite true, a Zen 2 APU with all the cheapest parts would be fairly inexpensive, and they have tiny boards they can fit on.

Grab up some low profile memory (I think Addon makes half profile DDR4, and some other manufacturers must) on the cheap and you’re done. Could easily get this going for UNDER $250 if ya get the parts all on sale and get the most barebones parts as well.

I am gonna second my integrated system from Aliexpress suggestion, they tend to use M or U processors which are lower on power usage.

I am sure you could find something using pc part picker to output wattage info that could run on 12V as well.

For ex. Athlon 3000G is 35W, with no need for a dGPU, and only needing 4-8GB of memory I am sure you could figure out how to keep the entire system under 140W.

EDIT: I felt like seeing if I could do it, https://pcpartpicker.com/list/zjJYdm

TBH I want this system now, maybe a different case but still lol.

Depends on your budget and what you class as “Single Board” or possibly how much work you want to do stripping/shucking things but a NUC will do this.

You can use them as is and even have a USB powered display run off it. I have a 10inch one 1080p, basic monitor but it is HDMI, DP and mini VGA input and runs off the USB power from the NUC. I am using a fairly high end NUC though and the get pricey. But there should be plenty in the lower end that will do the level of gaming you want.

Amazon and other places have tons of car chargers that power 19V laptops. I patched one into my Dell charger to make it work without complaining about it not being an ‘official’ charger with no issues. Something like the UDOO Bolt, a NUC, or a cheap laptop would work with one of those car chargers.

Where in the world are you located? This would help with trying to recommend parts more easily available to you.

Pico PSU’s are available that work fine in cars and other DC power sources. In this case you might want to go with an Intel chip that is capable of running the games you want at a desirable performance level. I’ve had good luck undervolting Intel. The Ryzen APU’s are good, but I haven’t really seen what the Athlon 3000G can do (and it’s still not available), and my 2400G draws too much to run reliably on my 125W M3-ATX Pico PSU. You would probably want a PSU that can both run from a car battery and output over 150W. This may be the most expensive component, and honestly you could possibly buy an old laptop or NUC for around the same price as that one part.

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Pretty sure I’ve seen some benchmarks on it and it performed decently, but ofc it would be above the capabilities of a 125W PSU, that being said, It could easily still do what OP wants if you underclock it.

I am thinking maybe something more along the lines of an Nvidia Shield might suffice? Toss RetroArch on it and off you go.

You could take a look at a Lattepanda. Those come with decently powerful CPUs to run those games.

Not exactly the same thing.

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True lol, and I am assuming the Shield is ARM (never checked) so it’d be more painful to play Skyrim etc.

However the build I linked for the 3000G should be fine running Skyrim at 720 on ultra low settings though with more than 24fps. I firmly believe you could underclock it, still get around 30fps with those settings, and get it below 110w draw.

Just to add, I stumbled across tinygreenpc, they make pcs that draw as low as 15 watts. I am not sure about the processing power, or pricing but they exist and do SBCs

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I think people really underestimate how much they can do. The 3000Gwill be a long way better than the Iris Pro 580 in my NUC and that is very capable. It runs even new games (granted not super high end) lkek the Spyro Reignighted Trilogy around 60fps on low.

And Skyrim is not a great looking or particularly complex game graphically. It will run at higher than ultra low and still well beyond the 24fps wanted a likely in the 40-50s.

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I know its considered low end, but I have a feeling as soon as it drops, they are gonna be sold out quite quickly. It’s no 3950x but it has so much flexibility having that much horsepower at such low wattage.

Definitely considering putting together a dedicated console style box with it because of how cheaply I could do so, knowing I could easily enjoy PS3 games on it.

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Sorry, I lost that part while reading the post.

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Where can you buy it? I saw a couple things when the embargo was lifted with benchmarks and ‘now shipping’ but haven’t been able to purchase one. The lower CPU and GPU capabilities (and power draw) would probably put it in range of running fine on a Pico PSU over 100W, but only if I can actually get it and install it on a motherboard. I don’t know if any boards support the 3000G out of the box. It would be awesome if they came out with some B550 boards to go along with it, but I’m not holding my breath for that.

It might be better to grab one of the other Ryzen APU’s and turn off cores. I saw no discernible loss in gaming performance running 3 cores / 6 threads with a 2400G. It cut power consumption but not as much for heat, as the iGPU seems to cause the bulk of the heat when gaming in my limited experience.

I think we are still a couple generations away from computers that are cheap, performant, don’t spew heat or guzzle power, and a good fit for an in car gaming PC, at least going by my definitions. I love my 2400G, and with a new PSU it will be great for running on solar, but not something I would stick in a hot car.

Shipping to the resellers/retailers, I am guessing first or second week of the new year. It is definitely not available yet.

Any AM4 board with graphics output has APU support, the part list I posted above has one such board, but there are a number of them now.

Personally I think we are a few weeks away from computers that are cheap, performant and a good fit for in car gaming. As far as heat, I don’t see it being all that bad unless you are driving cross Arizona without AC

I’d say the real test to whether or not it is rough to deal with, is if anyone can do a fanless ITX build with the 3000G

I don’t know if it is doable, if it is I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be terrible.
How would that device be used?

I’m afraid “run from car battery” and “output over 150W” are mutually exclusive :smiley: Especially since my car has quite old installation and 12A cigarette fuse so 140W is top (I’d be actually quite afraid to actually put continuos 100% load on that aged installation so we can assume 120W tops) and I still have other hardware here (MikroTik LtAP, dash cam, Raspberry Pi 4 and CRS305 in particular) so 60w of Udoo is boarderline acceptable. It’s already A LOT. I was looking for something < 40W.

@Dagarath
I don’t think any conventional DIY desktop will cut it on power and thermals level. I’d like to remind that car left in summer in direct sunlight can reach even like 80 degrees celcius inside. And my car is black (both interior and exterior) so it doesn’t really help thermals in summer lmao. Leather on steering wheel is actually all cracked from excessive heat. Standard computer hardware is rarely industrial grade gear capable of operating in what is realistically kinda “outdoor” scenario.

@abaxas
I did some research and it seems Intel iGPUs still struggle to bring playable experience with games like Skyrim. At least ones in SBCs like Udoo x86. I’m getting more and more convinced towards something like Vega 3/8 in more or less “NUC” form factor.

@KleerKut laptop car adapter sounds like really good idea. I’ll check that out.

@Zibob yeah I already bought USB powered HDMI display and I intend to use it for this project.


I’ve been also recommended this as an alternative to Udoo Bolt v8:
http://simplynuc.co.uk/sequoia-v6-full/
it says it’s gonna be available from January.

It claims to be “automotive ready”, accepts 8-30v unstabilized DC input so can be powered directly from cigarette lighter and should have power draw similar to Udoo Bolt v8.

I’m just a bit worried about thermals. I mean yeah sure it claims to operate fine in 0-60 deg ambient but they don’t really specify what they mean as “operate” because if it’s gonna throttle to 400 mhz then I’m not sure if it can be called “operate”. Udoo v8 would be easier to mod with some excessive cooling.

On the other hand I doubt I’ll attempt to play games before AC will bring temps down to any acceptable level… So maybe I shouldn’t be worried about that this much

— Regarding my scenario —

I live in Poland. Worst case scenarios are something like 40 deg outside in summer (in shade) and -40 in winter. But those are record breaking temps. Typically around 36 in shade in summer and like -20 in winter. I don’t have garage. My car is parked outside. There’s no trees around parking lot so in summer it stays in direct sunlight. It’s Astra H GTC 2008.

I’m using cigarette lighter splitter and I’m powering quite a lot of stuff from it - dash cam, rasp 4b, mikrotik LtAP for LTE, CRS305 as switch, 230v inverter in case I’d need to plug something exotic and I’m planning to also hook up this “gaming machine”. As I’m not going to use inverter AND gaming machine at once I’d say it’s safe to assume I have around 60w power margin for it. As I mentioned there’s quite small fuse so I don’t really want to overload car electrical installation that’s why I’m worried about power consumption. Also I don’t want this hardware to get damaged by extreme conditions in car during summer / winter so the more “industrial” it gets the better.

For now I’m considering following options:

  • Sequoia v8: super overkill Vega 11 NUC - most likely will draw lots of power and thermals will be disasterous. I doubt it’s viable option tbh
  • Sequoia v6: On par with Bolt v8, industrial grade, should draw around 40-50w in stress sice that’s spec for Bolt v8. It’s cool that it’s ready-to-use package.
  • Udoo Bolt v8: On par with Sequoia v6, not industrial grade but has Arduino built in which may be handy in the future. I think it’s bigger form factor than Sequoia and standard, offered chassis is not really compact tbh.
  • Udoo Bolt v6: This should be quite low power and maybe won’t throttle but I wonder if Vega 3 will handle AAA games reasonably or it’s gonna be like Intel iGPU potato.
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