Atari VCS console upgraded to Ryzen APU

The Atari VCS gets a bigger APU power boost along with a release delay.

4 minutes & 13 seconds read time

Atari is getting more serious about its new Atari VCS console hardware, and has packed in a beefier processor to back up its promises.

Atari VCS console upgraded to Ryzen APU 588

The Atari VCS will now be powered by an AMD Ryzen APU with two Zen CPU cores and Vega graphics, the company today announced. This is a nice jump from the Atari VCS' previous Bristol Ridge A10 CPU and Radeon R7 graphics, and the new 14nm Ryzen APU will offer power reduction, cooler temperatures, and greater gaming performance. Exact specs weren't revealed, however.

"The Atari VCS will now be powered by a 14nm AMD processor featuring high-performance Radeon Vega graphics architecture and two Zen CPU cores," reads the announcement.

"This new processor replaces the model from the Bristol Ridge family that had been in the plan since originally selected for the Atari VCS back in 2017. AMD's all-new Ryzen embedded chip will be faster, cooler, and more efficient, allowing the VCS to benefit from a simpler and more effective power architecture and thermal solution."

This upgrade comes on the heels of another spec bump. The Atari VCS recently got a big boost to 8GB of unified DDR4 memory, double the original 4GB.

Since Atari is taking a big bet with the VCS, it's important for the company to select a chip that's flexible and future-proof to withstand today's demanding gaming and 4K multimedia experiences.

What's interesting is that Atari actually argued against a Ryzen APU in 2018. At the time VCS system architect Rob Wyatt said there wouldn't be any universal gain switching over to Ryzen, and that adopting the 14nm APU would increase costs.

Atari VCS console upgraded to Ryzen APU 8566

Read Also: Everything you need to know about AMD's Ryzen APUs

This APU jump does have a higher cost. Despite saying the Ryzen APU upgrade will only have a "minimal impact" on its manufacturing process, Atari has delayed the VCS' North American launch from its original Spring 2019 launch to late 2019. It'll be interesting to see if this power boosts drives the Atari VCS' cost beyond its $250 MSRP.

Also remember the Atari VCS isn't just about gaming. The system will be a "connected device" that aims to tap the full all-in-one ambition of a games console, but it's pushing into an already-crowded market dominated by the PS4, Xbox One, and now Nintendo's new Switch. Built on a custom Linux OS, the VCS is meant to sit as a nexus to living room entertainment and will allow music and video streaming, 4K video playback, gaming, web browsing, social media integration, and more.

Users can connect their phones and even laptops to the console box, and Atari will have its own proprietary digital storefront where it will sell both new and classic retro games as well as host apps for download.

The company may reveal more details at GDC 2019, but for now the Atari VCS is slated to launch in late 2019 for Indiegogo supporters,

Atari VCS Specifications

  • Specification* Measurement
  • Unit Dimensions 14.5" x 5.3" x 1.6"
  • Unit Weight 3 lbs.
  • Materials Plastic, Metal, Wood
  • Operating System Linux OS based on Ubuntu (Linux Kernel 4.10)
  • Compatible Systems Linux
  • Power Low TDP architecture - Less Heat & Noise
  • Connections HDMI 2.0, 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit Ethernet, 4xUSB 3.0
  • External Inputs Classic Joystick, Modern Controller, Microphone
  • Storage 32GB eMMC, external HD, SD card
  • Memory 32GB eMMC
  • CPU 2Core Ryzen CPU
  • GPU Vega graphics
  • HDCP Integration HDCP 2.2
  • Second Screen (Screencasting) Yes
  • Cloud Storage Yes. Additional Service Offering
  • Required Internet Connection Not for classic gaming but required to access all features
  • Cross Game Chat Skype, Discord, etc.
  • Voice Commands 4-front facing mic array
  • Subscription Needed? No. Includes cloud and other services.
  • Live Streaming Yes with
  • Mouse & Keyboard Support Yes

Classic Joystick Specs

  • Features Spec (US)
  • center joystick Yes
  • trigger button Yes
  • reactive LED ring Yes
  • Wireless Bluetooth
  • Battery Rechargeable
  • Approx. Weight 16 oz.
  • PC, Android Compatible Yes
  • Approx. Dimensions 4 x 4 x 4 inches
  • USB play/charge cable 4 foot
  • Headset Port No

Modern Controller Specs

  • Features Spec (US)
  • L/R joysticks Yes
  • L/R Triggers Yes
  • L/R Shoulder buttons Yes
  • Home/menu buttons Yes
  • D-Pad Yes
  • 4 function buttons Yes
  • Ergonomic grip Yes
  • Wireless Bluetooth
  • Battery Rechargeable
  • LED charge indicator Yes
  • Approx. Weight 16 oz.
  • PC, Android Compatible Yes
  • Approx. Dimensions 6 x 4.5 x 2 inches
  • USB play/charge cable 4 foot
  • Headset Port TBD

Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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