While portable gaming devices have long been in existence, the Nintendo Switch sparked the imagination of many makers and modders. While some of those have resorted to replicating the experience using a Raspberry Pi as the base, modder Banjo Kazooie went down a road less trodden. What he did was to basically stuff an Intel Compute Stick inside the shell of a Wii U handheld to create a gaming PC you can take with you and play on almost anywhere.
This is hardly the first time any one made a portable gaming PC. Some have even tried to commercialize or crowdfund it. Some, like the GPD WIN, was more or less a success. Others, like the SMACH Z, formerly known as Steam Boy, have yet to deliver on its promise.
This Wii U Compustick is unique in some aspects. For one, you’ll have to be an experienced hardware modder to even replicate this project. For another, it runs off the hardware used in Intel’s Compute Stick, specifically one with an Intel Core m5 and 4 GB of RAM, instead of the usual Atom or even a measly Core m3.
While the process is definitely longer and harder to pull off, it does have the advantage of being able to choose the components you do want. This one, for example, uses a 2K screen and a 64 GB SSD, nothing you can find in any pre-existing device or product. The limitation of using a Wii U controller as the chassis is that you have to follow its exact button layout. Which might not be a big deal if you’re a Wii U fan anyway.
Banjo Kazooie doesn’t give out the step by step process he went through in one single document, but he does share the components he used to build the Wii U Compustick. Given how powerful the components are, it’s no surprise how things are running smoothly. Too bad he didn’t go the extra mile to put in a multi-touch capacitive touch screen.