Gaming hardware company AYANEO has just unveiled its latest mini PC model, the AM02, featuring a design inspired by the classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console. Launching on Indiegogo, the AM02 packs impressive specs into its retro-styled chassis, headlined by AMD’s Ryzen 7 7840HS processor.
Overview and Background
Founded in 2019, AYANEO is focused on developing handheld gaming PCs and small form factor systems. Their previous model, the AM01, was released in 2021 to positive reviews praising its gaming performance.
The AM02 represents an evolution of the AM01, keeping a similar compact size but opting for a throwback NES-style design language. The angular gray case with dark accents and front-facing vents certainly evokes Nintendo’s 8-bit console.
However, AYANEO stresses that it is not trying to mimic or copy Nintendo’s products. The company likely wants to get out in front of any potential legal issues, given how aggressively Nintendo has gone after copyright infringement in the past.
AM02 Hardware Specifications and Features
Open up the AM02’s nostalgia-tinged shell, and you’ll find hardware that far outpaces anything the NES could have dreamed of.
|AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS (8 core / 16 thread, 4.5 GHz max boost)
|Integrated AMD Radeon 680M graphics
|16GB LPDDR5 5400 MHz
|512GB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
|4″ IPS touchscreen, 800 x 480 resolution
|Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 1 x USB 2.0, HDMI, 3.5mm audio
|177 x 102 x 38.5mm
|0.78kg / 1.72lbs
Headlining the specs is AMD’s Ryzen 7 7840HS, an 8 core/16 thread Zen 3+ processor with a boost clock reaching up to 4.5GHz. It should deliver excellent performance for gaming and productivity tasks in the AM02’s diminutive form factor.
The Ryzen APU also features integrated Radeon graphics, enabling light 1080p gaming without a discrete GPU. It likely won’t match dedicated gaming laptop performance, but the AM02 wasn’t primarily designed for AAA gaming anyway.
Another neat highlight is the 4-inch 800×480 IPS touchscreen mounted on the front panel. It echoes the original Game Boy Advance form factor and enables some light on-the-go touch capability for the mini PC.
Storage, memory and connectivity options are also ample for a portable PC. The AM02 ticks most boxes hardware-wise, achieving an impressive balance of performance and nostalgic design.
Hands-On Impressions and Gaming Benchmarks
Though just launched on Indiegogo, the AM02 has already made its way into the hands of several tech publications.
Early hands-on impressions praise the look and feel of the retro-styled chassis. Reviewers found the AM02 easy to grip thanks to the angular body and rubber bottom pads. The matte finish resists fingerprints reasonably well.
The 4-inch touchscreen is responsive, though predictably small for serious usage. Reviewers found it better suited for monitoring system stats and maps/chat windows for games.
On that note, outlets like TweakTown and Windows Central benchmarked a range of games on the AM02 from indie 2D titles up to AAA fare like Cyberpunk 2077. Light esports games like CS:GO and Overwatch ran smoothly at 60+ fps at medium settings. More demanding games were very playable at 30fps minimum settings.
Of course, the AM02 still lags behind high-end gaming laptops with discrete RTX/Radeon GPUs. But reviewers universally praised its gaming capabilities given the tiny size and cooling constraints. AYANEO seems to have struck an impressive balance, living up to their reputation for portable gaming systems.
AM02 Availability and Comparisons
The AM02 launched January 18th on Indiegogo, with estimated delivery in March 2023. Backer tiers currently start at $441 for the base model. Given AYANEO’s track record of successful crowdfunding campaigns and positive AM01 reviews, the campaign will likely meet its funding goals.
Compared to mini PCs from competitors like GMK and MinisForum, the AM02 stands out with its gaming-optimized Ryzen APU and throwback NES-inspired styling. There are certainly more affordable or more compact options on the market currently. But none match the AM02’s blend of retro flair and portable gaming prowess.
For retro enthusiasts seeking a compact emulation station, the AM02 could be a tantalizing option over building a Raspberry Pi-based unit. Its x86 architecture will enable broader game support and powerful standalone performance that even a Raspberry Pi 4 setup would struggle to match.
What’s Next for AYANEO and Mini Gaming PCs
With two successful product launches under their belt, AYANEO appears poised to keep iterating on their portable PC gaming formula. Rumors indicate they already have additional models in the concept phase, including a handheld system with controls taking direct inspiration from the Nintendo Switch.
And AYANEO isn’t alone in the mini gaming PC space – competitors like GPD and One Netbook also target a similar audience of enthusiasts seeking PC gaming in compact form factors. This market segment seems ripe for growth as more gamers value portability.
Ongoing advances in mobile processors and miniaturization will also keep driving innovations in small yet powerful systems. Even full-fat desktop GPUs are getting trimmed down to sizes that can squeeze into compact chassis like the AM02.
AYANEO has carved out an early lead catering specifically to gamers with the AM02. But users can expect even more options for portable high-fps gaming as technology keeps advancing. The era of powerful pocket PCs seems imminent.
With its throwback NES-inspired design yet powerful modern Ryzen internals, the AYANEO AM02 makes portable PC gaming more nostalgic and fun. Early benchmarks prove it achieves an impressive balance of performance, form factor, and retro style. Though priced at a premium, it carves out a unique place among competitors in the mini PC market.
The AM02’s launch kicks off what looks to be an exciting year for compact gaming PCs. If AYANEO’s previous product momentum is any indication, their iconic retro mini PC could spark a wave of Nintendo-esque challengers aiming for excellent graphics in tiny packages. Game on the go, but make it fashion.
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