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Handheld retro game console runs Linux on RK3326

Dec 30, 2019 — by Eric Brown 5,325 views

Hardkernel is prepping a $55 “Odroid-Go Advance” retro game console that runs Ubuntu 18.04 on a Rockchip RK3326 and offers a 3.5-inch color display, gaming controls, and a 10-hour battery.

Hardkernel has posted specs for a handheld retro game console that will launch in late January for $55. The Odroid-Go Advance is a more powerful update to the ESP32-based, Arduino programmable Odroid-Go handheld player, which still sells for $32. The new player advances to running Linux on a 64-bit quad-core, Cortex-A35 based Rockchip RK3326 clocked at 1.3GHz with a Mali-G32 MP2 GPU. As a result, instead of being limited to 8-bit retro games, it can play 16- and 32-bit games.

Odroid-Go Advance (left) and earlier Odroid-Go
(click images to enlarge)

The Ubuntu 18.04 BSP has a Linux 4.4.189 kernel and a modified version of the open source EmulationStation front-end with Libretro. There’s support for GPU-accelerated OpenGL-ES on DRM-FB.

The Odroid-Go Advance can currently play games from the following systems:


  • Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, Lynx
  • NEC PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16), PC Engine CD
  • Nintendo Game Boy (GB), Game Boy Advance (GBA), Game Boy Color (GBC), NES, SNES
  • SEGA Game Gear, Master System, Mega Drive (Genesis), SEGA CD
  • Sony PlayStation (PSX), Portable Play Station (PSP)

The Odroid-Go Advance, which we spotted on CNXSoft, is equipped with 1GB of 786MHz DDR3L. You also get 16MB of bootable SPI flash and a microSD slot.

The MIPI-DSI driven, 3.5-inch, 320 x 480 color display offers wide-angle viewing. There’s a stereo earphone jack, a 0.5W, 8Ω mono speaker, and an analog joystick. Other gaming controls include F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6, A, B, X, Y, direction pad, left shoulder, and right shoulder.

Odroid-Go Advance and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Odroid-Go Advance is equipped with a USB 2.0 host port and a 10-pin connector with I2C, GPIO, and IRQ at 3.3Volt. A DC jack with a USB charging cable charges a 3000mAh, 3.7V Li-Po battery. Charging takes 2.5-3 hours for up to 10 hours of continuous playing time. The 155 x 72x 20mm device weighs 170 grams.

Based on the example of the Odroid-Go and other Odroid products such as the Odroid-N2, this will be an open-spec board with schematics and other documentation. The Odroid community is one of the liveliest around.

The RK3326, is one of a new series of Cortex-A35 SoCs from Rockchip, including the quad-core Rockchip PX30 and dual-core RK1808 SoC, which includes a neural processing chip. Arm’s low-power, 64-bit Cortex-A35 architecture also powers NXP’s i.MX8X SoC.

Further information

The Odroid-Go Advance should go on sale in late January for $55. More information may be found in Hardkernel’s forum announcement and wiki.


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2 responses to “Handheld retro game console runs Linux on RK3326”

  1. Andy Holliday (@AndySoccer76) says:

    Does anyone know if this will be able to run retro pi?

  2. ypl says:

    good oposite to chinese handeld with linux.

    I need wifi, 3 usb, terminal, rust and ruby /crystal ;)

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