NUC-64 / PN-64

"Retro"-fitting Intel NUC and Asus PN-Series Mini PCs inside of a Nintendo 64 case

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A spin on the GamecubePC, this project's goal was to fit a computer capable of emulating N64 games inside of the respective console's case. The first iteration is based around an Intel NUC running Windows 10; this PC features an Intel N3700 Pentium processor (1.60GHz base / 2.40 GHz boost) that is capable of running Nintendo 64 games at higher than native resolutions and full FPS. The computer also features 4GB of Crucial DDR3L-1600 SO-DIMM RAM, a wireless module for WiFi/Bluetooth, as well as an M.2 SSD mounted to a SATA III to M.2 adapter for the main storage.

At the heart of the device is a custom PCB in the front that utilizes two 2-port N64-to-USB adapters coupled directly to the original ports. This PCB preserves functionality of the original power switch, reset button, and power LED, and locates them accordingly. Along with the front PCB, several 3D printed mounts were required to rigidly mount all of the components in place.

  • Project Update ~ November 2021

    RetroModder11/14/2021 at 23:33 0 comments

    A custom PCB was designed to feature two 2-port N64-to-USB adapters routed to the original controller ports. Also included are the original reset and power switches, center power LED, and a custom circuit designed to send the proper shutdown signal to the Intel NUC. The board then bundles its I/O into a Molex Nano-Fit 16-pin header to interface with the motherboard. Status LEDs for the board power, motherboard power, power switch state, and reset switch state are also included. The control board's power switch logic circuitry is powered by a +5V auxiliary power header on the NUC, while the controller adapters still receive power through the 2-port USB 2.0 header.

    The power switch requires some logic conversion to be able to properly power on and shut down the PC. A simple slide switch would not suffice, as the motherboard expects a pulse and not a constant signal. Twin 555 timers configured as one-shot pulse generators provide a single pulse for each "throw" of the slide switch. The output of each timer is then fed through an OR-gate, and then buffered to keep the circuit opto-isolated from the motherboard.

    One minor flaw in this design is that it's possible for the power switch's position to become out-of-sync if operated too quickly, but this is easily rectified the next time the PC shuts down as you can unplug the device and move the switch back to the correct position.

    Brackets were designed to adapt the stock N64 board mounts to the Intel NUC motherboard. In addition, an M.2-to-SATA adapter board can be mounted, as a full size 2.5" SSD was too large to comfortably fit in the case. A rear cover is also inserted behind the storage adapter to cover where the original AV port used to be accessed from.

    A custom rear I/O shield matches the profile of where the stock AC adapter would normally plug into. Additional holes were added to mount the wireless antennas, and a vent allows the blower-style fan under the motherboard to exhaust out the rear of the case.

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Joshua Coffman wrote 06/04/2023 at 15:21 point

I would love to buy the controller and switch PCB. I can add my own Mayflash adapters to it and switches. I would also love to buy the 3D print files for the brackets and IO panel.

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Zach wrote 11/04/2022 at 15:25 point

Hello! I'm interested in doing something similar. Have you developed the controller port board further? Thanks!

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RetroModder wrote 01/16/2023 at 03:40 point

Still in the works! A lot of progress has been made for both Intel NUCs and Asus PN mini PC's versions of the board. Soon to be in production and available on Tindie

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Tenchuuu wrote 11/19/2021 at 13:49 point

Any chance you'd be willing to sell hardware? Id absolutely LOVE to do this to my currently incomplete N64

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RetroModder wrote 11/19/2021 at 23:10 point

Stay tuned!

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