History of video games/Platforms/Pimoroni PicoSystem

History edit

A 2020 photograph of the industrious city of Sheffield in Yorkshire. The PicoSystem is manufactured in this city.

Background edit

Pimoroni (An acronym standing for Pirate, Monkey, Robot, Ninja) was founded in 2012 as an electronics manufacturer.[1]

Development edit

Tom's Hardware noted a possible influence from Piromoni's older 32Blit platform.[2]

Announcement edit

The PicoSystem was announced on January 21st, 2021 at a cost of 58.50 British Pounds, VAT inclusive.[3]

Launch edit

By October 5th, 2021 systems were being shipped.[4] By October 6th, 2021 systems had been received by customers.[5]

The system was favorably reviewed following launch,[6] though a Tom's Hardware review noted the MakeCode Arcade IDE had yet to support the device at launch.[7]

Technology edit

Compute edit

The PicoSystem is derived from the Pimoroni Tiny 2040 developer board, and is thus based around the same RP2040 microcontroller.[3] The RP2040 was announced around the same time as the PicoSystem in 2021 by the Raspberry Pi foundation and is made on a 40nm fabrication process,[8] which was not cutting edge for 2021, but was a mature and reliable process size by this point. It is also important to note that this chip was released amidst a shortage of capacity among chipmakers,[9] which may have limited which foundries were available.

The microcontroller sports a dual core ARM Cortex M0+ CPU clocked at 133 megahertz, with 264 kilobytes of RAM on board.[10] This chip lacks a graphics processing unit (GPU),[11] so the console must use software rendering for games. However the microcontroller does have very powerful input and output support functions which reduce CPU load.[3]

Hardware edit

The system uses a square 1:1 ratio IPS display with a resolution of 240 pixels by 240 pixels.[3]

A piezo speaker is used for audio.[12]

A rechargeable lipo battery powers the system, with a USB type C port for charging.[3]

Casing edit

The console casing is adorned with abstract art.[3] The console has a model number of PIM559.[3]

Manufacturing edit

The system notably used two PCBs, with the 3.2 millimeters (0.13 in) PCB being depth-routed to also hold in buttons.[13]

Pimoroni products are manufactured at a factory located in Sheffield, a city in the United Kingdom.[1] When the Pimoroni PicoSystem was announced, the company was located at 2 Manton Street.[1]

The packaging of the device was notably higher end,[14] as many similar systems were shipped with more spartan packaging.

External Resources edit

  • Pimoroni - Official product page for the PicoSystem.

References edit

  1. a b c "About Us – Pimoroni". shop.pimoroni.com. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  2. Mott, Nathaniel (14 July 2021). "Pimoroni Teases RP2040-Powered PicoSystem Gaming Device" (in en). Tom's Hardware. https://www.tomshardware.com/news/pimoroni-teases-rp2040-powered-picosystem-gaming-device. 
  3. a b c d e f g "PicoSystem – Pimoroni". shop.pimoroni.com. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  4. "https://twitter.com/pimoroni/status/1445366504774569989". Twitter. Retrieved 22 October 2021. {{cite web}}: External link in |title= (help)
  5. "https://twitter.com/andypiper/status/1445809630240665608". Twitter. Retrieved 22 October 2021. {{cite web}}: External link in |title= (help)
  6. A New Handheld Powered By The Same Raspberry Pi Pico Chip!, retrieved 2021-10-22
  7. Pounder, Les (23 October 2021). "Pimoroni PicoSystem Review: Tiny Console for Big Ideas" (in en). Tom's Hardware. https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pimoroni-picosystem-review-tiny-console-for-big-ideas. 
  8. "Meet Raspberry Silicon: Raspberry Pi Pico now on sale at $4". Raspberry Pi. 21 January 2021. https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-silicon-pico-now-on-sale/. 
  9. "A Year of Poor Planning Led to Carmakers’ Massive Chip Shortage" (in en). Bloomberg.com. 19 January 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-19/a-year-of-poor-planning-led-to-carmakers-massive-chip-shortage. 
  10. Campbell, Ian Carlos (21 January 2021). "The Raspberry Pi Pico is a tiny $4 microcontroller running off the company’s very own chip" (in en). The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2021/1/21/22242619/raspberry-pi-pico-microcontroller-tiny-computer-diy-projects. 
  11. "RP2040 Datasheet" (PDF). Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  12. "First look: Pimoroni’s PicoSystem hackable handheld games console" (in en). smittytone messes with micros. 16 October 2021. https://blog.smittytone.net/2021/10/16/first-look-pimoroni-picosystem-hackable-handheld-games-console/. 
  13. "https://twitter.com/arturo182/status/1450431979342733321" (in en). Twitter. https://twitter.com/arturo182/status/1450431979342733321. 
  14. "https://twitter.com/andypiper/status/1445809630240665608" (in en). Twitter. https://twitter.com/andypiper/status/1445809630240665608.