Bottom line: The portable PC gaming market is thriving, but that’s not really saying much considering there are only a handful of viable options to choose from at retail. That’s never stopped the modding community, however, as evident by this recent project from Pitstoptech.
The YouTuber has put together a fully upgradeable handheld gaming PC centered around a mainboard from Framework, the laptop maker known for its staunch support of the right to repair movement. The board in question is the Intel Core i7-1260P, and it is paired with 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD, a 7-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080 resolution) touchscreen display, and a 55Wh battery.
Other amenities include a full-featured USB-C port, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, high-speed WiFi and Bluetooth, and front-facing stereo speakers.
Details are a bit light but based on the two-minute YouTube teaser, it looks as if the system was installed in a custom 3D printed chassis. Joy-Con style controllers can slide and lock into place on either side of the handheld, and you can also output video to a larger screen where using a traditional gamepad might prove more comfortable.
Benchmarks and frame rates are not highlighted, but the handful of games shown off in the teaser all appear to run smoothly.
So, should you build your own or go for an off-the-shelf option? Right now, the latter might be more attractive based on pricing alone.
The Intel Core i7-1260P board currently retails for $549 on its own, which is in the same ballpark as a top-tier Steam Deck (the Steam Deck is currently on offer with a 20 percent discount, bringing it down to $519.20 for a limited time, but normally goes for $549).
The YouTuber will soon be selling a DIY kit for those interested in building their own handheld, and also mentioned the possibility of upgrading to a Ryzen 7840U mainboard and a 61Wh battery for even more performance.
Between the Steam Deck, Lenovo’s Legion Go, the Asus ROG Ally, the Nintendo Switch, and a couple others, the handheld gaming market is stronger than ever.