A homebrew computer project put together an eclectic array of repurposed and 3D-printed parts to create a tiny laptop that's brimming with old-school charm. While it might be a dream come true for DIY tech-heads and retro fans, it's certainly not for everyone. As laptop manufacturers strive to develop cutting-edge hardware of the future, some homebrew computers look back at the past for inspiration.
When it comes to DIY computer builds, the Raspberry Pi is one of the most famous pieces of hardware, serving as the foundation of many low-cost custom-built PC projects. These highly programmable all-in-one PCs come in an incredibly small form factor, with prices ranging from $70, to as low as $4. Their portability and affordability give way to endless applications, allowing users to develop some creative PC builds. Modern iterations of the Raspberry Pi can fit an entire computer into a keyboard, but some builds focus on fitting those heavy bygone-era PCs into one's palms, literally.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
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That's pretty much the case with the Penkesu. A custom-made 7.9-inch laptop that's made to look like a retro PC set-up. According to its website, this handheld computer comprises a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W encased inside a 3D-printed clamshell design casing, held together by repurposed hinges from a GameBoy Advance SP. Its internals is made from OEM components that people can buy individually online. The result is a miniature 90s desktop computer, complete with noisy, clacking mechanical keys. However, instead of a chunky CRT (cathode-ray tube) monitor, the Penkesu utilizes an awkwardly stretched-out 400x12800 'widescreen' touch display.
The Penkesu runs on a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, which is a $15 1Ghz quad-core CPU with 512MB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.2 and WiFi connectivity. While those specs might sound underwhelming, there's a surprising amount of things one can do with such a computer. This includes programming, web browsing, building networks between other IoT devices and even playing thousands of retro games, to name a few. In addition, the handheld computer's built-in touchscreen and keyboard give users immediate access to the Raspberry Pi's massive library of apps without needing to hook up to any external peripherals such as mice or monitors.
There aren't any plans to mass-produce the Penkesu yet, but its creator made the project open source, so those interested can build their own. Its individual parts amount to under $200, and those interested can find detailed explanations of its construction process and blueprints on its website. Sure, the Penkesu's makeshift parts look janky enough to fit in a Cyberpunk universe, but being able to finally fit those enormous 90s era desktops in one's hands without modernizing its look is one of the reasons why many still find retro-tech so appealing.
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Kyle Encina is a writer with over five years of professional experience, covering topics ranging from viral entertainment news, politics and movie reviews to tech, gaming and even cryptocurrency. During his free time, he indulges in composing melodies, listening to inspiring symphonies, physical activities, writing fictional fantasies (stories) and of course, gaming like a madman!