Notebookcheck Logo

DIY gaming handheld with $300 Intel Core i7 Framework laptop motherboard nears completion

A YouTuber named TommyB has built a DIY gaming handheld using a Framework laptop motherboard. This board currently has a sale price of $300, and it packs an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU. With a 3D-printed body, a battery from Framework, an 8-inch touchscreen, and a custom-built controller, the project is nearing its final state.

DIY gaming handheld isn’t a new concept. We’ve seen a good number of Raspberry Pi projects that can emulate classic consoles. Then there’s the NucDeck, which packs a 7th Gen Intel Core i5 processor and has what it takes to run the well-known AAA games released before 2013. It can even run some newer titles with less demanding hardware requirements.

A project with relatively modern hardware would be the DIY Framework gaming handheld by TommyB. As for the internals, the YouTuber picked up an 11th Gen Intel motherboard that Framework offers for one of its highly repairable laptops.

TommyB specifically picked this board because it’s currently on sale and brings a reasonably capable Intel Core i7-1165G7. To keep the device up and running without being connected to a power adapter, this project uses a battery that’s made for a Framework laptop. For the screen, the YouTuber picked a Wave Share 8-inch touchscreen display, which is larger than some popular gaming handhelds, such as the Steam Deck and Asus ROG Ally (Ryzen Z1 Extreme version curr. $599.99 on Best Buy).

When it comes to the controls, TommyB wanted this DIY gaming handheld to be fully customized. So, instead of using off-the-shelf controllers, the creator opted for Hall effect joysticks and Gateron low-profile switches. They are powered by the GP2040-CE firmware running on a Raspberry Pi Pico. This firmware makes the custom controller compatible with any game with controller support.

Regarding the chassis, the gaming handheld currently has a prototype body that’s printed in PLA. TommyB custom-designed it to hold all the components inside while being ergonomic. However, as the YouTuber notes, PLA will likely deform due to heat. So, the final version will need to be printed with ABS or ABS+.

But that’s not the only unfinished part of the project. While the prototype device currently boots, its controls aren’t finalized. That is, it can’t really offer a proper handheld gaming experience. The good part is that the YouTuber is still working on it and promised to make a follow-up video. TommyB also plans to upload another video that will serve as a tutorial for anyone who wants to build this DIY gaming device. You can check out the prototype from the video attached below.


TommyB on YouTube (video embedded above) via: Minimachines

static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2024 03 > DIY gaming handheld with $300 Intel Core i7 Framework laptop motherboard nears completion
Abid Ahsan Shanto, 2024-03-20 (Update: 2024-03-20)