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If you were making the perfect pi3 build what would you do?

  • There are so many options, ideas, builds, emulators, hardware tweaks, overlays, videos, UIs it’s easy to end up with something like a Frankenstein’s monster.

    If you were going to put together the most perfect, clean, best performing retropie build out of a pi3 how would you do it? Go crazy with the details.

    Pretend you are entering this in a contest with a large cash prize on the line.

  • I am about to put together my second build. My first build was using an IKEA coffee table with a screen built in and arcade controllers but lets just say I had more fun putting it together than actually playing games on it and it mostly just sat in the corner of the living room gathering dust after moving house I had to dismantle is as I didn't have room for it.

    Now I am waiting for a busted PS1 I bought on eBay to arrive so I can fit my raspberry pi into it. So to answer you question I used to think that a stand alone arcade machine that was a bit different and quirky was the perfect thing for retro pi but now what I want is something that plays like a regular console and fits in along side the other consoles in our living room

  • @p33te

    That’s cool! How are you going to build the software?

    What emulators?
    Any specific games, how are you going to run them?
    What bezels and overlays?
    What about UI options? Specific themes? Box art?
    Any tweaks to your pi? What pi are you going to use? Will you use a pi or something else?

  • Hi,

    my imagination of a perfect build is...


    • original SNES shell
    • ControlBlock for...
    • original SNES controller
    • also PS4 controller in SNES style
    • new Controlblock extension to have more space for a...
    • dual fan cooling System
    • Samsung Evo+ SD card for best performance and a good price (I use a 64gb card)
    • Harddrive (with a I/O switch) for KODI (I have my fave movies on it) or a huge gaming library


    Alternative 1: cart with SD card
    you can have more SNES cartridges, any with a different RetroPie build or game set

    Alternative 2: functional cart bay
    somebody build in a RETRODE into a SNES combined with a RPI

    Alternative 3: dynamic label
    somebody build a RPI in a SNES with a cartridge that has a build-in screen showing the game or system marquee


    • SNES styled theme where games are shown as cartridges
    • splashvideo
    • backgroundmusic
    • launching images
    • savestate_selector and rclone_script from #Jandalf81 (very useful, even more if you have more than one RPI system at home)
    • screensaver with videosnaps
    • thebezelproject
    • retroachievements
    • cheats
    • complete gamelist with unified producer/developer/genre naming so sorting options make sense...

    Here is a picture of my build, it has most of the wanted features. Still missing some due to some issues like power consumption.


    • 8BitDo SNES-style controller with analog sticks connected over BT x4
    • A relatively large monitor over HDMI
    • A USB ROM storage drive, 2 TB
    • 2 TB SanDisk Micro SDXC UHS
    • Argon ONE case because it's awesome
    • Any keyboard and mouse
    • CanaKit PiSwitch
    • CanaKit 3.5 A PSU
    • Would run any console, theme would be Carbon
      Tell me that isn't an awesome home console. Or this handheld.
    • GBA shell, white, modded to have triggers, 4 buttons, 2 analog sticks, and an actual micro USB charge port, not Nintendo's weirdness.
    • 3 heat sinks
    • Where the cartridge would go, there are 2 USB ports.
    • The screen updated to an LCD
    • GamePadBlock behind all the controls
    • Theme would be Simple-Dark
    • Emulators would be centered around GBA, GB, GBC, SNES, NES
    • AdaFruit battery

  • Yes!

    Those are both pretty exciting!

    I love hearing other people ideas.

  • Actually just ordered a 0 W to make a handheld.

  • @tackett1980

    Hey, I am using the nbba theme but apart from that the install is pretty standard. The hardware is the bit I'm more into

  • Global Moderator

    software wise, i would use the default settings, with a mild core overclock, the nes-mini es theme, rookervik’s splash screens, and i would use the buster mesa-pi3 image for the better 3d performance, but i would hold fire on the latter until the tearing issues are fixed...

  • I built a bartop arcade and a Gameboy build, both running RetroPie from Pi3's.
    Check the links in my signature for the build-logs, I'm very happy with both builds still :) The logs contain a bunch of details.

    Both builds run the Pegasus Frontend instead of EmulationStation, and in my eyes, this frontend cannot get recommended enough. So nice. The newest versions even let you change the colors of the Frontend, making it fit even better to your build.

  • BTW can anyone give me some help for the handheld I want to build? The thread is here.

  • @AndersHP

    Pegasus looks complicated for a computer illiterate moron like me.

  • @tackett1980 I'm no coder by any means! I don't think Pegasus is complicated at all, as long as you just use the built-in theme.

  • Personally I would love to have overlays for every game with the controls displayed.

  • Activate Retro-Achievments.
    Since badges and messages appear during gameplay with the newer RA-Versions they are quite fun and addicitve :)

  • @p33te I built a bartop arcade machine. Like you said, building it was fun, really fun, but I don't have the space for it. The build process is what I'm really in for so although I at this moment think that some sort of small case and wireless controller would be smartest it doesn't sound very interesting. Right now I'm thinking about doing some sort of CRT build. That would add some extra challenge and the games we play on a Pi are all(?) originally meant to be played on CRTs.

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