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A Wild SteamBoy Appeared. Smach Zero. From $699...

apd_ng

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Feb 15, 2015
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I know nothing is confirmed; but with the current rumored tech, what's more powerful the Intel Core M3 in the GPDWIN2 or the Ryzen/Vega tech in the Smach?

I'm assuming the Ryzen tech blows it out of the water?
 

CazTGG

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I know nothing is confirmed; but with the current rumored tech, what's more powerful the Intel Core M3 in the GPDWIN2 or the Ryzen/Vega tech in the Smach?

I'm assuming the Ryzen tech blows it out of the water?
Even the original specs for the Smach-Z were better than the WIn 2, assuming it doesn't get an upgrade via specs confirmation. The issue, as others have suggested, is clocking such a powerful device so it doesn't draw too much power/cause too much heat in such a small device.
 

CazTGG

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UPDATE: We have a new MSRP for the device and...it's...umm...
Hi Smachers,

At this moment we're working on different areas of the project, but in this update we'd like to speak about the BOM (bill of materials) of the project and the new market price.

We had already a BOM but we have reworked it with the new team and updated it. The new BOM results in a higher production cost. RAM and SSD prices have raised a lot this year and they are increasing the production cost. Also the new SoC price is higher and other components that had not been correctly quoted make that we have to redirect the product to a higher tier.

The new market release prices will be:

SMACH Z: $699
SMACH Z PRO: $899
At first sight, we understand that those prices can look expensive but from our market research, we believe that they correspond with the device features, renewed SoC power and capabilities. SMACH is not just a console, it's an hybrid PC capable of much more. Consoles can be cheaper since the platform holders make benefits by selling games, so our device can't be compared in price with them but more with laptops or tablets.



Of course, this is a business decision that doesn't affect to the current backers. It just mean that you got the console at much more reduced price than expected. Now, we're updating Indiegogo prices to match the new market prices.

Thanks for your feedback and comments!
For the record: The Smach-Z will boast a Vega/Ryzen SoC, a 64/128 SSD for storageand 4/8GB of RAM clocked at 2133MHz on the regular and Pro model respectively. We're not sure as to how powerful the SoC will be (the current assumption is that it will use the 15w Horned Owl SoC whose specs are unconfirmed as of now) or if any components can be manually under/overclocked like the RAM but we can presume it will have to be underclocked to ensure the device doesn't drain the battery in half an hour or so. Let's assume it's more powerful than the Switch but slightly less powerful than the Xbox One, putting its power at less than Nvidia's 1030 (based on what research I did looking for the Xbone's GPU equivalent).

Just doing a quick search, a laptop going for $699 will net you something along the lines of this 940M/950M with 4GB DDR3 RAM, 256 GB SSD (You may be able to find better if you dive deeper into sales, get a refurbished laptop or use one of Dell's codes for lowering the cost of purchasing one of their laptops): https://www.amazon.com/Acer-1920×1080-Notebook-i7-6500U-Bluetooth/dp/B072MCN5SL/

At that price point, the Smach will (based on these assumptions) offer a better gaming experience than any laptop within the price range for the time being. For $899, however, you can get a laptop packing a 1050 w/8GB DDR4 RAM, 128 GB SSD and a 1 TB HDD, possibly better if you buy refurbished or open box: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834154230

At that price point, it's hard to justify getting a Smach-Z over a gaming laptop unless you're looking for portability/longevity via upgrading the device or the Smach is:
A) More powerful than my current estimations
B) More power efficient given the planned batteries they want to use is supposed to give it 5 hours of playtime that will no doubt vary per game (one of the tiers on the Indiegogo page states said tier will include a 10,000 mAh battery that will double the battery life of the Smach-Z so presumably the device will match that battery pack)
C) Receive better components for storage/RAM before launch
 

CazTGG

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UPDATE: The Smach-Z's pricing has been clarified:

In our online shop the price will be adapted to the taxes and currencies of each country, but the RRP will be the same in $ or € (699/899 for both). That's this way because in Europe we have to pay more taxes.
So the base/Pro model will cost $699 and $899 respectively, regardless of where the item is sold. One wonders how expensive the device will be in regions such as Brazil given the astronomical tariffs one must pay for consoles in that region but I digress.

As for the test boards...

Hi Smachers,

We received all the component that were missing to produce some controller boards to test and this week we have ”cooked" them. This is how it looks:


Related with that, we have been preparing some 3D of the PCB volume to work on the new mechanical improvements:


Cheers!
To clarify, they didn't burn up more components, this is just them putting together a rough design for the Smach-Z board with its incorporated components.
 

apd_ng

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Feb 15, 2015
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This thing's actually happening, I'm somewhat excited now; did they give a release window?
I was set on getting the Win2, but now, if this comes out - may have to think it over.

What are the differences between the Standard and the Pro Versions? Is it still more ram + the front camera and 4g? If I remember correctly.
 

2+2=5

The Amiga Brotherhood
Jul 28, 2011
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Damn, how can it pass from 299 to 699/899?
At least it seems it still exists.
 

GhostTrick

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Jan 11, 2012
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Damn, how can it pass from 299 to 699/899?
At least it seems it still exists.
It still exist, yet.
They raised the price, they printed a board. They have yet to fix the biggest issue since the begining:
How do they plan on using a 15w to 35w SoC to power this device in such a tiny case, fanless at that.
They can bullshit people, they cant bullshit physics.
Either way, they cant reach the promised performances in the promised case.
They'll either have to boast a big fan in a bigger device with a bigger battery or go for a lower specced SoC.
 

CazTGG

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It still exist, yet.
They raised the price, they printed a board. They have yet to fix the biggest issue since the begining:
How do they plan on using a 15w to 35w SoC to power this device in such a tiny case, fanless at that.
They can bullshit people, they cant bullshit physics.
Either way, they cant reach the promised performances in the promised case.
They'll either have to boast a big fan in a bigger device with a bigger battery or go for a lower specced SoC.
They've incorporated a fan into the design after the forum community raised concerns and put it up to a vote (you can check a few pages back for more information on that). The 15/35w SoC is still a concern if they want the device to has a battery life of five hours, especially since we don't know which one they're running beyond Vega/Ryzen (again, Horned Owl's rumored specs seems to be what they'll be running but nothing is concrete at the moment) and how well it will perform in 720/1080 gaming. The biggest issue i'm seeing is that, barring the portability, you could find a comparable gaming laptop with similar or better specs for the same price or lower so it's hard to justify a purchase unless you highly value modularity or really hate gaming on a keyboard and mouse.

Damn, how can it pass from 299 to 699/899?
At least it seems it still exists.
New SoC and SSD/RAM prices seems to be the reason, though as i've repeated multiple times, we don't know which one(s) they're using beyond the SoC using Vega/Ryzen tech and the RAM being DDR4 (laptop memory).
 

GhostTrick

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They've incorporated a fan into the design after the forum community raised concerns and put it up to a vote (you can check a few pages back for more information on that). The 15/35w SoC is still a concern if they want the device to has a battery life of five hours, especially since we don't know which one they're running beyond Vega/Ryzen (again, Horned Owl's rumored specs seems to be what they'll be running but nothing is concrete at the moment) and how well it will perform in 720/1080 gaming. The biggest issue i'm seeing is that, barring the portability, you could find a comparable gaming laptop with similar or better specs for the same price or lower so it's hard to justify a purchase unless you highly value modularity or really hate gaming on a keyboard and mouse.


15w is still a huge concern, even with a fan. GPD Win with a fan is reaching high temps with a 4.5-6w TDP.
And 15W is the optimistic figure because their SoC choice was more of a 35W one.
They announced they'd be using a Ryzen/Vega SoC. Which one ? When ? Does it even exist beyond an AMD roadmap ?
 

Lonely1

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Who's funding all this btw? It can't be the backers, as they are going to lose money on each unit delivered at those prices.
 

CazTGG

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15w is still a huge concern, even with a fan. GPD Win with a fan is reaching high temps with a 4.5-6w TDP.
And 15W is the optimistic figure because their SoC choice was more of a 35W one.
They announced they'd be using a Ryzen/Vega SoC. Which one ? When ? Does it even exist beyond an AMD roadmap ?
Again, that's my main concern: They burned through their last batch of SoCs (Merlin Falcon) so that raises some issues as to whether they're be able to keep them from overheating, especially when you consider how they've yet to detail the exact specs of the new SoC. It's possible they're under an NDA since they were reluctant to even announce their usage of the new SoC before that particular Kickstarter update, but we can speculate. Assuming they are using the Horned Owl SoC and the leaks that occurred earlier this year are accurate, the 4-core/8-thread SoC will have a scalable TDP between 15-65W and 11 CUs (for some perspective, the 580 has a maximum of 36 CUs with a draw of 185w).

Who's funding all this btw? It can't be the backers, as they are going to lose money on each unit delivered at those prices.
They're well aware of that and aren't charging backers for the extra cost. In addition, their new partners won't be raising their current costs of development. Mind, before they can worry about lost profits on every backed unit there needs to be an item to ship for backers to receive.

Someone's gotta change that thread title now.
Smach-Z: 699 Smach-eroonies
 

Lonely1

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They're well aware of that and aren't charging backers for the extra cost. In addition, their new partners won't be raising their current costs of development. Mind, before they can worry about lost profits on every backed unit there needs to be an item to ship for backers to receive.
How I see it, they are going to lose money on each unit shipped to backers, let alone what they have already spent on R&D. Something similar happened to Pandora, they finished the product and started shipments, but went bankrupt before they could ship all units, thus I lost my €350. And Pandora didn't had a middle of development SoC change that increased the production costs, and had more more realistic target specs. The preorder money simply wasn't enough to cover R&D + actual production.
 

efyu_lemonardo

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Why would they ?
Comparing orange and apples here. This product price has no correlation yet because they dont even provide concrete specs.
That's still enough to make the point that Switch couldn't have been much more powerful without a significant price increase.
 

GhostTrick

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Jan 11, 2012
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That's still enough to make the point that Switch couldn't have been much more powerful without a significant price increase.



Mh no ?
You're basically arguing about Apples based on Oranges.
The Smach Zero is a product that doesn't exist yet, without any concrete specs. You're basically saying:
"You see this inexistant product with a troubled past which lost its current partner and with no known specs ? It's the proof Switch couldn't be more powerful without a significant price increase !"
 

efyu_lemonardo

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Jun 19, 2011
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Mh no ?
You're basically arguing about Apples based on Oranges.
The Smach Zero is a product that doesn't exist yet, without any concrete specs. You're basically saying:
"You see this inexistant product with a troubled past which lost its current partner and with no known specs ? It's the proof Switch couldn't be more powerful without a significant price increase !"
Fair enough.
It at least demonstrates that it was a difficult product to deliver in this particular instance, which is better than zero empirical proof. But not by much.
 

CazTGG

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How I see it, they are going to lose money on each unit shipped to backers, let alone what they have already spent on R&D. Something similar happened to Pandora, they finished the product and started shipments, but went bankrupt before they could ship all units, thus I lost my €350. And Pandora didn't had a middle of development SoC change that increased the production costs, and had more more realistic target specs. The preorder money simply wasn't enough to cover R&D + actual production.
Didn't Pandora eventually become the Dragonbox Pyra? Regardless, Pandora didn't have the major backing of AMD who helped out Team Smach after the ImasDebacle and the overall costs of development aren't increasing. The cost of production once the device has been constructed and successfully tested may have increased from their original budget but not to the extent that one should expect backers to be burned and have bankrupted the company. In short: If this fails, it won't be due to the increased cost, it'll be because of comparable offerings one can find when looking for a gaming laptop.
 

CazTGG

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For those wondering about, CEO Daniel Fernandez has gone into more detail about the Smach-Z's profit margin/investors and how much they need to sell to become profitable and how much they have in terms of funding the first batch:

I don't know about Sony or Nintendo costs but we're not selling SMACH Z at loss. We have enough margin to make the business profitable by selling ”just" 10,000 units, so you don't have to worry about that. And of course, crowdfunding money is not all the money, otherwise it wouldn't be possible to develop such big project.

We plan two prototype iterations, I don't know yet if we'd be able to send some of them to backers, it'll depend on the amount of AMD SoC chips that we will be able to obtain for those prototypes (probably we will have only a few and we won't be able to send them around)

At this moment we don't have the money in the bank to produce 10,000 units, but our investors don't see problems to obtain it when production will start.
The "selling it at a profit" portion seems unnecessary since...well, how would Team Smach make money selling the Smach-Z if they were selling these units at a loss given that the add-ons have been largely left without detail in terms of progress, let alone how low the attachment rate will likely be? In any case, it's going to be interesting to see if Team Smach can sell that initial 10K units they need given how much negative attention they've received since the ImasD debacle. Maybe get one over to Digital Foundry and have them to put the device to the test i.e. is it really that close to the Xbone in terms of raw power?
 

CazTGG

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Kickstarter update (September):

Most of it is what we've already seen via previous forum updates with one exception: We now have a better idea as to when we will be receiving updates on the project, as most of the non-forum updates have been performed on a monthly basis.

Now that we had time to analyze in detail the new SoC information and we have started work on integration, we’ve been able to better plan the project. However, it’s going to be revised and updated next week with our latest progress and information, so we prefer to wait until then to share it with you.

Once we have the project plan updated with final dates, we will also update our Indiegogo campaign with the new prices.

Thanks for your support!
In addition to changing the Indiegogo campaign in the near future to reflect the price increase, they also addressed the pricing concern:

From our market research, we believe that they correspond with the device features, renewed SoC power and capabilities. SMACH is not just a console; it’s an hybrid PC capable of much more. Consoles can be cheaper since the platform owners make profits by selling games. Our device can’t be compared in price with them but more with laptops or tablets.



Of course, this is a business decision that doesn’t affect to the current backers. It just means that you got the console at much lower price.
Leaving aside the fact that we don't know how powerful the device will be with the new SoC (again, the assumption is the Horned Owl), i've already pointed out that you can find gaming laptops that can play 1080p without a problem for $700-900 USD so i'm not sure where they got the price point(s) they did for the above.
 

nampad

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Wish I could trust these guys to actually deliver but the possibility of this being a trick just to get some last minute indiegogo sales at the old price sounds more plausible.
 

SharkJAW

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I almost forgot about this project. I see that the specifics on SoC will be a bit more of a wait. Isn’t there a 2 Zen core mobile APU in the works? Banded Kestrel, I believe. Maybe that could provide a more efficient, battery friendly option. I guess we’ll see what they’ve decided on soon enough.
 

CazTGG

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I almost forgot about this project. I see that the specifics on SoC will be a bit more of a wait. Isn't there a 2 Zen core mobile APU in the works? Banded Kestrel, I believe. Maybe that could provide a more efficient, battery friendly option. I guess we'll see what they've decided on soon enough.
The current rumor is that they're using the Horned Owl for the SoC given it's primed to be the Merlin Falcon's successor for AMD's R-series SoCs and thus may not require as much work to implement compared to Kestrel. Its specs are not confirmed, but there was a leak that suggested it would be significantly more powerful than their previous SoC, at least on paper: https://overclock3d.net/news/cpu_mainboard/leaked_amd_roadmaps_reveal_more_about_zen-based_apus/1

It's more likely they'll go with the Horned Owl over Kestrel since the latter's leaked specs would only allow for 1 stick of DDR4 RAM (same speeds, but that's besides the point). In addition to promotional material showing a test board with 2 sticks of RAM, one of the Smach-Z models will come with 16GB of RAM. While 16GB laptop RAM do exist, they're more expensive than going with 2 sticks and, given the extra costs of the ongoing legal dispute between them and ImasD, one would imagine the team would want to save as much money as possible on production. Thus, it's more likely they'd go with making a model that allows them to use at least 2 sticks of RAM.
 

DESTROYA

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UPDATE

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Smach-Z-handheld-gaming-PC-to-integrate-AMD-s-Ryzen-V1000-embedded-CPU.285008.0.html

SMACH Z

“The introduction of the SMACH Z handheld console will create new opportunities for portable gaming devices, enabling users to play AAA titles at HD framerates, delivering desktop-quality power and graphics in the palm of players’ hands,” said Daniel Fernandez, chief executive officer, SMACH. “By leveraging the new AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000 with superior graphics capabilities and mega processing power in our console, we are ready to revolutionize the on-the-go consumer gaming experience.”

http://ir.amd.com/news-releases/news-release-details/amd-launches-epyctm-embedded-and-ryzentm-embedded-processors-end
 
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Hulk_Smash

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Anyone else fell like the Switch has stolen a lot of potential market share from this thing. I mean it’s cool but it’s going to be fairly expensive for something that plays 2-3 year old games and indies (something the switch already does).
 

DESTROYA

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No matter how good or great the switch is it cannot play PC games just some ports of console games that happen to be on PC.
 

Hulk_Smash

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No matter how good or great the switch is it cannot play PC games just some ports of console games that happen to be on PC.
Oh I understand the appeal. I want one! But, the switch certainly will scratch some of that itch. It does for me. Now I have fantastic games on the go plus my friends can play with me plus I can hook it up to my tv. So, I’m less likely to want to buy ANOTHER $300 system just to play on the go.

On the other hand, instant access to dozens of games I already own is pretty enticing. I want to wait and see what features it will end up with and if it will play the majority of the games I own reatlively smoothly.