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July 21 2019

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Thread Author: Chiba3010
Thread ID: 4282
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There are 49 posts in this thread, and it has been viewed 18545 times.
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GCW Zero: New handheld puts the Neo Geo X to the test
Many thanks to Merlin for bringing this project to our attention! Clap

The GCW Zero is a powerful new open-source handheld gaming system that looks to potentially beat the NGX at its own game in terms of hardware muscle and massive ROM libraries available immediately should it be released. Looks very promising, and GCW have been listening to feedback both online and off, to make adjustments, upgrades and improvements during it's development.

It's essentially ready for production and set up a fundraising project with Kickstarter to finance its manufacturing and release.

You can check out all the details and specs on the GCW Zero's homepage here:

And the Zero's Kickstarter page here:

It's got strong momentum but still a ways to go before reaching it's target. I've already made a pledge and recommend anyone who'd like to see this released consider doing the same if they can.

Keeping my fingers crossed for a release! Pray
I snagged a Caanoo before GPH went under. It was a great investment. I still play it all the time, I just wish it hadn't had such a short run. I will keep this in mind if something happens to my plaything, though. The fact that it has so much hardware built in is nice, I just hope the OS is a bit better than the caanoo. The wifi for the caanoo is pretty pointless as there was not much software made for it. It's got a bunch of decent emulators, though, and people are still working on programs for it. I wish the Zero a good long run. I like the fact that it has a normal D-pad instead of only an analog, as well. Fighters take a bit of getting used to on the caanoo.
I have a Caanoo as well. It's a nice little system that I primarily use for arcade gaming via MAME. While it emulates some (mostly older) arcade games nicely, many others require frustrating amounts of time adjusting settings, their combinations and over clocking to reach a tolerable level of optimization. Truth be told, I've spent more time optimizing games on my Caanoo than actually playing them. If the hardware was more powerful and well-designed, none of this would be necessary. Add to that the crashes, bugs, short battery life, and strangely placed speakers, the Caanoo fell short of my expectations. Still a good machine, just eccentrically designed and great for playing select titles that actually run smoothly with minimal sacrifice.

Thus far, the GCW Zero looks like the handheld I hoped the Caanoo would be. Better in so many aspects. It could handle a bigger library of Neo tiles and play them just as well as the NGX, and on a proportionally accurate 4:3 screen at that! Thumbs Up

Don't get me wrong, the Caanoo is great but the Zero seems poised to deliver a superior, more authentic experience- for me that's a top priority.
Thanks for creating this thread Chiba. Thumbs Up

Although I don't plan to buy one of these it does seem like a great handheld for retro gaming. Looks like they will reach the kickstarter funding target.


Despite some games running a bit slower than they should and occasional crashes I'm overall quite happy with my Caanoo. The build quality is very good and I like the analog thumbstick.
Weird, I have very long battery life. About 5 hours at 700+ MHz. As far as the emulators go, that's just the programming. It's not the caanoo that's at fault there, it's the lack of support it got. The version of MAME for it is freaking terrible, and even the NG emu rom sets are hit or miss, looking for old versions of sets that are impossible to find. FBA works pretty damn good, though. You are right about some tuning needing to be done, but it's not THAT bad. I also wish the GBA emulator was not so freaking slow, but it's not been worked much at all. Most of the emulators for caanoo are just ports from the Wiz. Also, try turning off the scaling in your emulators. You'll get better performance and you'll probably find the black border easily ignorable. Open source projects always rely on the community, and I really hope the Zero takes off. GPH was in over their heads when they released the caanoo, and I don't even know if I'd want to be the one porting or making emulators for the machine I manufactured either. That's a fine line to tread.
Don't get me wrong- overall, I'm happy with the Caanoo and have no regrets about buying it. The hardware is quite decent but in terms of processing power and internal memory resources, it's limits become clear. I agree that MAME4ALL isn't great. That said, being forced to sacrifice sound quality for a tolerable framerate and overclocking the CPU to 750 just to get things running decently is most certainly relevant to the strength of the hardware, too. The Caanoo is more fantastic than it is flawed, with much potential that will sadly never be realized. Regarding battery life, on mine it only lasts a few hours (at best) playing a game overclocked to 750. If other units enjoy longer life at these settings, perhaps it's a problem specific to the one I have.

Regardless, the GCW Zero seems like the logical next step forward, picking up where the Caanoo left off. I'm hoping it's superior hardware and development team's commitment to ongoing support will provide smooth, accurate emulation without all the time consuming adjustments and design which implements only features (tilt-control, TV connectivity, etc.) that are useful and fully-functional.

If the Kickstarter fundraising continues to gain new supporters to fuel its momentum, all questions will be answered upon its launch in March.
The caanoo does have TV out and motion sensors. You can TV out ANYTHING on the caanoo, but very few programs used the motion controls. Good luck finding the cables at this point, though. I snagged some a year ago. And maybe the Zero will remedy the weird proprietary cables that the caanoo uses as well Pfft I have NO idea why there's not a standard USB cable or TV out for the things.
Right, the Caanoo does indeed have the features I mentioned, but as you mentioned, they don't work very well and are largely unsupported in both form and function. That's precisely the issue I meant to convey.:(

Unlike GPH, the GCW team is committed to actively supporting and improving the Zero going forward and avoiding the pitfalls suffered by the Caanoo. That's a big plus!
Kickstarter fundraiser currently at over $122,000 of the $130,000 goal with 7 more days to go. Looks like this is going to happen! Not only that, but three "stretch goals" have been added, each featuring a new accessory (mini USB to OSB OTG adapter, mini HDMI cable and carrying pouch) to be included with each system should they be reached. Grin

Here's a video showing the Zero's emulation of some great titles including Darkstalkers, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, KOF '99 and Aliens vs. Predator:

My Caanoo has been getting a lot more attention in anticipation of all of this, managed to optimize a few more MAME titles to very nice performance levels! Thumbs Up
Edited by Chiba3010 on 22. January 2013 01:47
No matter the hardware this thing has it won't be able to match the controller of the NGX.
Time will tell, can't really say that with certainty until you've held both machines in your hands but either way I still plan to get the NGX when it's released as a stand-alone unit. Hopefully they'll have ironed out the "kinks" people have been complaining about and have more titles available by then.
No, I think I can say that with certainty. The thumb stick on the NGX is just as good as the one on the NGPC which is perfect for fighting games. D-Pads just don't do it as well unless you are you are using a joystick.

Though I have been watching videos of this thing, and I'm really interested. Almost to the point where I'm willing to drop the money on the kickstarter, but I don't want to take the chance that I'll never get the product. Through that website there is always the chance that you won't get anything for your money. So I'll just have to wait and see what happens.
It's my first experience with Kickstarter, too. For what it's worth, your money is refunded should the fundraising not reach its goal (which I predict will happen within the next 48, if not 24 hours) so you won't lose any of it.
Oh wow really... I thought they get to keep the money anyway. That's cool I'll have to see if I can get away with it then.
Alright! Grin As predicted, the Zero has already surpassed its fundraising goal by nearly $10,000 with six days still to go. Now that its release is guaranteed, all that's left to do is see how many "stretch goals" can be reached so more accessories will ship with the system...

@Daraku: Yeah, I had the same worry about lost investment until I looked into it and discovered that that was not the way Kickstarter operated, at least not in this particular case.
Edited by Chiba3010 on 22. January 2013 23:55
I'll be buying one of these on Thursday Wink
Looks pretty solid and has a dedicated team behind it which means, a lot of support & love.
@Salvio007: Excellent. Thumbs Up Gonna be a long wait until these ship in March. Heard there's a chance that the first run will see release in late February.

@Daraku: Hope you can snag one for yourself before the fundraiser ends! I don't know how long it will be before the Zero will be available for those who didn't guarantee a unit through Kickstarter.
Chiba3010 wrote:
@Daraku: Hope you can snag one for yourself before the fundraiser ends! I don't know how long it will be before the Zero will be available for those who didn't guarantee a unit through Kickstarter.

Yeah, that's what I'm worried about. But, I'm a poor student with no job so I have to play it safe.
Fundraising has surpassed $175,000 and is still going strong. Three more days left. I'd love to see this hit the $200K mark and reach the third (and final) remaining "Stretch Goal". Wink

Some MAME, FBA emulation and Quake 2 on the Zero:

Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse both have a hell of a time chugging along acceptably on my Caanoo, nice to see them running smoothly with synched audio on the Zero! Thumbs Up
It's done. Kickstarter raised an impressive $238,498 from 1,680 backers to fund the GCW Zero's debut production run. Clap

The final amount surpassed multiple "Stretch Goals" so we'll see a number of accessories ship with the system. I'll be watching my mailbox in March and will post here as soon as my Zero arrives with photos and first impressions as well as any interesting news or announcements in the meantime! Joe
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