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Olimex releases new dual-processor Raspberry Pi board with retro emulation support built-in

A new board for retro emulation
Last Updated on June 26, 2024
Olimex Neo6502 Raspberry Pi board on blue gradient background
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If you use a Raspberry Pi for retro emulation, you’ll be pleased to know that Olimex has released a new board specifically designed for this purpose. Although the Raspberry Pi is a great piece of kit for retro emulation in its own right, it does lack some power. This is where the Olimex Neo6502 comes in. With its unique dual-processor system, it delivers superior processing power, which comes in handy for emulation.

What the Olimex Neo6502 offers

Unlike typical Raspberry Pi emulators that rely on software to mimic older hardware, the Neo6502 takes a different approach. It uses two processors for performance – the W65C02 and the RP2040. The W65C02 is the heart of the Neo6502 and can execute the same instruction set as the original 6502. On top of that, while most emulators rely on software to replicate the behavior of the 6502, the Neo6502 uses an actual W65C02 chip. Thanks to this, the system won’t have to assign any resources to software emulation, which will lead to better performance.

Olimex Neo6502 (Image credits: Olimex)
System-on-a-chipRP2040 with 2MB Flash
ConnectivityUEXT, 6502BUS, Audio 3.5mm, USB-C power supply, DVI/HDMI, USB-A
SoundAudio mini speaker
Dimensions80mm x 55mm
MountingFour mount holes, 3.3mm
Built-in emulator supportApple II, Oric, Commodore 64

On the other hand, the RP2040 acts as the brain of the system. It handles tasks like video outputs, USB connectivity, and memory management, and occasionally provides additional power for software emulation. Thanks to both processors, the Olimex NEO6502 can handle more emulation tasks than a regular Raspberry Pi. On top of that, it also comes with built-in support for Apple II, Oric, and Commodore 64 emulators.

Neo6502 setup

Setting up the Neo6502 is also pretty straightforward. All you have to do is connect a USB keyboard, HDMI cable, and a monitor. You don’t have to do anything else for Apple II and Commodore 64, as it comes pre-configured for them. There’s also a built-in buzzer on the board, which can act as a speaker. The best part is that the Olimex Neo6502 can be bought right now directly from its website for $32. The website also has all the manuals and other important documents about the board, so you can give them a read for more details.

Abdul is a tech writer and Editor for PC Guide, specializing in all things tech, gaming, and hardware.