The NucDeck Is The Newest DIY Steam Deck Alternative On The Block


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The NucDeck project by Dan McKenzie aka CNCDan is a new DIY Windows-based handheld that aims to offer a unique alternative to the SteamDeck.

Much like other DIY projects we’ve covered here on Retro Dodo, like the DIY PlayDate Camera or the DIY Nintendo DS Mod the Xipher DS Slab

The fun in a project like this is that you literally have your hands on in every part of its construction.

So if you’ve got the time and the skills, here is how you can have a NucDeck of your own.


NucDeck - first look images
Source: Dan McKenzie

The NucDeck’s hardware is built around NUC (Next Unit of Computing) miniature PC units by Intel.

Much like Raspberry Pi computers, these serve as a perfect starting point to build just about anything that needs a computer inside.

In our particular world, they also make for a great base to a custom handheld gaming console.

Dan McKenzie explains in his introduction video that he wanted to make a form factor that could leverage a range of Nuc boards, no matter what your budget.

Of course, the next step was to actually design the console’s shell and incorporate controllers and all the additional components to make it more… handheld like.

The NucDeck features a 7 inch display, as well as a miniature display for power monitoring and controller configurations.

And the entire design stems from the NUC Intel Core-i5 CPU with 16GB of RAM that Dan has chosen for his test model.

NucDeck - CTR gameplay
Source: Dan McKenzie

Since the initial introduction video released, CNCDan has released several followups showing the progress in development, the latest video premiering just yesterday.

He now has a fully working device in an absolutely beautiful shell and current tests are related to power management.

Dan is now able to get much better run times, anywhere from 1 hour to the high end systems to 3 hours on lower end systems. Of course, the aim is to optimize this before full release.

The project is in the final stretch, and should be fully available as an open source DIY collection soon.

How To Get One

CNC machine making a handheld
Source: Dan McKenzie

What makes this project most special for our readers is that you can have one for yourself. But, sadly, it wont be as easy as opening up your web browser and clicking “Buy Now!”.

If you want a NucDeck, you’ll need to head over to CNCDan’s github page and download his project files and start ordering some parts!

The final software and controller PCBs for the NucDeck are currently still in development, and will be made publicly available soon as well.

So, if you begin ordering parts now, you’ll have just enough time to start building your NucDeck by the time the rest of the files are ready.


NucDeck - Portal gameplay
Source: Dan McKenzie

We’ve seen some amazing projects born from humble DIY beginnings just like the NucDeck.

In fact, many of our favorite handheld manufacturers started as simple DIY projects just like this.

If there is any impression to have, it is that this kind of stuff is awesome and fun and encouraging to the community to keep trying new things.

So we will continue to wave the flag for the wonderful pioneers exploring the world of DIY modifications and custom creations all for the purpose of creating new ways to play games.

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