Taking Apart The Game Boy Advance! – Tech Wave!
The Game Boy Advance was a very strong 32 bit hand held system that gave us some great games. Nintendo released the GBA after taking over the handheld market at the beginning of the 21st century.
Let’s take apart the Game Boy Advance and see what made this handheld function.
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Taking Apart The Game Boy Advance! – Tech Wave!
ah the Gameboy Advance if you were a gamer in the early 2000s you probably remember how popular this little handheld was the successor to the wildly successful Game Boy and Game Boy Color lines the gameboy advance was Nintendo's system entering the new millennium but what made the Game Boy Advance tick and how was it able to be backward compatible with the older gameboy games while playing newer games as well find out in today's episode of tech wave during the late 90s the gameboy color has been introduced to include color into the Gameboy line of handhelds however despite the upgrade graphics were still the same overall and gamers were starting to look for a little more from the little handheld Nintendo was already well at work designing a new handheld to please the more graphically demanding gamers on March 21st 2001 Nintendo introduced the 32-bit gameboy advance system the most powerful mass-marketed handheld at the time the gameboy advance would finally see its US release on june 11th of the same year and from there the system took off and never looked back nice to say this little system has a ton of character fits really well in the hand and who doesn't love that startup sound still got it the Game Boy Advance was powered by an arm 7 processor that was also used in the Nokia 6110 an older cell phone that was released a few years prior the arm 7 ran at a comfortable sixteen point four seven megahertz to keep backwards-compatibility seamless a separate z80 processor running at either four or eight megahertz was also installed so yes guys this little system technically has two processes in here now that z80 was mostly used for backers compatibility so when you put a gameboy color or a Gameboy game in it would switch over to that processor to then give it the correct speed and feel of an original Gameboy or gameboy color that's why you were able to play these games so easily on here and it played exactly the same Ram was split into several pools starting with internal ram of 32 kilobytes and vram of 96 kilobytes these were kept internal to the CPU for faster access times outside of the CPU 256 kilobytes of DRAM was used for other tasks as well the LCD used was a TFT or thin film transistor color screen provided 15 bit color depth and the ability to show 512 colors one in character mode the resolution of the screen is 240 by 160 pixels situated in a 3 by 2 aspect ratio now this aspect ratio at 3 by 2 still offers that widescreen look but it was also a little taller from bottom to top and it's funny the notes that a lot of new tablets start to go back to that for example the surface pro 3 did introduce a 3 by 2 aspect ratio going away from the 16 by 9 because when in portrait mode it is wider for things like writing notes here we go the Gameboy advanced had that aspect ratio of quite a while ago what's really amazing though is all this hardware at the time was able to be powered by two double-a batteries getting around 15 hours of gameplay so enough about the specs let's get an actual close-up look of the internals of this Gameboy Advance we'll go ahead and take it apart and see if we can locate both processors and the RAM we'll see how well we can do with that but let's get started on that guys and pull the screen out – here we go guys we'll take this apart now the one I have it works fine as you saw earlier batteries though don't have a battery door I don't know why I for some reason those always go missing but well make it work so the Gameboy Advance is one of those systems that uses those weird try wing bits why they did that I'm not sure maybe it was to prevent people from opening them but we would just were these overseas anyway other than that so you just need phillips head screwdriver this guy to get in initially so we have couple screws here that will open up and we're going to see if we can identify these processors possibly the ram if it's noticeable on here I'm not sure how noticeable it is and I'll see if I can pull that screen out as well I'm not sure if the screen is it all glued to the side but we'll see all right so right away there's not much to see here this is the back you have a cartridge slot here which is soldered down to it I assume it goes it runs the plastic through here to hold it from the other side so it doesn't get knocked off when you push up when you push a cartridge into it it also site uses this backing to help hold that as well just fine screen does plug in up here everything else is pretty straightforward though there's nothing really fancy going on this side but I do know these sides do pop off like this they are just held in because the shoulder buttons are also unlike a spring here these also just come right off I don't really need to take them off to get the board out so I'm still going to unscrew the board now and we'll see if we can get that guy out of there fortunately there's only two screws that hold it together for this board of two screws holding it in so it should just come right out what I'm going to do though is I'm going to be attached to the screen first so I don't pull on that too hard because this is a ribbon cable here most times it's either a depending on this one which one it is it's either a 32 or a 40 pin yep I can't tell I was trying to count for a second that's gonna take a while so that pulls right out of there and the whole board should now be attached from that our screens here I'll still take that screen out to me a pain to get out but I will get that out of there for now let's take a look at this board we have our speaker hanging off here that's just held in by two wires that side are there a positive and a negative which is pretty straightforward now on the other side we actually have some interesting stuff now right away you can see there's two big chips here that I know right away is our ARM processor it's actually printed right on it and it says ARM processor the other chip looks like it's RAM more than likely I'd have to look it up but it does look like a flash memory module the other processor is not obvious I was hoping it would be but it is not like blatantly obvious or anything there's a MOSFET another boss fat so I'm wondering if this is a revision or it's built into this ARM chip for the separate toe processor we can find out that shouldn't be too difficult we have to look up some of these chips on the back there so after doing some quick research guys I found that people online or talking about the coprocessor actually being integrated with this ARM chip the coprocessor being that z80 that I was talking about basically being I guess similar to like a big little configuration where you can switch to it if needed but overall the board itself is very very simple to look at obviously this is this is the RAM I double checked it everything checks out there and yes this is this is the Gameboy advanced motherboard there's not a ton to it but overall at that time awesome piece of electronics it really did its job and obviously the games we would see we're great they played awesome now let's take a look at the screen let's see if I can get it out of here without breaking it usually this is glued in in some way a-and it's not usually easy to get out of here also for comparison asides this is a gameboy color motherboard on this side this is a gameboy advance some other boards there so you can see it's not terribly different in terms of size so I'll leave that there while I pop this guy out and this is our little little screen here the 240 by 163 point or three 3:2 aspect ratio and it's just a standard screen it's not too fancy it has no backlight so it's very thin because it has no backlight now a lot of people like to add back lights to these let's just say front lights to these and that's not terribly difficult to do some people have added the AGF 101 screen to these as well which is kind of a pain to do but it looks pretty cool when it's done I guess all that's left to do guys is reassemble this so let's let's get started with that hey guys let's going to do it for this episode of tech wave I hope you enjoy taking a look at the inside of the Gameboy Advance I know I did and you know what this is one of my favorite systems ever I mean back in the day this was it playing Pokemon firered or Golden Sun there are so many good games on this system that a lot of people I didn't get to play Zelda minish cap often game so if you have not played the Game Boy Advance I recommend getting one these ones are probably like twenty to twenty-five dollars I would actually tell you though to splurge on the Gameboy Advance SP they're about forty to fifty dollars but they have a front or backlit screen depending on which one you get and it also has the ability to charge the wall you don't keep getting double eight so you played it nice time you don't have to keep going up the RadioShack to get more batteries but guys that's going to do it for today I hope you enjoyed it I will see you next time