Modder creates ultimate version of SEGA’s last-ever console

Rebecca Hills-Duty
Modern Dreamcast

Ever wish that your retro console had some modern conveniences? One YouTuber and modder thought so, and created a Dreamcast with some handy quality-of-life updates.

Many gaming fans mourn the loss of SEGA as a console maker, and even more believe that SEGA’s final console, the Dreamcast died too soon. One YouTuber and modder agreed with this sentiment and set out to make a version of the classic console that contained a lot of modern features.

Youtuber Zac Builds had the experience to get the job done, having previously created a modernized version of the Nintendo 64.

The source console for this build was a Dreamcast version one, identifiable by the 1 in a circle located on a sticker on the bottom of the console. He stripped down the console, removing the fan, the power supply, and even the disk drive.

The next thing to be removed was the metal RF shielding and the heat spreader. This was where the first upgrade came in, as Zac replaced the old thermal compound with some modern high-performance thermal pads. Next, the tiny stock fan was replaced by a larger but quieter option from Noctua. These two measures would ensure the chips stayed cool and worked at their best for longer.

A Dreamcast for the modern age

Replacing the stock PSU is a common mod among retro fans, and Zac also took this route, instead installing a unit called the ‘Dream PSU’ device.

Anyone who owns a Dreamcast will be familiar with the annoying high-pitched beep that happens every time you turn on the console, as well as the tedious practice of having to set the date and time every time you use it. This problem is due to the failure of the CMOS battery within the console, which quickly runs out of power and stops keeping track of the time.

Zac sought to solve this annoying design flaw and replaced the battery with a battery holder so replacements were far easier to install.

Of course, since the CD drive had been removed a replacement was needed, which in this case was a board that emulated the disk drive, using a microSD card to load disk images the same as if they were real disks.

All these mods so far are fairly standard, but Zac was nowhere near done. His next ambition was to install an HDMI port, which presented some problems since the Dreamcast can usually only output RF, RCA, or VGA. This mod, however, would be a huge upgrade in terms of graphical fidelity and make the Dreamcast compatible with modern TVs. The metal RF shield came in handy here, acting as a bracket for the new board that would convert the signal into HDMI.

Zac was still not done though. Though it would be entirely possible at this stage to stuff the modded components back into the case, he decided to go yet another step further and redesign the case to better suit the mods and become smaller and more compact.

The resulting redesigned and modernized console was dubbed by Zac as the ‘Dreamcast Slim’, something which he declares was ‘stolen from us by history.’. The redesigned case was 3D printed using carbon-fiber-reinforced PLA plastic for extra strength and resilience.

The result was paired with a RetroFighters Striker DC controller, and looked astonishing, with crisp and clear graphics on a modern TV. Perhaps we can look forward to more modern versions of retro consoles in the future.

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About The Author

Rebecca is a Tech Writer at Dexerto, specializing in PC components, VR, AMD, Nvidia and Intel. She has previously written for UploadVR and The Escapist, hosts a weekly show on RadioSEGA and has an obsession with retro gaming. Get in touch at