Tools Featured in this Teardown

Introduction

In honor of the 20th anniversary of its release, I decided to give the Nintendo 64 a proper teardown, and take a look inside the legendary console that defined a generation.

This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Nintendo 64, use our service manual.

The Nintendo 64 was Nintendo's third home console. Released in 1996 for the US and Japan, the N64 boasted 64-bit graphics for the most realistic gaming experience ever made. The N64 was co-developed by Nintendo and Silicon Graphics.
  • The Nintendo 64 was Nintendo's third home console. Released in 1996 for the US and Japan, the N64 boasted 64-bit graphics for the most realistic gaming experience ever made. The N64 was co-developed by Nintendo and Silicon Graphics.

    • NEC VR4300 64-bit CPU, running at 93.75 Mhz

    • Silicon Graphics Reality Coprocessor (RCP) GPU

    • 576i (720×576) Composite output

    • Support for up to 4 players

Add Comment

Let's take a look at the I/O, shall we? 4 N64 controller ports Nintendo 64 Game Pak slot
  • Let's take a look at the I/O, shall we?

    • 4 N64 controller ports

    • Nintendo 64 Game Pak slot

    • Composite video cable port

    • N64 power supply port (12V/3.3V DC switching)

Add Comment

Let's begin by removing the top cover. I removed the 6 Gamebit 4.5mm screw found at the 4 corners and near the top-middle and bottom-middle. Using a metal spudger, I take out the Jumper Pak from its slot, and set it aside.
  • Let's begin by removing the top cover.

  • I removed the 6 Gamebit 4.5mm screw found at the 4 corners and near the top-middle and bottom-middle.

  • Using a metal spudger, I take out the Jumper Pak from its slot, and set it aside.

Add Comment

Black Friday
Broken doesn't stand a chance.
I flip the console upright, and the top cover just comes right off. I remove the 10 crossbar screws using a Philips #2 screwdriver. I take out the 2 screws holding in one piece of the expansion slot shield, also with a Philips #2
  • I flip the console upright, and the top cover just comes right off.

  • I remove the 10 crossbar screws using a Philips #2 screwdriver.

  • I take out the 2 screws holding in one piece of the expansion slot shield, also with a Philips #2

  • The 2 black screws and the one at the bottom left of the expansion slot shiled are easily removed with a Philips #2.

  • Finally, I remove the 2 long screws from the 2 ends of the slot with a Philips #0.

Add Comment

I then remove the 3 pieces of the expansion slot shield. Make sure to remove these pieces BEFORE removing the heatsink crossbar. Make sure to remove these pieces BEFORE removing the heatsink crossbar.
  • I then remove the 3 pieces of the expansion slot shield.

    • Make sure to remove these pieces BEFORE removing the heatsink crossbar.

Add Comment

The heatsink crossbar comes right off, which gives us access to the motherboard shield. The 5 screws on the two sides of the shield are swiftly removed with a Philips #2 The 2 screws on each side of the Game Pak slot are quite long, and are removed with a Philips #2.
  • The heatsink crossbar comes right off, which gives us access to the motherboard shield.

  • The 5 screws on the two sides of the shield are swiftly removed with a Philips #2

  • The 2 screws on each side of the Game Pak slot are quite long, and are removed with a Philips #2.

  • With that, the shield slips right off, letting us gaze at the Nintendo 64's source of power.

Add Comment

On the motherboard are 3 very pronounced steel blocks, which indicates that the important stuff is under there. But before I remove these, I decide it would be best to take the motherboard out of the bottom case. In order to remove the motherboard, I unscrew the 4 Philips #2 screw from the two back I/O ports, allowing me to take out the motherboard.
  • On the motherboard are 3 very pronounced steel blocks, which indicates that the important stuff is under there. But before I remove these, I decide it would be best to take the motherboard out of the bottom case.

  • In order to remove the motherboard, I unscrew the 4 Philips #2 screw from the two back I/O ports, allowing me to take out the motherboard.

Add Comment

Using my Pro Tech Toolkit's Jimmy, I pry off each chip's heatsink, revealing the console's processing units. Nintendo CPU-NUS-A
  • Using my Pro Tech Toolkit's Jimmy, I pry off each chip's heatsink, revealing the console's processing units.

    • Nintendo CPU-NUS-A

    • Nintendo RCP-NUS

    • Nintendo RDRAM18-NUS-B (2x2MB modules)

Did some research, apparently you don't want to pry off the heatsinks if you plan to put the unit back together and don't have thermal pad replacements (the rubbery squares between the chips and the heatsinks that's holding it together), otherwise some small gaps will form between the chips and the heatsinks when reassembling, which is obviously bad for cooling.

Raphael Thoulouze - Reply

And there it is: the Nintendo 64, torn down.
  • And there it is: the Nintendo 64, torn down.

Add Comment

Christian Marmolejos

Member since: 11/21/2016

221 Reputation

1 Guide authored

0 Comments

Add Comment

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 12

Past 7 Days: 90

Past 30 Days: 2,040

All Time: 4,010