Tools Featured in this Teardown


We're all just kids at heart, so when we found out Nintendo was relaunching the NES as a nostalgia emulator, only cuter, we were pretty stoked. What will the insides of a 2016 refresh of a 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System look like? After a bit of gaming... we're tearing down to find out!

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your NES Classic Edition, use our service manual.

More than 30 years after the release of the original NES console, Nintendo delights us with a fun-sized version of this classic.
  • More than 30 years after the release of the original NES console, Nintendo delights us with a fun-sized version of this classic.

  • This little emulator box comes along with:

    • 30 pre-installed games

    • HDMI output

    • USB port for power support

    • 1 game controller

  • Just for fun we compared a classic cartridge to this Classic Edition—they're roughly the same size. How far computers have come!

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It's playtime! We ignore the warnings about extended gaming and start opening this treasure up.
  • It's playtime! We ignore the warnings about extended gaming and start opening this treasure up.

  • We peel off some rubber feet and find standard, simple Phillips screws.

  • Lifting off the lower case, we take a look into the lid and find—nothing.

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  • Turns out everything is secured in the lower case, and "everything" isn't all that much.

  • We immediately start punching through cables.

  • A grand total of three connectors (button board, controller 1, and 2) later: Level 1 complete!

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  • The motherboard is secured under a nice metal shield, likely for heat dissipation and probably structural support.

  • De-shielded we see the mighty fields of... wait these look like chips we've seen before.

    • Allwinner R16 quad core Cortex A7 processor with a Mali-400MP2

    • 512 MB of Macronix MX30LF4G18AC-TI 4Gbit NAND Flash memory (as opposed to the Spansion branded memory found in the SNES)

    • 256 MB of SKhynix 2Gbit DDR3 SDRAM

    • AXP223 PMU

So, the flash is faster than the RAM?

George A. - Reply

  • While the console only comes with one controller, you've got the classic Player 2 option available. At least until we remove these ports!

  • The ports are the same as the one on the Wii Remote. So you can connect your Wii Classic Controller to the NES Classic.

  • We know the standard "blow on it" fix doesn't always work, so we're happy to see modularity here. Unfortunately, the USB and HDMI ports were both soldered to the motherboard.

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  • The final countdown brings us to: the button assembly!

  • This self-proclaimed daughterboard contains the (nicely labeled) power and reset button, as well as a status LED.

  • Notably missing from this console is the expansion port found in the original model. Since it never got used in the original consumer edition, probably safe to say we're not missing out on much.

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  • And now for the bonus level: controller teardown!

  • The screws on this controller are readily visible, no rubber plugs here. Inside we find: a bare board with a single connector.

    • The cable is nicely threaded inside to allow some slack, to relieve stress on the connector.

  • The front side of the board is almost as bare. A single chip, some passive components, and some contact patches for the buttons.

    • These buttons act just like many remote controls, when pressed, the button bridges the gap between the conductive paint, completing a circuit—making Mario do something cool!

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  • That's all there is! While there aren't many components, there are definitely more than 8 bits.

    • Okay, we admit, that was a pretty dumb joke.

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Final Thoughts
  • Only standard Phillips screws are used.
  • No breakable plastic clips or strong adhesive is used.
  • Many components are modular including the button board and controller ports.
  • The NES Classic ships with solid state games, this reduces the wear on the device, but means upgrades are probably not an option.
  • The HDMI and USB ports are soldered to the mainboard which makes for a more complicated repair.
Repairability Score
Repairability 8 out of 10
(10 is easiest to repair)


It would be nice to see a teardown comparison to the original NES.

Tim Briscoe - Reply

I agree completely. <3

Samantha Tigerlily -

Upgrades are definitely an option! Additional games can be flashed to the system via an app, game roms, a USB cable and a PC. Because of this, the orange minus icon, should be changed to a green checkmark.

Stephen Harbin - Reply

It is not intended by Nintendo to add games but it is definitely possible (I also flashed some extra games on it). The manufacturer does not offer any software for editing, therefore it is not red, but orange :)

Tobias Isakeit -

No picture of the back?

Sam Cornwell - Reply

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