Atari 2600 Retro Gaming Media PC Conversion With Linux Ubuntu and Emulation Station / RetroPie

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Introduction: Atari 2600 Retro Gaming Media PC Conversion With Linux Ubuntu and Emulation Station / RetroPie

Ok, for this project, I am going to turn an old and sadly dead Atari 2600 from the 70s into a working modern PC that is efficient and capable of running classic emulators for gaming, whilst being practical enough to use as a day to day computer for surfing the web, programming (for school) and running a Plex Media Server. IT needs to be energy efficient, silent and most of all, cheap to build! Good news - it's a nice easy project if you have the kit and some experience of modding

Parts list:

  • Atari 2600 "woody" - free from a bundle of stuff I swapped
  • 500GB 2.5" laptop HDD - recycled from an old laptop
  • Gigabyte N3050N-D3H Dual Core 1.6GHz Celeron Mini-ITX Board with 2x LAN, VGA, 4K HDMI
  • 2 x 2GB DDR3L 1.35V 1600Mhz RAM
  • 90W Pico PSU + DC Mains Adapter
  • USB Keyboard and mouse - from the cupboard!
  • 8GB USB memory stick - left on the desk, so "borrowed" it!
  • Random USB and audio front panel ripped out of an old PC (see pictures)

The motherboard/CPU/RAM combo I got as part of a bulk order from mini-itx.com who supply and build specialist mini PCs. You're looking around £100 for all of the above parts but you can shop around or re-use similarly sized components. This build would be easier (but much more expensive) if you used a Thin-ITX (half height ITX) board as it would entail fewer modifications.

Tools you will need:

  • A Dremel or similar cutting tool
  • A cordless screwdriver/drill
  • A sharp craft knife
  • Some motherboard offsets and screws
  • A hot glue gun or Gorilla Glue gel
  • Some mesh (optional) that you might scavenge from a PC fan dust cover

CAUTIONARY BIT!!!!!

These Atari cases use some very old and brittle plastics that shatter and burn/melt very easily. Please take care, wear eye protection and work in a well ventilated area. It does produce fumes when drilled or cut with tools. Not to mention it stinks!

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    5 Discussions

    0
    Shawson
    Shawson

    2 years ago

    Awesome mod! I just got an old broken 2600 from ebay and looking to do this but for an odroid sbc. My question is how did you suspend the switch in the correct position without the original Atari circuit board to hold it in place?

    0
    DreamDabbler
    DreamDabbler

    4 years ago

    Excuse me, but would you clarify: You took all the parts for a computer and put them into or connected them to the case of old video game, is that right? You don't use any of the other parts of the Atari and you could just as easily have used a cardboard box or something? Just from the title, I had the impression that somehow you could load Linux into the 2600 hardware and turn it into a computer dedicated to gaming. Silly me.

    0
    torbs
    torbs

    Reply 4 years ago

    Hi, it's not possible to load Linux onto an original Atari 2600 due to the completely different processor architecture and lack of storage/memory. This is a tutorial in building a PC to look like an old computer, not make an old computer run a modern operating system

    0
    DanielC225
    DanielC225

    Reply 3 years ago

    not possible with atari but i have seen people to get the linux kernel running on nintendo 64

    0
    DreamDabbler
    DreamDabbler

    Reply 4 years ago

    Yeah, thanks for spelling that out. Just a nifty retro look when you want to put your own computer together. Cool.