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 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


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!

Trash to Treasure Challenge

Participated in the
Trash to Treasure Challenge