CARG Laptop – Retro Gaming Comes Cheap

Fedora 26 Cinnamon login screen

After watching LGR’s video about building a retro gaming machine with other YouTubers, I saw in the background many games I fondly remembered from my youth. And seeing how other retro gamers do their thing inspired me to give it a shot as well. Because who doesn’t need another YouTuber aimlessly babbling on about days of computer past … And it’s not as if I had nothing better to do …

The Background

What does “CARG” stand for?  Cheap Ass Retro Gaming.  That’s what I do, ever since I was a kid.  My family wasn’t that well off, and I never had a budget to spend on a powerful computer or latest games.  So I survived on ramen noodles, warm hoodies and shareware games.

The Hardware

HP ProBook 6460b
HP ProBook 6460b

My path to retro gaming glory is going the emulation route on a laptop. My weapon of choice being a second-hand 14″ HP ProBook 6460b laptop which I had lying around, specced out as follows:
– Intel Core i5-2430M CPU @ 2.40GHz
– 16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM (upgraded from the stock 4GB)
– Seagate 500GB SMART SATA II hard drive
– Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
– Intel 6 Series / C200 High Definition Audio Controller

The only other thing I have done to upgrade this laptop is get a new battery for it, as the original battery was barely functional.  It would only power the laptop for about five minutes before dying. This model was originally released around September 2011, and is commonly available through eBay and various tech refurbish places.  It will set you back around $250-$300 for a good quality specimen, without the RAM upgrade and battery replacement.

The Operating System

I’m running Fedora 26, for no other reason than Linux is free and I run a virtualised CentOS server so keeping the family together. The latest version of the Fedora family, release 27, does not yet have graphics support through Intel. I am using the Cinnamon desktop respin of Fedora, as I find it more intuitive than the default Gnome 3 desktop.  Download the ISO file for Fedora 26 with Cinnamon directly from here.

Installation is pretty straighforward.  The disk is a live DVD, meaning you can run Fedora directly from the DVD rather than installing it first.  A convenient “Install to Hard Drive” is placed on the live disk desktop.  Select your language, check the installation confirmation page, set an admin (“root”) password and create a user account.  Pretty easy, huh?

Like Windows, Fedora requires occasional updates – dnfdragora is the tool that does this.  Open the dialogue box, check all of the entries, confirm the dependencies and enter the root password – simple.

What’s Next?

We now have an up-to-date, stock standard Fedora 26 Cinnamon laptop, ready to convert into a retro gaming machine.  Next up, we’ll install DOSBox and start running old DOS games.  Can’t wait!