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A look at my old laptop

Currently Feeling: mellow

I love tea

I've mentioned that I have an old laptop that I do most of my web development on in various places, but I thought it'd be nice if I went over its specs and why I use it. I think it's pretty important to minimize the amount e-waste I generate for a lot of reasons, and one of the ways I do that is by trying resurrect old hardware. Now, I didn't rescue this particular laptop off of the street or anything; I actually bought it new from the vendor when I had nothing else to work on. But instead of throwing it out after Windows 7 was clearly causing more issues than solutions, I decided to throw Linux on it instead of calling it trash. So far, my experience with it has been pretty great, and I'm glad I kept it around.

My old HP Pavilion dv7, decorated with stickers

Click the link below to see what it's on it and how I use it from day to day.

My desktop with the neofetch program displaying all specs in the terminal. Don't worry, I'll go over these via text in the body of the post

Hardware Specs

  • Model: HP Pavilion Dv7

  • Processor: Intel i5 M 460 2.399 Ghz

  • GPU: AMD ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650

  • Memory: 6GB

  • HD: 1TB 2.5 drive

OS and Important Software

  • Linux Mint 20.3 64-bit

  • Desktop Environment: Cinnamon

  • Libre Office

  • Inkscape

  • Krita

  • Filezilla

  • Thunderbird

  • Sublime Text

  • Mozilla Firefox

  • gPodder

  • Wine

  • Godot Engine

  • GB Studio


  • Minetest (Open source Minecraft clone)

  • SuperTuxKart

  • Super Tux

  • FreeRCT (Open source roller coaster tycoon clone)

  • mGBA (Gameboy Advance emulator)

  • Frozen Bubble 2 (Bubble Bobble clone)

  • ScummVM (Adventure game engine)

  • Maelstrom

  • Micropolis

  • Gargoyle (Interactive Fiction interpreter)

  • Pingus (Lemmings clone)

The inside of this behemoth. She may be laughed at by many, but she's beautiful to me

Back when I purchased this thing, HP would let you upgrade certain parts if you wanted to. I did a lot of gaming, but had no money to get a gaming PC, so I opted to add an AMD chipset for upgraded video capability, and then basically gave me a low-end gaming laptop. It wasn't a powerhouse even then, but I did a lot of gaming on this thing, and it performed pretty great considering what I paid (I think it was around $700 back in the day). The only real issue I've had with it is that this particular line of the Pavilions had a terrible left hinge problem. It would seize up and sometimes ended up taking the plastic casing with it. When I started to have problems with mine, I opened up the case and removed the hinge entirely (the right one is still there), so it's now a bit fragile on that side, but otherwise it works fine.

Closeup of where I removed the hinge Here's what it looks like when I close it

One of the things I really like about it is that it's kind of huge. It's large enough to have a 10-key numpad on keyboard, and the large screen was meant (at the time of release) for viewing movies and videos. Oh, did I mention this thing has a DVD player and recorder? That's how you know it's old. I'm still tied to physical media in a lot of ways, so having a disc drive is always a plus for me. I spent a bit extra to get one for my desktop PC too, and I don't regret it.

Laptop from above. Just because it's old, doesn't mean it's trash

It's not the speediest thing I've ever had, but it's allowed me to get used to Linux, and I've not really encountered much that I can't do on it. Installing Linux Mint was super easy, and in stark contrast to most of the other machines I've had, everything "just worked" first try. Of course, since then I've run into snags here and there, usually relating to specific drivers for the AMD chipset I have. It's so old that it's not really supported much, so it doesn't do me a whole lot of good now. Still, I'm no longer using this PC as a gaming machine, nor do I do any video editing on it. For 80% of my work, it gives me no problems.

Honestly I'm not the first person to try something like this. There are a few other folks that have talked about the same thing (The Internet Cheapskate is one, and Onio's 50 dollar club is another). I'm sure there are tons more, but now you know I've been throwing my hat into the ring too, and you've gone an idea of what I used to create almost all of this website :-) Hope it was entertaining!


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MakoMako5 on :

This was a fun read, it reminded me of my old laptop and how I used to play so many games on it despite all of them running terribly on it.

Bekah on :

Glad you enjoyed it! And yeah, you don't need the newest and greatest to have a great time gaming, even if they don't run the fastest.

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