My latest mod: Turn your old laptop into an 'imac' / digital picture frame

Apr 22, 2008

  1. MiL0

    MiL0
    15,437 posts
    Since Jan 25, 2002
    Not really production related but I guess some of you might appreciate this. My current laptop is basically worthless as a laptop and sits permanently on my desk. The battery last 20 minutes, the speakers and dvd/rw are broken and it has to be run in an aircon room because of the overclocking I'm using! Since I use it with an external keyboard and mouse I find that the laptop keyboard/trackpad gets literally no use and makes the screen further away from my eyes than I'd like it. This is especially annoying as it's a 17" screen running at 1920x1200 resolution so it's hard enough reading what's on the screen anyway!

    So my plan was to turn the laptop into a sort of imac or digital picture frame. If you check this website you'll see that there's quite a lot of people that have already done this but I hadn't seen any of that until after I'd taken a screwdriver to my laptop. Anyway, here's a pic of how I'm getting on:

    [​IMG]

    I'm using it like this at the moment because I haven't built a support/stand for it yet. It's already miles more useful like this though - it feels like a normal desktop pc monitor. The stand I'm designing is gonna cover the screen edes and the cables that'll hang out of the bottom so it should look pretty professional when it's done - something like this with a bit of luck, except with a base so that it can stand on its own like an imac.

    Once I've got it all done I'm gonna retire it as my studio pc and use it just for internet/movies/itunes and maybe as a dedicated vsti / spectrum analyser pc. Unlike a lot of these sorts of mods mine is fully reversable - I'm not messing with the casing or dismantling anything... just rotating the screen and putting the whole thing inside a new case.

    Anyway, yes, I'm a geek, but apart from that, thoughts? :laughing:
  2. MiL0

    MiL0
    15,437 posts
    Since Jan 25, 2002
    oh yeah, and I'm also gonna try out OSX86 on it to see how well that runs. I really like the idea of having a nice and cheap imac clone that runs iTunes properly (pc version is shit) plus I'm curious to see what Logic 8 is like heh :]
  3. mechanic System Killaz

    mechanic
    238 posts
    Since Oct 15, 2004
    nice idea...

    now just get a dock for the perfect imac illusion till running osx :pimp:
  4. MiL0

    MiL0
    15,437 posts
    Since Jan 25, 2002

    haha yeah I thought about that but I think I'll just go the whole hog and install osx86... I've come this far, no time for half measures lol

    anyway, just a final update before I go to bed... I managed to fix all the casing/fascia back into place so it looks a lot nicer now (see pic below - damn, if only it had a touchscreen!). Gonna get the wifi and stand sorted out tomorrow - will post pix when it's all done, if anyone's interested and a geek for this shit like I am lol

    [​IMG]
  5. MiL0

    MiL0
    15,437 posts
    Since Jan 25, 2002
  6. Pezno

    Pezno
    2,422 posts
    Since Sep 12, 2005
    that last picture looks :love:

    how do you get such a high resolution with your screen?
  7. MiL0

    MiL0
    15,437 posts
    Since Jan 25, 2002
    thanks - would be wicked as a tablet laptop pc wouldn't it? I might have to look into how much 17" touchscreen overlays cost heh

    The resolution looks really high because the Dell Inspiron 9300 laptop (and XPS series) has the option to spec WUXGA screens when you order. This means you get native 1920x1200 resolution on a 17" screen! Hard to read sometimes but excellent for Cubase/Photoshop.
  8. Pezno

    Pezno
    2,422 posts
    Since Sep 12, 2005
    yeah, i've got 17" but the most it goes upto is 1440 x 900

    is there anyway to make it 1920x1200?
  9. MiL0

    MiL0
    15,437 posts
    Since Jan 25, 2002
    No, LCD monitors have a native resolution that can't be changed. The only way to get a native 1920x1200 resolution on your laptop would be to replace the screen. You can probably quite easily get the part you'd need off ebay (prolly not that expensive either) and then either fit it yourself or get a computer repair shop to do it.

    1440 x 900 is still pretty good though :smil:
  10. Alkali Stanley B

    Alkali
    186 posts
    Since Jun 23, 2007
    thats lush, the last pic tops it off, love to do that with my 2 year old vaio but its my only pc and its built really sturdily so it would be a real task taking the screen apart.
  11. MAGNA BEATS

    MAGNA BEATS
    90 posts
    Since Aug 3, 2003
    That's cool man, well done. You could also turn it into a mame arcade machine! I did that and nothing beats it when a few old buddies come over!

    Keep us posted on how OSX86 goes though.
  12. MiL0

    MiL0
    15,437 posts
    Since Jan 25, 2002

    yeah man - I'm liking that idea... gonna have to get an internal bluetooth adapter so I can run the gamepads/keyboard/mouse all wirelessly.
  13. MiL0

    MiL0
    15,437 posts
    Since Jan 25, 2002
  14. Audio Oblivion ...

    Audio Oblivion
    4,827 posts
    Since Oct 24, 2001
    nice mod u bloody geek:teeth:
  15. laputa_sync Live Long and Prosper

    laputa_sync
    18,871 posts
    Since Jan 2, 2007
  16. Doktah Margerine..wtf?

    Doktah
    1,585 posts
    Since May 23, 2001
    How hard is it to flip the screen around? I've got an old gateway with similar hinges that I just use for gaming (sadly, the graphics card on it is much better than on my new laptop) It would be a little better on my desk space if I could flip it backward the way you've done yours.
  17. MiL0

    MiL0
    15,437 posts
    Since Jan 25, 2002
    on my laptop, incredibly easy.

    I can imagine it'd either be the same for you, or, next to impossible.

    it's one of those situations where it'll either work or it won't.
  18. MiL0

    MiL0
    15,437 posts
    Since Jan 25, 2002
  19. MiL0

    MiL0
    15,437 posts
    Since Jan 25, 2002
  20. InsideMan

    InsideMan
    367 posts
    Since Jun 6, 2009
    Easy,

    I have an Inspiron 9400, isn't that what you've got there?

    How easy was this mod - is there a walkthrough anywhere?

    :slayer:
  21. frantik

    frantik
    4,012 posts
    Since Dec 24, 2001
    so you just flipped the monitor around and reconnected it backwards? or you put the hinges on the underside of the laptop?

    how is the display connected to the rest of the unit? most laptops i've seen have ribbon cables that wouldn't support being swapped to the other side of the case
  22. powerstrip

    powerstrip
    1,261 posts
    Since Nov 22, 2008
    You're acting like hardware experimentation is a bad thing!
  23. MiL0

    MiL0
    15,437 posts
    Since Jan 25, 2002
    finally got round to finishing off this mod... quickly knocked together a wooden frame and mounted the whole thing at the foot of my bed. There's a power socket behind so no cables hanging down (still need to tuck in the 2 cables that are produding slightly).

    Next step is to sand it, prime it and give it a nice gloss paint job! Oh and get a pair of wireless speakers :smile:

    [​IMG]

    edit: I'm also toying with the idea of retrofitting a wii sensor bar into the frame so I can use a wiimote as a mouse. Would make using Boxee and iTunes a lot easier :slayer:
  24. MiL0

    MiL0
    15,437 posts
    Since Jan 25, 2002
    It's actually an Inspiron 9300 but they both use the same case so it should be exactly the same to mod.

    It's relatively easy actually. You need to take the whole frame off the screen and then 'invert' the brackets (unscrew them and flip em round).

    frantik - the video cable on my laptop is just a norma cable (not a ribbon) so it was very simple to get turn the screen round. The only problem was the wireless network antenna cables - they weren't long enough after the screen was flipped so I had to disconnect them. I use a LAN cable for internet so it's not a problem.

    I've got photos of the whole mod so I'm gonna do a tutorial and submit it to a few websites... should be in the next few weeks hopefully.
  25. MiL0

    MiL0
    15,437 posts
    Since Jan 25, 2002
    [​IMG]

    just ordered one of these for a fiver (my internal speakers are broken lol)
  26. Diseva

    Diseva
    12,077 posts
    Since Apr 28, 2003
    looks wicked :thumbup:

    im guessing you are going to (or have) put one of those touchscreen cover things on it?
  27. MiL0

    MiL0
    15,437 posts
    Since Jan 25, 2002
    that was my original plan but since it's mounted at the end of my bed it's probably not necessary anymore. I've got a wireless mouse/keyboard and mediacentre IR remote control which does the job pretty well. I actually had Cubase running on it the other day! Woke up, sat up in bed, opened a project and started editing some breaks... lol
  28. Diseva

    Diseva
    12,077 posts
    Since Apr 28, 2003
    ah ok

    im really quite interested in doing something like this when I move. I want a pc setup in the lounge plugged into the TV but i dont want a tower, and i dont want those silly media pcs - too many cables.
    Essentially want a digital photo frame / cinema / jukebox
  29. Doubt

    Doubt
    1,591 posts
    Since Sep 9, 2009
    [​IMG]

    That's really cool! :eek:

    Must be great for porn too :teeth: