Smashed Laptop Becomes Stylish All-In-One

Many of us will have broken a laptop at one point or another, destroying the screen or smashing the case. It can be frustrating, as there’s a perfectly usable computer in there, trapped inside a broken husk of a body. [Matthew] saw this not as a problem, but an opportunity – and built a beautiful all-in-one desktop PC. (Video, embedded below.)

With a badly damaged Thinkpad laptop to hand, an ASUS monitor was sourced with a thin body and flat back, perfect for mounting hardware. An MDF base was created, on to which the laptop motherboard was mounted. A USB hub and audio amplifier were then added, along with a USB power isolator and soundcard to avoid problems with groundloops from the onboard headphone output. Speakers were Harman Kardon units salvaged from an old television, providing great quality sound for the build.

There’s plenty of great ideas in the video, from using epoxy for a strong permanent assembly, to a nifty hack to make the power button work. It has us contemplating a build for our own broken laptops in the junkpile. We’ve seen other creative all-in-one builds too, like this one inside a printer.

15 thoughts on “Smashed Laptop Becomes Stylish All-In-One

  1. I have done this before with another Asus Laptop model. But I have a problem, i can not go into BIOS configuration, because it only shows on the internal display, not on a display on the VGA Port. Does anyone have a solution?

    1. That frequently happens when there’s chipset/CPU integrated graphics and a separate GPU on the board. The external output is run on the separate GPU, unless it is disabled in setup. There are utilities for editing CMOS values in DOS or Windows, but usually only the basic ones.

    2. Try tricking it into thinking it’s got the lid closed. There’s probably a switch somewhere, magnetic or micro switch. Many laptops seem to send their primary display out to the secondary display port, either VGA or digital, when the lid is closed.

  2. Hmmm…. I wonder if the cost was worth it? He didn’t give an amount of the project. Doing the mental math I would think a gently used system might be had for the same cost and with no monkey business to deal with in a fairly elaborate build.

    1. I’d agree, though you are not going to get such a handy, portable, slick all in one PC at that price. Especially not with that killer feature of unplug and move on the internal battery. Plus a build like that is fun to do.

    2. Like others said, the cost may be outweighed by the fun of doing it – I know most of my projects are economy impractical!

      Besides, economically practical or not, it means that little bit less going into a landfill.

  3. There’s some nice Dell monitors reached the age to be got for $10 in thrifts these days, with USB hub and speakers built in. Those would be great for hanging laptop guts, an atom board or a Pi on the back of.

  4. I have an old 17″ HeaP with a broken hinge that needs the AIO treatment. Every time a breeze hits it, the display cable pops off the motherboard. Fortunately, the screen is still fine so I just need to make a frame and stand. Unfortunately, I’m lazy about projects. I’ll probably just zip tie and duct tape it to an old monitor stand. Maybe some gorilla glue.

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