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Homemade laptop packs mini-ITX desktop motherboard, dual displays, and a built-in battery

The big picture: When a determined hardware enthusiast puts their mind to something, the results are often worth admiring. Such is the case with a recent mini-ITX laptop build that looks like it could have been pulled directly from a retro alternate reality.

APU_enthusiast shared the completed build on the SFF Network. It’s based on an ASRock N100DC-ITX motherboard, which includes an integrated Intel N100 quad-core (Alder Lake) processor and Intel UHD Graphics with 24 execution units. The board was paired with a single 32 GB stick of Mushkin Essentials DDR4 memory and a Mushkin Pilot-E 1 TB SSD, but the other supporting hardware is arguably more impressive.

The modder employed a pair of seven-inch Waveshare displays – one positioned where you’d expect it and another that doubles as a touchscreen keyboard – for a unique look (it is also apparently quite handy for dual-screen retro game emulation), and even managed to make it all work with a 17,500mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery pack from Talentcell.

The whole thing looks to be enclosed in a custom 3D-printed chassis. Dimensions were not shared, however, so approximations based on the seven-inch displays and the motherboard dimensions are all we have to go on. The system appears to be passively cooled, and thus is likely whisper quiet when in use.

The mess of wires on the right side of the machine is unavoidable given the current chassis design, and is mostly the result of each display having to connect to the motherboard for power (via USB) and video signal (over HDMI). If the chassis had been made a little wider (or deeper, and the board was rotated), perhaps the cables could have been hidden inside the case instead. Right-angle connectors and some shorter cables could also help the current appearance.

Either way, it’s an impressive bit of engineering that highlights what is possible if you’re willing to think outside the box. With a few design tweaks, aesthetics and portability could be elevated to the next level.

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