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View Poll Results: LEt me know what you think I should do with this project
Build it! 23 74.19%
Build it but with some modifications to the design and styling 5 16.13%
Dump it, it's not worth it 3 9.68%
Voters: 31. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 10-07-12, 02:38 AM
Terodius Terodius is offline
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Lightbulb Toshiba T1200 Mod

So this might be the most ridiculous idea in the history of modding but I just recently got hold of a vintage Toshiba T1200 laptop from 1988. It weighs more than any laptop I've ever seen (even more than my old ASUS G73JH) and is about 3 inches thick. To think such computers were called portable boggles the mind.

Anyhow, the idea is to turn this 25 year old laptop into a beastly portable gaming machine. I've already thought out the layout and only have a couple more details to work out. I'll go with a mini ITX mobo and will use a 90 degree PCIe adaptor to fit the GPU horizontally. There is enough space for an HDD but I'll go SSD-only on this one. Because the GPU will take up the place of the battery cabinet, I'll probably end up fitting a battery behind the display panel.

The display casing is around an inch thick so there should be plenty of space there. The downside is I probably won't be able to fit a screen bigger than 13 inches, so I'm not sure whether to bother to put a screen at all.

I'm considering leaving the original keyboard in and try to source some serial/usb connector or maybe just replace the membrane with one from a modern keyboard and make it even simpler. But there's not enough space under the keyboard to fit a dvd drive, so I might after all decide to replace it with a laptop keyboard so I can fit a slim drive under it and maybe even have space for another SSD or a second battery, not sure about that one yet.

So those are all the parts that I've figured out thus far. There's a few tidbits I need to resolve:

1. Cooling. There isn't much room on top of the CPU so I might just leave the stock intel cooler, cut out a piece on the top and replace it with mesh and then get a couple 80mm fans on the right side for exhaust. I might also see if I have enough room to fit a low profile cooler on it, we'll see. Don't want anything to bulge out of the top of the case. I'll do the same for the GPU and use a blower type model, though I'm not sure which GPU I'm gonna use, I'll take measures and see how what's the biggest card I can fit.

2. Power. there's enough space left between the GPU and the left edge of the case that I might be able to find some custom PSU for one of those small footprint business PCs that would fit there, but it would depend on what GPU I get in there. It would have to be at least a 400W unit if I put something like a gtx560, but if I get my way I want to get a 680 in there. I've also considered the possibility of an external PSU but it would not look good at all because of the sheer amount of cables and extensions I'd have to use. I think the power delivery will be the biggest challenge of this rig. Anybody got any brilliant ideas?

3. Styling. I am mostly aiming at keeping the original look of it except for the extra grill I'll have to put in to allow for proper ventilation, but I've also considered giving the case a paint job because honestly the yellowish plastic looks horrible. So that's something I'm not sure of yet but will figure it out later. The priority now is getting the internals and the layout to work.

Of course the whole project is merely in the planning stages. If I do decide to go through with it It'll take some time. Not because I don't have enough free time to work on it but because sourcing those components will cost a pretty penny and I can only afford to use a small part of my salary for this project. I would like to hear your opinions and comments.

Do you think this might be an original idea worthy of the time and money that would go into it?
Do you have any other idea to do something even crazier with it?
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  #2  
Old 10-07-12, 05:23 AM
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p1ngman1969 p1ngman1969 is offline
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can't wait for the finished job on this
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  #3  
Old 10-07-12, 05:28 AM
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frufsa frufsa is offline
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What i think, if you make it look exatly like the original, then it ok, but if you start modifying it, youll destroy a pice of history!(not that you do it by just "upgrading" it )
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Old 11-07-12, 04:14 AM
Terodius Terodius is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frufsa View Post
What i think, if you make it look exatly like the original, then it ok, but if you start modifying it, youll destroy a pice of history!(not that you do it by just "upgrading" it )
I will try to keep it as original looking as possible, but I'll have to do some modifications for proper ventilation and to fit the hardware I want to get inside it. The other route to keep it looking 100% original looking would be to build it with laptop parts instead of desktop components, but I think it would lose some of the appeal then
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Old 11-07-12, 08:54 AM
jamesriley94 jamesriley94 is offline
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Not sure if it is possible for power at all, but for the x51 alienwares, they use external power supplies, which are like the ad to dc converters on laptop chargers, only a little bit bigger. If you can find some way of getting one of them to work, then I'd say that was your best option. They then just have a small adapter on the inside to split up the wires to moles satan etc.

It will definitely be a good project, and I'll look forward to seeing more
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  #6  
Old 12-07-12, 06:18 AM
Terodius Terodius is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesriley94 View Post
Not sure if it is possible for power at all, but for the x51 alienwares, they use external power supplies, which are like the ad to dc converters on laptop chargers, only a little bit bigger. If you can find some way of getting one of them to work, then I'd say that was your best option. They then just have a small adapter on the inside to split up the wires to moles satan etc.

It will definitely be a good project, and I'll look forward to seeing more
Thanks for the suggestion. I haven't heard about the alienware x51 but I'll check it and its PSU system out. The thing is it's next to impossible to get such custom parts in Norway. We don't have amazon, ebay, or radio shack over here so it's a lot harder for us tinkerers to get the parts we need.
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Old 13-07-12, 02:28 AM
Goldskis45 Goldskis45 is offline
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This could turn out amazing... or a pile... cant wait to see
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  #8  
Old 13-07-12, 03:07 AM
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arnzzz arnzzz is offline
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sorry, a little off topic but.....NO EBAY or AMAZON!!!!!!! omg im having nightmares just thinking about that scenario lolz.

How do you manage.

Its not even been that long since they didnt exist but so many people, especially people who like to tinker are so reliant on them now. It's crazy to think of them not being there.

anywayz ill watch this one because it sounds like something a bit different. I like it

goodluck
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  #9  
Old 13-07-12, 05:08 AM
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S_I_N S_I_N is offline
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not to burst any bubbles I think it would be a sweet project but ur gonna want at min a 500watt psu. A 400 watter would be bare min for that and be at peak when on a 500 watter or even 550 watter would put you below peak and less heat from psu as it wont be taxed just to run the rig like a 400 watter would.
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  #10  
Old 02-11-12, 03:02 AM
Terodius Terodius is offline
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Update 11/12

Hey guys, so my enthusiasm about this mod was unfortunately overtaken by other priorities like work and school, but I've finally got a few days off until next weekend so I'll get on with it. I've been thinking about solutions for some of the problems I faced with this build and have come up with some solutions. Mind you, these are not ideal but given the resources I have access to they're the best I could come up with.

- specs-wise: so I took the T1200 apart ( took plenty of pics along the way that I'll post at the end of the post) and I've done some internal measurements. There's a surprising amount of usable room inside it (29x24.5x6.5). I will probably go either with an ASUS P8Z77-I or a Maximus V Gene motherboard, though still not sure which of those I'll get.

Unfortunately the casing isn't tall enough even for a low profile GPU, so what I'm considering instead is a 90 degree PCI-e adapter and perhaps a GTX 680?

Now with regards to the PSU, I've looked in a million websites trying to find small PSUs but without much success so the only solution is to have an external PSU. However, I don't want a bunch of ugly ass cables circling around the plastic case, so I will do a custom sleeving job on the PSU cables. One sleeved 24pin ATX cable, and a second sleeved cable with 2 8pin PCI-e cables and 2 SATA power cables. To make it easier to plug the PSU in and out, I'll combine the PCI-e and SATA power cables into a single 24pin ATX. I think it'll look neat, just gotta make sure I label them so I don't mix them up. So instead of having 5 plugs on the side, I'll just have two 24 pin ones.

I'm still struggling with the screen though. I wanted to use a laptop screen between 10 and 13 inches and remove the old monochrone screen. I've opened a fair bit of laptops and they all seemed to have the exact same display connector. However, to my surprise there is no standard for LCD panel conectors, they're all pretty much proprietary. So I'm really at a crossroads here. External monitors have panels that are far too big and bulky for this PC, and laptop panels don't have an interface I can use with my video card.. what to do?

So that's where I'm at now. Still have things to figure out but it's looking more feasible.

Here's the pc with the top casing off


You can almost smell the nostalgia


Close up of the original 36W power supply


Some nice soldering work on the keyboard


I couldn't believe how thick the PCB on the keyboard is, and it's fully mechanical!


The interface connector to the HDD was actually grounded on the hdd casy. Why? you tell me...


Back PCB of the HDD, If you look closely you'll see the controllers are made by Mitsubishi.


Looks like JVC was a big played in the HDD industry back then.


Hmm warranty seal. To break or not to break, that is the question.


cover off the HDD


Curiously enough, this HDD had no permanent magnets


Overview of the motherboard


Closeup of the I/O controllers


Closeup of the processor and math co-processor


Some more closeup pr0n


Back panel I/O module


CPU module


RAM module


1988: 1Mb RAM 2012: 4096MB Let's see if Moore's law works with RAM:
24/1.5 = 16.67 1x2^16 = 65536Mb = 8192MB. Alright so if you had 1Mb of RAM back then and you now have 8 gigs of RAM in your system, you've followed Moore's law perfectly.


Finally, the underside plate


Hope you enjoyed the pics and please do share your thoughts about the project.
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