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Turn MBP into a desktop
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TOPIC: Turn MBP into a desktop

Turn MBP into a desktop 5 years, 8 months ago #3725

Probably sounds silly but long story short, I have a MacBook Pro (2006) that works fine however has taken a beating as it has gone around the world, up mountains and survived an incident when I was hit by a car. It was in my backpack and I was on my bike.

The above treatment has:
- Completely wrecked the optical drive (it was crushed.)
- Wrecked something with the monitor (I'm hoping not the graphics card, which would obviously foil my plans)... after a few minutes the screen becomes fragmented and unusable.
- The battery is gone... doesn't hold any charge.
- The HD is on the outer (maybe)

Rather than fix the laptop, my crazy idea is to remove the Mobo, mount it in a small form case, add a $5 optical drive, install a power unit, use a different (bigger) HD and simply use it as a core 2 duo desktop.


1) Is this possible?
2) Any tips?

Re: Turn MBP into a desktop 5 years, 8 months ago #3735

It is definitely possible, but I'm not sure how small of a form factor pc you will actually be able to get it into. The MB is nearly the size of the machine IIRC. A slim model pc would probably house it quite nicely though. Get a USB disc drive, a DVI monitor, and perhaps a USB card reader/hub combo and you should have everything you need. The hardest part will actually be the power button. That will take a little rewiring.

Re: Turn MBP into a desktop 5 years, 8 months ago #3736

Thanks for the tip, I realise what you're saying now having opened up my MBP (especially that power button... not quite sure how I would have pulled that off - possibly by having my keyboard hanging inside the box... ugly!)

Some good news!!!! I did the following things and the MBP now works:
- Replaced the HD (and copies everything over from the old one)
- Replaced the optical drive
- Replaced the RAM (gave it a significant upgrade as prices have gone down since 2006.)
- Sprayed everything with a big can of air until it all looked clean
- Put a new battery in it (found one cheaply a few years back when I lived in Japan but lost it so never got to replace the old, dead battery)

The machine now works as new (or better I suppose.) I'm stoked as I thought it was dead!! Although I'm secretly sad that I no longer need to turn it into a desktop that was going to be my nerdy project.

Opening it up was a good experience too. I've never opened a laptop so it always felt very daunting. With this one I figured it was broken so just went in as hard as possible, cracked it open and realised it's actually quite a durable case/motherboard/setup (mine has significant case damage but everything inside has been kept safe, it's a really sturdy case!) Apple really does make quality computers, this one has:
- Been around the world several times (lots of hiking and being shoved into a backpack full of junk)
- Been used in smoky nightclubs when I was a DJ
- Lived in a lot of really humid, tropical climates (1 fear was that inside all the guts would be corroded... no sign of that at all)
- Been trodden on by my daughter
- Been used as a weapon by my ex wife (who beat me unconscious)
- Been hit by a car... while living in Japan I was riding my bike and a stupid racist guy intentionally chased me, swerved into me and ran me into a 1.5m deep gutter. The car hit my backpack containing the MBP and I then landed on my backpack (so this MBP has saved my life!!)

So... sorry for the big story, but I'm REALLY REALLY impressed that it now boots up perfectly. Well done Apple for making high quality machines!!!!

Aaaaaw I love my MBP. The inside smells like a beautiful pine forest near where I lived in Japan. I went there a lot with my MBP (before it stopped working) and the smell has been sealed inside. This situation reminds me of the peace and tranquility on the humid summer nights where I'd sit in the pine forest taking time lapse photos of the moon/bay/mountains, chatting to people (including a few champion members of Macscene) and reflecting on the greater things in life.

Before the iPhone (and other such mobile devices with maps and an in-built GPS) I would walk around foreign towns with my bluetooth GPS unit and MBP. When I got lost, it was my key to finding my way home. In Japan when I was first learning the language I had a hiking book that I understood 25% of... this was basically enough to get me to a remote train station (where the hike started), to the start of the hiking area and then get hopelessly lost. The maps on my MBP (along with my GPS unit) would always get me home... call me weird but it was a great feeling using my GPS to find out I was in the middle of nowhere and needed to get back to the first dot I had created on my map in order to reach a remote station (which would help me get home.)

Too many wet, nostalgic memories with this MBP... so glad it's alive again! Time to have a happy sleep and stop being nostalgic aaaaw Apple...

Re: Turn MBP into a desktop 5 years, 8 months ago #3737

Glad its working. Yes Apple does make some pretty durable machines. My wife dropped her macbook air at least a dozen times with only a dented corner to show for it. It even lasted 6 months with her sister , who used a cloth shopping bag as her case. (I get a new machine every 12-18 months and pass down the old ones) Even then the screen didn't break, just the hinge and cables connecting the monitor. Replaced those. Worked another six months until she left it on top of the car... open. That was damage I didn't bother replacing. MB still works and it gets used as a headless machine every now and then. But since I have so many damn machines already, it rarely gets turned on. (In fact I'm not sure where it is anymore)

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