Home Theatre PC enclosure

Thinking way ahead to when I decide I want a new mainboard in my laptop, it would be cool to put the old one in a home-theater PC. In the past I’ve done this with my desktop systems, but it’s challenging as they have got hotter and louder over the last few years.

Rough requirements:

  1. HDMI out. Would be cool if this can be run off the existing internal screen connector.
  2. One ethernet port (at least 1Gbit)
  3. 2 USB-2 type As for keyboard/mouse dongles (might be USB-C by that time). Again would be cool to wire these to the existing laptop keyboard/touchscreen buses so we have the maximum USB-Cs available
  4. A/C power in
  5. The same laptop usb-c module slots for whatever of those ports are left.

The laptop only has four USB-C ports (all of which can be converted to HDMI, USB-A, ethernet, etc), and you listed 5 ports that you need. I think the easiest solution to that would be to just use one of those USB-C hubs that has all of these ports built in, though this is a clunky solution. Here are three in order from least to most expensive.
Another option would be to have a keyboard that has a trackpad built in so that you only need one USB-A dongle for keyboard and mouse. I personally quite like these set ups, but I know people who find them uncomfortable and prefer a real mouse.
Also, we would need an enclosure for the motherboard if we want it to run on its own (e.g. no battery or display), and I’m not sure of any community made enclosures that are available, but hopefully they come out with some!

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I have been thinking of something like this - how to mount a Framework motherboard in an ATX/microATX case, and it would involve much of what you’ve listed above.

It would be really cool if there was a “conversion kit” with:

  • microATX-to-Framework motherboard adapter plate
  • special I/O backplate
  • 24-pin ATX to Framework battery connector converter
  • USB-C breakout cable to standard motherboard connectors plus USB 3.2 Gen 2, USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB 2.0
  • USB extension cable to socket on I/O backplate

No skills for any of the above :roll_eyes: but hopefully it piques the interest of more skilled people. The sheet metal stuff should be comparatively simple but the electronics might be tricky.


Hmm. Great thought. I wonder if it would be possible to upgrade the cooling sufficiently to have the CPU be able stay in turbo continuously, or even further overclocking…?

This might be necessary because the air inside a case won’t be as free-flowing as air from outside the laptop shell. Perhaps some ducting would help? :thinking: But then it would be different for each case…

Think I’d take the lazy/cheapskate approach here and unless it was on display on a shelf, just stuff it in a cardboard box and build fan ducting with old packaging, tubes and gaffer tape.

I once put a Mini-ITX PC in a double champagne bottle box with some cut outs for power and peripherals for a idea of what I had in mind.

Access to a 3D printer would allow way better design though.