MNT Reform - hackable, modular laptop


TrashyMG

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I've seen some of Mntmn's amiga projects and they're generally well done.
 

ClockworkCoder

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I first read about it in Linux Magazine and it had a bit more detail. It did look good, although the details in the links I found are currently a little sparse (Edit: not sparse - I just hadn't clicked through enough - eInk display idea also is cool).

I might be interested in the Amiga projects too...
 

TrashyMG

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He made an open source FPGA based Zorro II/III video card. Not entirely sure what else he has worked on.
 

levi

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FWIW, cherry ML switches are not microswitches. When you said 'microswitched keyboard' there you had me worried, because while you could build such a thing it'd be a monster clickly noisy thing.

Assuming these ML switches are similiar to the MX low profile switches documented on cherry's german site, these only come in linear, non clicky forms. That's probably okay for laptop keyboards to be fair.
 

ClockworkCoder

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@levi Indeed. Thanks for putting me straight :)
[doublepost=1542578907,1542569344][/doublepost]
FWIW, cherry ML switches are not microswitches. When you said 'microswitched keyboard' there you had me worried, because while you could build such a thing it'd be a monster clickly noisy thing.
Actually I'm still confused by this definition. They are still small, mechanically actuated switches. So how is it that they're not actually "microswitches"?
 

levi

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A microswitch appears to be a trademarked term, and almost always refers to the same type of thing with a box and a slightly longer lever. Keyboard switches are a type of miniature push action switch, just not actual microswitches.
 

Failbert

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That trackball looks like taken straight from a vandalism-proofed infokiosk, but that'd be one way to achieve a long lifetime :)
 

Askarus

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If they only would use a faster processor.
A9 is slow.
I'd rater use a portable screen and keyboard attached to the Pyra or a GPD device.
 

levi

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Yeah, the iMX6 package is rather old now. At least it's more powerful and more efficient than the single core A8-based OMAP 3, and in my experience even the dual core IMX6 package does need some additional cooling to stop it throttling (but in my case a simple stick on radiator with no moving parts inside a plastic case made it stable enough for me).
 

ible

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i like the idea of a mechanical keyboard hackable (repairable) laptop, but i'd at least want it to have speakers.
 

ClockworkCoder

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Any idea how much it's going to cost? I don't see a price.
I don't think there's a set price for it yet, and especially given the modular/self-printable aspect of it, then it's likely to be prices for separate components. I think they are aiming to make it affordable (I.e. mid-range prices; so not quite Purism levels hopefully), but it likely won't be cheap.
[doublepost=1558808862,1558801127][/doublepost]There's some early info re pricing here:
https://mntre.com/reform/reform-beta-1.html

Ana encouraged me to set up a user pre-validation test to check if we were on the right track concerning the overall concept, choice of parts and pricing. We put together a fake Amazon page with renderings and a description of our device surrounded by two alternative choices. We positioned our computer in the middle of the price range (500-700 EUR) and focused on offering a complete DIY package (not only a board) and higher specs and customizability than another low-cost project. The mainly positive interviews with pre-filtered testers made us confident that we were on the right path.

All testers were excited about an optional E-Ink display, but this drives up the price by at least 200-300 EUR. Also, controller options were unclear, so we postponed prototyping of this option
 

Askarus

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Why do these Laptops all ship with underpowered ARM A53 cores?

If there was such a Laptop with a 17 inch display,
3 SATA Ports 1-2 SD Slots and a modern Intel processor it would be an option.
Maybe even a slot for an optional dedicated GPU.

Such a processor would be acceptable for a device like the Pyra.
But even there I'd like to see some BIG cores, not only "little" ones.

It's nice to have complete open hardware, but the argument "it will last long" does not count for me.
This thing does not have any advantage.
The GPD/IMX devices are small.
Thy Pyra is smaller and has better Keyboard and other stuff.
My Laptop is big and has power.

The MNT does not look ergonomic and it's not pretty slim.
Why make everything custom if one can use a nano-ITX board, design a case and wire everything via USB/HDMI.
And for battery leave some room for a USB/DC Powerbank with 20000 or 50000 mah.
That way any part is user replaceable and contains parts available anywhere.
The SOC can be anything from Pentium to i7.
If it gets outdated simply replace the standard nano-ITX board.
Battery breaks? Buy any DC Powerbank you like that fits.
I've built a similar system already, but not for a CPU.
It works fine. And it's way cheaper than 1000-1500$
The only downside is, that it does not look as professional as "real" laptops.
But if you want something that lasts forever, then that's the way to go.

At least that's my opinion.
I'm happy to discuss this with you.
I know some will be offended but that's how discussions work ;)
 
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