After completing a DIY Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W handheld PC earlier this year, Penk Chen has designed another, rather odd but cool-looking, DIY computer. The “Mainboard Terminal” is a retro-style computer with a round display powered by the mainboard found in Framework modular laptop.
The computer has been tested to work with Ubuntu 22.04 out of the box with just a few configuration tweaks for the display, but other operating systems should also work considering the mainboard is based on an Intel Core i5-1135G7, i7-1165G7, or i7-1185G7 Tiger Lake processor.
There are four main off-the-shelf electronics components:
- Framework laptop mainboard ($399 and up)
- OLKB Preonic Keyboard MX Kit V3 key ($140)
- 5-inch round LCD with 1080×1080 resolution plus its HDMI adapter board (550 RMB = about $82)
So most of the work consisted in designing the enclosure, and Penk released the STL design files on Github under an MIT license for the Mainboard Terminal.
Since the display has an unusual 1080×1080 resolution, it has to be configured with xrand:
xrandr --newmode "1080x1080R" 82.50 1080 1128 1160 1240 1080 1083 1093 1111 +hsync -vsync
xrandr --addmode DP-1 "1080x1080R"
xrandr --output DP-1 --mode "1080x1080R"
He also installed cool-retro-term terminal emulator which mimics the old cathode display, and modified the screen curvature for aesthetic reasons by changing the following line in app/qml/ApplicationSettings.qml:
readonly property real screenCurvatureSize: 2.0
All 3D printed parts are held together by 5x2mm magnets, but Penk suggests some people may want to tweak the design to add holes for screws, and/or cutouts for USB 4.0 ports. A computer with a round display will have limited use cases, but you have to admit it looks pretty neat.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.