SFF Laptop Form Factor



Original poster
Hi, first post, yeh.
I guess I want the usual portable SFF PC that can do the LAN shizzle and general hotel video-editing on-the-go, but also a practical college, keyword "practical" device that I can upgrade. Or maybe that's not the case, and I'm an impulsive.

I've been lurking for a few days searching keywords such as "Portable", "Laptop", "Thin" form factor, and the likes, also I've seen the battery powered VR pc. I also have inspiration from the Slabtop build which can be googled. Here are the parts I have.

i5 7500 Evga mini GTX 1060 16GB normal sized ram Noctua L9i 512 gb 2.5 ssd Big ass atx 430w evga power supply that works

I want these parts to shrink my build too;

HDplex 400w dc atx ($95)
Dell 330w power brick, external goodie (not cheaping out, $100)
Some unknowing quadcopter battery that is TSA proof (under 160 whr) ($70 for 6200 mAh)
Wiring system for battery ($40 with charger and wires)
Motherboard standoffs and computer screw set
Laptop keyboard and trackpad component
"Parvum's Modding Cubes"
2 inch speakers, 2 inch subwoofer, an amplifier and splice to power supply

I am building a particle board wood based case which is my revision 2, revision 1 being crappy scrap wood I found. Because i have a budget of 350 I reckon acrylic is too much and too hands on a process. I will save the cubes from the new parts repository for revision 3 and instead use amazon angle brackets.

So, I guess, what I need criticism on is what the most extraneous parts of a laptop will require. The LCD is custom and finnicky, as is the keyboard, trackpad, but otherwise other parts can be badassifyed (the speakers n subwoofer, the fricking powa). I simply need resources on how the following parts will be installed.

The LCD, I see that you can get a relatively cheap 1080p ips panel and also buy a controller board for it. which you can just hook up via HDMI or DisplayPort as in the Slabtop. I guess there is no problem here, but call me out if there is a catch.

The keyboard and trackpad, sigh this is quite a niche. I ripped out a usb keyboard from a tablet cover designed thingy, and I think I can put the little controller onto a bigger keyboard like a Dell Latitude one, but I don't know if it will work or not. The trackpad seems obscure and vague on the internet on what can be done, and I'm stubborn and want to salvage one from a laptop instead of getting a bulky wireless one instead. I think you can solder shizzle if its a PS2 trackpad, or the whole input device concept can be done with an arduino, I need help here. It's been done with the slabtop but that again is just a concept, I haven't seen anyone else do the laptop thing.

The power system, I don't know if a 6200 mah 22 volt battery will be enough to power a pretty much 200 watt max gtx 1060 pc. It's been done before which is a really good thing though (the battery powered vr pc)

The case as a whole, I wonder what cool things you can do with it to make it sturdy, are there any little parts you can get like the modding cubes to build it? Also is there any website to source acrylic customized?

That's it, it's cool.

EDIT: will add some pictures for review later
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Original poster
So I did research and the likes, this is hard :(

For the case, it seems that wood is obviously going to be bad at heat dissipation so revision two will need a lot of holes for the hot GPU. Acrylic is also going to be hard to source and it seems like from a post from Josh from NFC that it requires specific attention, blargh. At this point it seems like wood is the only viable option within budget and safety. Right now I'm 'gluing' the motherboards standoffs

The battery powered pc concept by lhl lasted one hour, and apparently their 266 whr battery was tsa proof, so i guess i can get a bigger battery?
Also his system melted which scares me.

I think i'll lift the burden of trackpad and keyboard off this forum, because it seems like nobody has the component niche and desire for such parts.

The 2 inch speaker and cute mini subwoofer are coming, and also the amplifier.

Still looking for angle brackets, err maybe this thread should be in the build log category.


Airflow Optimizer
Jun 5, 2016
So I did research and the likes, this is hard :(
err maybe this thread should be in the build log category.
You can ask one of the staff like @confusis to move it for you if you want. Although you should have some sort of design before you put it in the build log or custom project section.

Wood in general is fine for use in computers, a lot of people do it. You just need to be good with your venting. Cutting slits along problem areas like the CPU, GPU, and Hard drives along with using something like a hole saw for your fan mounts.

Particle board is kind of hit or miss tho, you'd need to be more specific with your wood. MDF and LDF are both considered particle board and are useful for different things. MDF is usually used for casing or support material and LDF is used for things like that don't need to support much. For a computer I would look at MDF. Its sturdy enough to not crack but easy enough to cut without really needing power tools. Its the type of wood common to cheap furniture.

For your battery, you CAN use RC components or even 18650s but you need proper protection circuitry as to not fry any components. I wont be able to help much with this as I'm not sure how the HDPlex would handle batteries powering it. Maybe @Kmpkt could help with this, as his dynamo kits are similar and pretty good from what I've seen.

As to the keyboard/trackpad, you could just embed a current keyboard/trackpad combo kit into your case if thats what your going for. Just mount it with the power cables attached and connect it to your motherboard, should be fine.

For the speaker/subwoofer, Take a look at this DIY Perks video. He does something very similar with some MDF and a few small speaker sets.


Original poster
This is cool bro.

Yeah I overexaggerated the wood on fire theorem, and look at that the particle board I got was slim MDF. I’m going to drill some holes for the upside down gpu :) Already have some angle brackets on the way too.

Yeah I’m hesitant on the battery thing when it only lasts an hour and I could just get an extension cord for the dell power brick; but it’s been done before I guess; I don’t know if I’ll do it because any common gaming laptop needs to be plugged in all the time anyway. My general quality isn’t up to par with batteries yet so I’ll postpone it

Already found myself a speaker subwoofer setup, which is overkill 2 inch sizes but it’ll be convenient than big 10 inch sub.



Original poster
I'm wondering where my HDPlex should be, the guts of my build are in similar position to the S4 mini, so I might as well follow that format with the HDPLex too. Rhetorical!

I've cut basically all the pieces of MXF wood now, so I just have to angle bracket them together which is good for the structure of the case. The dell power brick is coming tomorrow. I think I'll spraypaint the wood somethin cool. Keyboard and mouse I guess figured out.

I'm still trying to source a good display from whatever the hell brand I should get thats 1080p ips, meh. I accounted for ChainedHope's video link which should guide me.

Something also display related that's important to me is hinges for the display lid, I want them specifically front door style, and it's hard to find any that are fixed, the Slabtop build had good hinges. HINGES MAN. smoooth.

By the way, I've only referenced things by word of mouth so I guess I should link them.
Slabtop Build: https://hackaday.io/project/15236-slabtop-portable-desktop-replacement-enclosure
I would buy this crowdfund (it's not one), but sadly it's still in development. lol. I guess I copied lots of the design of this build but I'm not marketing it. I would love to contact these people but their social media is scarce. I really admire this concept.
Battery powered VR PC: https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/ono3-pelican-1430-to-s4-portable-vr-workstation.423/
On the last page of lhl's post they said they burnt out their older model of the HDPlex 250w, which is what makes me hesitant about building in a battery, but they REALLY stress tested their power supply; and the battery didn't catastrophe or anything. May have to to some turbo-unturbo stuff with the cpu to restrict energy.

Now the philosophy lol, I guess it fits weird tropes if I lug around a laptop like this to the library but oh well. I'd rather not live off of an internet device with crappy speakers and a small screen and suffery processing power.

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Original poster
So I got my new power brick after the amazon one and got it from ebay instead, it's "preowned" which is better than refurbished haha. And I think the guts of my build are basically complete, considering I got the speakers and amplifier working. I'll add a subwoofer too since the amplifier has extra ports!

I done fudged up the wood so I have to recut more pieces, but I think the bottom case is coming to a finish. I also found a seller on ebay with a controller board and 1080p panel for just under a hundred, so that can be the last-ish part of my budget. Also thinking of a bundle of 18650 cells to use as a battery, it's also relatively space efficent compared to an rc battery. The space around is good.
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Original poster
Haven't posted in a while and not much has changed, mostly because I'm limbo-ing-ly content with an open box for a laptop enclosure LMAO

But today is an exciting day, as I found the reddit account of one of the Slabtop people. I'm messaging them about their build and more crazily if I could get one of the prototypes. I don't know, cool stuff.

I'm also hesistant on battery powering the PC but if I simply get a protection circuit for some 18650s to power it for a short amount of time that would legitimately be good enough.

I get it rammed in a lot that lithium cells are dangerous AF to tinker around with. note taken.
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Cable Smoosher
New User
Apr 9, 2019
Any update on this? I'm planning a similar build myself, thanks for your reference links! I'm also wary of the battery portion as it's a risk haha.