Portable Computer | LCD-386 (1988) | Refresh

Take an old portable, put in new hardware, watercool it and you will get something like this.

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This machine took over a year to complete and aimed to keep the main body features of this old and beautiful portable, while modernizing the internals.

Some modifications were done to the outer shell, to be able to access the ports and cool the modern watercooled gaming rig inside. All light gray parts are 3D printed, which either act as visual cover for cut edges or serve a functional purpose, like the dust filter on the right.

In addition to the computer hardware, the display and keyboard also have been swapped.

More pics and information can be found in the details and external links.

The base for this build is a LCD-386 Portable Computer, which I found on ebay kleinanzeigen and just had to have. Took it apart, cleaned over 20 years worth of dust and got to work.

Now it is home to a capable gaming machine featuring modern parts like a Ryzen 5 5600X, 16GB of ram and a RTX 3070 GPU.

Watercooling was mandatory in this case, because there wouldn't be any room for a decent sized air cooled gpu + I wanted to keep the apperance as close to the original as possible. So no more holes for airflow then necessary.

For the GPU I had to go with a Founders Edition design, because of the limited depth. I tried fitting two different cards beforehand, but they were too tall.

The original display was removed and replaced with a 11.6 inch, 1440p portable IPS display. The power is wired to a molex connector, which runs off the internal PSU and the display signal is handled by a flat HDMI cable going to the GPU.

Unfortunately it doesn't quite fit the original bezel, so I have to run at 2304×1440 pixels, with small black bars on top and bottom. It is possible to game on it, Nvidias control panel can force any game into that resolution, but I would prefer to use it as a second monitor.

I intended to keep the original keyboard, but had only problems using 5 pin DIN adapters. Instead, I replaced the whole thing with a Coolermaster Quickfire TK and coiled the cable around some bamboo stick we had. Fortunately, this keyboard's form factor is near identical to the original keyboard, so I only needed to do a couple small cuts on the chassis and was able to put it in place. Some 3D printed brackets hold it in place.

Front view closed.jpg

The Keyboard is stored in front of the display for transport. Two latches can be pressed down on top and the keyboard can be removed from the package.

JPEG Image - 9.11 MB - 09/20/2022 at 18:54


Locked display.jpg

The display is spring-loaded and held down by a pin in the bottom.

JPEG Image - 10.13 MB - 09/20/2022 at 18:53


Tilted display.jpg

On press of the "TILT" button, and the pin is mechanically released, so the display can be tilted to the desired angle.

JPEG Image - 9.74 MB - 09/20/2022 at 18:53


Back view.jpg

On the backside I made one big cutout, which is used as an exhaust for the hot air.

JPEG Image - 9.36 MB - 09/20/2022 at 18:53


Right side opening.jpg

The back can be removed after undoing just 3 screws. 3 additional clips are located at the bottom.

JPEG Image - 10.49 MB - 09/20/2022 at 18:53


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  • 1 × AsRock Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac motherboard
  • 1 × AMD Ryzen 5 5600X CPU
  • 1 × 16GB Corsair Vengeance LP 3600 MHz RAM
  • 1 × 1TB ADATA XPG SX8200 storage
  • 1 × Corsair SF600 PSU

View all 13 components

  • 1
    Hit me up!

    This build was a first for me and a lot of things are still somewhat sketchy and probably difficult to reproduce 1:1, but if you plan on taking on something similar and have some questions, feel free to hit me up. There are also pictures of the build process on Imgur, which can be found in the external links.

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