MNT Reform: A Modular, Open Source DIY Laptop

What separates the MNT Reform laptop from others on the market is it’s modularity, being able to swap-out parts when they’re broken or for…

Cabe Atwell
2 years ago

What separates the MNT Reform laptop from others on the market is it’s modularity, being able to swap-out parts when they’re broken or for upgrades, is something the others should strive to include in their respective platforms. Designed by Lukas F. Hartmann (MNT Media and Technology UG), the Reform has undergone some changes from its earlier version, most notably the case, which is comprised of eight different 3D-printed parts, which was inspired by classic tech such as the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and the Commodore 64.

The latest revision of the MNT Reform laptop is built around an NXP i.MX6QP SoC with a quad-core Arm Cortex-A9 (running @ 1.2GHz), a Vivante GC3000 GPU, and 4Gb of DDR3 RAM. It also sports 5 USB 2.0 ports (2 external/3 internal), an HDMI connector, and LVDS that drives a 1366 X 768 IPS 11-inch display.

Rounding out the hardware features are a full-length mini PCIe slot, mSATA for SSD (not included), WWAN slot, Gigabit Ethernet port, microSD card slot along with SPI/I2C/GPIO connectors. It also packs an SGTL5000 audio chip with 3.5mm jack and internal connectors along with a LiFePo4 charger with included 10Ah cell.

One of the significant aspects of the Reform, besides being modular, is that it features a mechanical QWERTY keyboard outfitted with Cherry ML switches that offer a tactile response and yet, are low profile, much more preferable than membrane keys (in my opinion). It also uses an optical trackball for navigation, which seems out of place but does offer a kind of retro Windows 95 feel, although most people would probably prefer a wireless mouse.

The MNT Reform modular laptop seems like a great idea on paper- the ability to switch out parts and the option to add whatever hardware you want via internal pin-set are excellent selling points. That being said, if the motherboard goes down, so does everything else and my guess is it doesn’t come cheap to replace (no word yet on pricing). Regardless, MNT will be crowdfunding the Reform on Crowd Supply at some point in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for updates when that happens.

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