Creating a Custom Display | Build Help

Hey all! I’m phoning in some help here; I’m trying to do a mod where I take an iMac G3 (tangerine orange, baby) - take out the internal components, and replace it with modern counterparts.

The goal is to have it finished by PDXLAN’s 2019 fall event.

Problem is - I’m trying to figure out what to do about the display situation.

I am thinking about two routes:

  1. Find a monitor, take the panel out of its housing and retrofit it to the case
  2. Source a panel straight from a manufacturer/repair vendor, pair it with a controller, and retrofit it to the case

A few thoughts with this:

  • If I were to go and stick with the 4:3 / 13" screen route, a lot of monitors in that aspect ratio and size don’t have modern specs that we’d like to have in our gaming setups. I’m taking this bad boy to LAN - I want it to look crispy.
  • Alternatively, if I can find JUST the panel that is small enough with better specs - I’d go that route. A lot of gaming laptops are great sources of panels (high refresh rate, small form factor, resolution, etc) - but the problem is then sourcing a controller necessary to make it work in conjunction with my desktop components.

I’ve been doing some digging on and been seeing that there are some different panels on there (like this one would be just plain stupid but fun) but can’t make sense of the different interfaces needed to make these run.

Any display pros in here able to provide me with some guidance?


The iPad pro lcd might work – 12.9 diagonal compared to the 13.9 opening of the old imac. Embedded display port versions of that lcd shoooould be on AliExpress. May need a custom backlight circuit.

Better than a 16:9 aspect but not as good as 4:3

… Microsoft surface displays are 3:2 so close to 4:3 – the surface book lcd is edp as well, at least there is a version of it. I can’t seem to find the exact lcd dimensions at the moment though.

Edit: the SB lcd looks nearly perfect for this use case


I still remember your hacked together Lian Li build, @wendell. If only that still continued with a X299 ITX board.

I guess the one thing I’m at a loss with is sourcing a proper eDP controller. Any recommendations on what to look for when finding what to purchase?

edp is no controller. its display port, but with a funky connector. So all you ahve to worry about is the backlight and that’s about it.

so for apple stuff:[]=1290

surface book lcd

Note the ribbon cables on the SB lcd… you wont use those. That’s for the digitizer. But it will be a bit tricky to adapt that connector on the SB to something like the adafruit board would use.

Literally that entire circuit on the adafruit adapter is just to control the backlight/brightness control. That’s it. (it also needs to know when to put the LCD to sleep, so… its fine. for you I doubt you care? But worst case scenario you could probably use the 12.9 apple LCD instead of the 9.7 apple LCD (LG) that adafruit sells

The adafruit solution is paint by numbers easy. It’s literally the lian li retina display mod I did a while back. No risk there, not really.

Alternatively you’d probably be spending a few hundred on experimentation. And may have to build an adapter cable assuming I’m correct about the sb display not needing an active adapter/just being displayport. Which is only about 60% likely


Have you considered slim portable displays? would just be plug and play with some double sided sticky tape. (i have no idea if this is the size you need to fit lol)


Language for all these components I’m finding to be a little muddled, just due to the fact that I think there’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen and no real documentation on how to do any of these. ha

Listings like this refer to it as a controller:

ha I will check it out! Thank you. :slight_smile:

That one is a controller because it adapts HDMI signals to display port signals for the panel.
Depends what it does I guess. Mh first iPad thingie was just wires soldered onto a dp socket and that worked, which was encouraging

Most likely true from my experience, but it’s easy enough to source or make most of the time.