OK, I decided it was about time to start adding my mods to the site, after all it is called DragonSteelMods after all…… So first up will be my modded Dell Latitude C640. Lots of work went into this mod, over 12 hours alone on the two dragons on the cover and 1 1/2 weeks on the painting..Click it to read more!
This laptop mod was also featured on OverClockers.com last year, here is the link, some of the text is reprinted from there as I wrote the article/review for them and it all still applies today…..
Here is the link if you want to check out the whole thing: http://www.overclockers.com/articles1194/
The OverClockers article is a shorter version of this with less pictures basically and not the new ones that are here or the updates adn things I have added since then. It also mentions that I no longer have the laptop, I did sell it to a friend but I did buy it back from him later on…..
I’ll start with system specs as purchased:
Dell Latitude C640
1.8 Ghz P4m
256 Mb DDR RAM PC2100
20 GB Hard Drive
14.1 inch SXGA+ LCD Display
ATI Radeon Mobility 32mb 7600
All the standard ports, 10/100 ethernet, phone jack, usb, s-video, vga, serial etc.
I upgraded to 512 mb RAM and 30 GB HD drive; I also added, a 802.11b wireless card. These laptops were introduced Q1 of 2003. This is a great laptop for business, but also can actually play games. Battery life is excellent – I usually got 3+ hours from it with normal use (non-gaming/movies).
I did go and buy another battery as you can remove the cd burner and use two batteries for lots of running time…. Lately I have found that it is becoming dated, the videocard anyway, some new games I can’t even install on this laptop as the videocard can’t run them…. ah well, i still like it and it still gets many looks when I pull it out at Starbucks or wherever I go to use it… Also I added an external PCMCIA 802.11G card, it was much cheaper than buying an internal one and the reception is much better with the external card. I also got a nice GPS setup as well for it and a bluetooth mouse!
I like the thin form-factor of this laptop; I’ve noticed lately that the newer laptops are becoming very thick and heavy. This Latitude only weighs in at 6.1 pounds! The new Dells weigh in at 12+ pounds, and some of them and are twice, if not three times, as thick.
The LCD picture quality was excellent – it made me decide to purchase an LCD monitor for my home desktop; I had the laptop sitting on my desk with it on with the same program running and the difference is amazing.
The laptop was basically used for email, word processing, photo editing and, of course, games and movies! The P4 does a very good job, although it seemed to me that it ran a little hot; it got up to 59C when gaming or watching movies. I actually opened it up and applied Arctic Silver 5 to the CPU and the GPU to try and help with the heat, but it was just a slight drop in temps.
I also found that the P4 really underclocks itself when not in use, even if browsing the internet, etc. While some may like that, I personally did not – I always ran it at full speed.
Although these cannot be purchased new from Dell anymore, they are really worth it; if you can find one used/refurb, I would highly recommend it! I did some searching around and found prices ranging from $800 to $1200 depending on features. So these do hold their value pretty well.
Also I have seen quite a few reviews on them and the majority are highly rated the Dell latitude C640
Of course, I had to mod this Laptop. It was originally a Plain Black Dell (BORING!), fine for a suit and tie guy! I dismantled the whole thing and re-painted it. I did some Dremel work on the cover and created a new case badge for it.
One thing to note is that the most of the pictures were taken a while ago with an older camera (on the cheap), there are the new pictures that I actually took today with my good camera…..
I used Rust-Oleum products on it: Plastic Primer, a ‘Rust’ effect kit (which looks more like Burlwood) and a clear/hard top coat. I also used a silver and red paint marker for the details and a red Sharpie to color the ‘Latitude’ letters.
I used GE Silicone 2 clear caulk to fill in the dragons, so not only is it guaranteed not to shrink, but it is mildew resistant too. I went with the non-shrinking properties….
I used a Chrome pipe cap for the case badge, onto which I Dremeled the Japanese character for dragon. I rough sanded it to give it a hammered/antique look.
Here is the ‘worklog’ – I’m not going into a lot of detail as it is pretty much self-explanatory.
I created a template on the computer, transferred it to card stock paper and cut it out with Xacto knife
Plastic Primer applied, 3 coats if I remember correctly, sanding in between…
Next a base coat is applied…
Then the ‘effect’ coat, which is actually a ‘wash’ which is dabbed off with paper towel…
Three final coats of clear/hard coat were applied; it took about 1 1/2 weeks to finish. The hardest part was taking it apart, putting it back together, and then shaving the batter/cd, because the layers of paint made them stick in the bays. The LEDs were also, red, white and blue (sort of, the green still showed through when powered on…). All in all I’m happy with it.
The pictures that follow are the original pictures right after the laptop was finished, you can see the silver cd burner, battery and hard drive. I decided to redo those in the ‘wood’ to make it all match, you can see those pictures after this set.
So here are the pics, no explanation is needed I think, just check them out…
This would be the picture with the lights out to show the dragons glowing from the LCD… Also this is the picture that I found stolen all over the internet.. People were actually using this picture as a logo for their own websites!
Ok, next up we have the pictures that I just took, with a brief explanation, there are a lot of them. I wanted to get a some good pictures so I took alot!
First up here are a bunch of pictures of the top, or cover…
Here are the side shots, left side, right side, front and back..in that order…
Now here is a shot of the bottom, and a close up of the fan.
Here are some shots of the dragons and the case badge.
Here is the entire latptop itself and some close up of the details of it.
And finally here are the dragons and case badge lit up from the LCD:
That’s that… It was fun, the laptop is still alive and kicking….