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This bizarre MacBook Pro mod is a DIY enthusiast’s dream

Purchasing a new Mac can be expensive, but some enterprising souls have apparently found a way to buy into the Mac ecosystem for less. It’s all thanks to a clever MacBook Pro mod — although it’s certainly not for everyone.

The concept comes from leaker DuanRui, who shared a couple of images on Twitter. The pictures show someone using the lower half of a MacBook Pro minus the display — in other words, the keyboard, trackpad, and Touch Bar remain intact. This is plugged into an external monitor, creating a weird Frankenstein’s monster of a desktop setup that must have Steve Jobs rolling in his grave.

A person using the lower half of a MacBook Pro without the display.
Image credit: DuanRui Image used with permission by copyright holder

DuanRui claims that “more and more people” are creating this bizarre hybrid creation as an alternative to the Mac Mini. Apple’s smallest desktop Mac is also its most affordable (starting at $699), but that’s still a fair wad of cash. For some people, finding a working second-hand MacBook Pro base sans monitor might be a cheaper option.

Apple is expected to launch a high-end Mac Mini at its Peek Performance event today. With the current top-of-the-line Mac Mini priced at $1,099 and the new version likely costing at least this much, you might feel that’s too expensive if you’re looking for a small-scale desktop Mac.

DuanRui goes on to list a couple of other reasons someone might opt for such an extreme solution: “Not only does it have a trackpad and keyboard, but it also has better speakers,” they explain.

Ultimately, though, it’s a bit of a strange solution if you want to save space but don’t fancy a Mac Mini, since all modern MacBooks can be run in “clamshell” mode — with their lids closed — which lets you stash them out of the way behind your monitor. Add in one of Apple’s Magic Trackpads and you get the same excellent speakers and trackpad as the strange creation highlighted by DuanRui, without the hassle of a DIY job or finding one for sale.

Still, there’s no doubting it’s an unusual and intriguing solution. If you’re willing to get your hands dirty (or look for someone who has done the hard work for you), you might find it’s a good alternative to buying a Mac Mini — even if the rest of us steer clear.

Alex Blake
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