I usually buy gaming laptops. The main reasons are as follows:

  1. I like that I can use them in my lap on a couch without any furniture or mounting.
  2. The monitor is easily adjusted, either with the hinge or my moving my legs
  3. The keyboard is attached and doesn't move without requiring any furniture
  4. I am not being intrusive with my gaming while being in the shared living area of my residence.

I don't really care about the portability, though I do use it as my primary portable computer because I think it is silly to have two laptops when you only really need one portable computer.

I have decided that I should buy a desktop computer, as they are cheaper, more durable, upgradable, and more powerful. And I only really game from one location. But I can't find a way to use a desktop from a couch without mounting something to a wall or buying new furniture.

Basically, I want something that looks like a laptop, but is simply a monitor and keyboard (and perhaps a mouse) that plug in to a desktop nearby.

I haven't seen this available for purchase, so I would like to know of this is something I could reasonably build, or ask someone to build, out of an old dead laptop.

If I am to build it, I intend to convert the existing components for desktop use. However, there is one major component I do not know what to do with.

How can I identify a compatible keyboard controller for a laptop keyboard? Do such controllers exist? I know there are monitor controllers for laptop monitors that accept HDMI inputs, as well as a fairly reliable method for acquiring them, but I can't find a reliable way to identify a compatible laptop keyboard controller. If I could convert the laptop keyboard in to a USB keyboard, then I could reasonably build this device myself.

This question has been asked before, but it has been a few years and maybe there are newer solutions. The device in the second link is about 3 times more expensive than it should be, with a 1366 x 768 screen and costing around $600, plus I am not sure if it operates without significant latency.

Related questions:

  1. How can I use a desktop like a laptop

  2. External laptop-format device for desktop

EDIT: Software solutions have been suggested, so I feel I should note that I dual boot my machines with Linux and Windows, so software solutions are not so good because they will not work in GRUB or BIOS. Plus, I would like to keep the latency as low as possible, so a hardware solution is best.

"On Hold" appeal: Though I did mention that I could not purchase the interface, that was not the focus of the question. I asked whether this was a reasonable thing to build myself, not to purchase, as well as advice on how to convert an existing laptop. As a guide to what I don't know, I also ask for more specific advice for existing components I already own that I do not know how to convert. Therefore, this is not a question about "where can I purchase" or "what can I buy to do this", but rather "How do I build this" and "Is there a way to determine what I need." I am NOT asking for purchasing advice as a primary question, as it is my belief that the thing I am looking for does not exist for sale.

If the item in question is the laptop keyboard controller, the paragraph is about determining which one I need, not where I can get one. Of course, the end goal for me is to acquire one, but I didn't ask where I could get one, I asked how I could determine what kind I need. To reduce the appearance that I am asking for specific items to purchase, I reworded that section.

It is possible this is in the wrong stack exchange, so if you believe this is off topic, could you direct me to a stack exchange where it is on topic? Because this is where I was directed for hardware questions.

  • The options are still basically the same, only now there are some choices of netbooks that are smaller and lighter than a typical laptop. Requests for product recommendations are off-topic, and general fishing for ideas is often considered too broad, so this is likely to get some push-back (notice that one of your linked questions is closed).
    – fixer1234
    Nov 13, 2018 at 23:40
  • I did not know that stackexchange existed. I looked on meta for where to post hardware questions, and it said here.
    – Zarquan
    Nov 13, 2018 at 23:45
  • 2
    @Zarquan , you mentioned only gaming from one place. If that place is a desk, then it's fine to have a normal desktop there, and have a separate laptop. It's normal to have multiple PCs. Nov 14, 2018 at 0:03
  • 1
    @Zarquan, I didn't want to assume that the couch was where you were gaming, as it didn't mention it specifically. I know that if I used a gaming laptop on my lap, it would burn my legs. Nov 14, 2018 at 0:07
  • 1
    Could you search Hardware Recommendations Stack Exchange and possibly ask there? Your question will be on-topic there.
    – miroxlav
    Nov 18, 2018 at 22:58


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