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I really want to make my own tablet PC like iPad, HP Slate, Motorola Xoom etc.

What components would you recommend? It will probably have 512MB ram, and run Windows XP.

asked Mar 11 '11 at 18:02

User_1002's gravatar image


Wow good luck

(Mar 11 '11 at 18:04) James Tamim James%20Tamim's gravatar image

Why 512 mb of ram? Ram is cheap as dirt these days and you probably couldn't even find a stick that small. And why Windows XP? Windows XP isn't even sold anymore and Windows7 is fully touch enabled.

(Mar 11 '11 at 18:13) Zlpha Zlpha's gravatar image

True point acctually, but I want it to be a budget tablet

(Mar 11 '11 at 18:19) User_1002 User_1002's gravatar image

Well, first you're gonna want a touchscreen. Look into how big it is IN THREE DIMENSIONS, how heavy it is, and the quality of the build. Then, you're going to need to select the internals. Now, the first thing that would jump to your mind is the latest processor from Intel or AMD. That's bad. You're dealing with what is in effect a small laptop: the heftier the processor, the more cooling and power will be needed. In something that small, you can't deal with either. Go with something based off of the ARM architecture. Although this architecture isn't very powerful by nature, it's the only way to get any battery out of it at all. A bigger problem with it is that no version of Windows supports ARM. You'll have to use Linux. But it'll be well worth it because you get a battery life that isn't measured in seconds and you'll save a LOT of weight and space with the lesser cooling ARM requires of you.

Now, for the internals. You will have to recycle an older circuit board and solder in the processor, or you could create your own, solder the ARM chip in, and write new device drivers for it in Linux. Note that by Linux's nature, even though no-one else will be using your unique board, you still have to submit the change as a patch to Linux kernel developers. Because there will not be enough room for conventional DIMMs of RAM, you'll have to solder in individual 'packets' (as I like to call them), or chips in which data is stored. Next, a video card. Integrate a small, low-power card into your board. Once you've done that, find a small battery that can 1. fit in your case, and 2. carry enough of a charge to get you through a day. This will be pretty pricey. Acquire a method of cooling for the ARM chip discussed previously, and implement it. Next, you're going to need block storage. You'll need an SSD. Try to find one that fits with your form factor: preferably, 1.8" or less. Now, put all of it together, install Linux, and voilá. Your tablet is complete.

Now, all of this was pretty hard, you probably spent much more money than you meant to, there's no guarantee of success, and after you're done, the result isn't even that impressive in terms of tablet computers. That iPad's looking a lot more appealing now, isn't it?

answered Mar 11 '11 at 18:41

HHBones's gravatar image


What's wrong with the latest processors? They're the ones that use the least amount of energy and run coolest. I would suggest Intel Atom. Don't use ARM.

(Mar 11 '11 at 18:44) Zlpha Zlpha's gravatar image

Even those aren't small and efficient enough. Look at your iPhone: it's running an ARM chip. Look at your iPad: it's running an ARM chip. Look at your Android device: it's running ARM. Look at your Motorola Xoom: it's running ARM. All of these would benefit greatly from running the latest Intel Atom processors. Why DON'T they? Too hot and energy-inefficient.

(Mar 11 '11 at 18:55) HHBones HHBones's gravatar image

Yes but in order to facilitate extremely small designs, companies use manufacturing processes which are impossible for a regular person to take advantage of. If he's going to be making his own touchpad, it's obviously going to be considerably thicker, maybe 3 or 4 inches thick if he can even get it that small. And that is more than enough room to fit a large battery and a passive heatsink. Look at nettbooks, they utilize fully fledged OSs and they have atom processors. You could literally take a netbook and put it behind a touchscreen and voila, you'd have a tablet if you made a nice case for it. But if he's going to put one together, why can't he utilize the proper components, one's that arent made for tiny devices. This is why an atom processor should do the trick.

(Mar 11 '11 at 19:00) Zlpha Zlpha's gravatar image

I'm just recommending to him what will let him get close to that form factor. And it's not realistic for him to have intense power in a tablet. Even if you could pack the power of an Atom inside, you'd not have enough space to take advantage of that Atom. An Atom does not make a tablet. Better to stick with ARM and use the extra space to get more battery and less piece-of-crap components.

(Mar 11 '11 at 19:40) HHBones HHBones's gravatar image

yeah thats exactly the point, an ARM motherboard is going to be stuck with horrible components. An Intel MoBo will be able to use literally whatever component he wants, be it super high end or be it cheap, its all around a way smarter choice, especially for custom hardware.

(Mar 11 '11 at 19:54) Zlpha Zlpha's gravatar image

Yes, but you're missing the point: ARM uses MUCH less power and gives off MUCH less heat. Even if he goes with an Intel Atom, he's using a lot more power and giving off a lot more heat than he needs to. It doesn't matter if it's faster- ARM trumps Intel and AMD on power saving and heat. That's why pretty much EVERY mobile device uses ARM.

(Mar 12 '11 at 05:31) HHBones HHBones's gravatar image

Where exactly is he going to buy an ARM motherboard and processor?

(Mar 12 '11 at 06:49) Zlpha Zlpha's gravatar image

Where could he find an Intel or AMD motherboard small enough to put into a tablet? He's kinda going to have to make his own motherboard. There's 0 chance of having a conventional motherboard in it, no matter how small. I'm just trying to illustrate for him the difficulty of the task. True, you COULD have an Intel or AMD motherboard, but the battery would be trash, and you'd have to find a weirdly-shaped touchscreen. I'm making the touchscreen the center of attention, where it needs to be, and I'm making the battery life last longer.

(Mar 13 '11 at 09:12) HHBones HHBones's gravatar image

No, I'm asking, WHERE can you buy an ARM motherboard and processor? Because I can't find anywhere that sells them.

Also, with a bit of tweaking, a micro ITX motherboard could be used fairly easily.

And why do you have this strange opinion that Intel of AMD cpus devour power? There are netbooks on the market with Atom processors that have 6 hour battery lives (thats just with the stock batteries) and are extremely thin, even with a keyboard and netbook case, both of which would obviously be removed. Because the netbook motherboard is compatible with Windows 7 and has USB and video out ports, attaching a touch panel would be simple as all the software AND hardware is compatible. On top of that, because the screen adds much more horizontal space than the Atom motherboard takes up, a massive battery can be added. The only difficult part would be figuring out what kind of case to enclose it all, (the mobo behind the screen) And in the end, it would all be extremely thin. It's simple, none of that ARM hardware and software incompatibility and better performance to boot. In the end, you could end up with an extremely sleek tablet, if you're a talented designer, but most likely you'll have an amateur piece of hardware with better performance and a fully fledged OS unlike most commercial tablets with ARM on the market today.

(Mar 13 '11 at 10:06) Zlpha Zlpha's gravatar image

So, I'm tempting to go with ARM, but where can I buy an ARM motherboard and processor?

(Mar 13 '11 at 15:29) User_1002 User_1002's gravatar image
showing 5 of 10 show all

I wish you the best of luck at making something like that. However you will need:

  1. Processor
  2. Small Motherboard
  3. Battery
  4. Case
  5. Touch Screen
  6. Ram
  7. Storage
  8. The knowhow to put it together

By the time you have all this then you will probably be better of and cheaper buying a tablet.

answered Mar 11 '11 at 18:10

TheTechDude's gravatar image


edited Mar 11 '11 at 19:18

alt text

Modbook is a Macbook turned into a tablet. ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axiotron_Modbook

answered Mar 11 '11 at 18:43

r0bErT4u's gravatar image



He wants to know how to make one himself, not which one is nicest.

(Mar 11 '11 at 18:56) HHBones HHBones's gravatar image

I know. I wanted to give an example of how they did it. I think it would be cheaper to convert/modify a notebook computer into a tablet pc, instead of building from scratch.

(Mar 11 '11 at 19:06) r0bErT4u r0bErT4u's gravatar image

Can't there be a way to use/convert/hack a digital picture frame to do this?

answered Aug 21 '11 at 11:49

baracuda68's gravatar image


most digital frames aren't touch screens. And even if they are, they don't have nearly enough processing power to run windows like he wants

(Aug 21 '11 at 12:10) Arty Arty's gravatar image
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Asked: Mar 11 '11 at 18:02

Seen: 26,868 times

Last updated: Dec 13 '12 at 00:22