Want to use 2010 Macbook as a desktop. Can this work?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by DJLanglois, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. DJLanglois macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    #1
    My wife and I want a simple desktop for our bedroom. It is to be concealed on a hidden shelf and run to a small 21" monitor that we have on a desk. We just need it to play movies and music, and run some simple programs (Office, Aperture, etc.). Our original plan was to buy a Mini. But I'd like to do something else. I'm wondering if it will work.

    I have an old late-2010 white unibody Macbook that I'll no longer be using. (As soon as the new laptops are released, I'm buying an Air.) Since it still runs fine, I'm wondering if we could use it in place of a Mac Mini. Basically, I'd like to have the Macbook sitting on the concealed shelf, eternally plugged in to the power outlet (also concealed), with just a cable or two running to the monitor. Then we'd use our wireless Apple keyboard and mouse (the same ones we were planning to use with the Mini) to control everything.

    Will this work? I have a couple of worries.

    1. Can the Macbook be fully closed, with the monitor off, while still operating normally and sending video to the monitor and being operating with a mouse and keyboard? If it can't do this 'naturally', is there some workaround?

    2. Will some kind of minidisplay-to-HDMI carry both video *and* sound to the monitor? (If not, is there anything I can do to carry sound to the monitor?)

    Are there other potential problems?

    Thanks!
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    Yes.
    To keep your MBP awake with the lid closed, use InsomniaX or InsomniaT (rebuild for SL) (fix for 2011 MPBs)
    First, does the monitor have speakers built in? I seem to recall some Apple notebooks don't provide audio to HDMI, but I don't recall if that applies to yours.
    To avoid killing your MacBook battery quicker, take it off AC power and run on battery a while every few days.
     
  3. DJLanglois thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    #3
    Thanks. That's very helpful.

    Re: the question about the audio. Yeah, the monitor has built-in speakers that I was hoping to use, via HDMI. (If I can also run a single 1/8" cable from the MB's headphone jack to the monitor, then that would be fine. But I'm not sure whether that would work on either end.)
     
  4. DJLanglois thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    #4
    I'm an idiot. I have 2009 Macbook, not a 2010 Macbook. So this one cannot carry sound through minidisplayport. Ugh. That's awful.

    Question: can I use a minidisplayport-to-DVI cable for video and then a 1/8" cable (headphone jack to monitor input) for sound, with the same result?
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #5
    Yes.
     
  6. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #6
    Don't do this.

    Just plug in your monitor, and use an external keyboard/mouse to wake the computer. Done.
     
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #7
    There are times when they may want to keep the computer awake without having to periodically touch the mouse/keyboard. For that, InsomniaT works quite well, and there's no harm at all in using it.
     
  8. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #8
    The same can be accomplished through the power management settings. InsomniaT is a great program, but it's completely unnecessary in using a notebook as a desktop.
     
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #9
    Power management settings won't keep the computer awake with the lid closed. InsomniaT is a very useful tool in certain instances. It's not completely unnecessary.
     
  10. unixperience macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    #10
    before you get the wrong idea i should let you know you some things

    operating a laptop with the lid closed, and it plugged into an external monitor is called clamshell mode. It is supported on all mac laptops (back to the actually colorful clamshell g3 laptops). you simply plug in a monitor close the laptop and use an external keyboard, mouse, or any USB device to wake it up, then it will only use the external monitor and the built in display will stay off. one small "gotcha" is to do this you must have the charger plugged in, as soon as you unplug it the laptop will go to sleep. but this is built into the OS no need to do a work around. heres some more info : http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3131


    you dont NEED insomianx or insomniaT or lidsleep or anything like that, why you ask? Well the goal of those programs is to leave your computer on while closed with no external monitors plugged in. but since you have a monitor plugged in you are fine, the only time these help is with the "gotcha" part, if the computer comes unplugged, it will NOT fall asleep even though the id is closed. but if it is always going to be plugged in you dont need these programs

    if you are really hooked on the idea of using hdmi for sound and video there are adapters, here is one for instance (there are more this is jsut the first one i found). it takes the OPTICAL sound channel (full5.1 surround) from the computer and integrates it with the video signal. since it has a little chip in there to do the processing it is powered by a usb port. but when its all said and done there will be sound over hdmi (like i said there are other manufactures too this is just the first i found) http://www.amazon.com/Kanex-iAdapt-DisplayPort-Channel-Digital/dp/B0031QH1BG

    lastly, and many people will argue this, but leaving you mac plugged in all the time does not degrade the battery life. in fact fully discharging a lithium battery is the most harmful thing of all. my sister used to do that and her battery died after 400 charge cycles, i always leave mine plugged in when i can and after 4 years it still retains 94% of the original charge. Even if you read the apple "battery care" thing you will see that they say a charge cycle is defined as a full discharge, so your battery ages MORE by discharging it. just leave it plugged in all the time thats fine.

    the one REAL issue i see with this setup, which is easy to overlook is turning it on and off. in order to turn on the laptop you have to physically open it then press the button. this can get annoying depending on how concealed it is. so just a thought, i dont know how often you plan on turning it off, but that's just a fun fact. as a side note, if you turn the comp on and close the lid before it finishes booting up, it will automatically go into clamshell mode :)

    hope my really long post helped
     
  11. NewAnger macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Location:
    Denver Colorado
    #11
    I've been using my 2008 black MB as a desktop with an external monitor, mouse and keyboard for the past year. It's used only to watch iTunes videos now. I never have to use insomniac or any of those other keep awake apps as my computer is set to never sleep unless I sleep it using the Apple remote. I do have a plug going from the headphone jack to my stereo. I don't have an HD TV so this is my TV. I don't even have a pay TV service coming into the house and haven't for over two years now.

    I also have a 2010 MB that I do exactly the same things on, stereo plug, keyboard and all and it works the same way. The 2008 MB doesn't seem to handle 1080 content very well so when that happens, I switch over to the 2010 MB.

    I've even been using it without a battery since the battery bulged several months ago and this is not even an issue.
     
  12. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #12
    Never said it wasn't. But this is not one of those circumstances.

    OSX's power management tools absolutely will keep the computer awake with the lid closed, as long as there is an external mouse/keyboard/monitor plugged in.

    In this circumstance, InsomniaT is completely unnecessary.
     

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