Duncan Bayne

Beastie Box

Beastie Box is my project to create my dream hacker’s laptop from off-the-shelf components.

desired features

project goals


My intent is to break the project down into several milestones, each of increasing cost and complexity. I can scrub the project at any milestone, reducing wasted time and money.

bench-test prototype v1

Assemble a mini-ITX motherboard, PSU, battery, and charger. Test that size, reliability, battery life are acceptable. Calculate battery life based on estimated power drain of more powerful production motherboard.

bench-test prototype v2

Add a matte LCD monitor, GPIO card, 4G modem router, USB 3.0 hub to build. Bench-test.

in-case prototype

Build a mini-ITX and battery mounting frame for a Pelican case, assemble all the hardware in that, then mount in a Pelican case.

prototype -> production

Purchase a new motherboard, CPU and RAM (as powerful as battery life and cooling will allow). Purchase a multi-touch trackpad, ergonomic mechanical keyboard, and decent speakers. Enhance prototype with these.


Ensure all features of FreeBSD including 3D acceleration and suspend / resume function on my chosen hardware.

At this point, the system will be ready for professional use.


Write simple CLI tools to control aspects of the system like the battery, GPIO, keyboard lighting, etc.


Ensure that all software, schematics, instructions and shape files are of production quality, and available online.

current status

I’m currently working on the first milestone. I’ll post detailed updates to my blog as work progresses.