In a world where privacy is a more and more confused concept, dwarfed by useless and bizarre regulations of little practical sense, finding a personal computer that is serious to say the least is almost impossible. Almost due to the fact that a young German engineer designed and built one respecting specifications and prerogatives that make it unique and completely in contrast to any other of the same segment. Modern laptops are more and more Closed Source or difficult to repair if necessary, they contain firmware and software branded, proprietary closed because they are controlled by their respective manufacturers, also as if all this were not enough bundelware is now a consolidated practice so here it is that the first time you turn on our notebook takes all the time to check updates, preconfigurations of weather forecasts, news of the moment, games, in short, everything except what we bought the computer for. The information on the electronic components used in the cards inside them are not public as well as their wiring diagrams. The batteries are often integrated a bit like modern smartphones, making a possible replacement a drama. Often the bios integrated in the system does not allow you to use all the functions available from the CPU or in other cases is deliberately limited for pure commercial purposes.
MNT Reform is a portable personal computer designed to go in the opposite direction because it is designed to be completely open both from the hardware and software point of view. In fact, its operation is entirely due to the adoption of free and open source software from scratch. Users are given full freedom to explore the electronics of the computer both from a practical point of view, with easy access to the electronic boards without joints or plastic tabs, and from the point of view of documentation, in fact it is thanks to the latter that you could even customize or repair the electronics yourself! There are no hidden integrated data collection and control systems, no WebCam or microphone as standard, (but can be installed at any time) so your privacy in practical terms can be considered safe. Designed and built with ARM / RISC NXP i.MX8M technology with ARM Cortex-A53 64-bit ARM core, it boasts a much simpler architecture than conventional intel-inside laptops and therefore makes it very attractive to all those who want to interact also at development level in addition to the daily productive use. Needless to say, there are no constraints to any third party cloud service as well as no contracts or agreements of any kind regarding the tracking of your data by any software included in the OS. This little gem allows you to surf the web, write texts, draw graphics, play music and edit music substantially without any kind of compromise thanks to the free software counterparts of Office Photoshop publisher and many others. From a graphical point of view you can enjoy 3D acceleration thanks to the OpenGL ES 2.0 support of the GPU, through the open-source ethnaviv driver integrated in the Linux kernel, as far as audio is concerned, this is generated by a Wolfson high fidelity DAC.
As already mentioned earlier, MNT Reform is a notebook that goes against the trend, which means that it is designed to last a very long time. From input devices to batteries everything can be replaced without effort, in particular the batteries are replaceable from the individual cells or is given the possibility to directly replace the individual standard 18650 a bit like replacing the batteries of our remote control! Finally we can replace only the elements without throwing away the entire battery management electronics that remains on the notebook. But that's not all, contrary to current design trends where everything is tapered in honor of aesthetics and without regard to practicality, MNT Reform mounts a mechanical open-hardware keyboard composed of Kailh Choc low-profile deep switch, without many words means that it will last a long time and in case of failure can be repaired by replacing only the defective buttons, also the mechanics offers an excellent typing experience and as if that were not enough the keyboard's firmware is open documented and customizable. What you see when you look at the notebook from the photos on the web (being able to approach it live is still a privilege for a select few ...) is not plastic but anodized aluminum alloy sandblasted, a precise design and hallmark that denotes the superior quality with which the notebook takes shape. With a compact and simple mainboard thanks to the technology used, MNT Reform is able to withstand a professional use even in live environments without fear of any kind of particular wear, having no fans inside it will always remain quiet and clean. The transparent pexiglass at the bottom through which you can scrutinize the electronics and batteries protects it perfectly from dust, insects and any other unfriendly agent and allows us to admire all its impeccable simplicity.
It will be available in 2 variants from what you understand from the page on the Crowdfunding website chosen to get the project off the ground, provided that shipping costs are always included worldwide, one version is named MNT Reform Max from the cost of $ 1500 you will be delivered the notebook fully assembled with 1TB of NVMe SSD storage, mPCIe WIFI card, black leather case or purse signed by Greta Melnik, SD card with Linux Debian 11 and the international power supply to charge and power the computer everywhere, is not specified but it is assumed that the notebook comes with the corresponding batteries. The second version is named MNT Reform DIY Kit in practice you get all the parts both the mechanical parts and all the electronics already assembled of course, so it will remain to assemble everything without having to solder anything and saving a little money for the kit costs $ 999 but in this case are not included the WIFI card and the Storage (256 GB SSD NVMe ) that can be added to the kit with another $ 120. It must be said that you can choose the pointing device between trackball or trackpad and the printing of the keyboard I suppose for the preferred layout.
MNT Reform is a notebook that will appeal to many, including me! The need to work with really serious computers like this is increasingly felt by many and is beginning to be so even by non-experts. Maybe in the future we will also see a slightly hainier version maybe 15 or 16 inches where the keyboard will also have a numeric keypad and the FHD display will be less dense than the 12.5 FHD of MNT Rform who knows, the hope is that MNT continues full support for all its current projects as long as possible. If you are interested, you can order it now, but you will have to wait until December when shipping will start.
Features and Specifications:
- CPU: NXP/Freescale i.MX8MQ with 4x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.5 GHz), 1x Cortex-M4F core. CPU and RAM are on exchangeable SO-DIMM sized module.
- RAM: 4 GB LPDDR4 memory
- GPU: Vivante GC7000Lite GPU with mainline Linux drivers and OpenGL 2.1, ES 2.0
- Display: Full HD (1920x1080 pixels) 12.5" IPS eDP display driven via MIPI-DSI. Optionally-enabled HDMI port. 128 x 32 pixel system control OLED
- USB: 3x USB 3.0 ports external (Type-A), 2x USB 2.0 internal (for input devices)
- Networking: Gigabit Ethernet port. miniPCIe Wi-Fi card included in Reform Max pledge level.
- Storage: Internal M.2 M-key socket for NVMe SSD. Full size SD card slot.
- PCIe: 1x miniPCIe socket (PCIe 2.0 1x), 1x M.2/NGFF socket M-key (PCIe 2.0 1x)
- Keyboard: Reform mechanical USB keyboard with Kailh Choc Brown Switches, dimmable backlight, open firmware
- Trackball (Option): Reform optical USB trackball with 5 mechanical switches (Kailh Choc Brown), open firmware
- Trackpad (Option): Reform capacitive USB trackpad, open firmware
- Enclosure: Modular case from CNC-milled, bead-blasted, black-anodized 6061 aluminum. Bottom cover milled from semi-transparent acrylic.
- Sound: Wolfson WM8960 ADC/DAC, stereo speakers, 3.5" headset/microphone jack (no internal microphone)
- Camera: No camera. Internal MIPI-CSI connector
- Battery: LiFePO4 battery technology - which is more fire-safe and has more charge-cycles than LiPo battieries. 8x owner-serviceable 18650 cells totalling 12 Ah/3.2 V. 5 h approximate battery life
- System Controller: NXP LPC11U24 ARM Cortex-M0 chip with open firmware and hackable expansion port
- Manual: Operator Manual incl. system schematics and full parts list
- Sources: KiCAD sources for motherboard, keyboard, trackball, trackpad, STEP/STL/FreeCAD files for case parts, C sources for all firmware (input devices and system controller), build scripts for boot & system image
- OS: Preloaded with Debian GNU/Linux 11, Linux 5.x mainline kernel
- Dimensions: 29 x 20.5 x 4 cm
- Weight: ~1.9 kg
MNT Reform is designed and built by MNT Research GmbH of Lukas F. Hartmann