YouTuber builds his own Studio Display by upcycling an old iMac

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in General Discussion
After realizing Apple's new Studio Display features a similar panel to Apple's 27-inch iMac, a clever YouTuber sets out to prove it's possible to DIY your own 5K display.




YouTuber Luke Miani owns one of Apple's newly launched $1,600 Studio Displays. And, according to a video he posted on Wednesday, he also likes it quite a bit.

However, Miani also notes that the criticism surrounding the display is valid. It's the same 5K, 27-inch, non-ProMotion, non-MiniLED monitor that has been available on the iMac since 2014 -- which got him thinking.

If it's the same display that Apple has been offering for nearly a decade, then you should be able to convert an old iMac into a similar display.

The video, spotted by 9to5mac, is hardly an exhaustive tutorial, but it does show the process of turning a 2014 27-inch iMac into a DIY Studio Display.

He obtained the iMac for "a smidge over $600," but notes that you could get it for less if you found one with a dead logic board and a working display.





Miani completely guts the iMac and, once finished, winds up with a 27-inch 5K display with a built-in camera and USB-C connectivity for $829.

While impressive, it's still not an exact duplicate of the Studio Display. For example, it doesn't feature P3 color gamut support -- to get that, you'd need to get an iMac from 2015 or later.

He also points out that the performance isn't exactly the same as the Studio Display. The blacks aren't as deep, and the contrast ratio isn't as good. However, if you're willing to hunt down a 2015 -- or even better, a 2017 iMac -- you'd likely see even better results.

While the process does require some tools and technical prowess, it proves that it is possible to repurpose an old iMac into a high-end monitor if you so choose.

Apple debuted the Studio Display at the 2022 March Apple Event. The $1,600 monitor has received mixed reviews.

The display had an early issue where users were unable to update the device until Apple resigned iOS 15.4 specifically for the monitor.

Additionally, the monitor has seen multiple problems with its built-in webcam. The quality was seen as lacking, and even after an update, does not seem to be as impressive as we'd hoped.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    MadbumMadbum Posts: 154member
    Way too much trouble. I still
    have 5 k iMac and use it. Also just got The studio monitor.

    It’s not the same…
  • Reply 2 of 16
    Sure, 5K is "old"...but 4K and 2K are even older. 
    steve_jobsbloggerblogscstrrfdanox
  • Reply 3 of 16
    kimberlykimberly Posts: 407member
    Madbum said:
    Way too much trouble. I still
    have 5 k iMac and use it. Also just got The studio monitor.

    It’s not the same…
    @Madbum ; Luke Miani is a winner. There is a saying where I come from... winners are grinners and losers can please themselves.
    edited April 29 scstrrf
  • Reply 4 of 16
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,363member
    Shame that Target Display Mode isn’t a thing any more.
    dewmeMplsPdarkvaderblastdoor
  • Reply 5 of 16
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,389member
    crowley said:
    Shame that Target Display Mode isn’t a thing any more.
    When the iMac went Retina, there wasn't a connection technology that could drive it.  Now, there is.   
    I will keep my eye out for some old retina iMacs.   
    scstrrf
  • Reply 6 of 16
    MadbumMadbum Posts: 154member
    kimberly said:
    Madbum said:
    Way too much trouble. I still
    have 5 k iMac and use it. Also just got The studio monitor.

    It’s not the same…
    @Madbum ; Luke Miani is a winner. There is a saying where I come from... winners are grinners and losers can please themselves.
    I didn’t say Luke wasn’t a winner.

    just the monitors are night and day different , I know because I have both of them 
    urahara
  • Reply 7 of 16
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,010member
    I watch Luke all the time but his project simply says the Studio Display starts with a 2019 (or newer) LG display and totally replaces all the driver hardware, camera and speakers. Luke got part way there but it shows the Studio Display is much more than just the display panel.
    Madbum
  • Reply 8 of 16
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,913member
    crowley said:
    Shame that Target Display Mode isn’t a thing any more.
    Yes it would be good to be able to do this all software if you an iMac that still works but isnt up to the workflow demands. 

    That said I wonder if a project specific converter board or an interface board that used the old connections and portholes to make speakers and web cam work
    edited April 29
  • Reply 9 of 16
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,990member
    Madbum said:
    Way too much trouble. I still
    have 5 k iMac and use it. Also just got The studio monitor.

    It’s not the same…
    Having disassembled quite a few iMacs in my time, it's not that much trouble.  The last iMac I worked on, I was able to completely disassemble it and reassemble it in 45 minutes.  

    I would seriously consider doing this if I came across a good donor iMac.  
    scstrrfdarkvader
  • Reply 10 of 16
    aderutteraderutter Posts: 534member
    I use LunaDisplay to use my 2014 5K iMac as a 5K monitor with my new MBP - thunderbolt connected, works fine for my needs, around 0.5ms latency. 
    urahara
  • Reply 11 of 16
    Sure, 5K is "old"...but 4K and 2K are even older. 
    And what do you see more when you look at 4K and 5K on 27 inch monitor? It is not about pixels. Human eye angular resolution is the limit. Same with colors. Marketing geeks came up with 16 million colors while human eye sees only 300 thousand. It justified encoding with 32-bit, but it had to be excused to buyers.

    It is not about old or new, but how much you see and what level of detail. Samsung came originally with high level unrealistic contrasts (now Apple) while Sony biased colors to make them "vibrant" a decade or two ago (also unrealistic). Do you really see life around you the same way as on those monitors? Think.
    darkvader
  • Reply 12 of 16
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,010member
    Sure, 5K is "old"...but 4K and 2K are even older. 
    And what do you see more when you look at 4K and 5K on 27 inch monitor? It is not about pixels. Human eye angular resolution is the limit. Same with colors. Marketing geeks came up with 16 million colors while human eye sees only 300 thousand. It justified encoding with 32-bit, but it had to be excused to buyers.

    It is not about old or new, but how much you see and what level of detail. Samsung came originally with high level unrealistic contrasts (now Apple) while Sony biased colors to make them "vibrant" a decade or two ago (also unrealistic). Do you really see life around you the same way as on those monitors? Think.
    My eyes are getting old but I can definitely see the difference between my 5K iMac’s display and the lower resolution garbage on typical PC displays. I’ve been using computer displays since the early 70’s. 
    urahara
  • Reply 13 of 16
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,174member
    sflocal said:
    Madbum said:
    Way too much trouble. I still
    have 5 k iMac and use it. Also just got The studio monitor.

    It’s not the same…
    Having disassembled quite a few iMacs in my time, it's not that much trouble.  The last iMac I worked on, I was able to completely disassemble it and reassemble it in 45 minutes.  

    I would seriously consider doing this if I came across a good donor iMac.  

    It’s to much trouble for most people, however if you got time and are good with electronics have at it.
  • Reply 14 of 16
    Sure, 5K is "old"...but 4K and 2K are even older. 
    And what do you see more when you look at 4K and 5K on 27 inch monitor? It is not about pixels. Human eye angular resolution is the limit. Same with colors. Marketing geeks came up with 16 million colors while human eye sees only 300 thousand. It justified encoding with 32-bit, but it had to be excused to buyers.
    Yes, it is about pixels. Apple uses the Retina Display standard for their products which requires 5K for 27 inch and 6K for 32 inch. It's always hilarious to see sites like this complaining about the Studio Display being "expensive" at $1599 for 5K when they openly tout 49 inch monitors that cost $1,500 and are the resolution equivalent of a couple side-by-side 2K monitors.
    aderutter
  • Reply 15 of 16
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,737member
    crowley said:
    Shame that Target Display Mode isn’t a thing any more.
    Agreed. But for more recent iMacs with TB3 ports, could we get something nearly equivalent with a little trickery? 
  • Reply 16 of 16
    Madbum said:
    Way too much trouble. I still
    have 5 k iMac and use it. Also just got The studio monitor.

    It’s not the same…
    I think this was just an exercise in seeing IF it can be done.
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