Dell Latitude C640 Mod

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Paint transformation – Kristofer Brozio

OK, I’ll start with system specs as purchased:

  • Dell Latitude C640
  • 1.8 Ghz P4m
  • 256 Mb DDR RAM PC2100
  • 20 GB Hard Drive
  • 14.1 inch SXGA+ LCD Display
  • ATI Radeon Mobility 32mb 7600
  • CD/RW Drive
  • All the standard ports, 10/100 ethernet, phone jack, usb, s-video, vga, serial etc.

I upgraded to 512 mb RAM and 30 GB HD drive; I also added, a 802.11b wireless card.
These were introduced Q1 of 2003. This is a great laptop for business, but also can
actually play games. Battery life is excellent – I usually got 3+ hours from it with
normal use (non-gaming/movies).

I like the thin form-factor of this laptop; I’ve noticed
lately that the newer laptops are becoming very thick and heavy. This Latitude only
weighs in at 6.1 pounds! The new Dells weigh in at 12+ pounds, and some of them and are twice, if not
three times, as thick.

The LCD picture quality was excellent – it made me decide to purchase an LCD monitor for
my home desktop; I had the laptop sitting on my desk with it on with the same program
running and the difference is amazing.

The laptop was basically used for email, word processing, photo editing and, of course, games
and movies! The P4 does a very good job, although it seemed to me that it ran a little hot; it
got up to 59Cº when gaming or watching movies. I actually opened it up and applied Arctic Silver 5
to the CPU and the GPU to try and help with the heat, but it was just a slight drop in
temps.

I also found that the P4 really underclocks itself when not in use, even if browsing
the internet, etc. While some may like that, I personally did not – I always ran it at full
speed.

Although these cannot be purchased new from Dell anymore, they are really worth
it; if you can find one used/refurb, I would highly recommend it! I did some searching
around and found prices ranging from $800 to $1200 depending on features. So these do hold their value pretty well.

Also I have seen quite a few reviews
on them and the majority are highly rated the Dell latitude C640.

“My Laptop Mod” CONTINUED page 2…

My Laptop Mod

Of course, I had to mod this Laptop. It was originally a Plain Black
Dell (BORING!), fine for a suit and tie guy! I dismantled the whole thing and re-painted
it. I did some Dremel work on the cover and created a new case badge for it.

I used Rust-Oleum products on it: Plastic Primer, a ‘Rust’ effect kit (which looks more like Burlwood) and a clear/hard top coat. I also used a silver and red paint marker for the details and a red Sharpie to color the ‘Latitude’ letters.

I used GE Silicone 2 clear caulk to fill in the dragons, so not only is it guaranteed not to shrink, but it is mildew resistant too. I went with the non-shrinking properties.

I used a Chrome pipe cap for the case badge, onto which I Dremeled the Japanese character for dragon. I rough sanded it to give it a hammered/antique look.

Here is the ‘worklog’ – I’m not going into a lot of detail as it is pretty much self-explanatory.

I created a template on the computer, transferred it to card stock paper and cut it out with Xacto knife:

Stencil

Plastic Primer applied, 3 coats if I remember correctly, sanding in between:

Paint

Parts

{mospagebreak}

Next a base coat is applied:

Top

Rust Pieces

Then the ‘effect’ coat, which is actually a ‘wash’ which is dabbed off with paper towel…

3 Parts

And for the final pics:

Cover

Bottom

KB

Some people mentioned they could see an ‘orangepeel’ effect on it, but I did not go for a perfectly smooth finish. I wanted some texture on it as wood is not perfectly smooth. And yes, I know, the dragons are NOT PERFECT – what in life is? I think I spent a total of 14 hours just getting them to look like that.

You can’t see it in the pictures, but the LCD gives off a blue light, and with the silicone caulk it gives the effect of water. I also re-did the drive/battery later to match the case – sorry, no pics. Sorry about the glare but the mouse buttons are actually red, and yes, I went for the uneven look on the masking, kind of a ripped out look.

Three final coats of clear/hard coat were applied; it took about 1 1/2 weeks to finish. The hardest part was taking it apart, putting it back together, and then shaving the batter/cd, because the layers of paint made them stick in the bays.

The LEDs were also, red, white and blue. All in all I’m happy with it, but it is now gone – sold due to financial problems, but I can’t wait to get my next laptop!

Conclusions

All in all, I personally found no major concerns with this laptop, except the
standard/basic setup is lacking memory, HD space, etc! I would rate it with and A+!
I was VERY happy with it, but I had to sell it and I do miss it!
But the person who purchased it is extremely happy, especially with the modding!!

Kristofer Brozio

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