Star Wars fan converts old iMacs to Cinema Displays [Setups] | Cult of Mac

Star Wars fan converts old iMacs to Cinema Displays [Setups]


There's a lot to look at in SE's setup, including 3D-printed
There's a lot to look at in SE's setup, including 3D-printed Star Wars figures like a BB-8 droid on the shelf next to the Xbox.

If you’ve got an old or damaged iMac lying around, why not make use of it? You can find plenty of guidance online to help you turn that dead weight into a version of Apple’s classic Cinema Display and use it with other Macs.

The owner of today’s setup talked about doing just that, plus using open-source software to make his old Macs run recent macOS versions.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

User 3D prints Star Wars figures and converts iMacs to Cinema Displays

Redditor Straight_Estimate_76 (“SE”) showcased the busy setup in a post simply entitled, “My setup.” It’s a bit busy not just because of the computing gear on display but because SE keeps a 3D printer in his setup and some of the objects he’s printed with it, like a mini BB-8 droid from Star Wars.

You can see the little BB-8 on the top shelf on the far wall in between Xbox gear in front of the Nanoleaf Shapes LED smart light panels. And C-3P0’s head sits on the lower shelf, serving as a book-end.

‘Simple’ iMac conversion to Cinema Display

“Cool setup! How do you connect two iMacs together?” a commenter asked, who apparently assumed the iMacs were being used as such. But instead, SE appears to run a Mac mini and he also has MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops. The iMacs are now just monitors.

“Simple,” SE replied. The iMacs [were stripped] from motherboards and power supplies and converted to Cinema Displays with Display Converter for HDMI output.”

Some commenters made a bit of fun of SE for calling the operation “simple.” That sort of thing isn’t simple for everyone. But there’s a fair amount of guidance online if you want to try it. We found multiple videos, including the one below and this one and this one

Watch video on converting iMac to Cinema Display:

Shout out to OCLP

Another element in the discussion touched on OpenCore Legacy Patcher (OCLP). It comes from Dortania’s OpenCore, which is open-source software that enables macOS to boot on non-Apple hardware like PCs. OCLP does it for old Macs Apple no longer supports, like SE’s 2013 iMac and 2011 MacBook Pro.

“You can use OCLP to install an unsupported macOS version!” a commenter said. “Works great for me on a 2013 [MacBook Pro] with Sonoma.”

“Every iMac and [MacBook} Air or Pro that I have, is with OCLP… the iMac late 2013 is with Sonoma and the MBP late 2011 with Mavericks,” SE replied. Then the commenter added OCLP “works great and is the savior of older Macs.”

Shop these items now:

Two of the three Cinema Displays are actually converted iMacs.
Two of the three Cinema Displays are actually converted iMacs. And that device in front of the Magic Keyboard mini is a Numark DJ controller.



Input devices:


Other gear:

If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches, challenges and plans for new additions.

27-inch Thunderbolt Cinema Display (Renewed)

This model of Apple's classic display features a glossy, LED-backlit screen with 2560x1440 pixel resolution, a built-in FaceTime HD camera and three USB 2.0 ports.

12/03/2023 12:23 am GMT


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.