Building a laptop

By SuperCheetah · 10 replies
May 14, 2002
  1. I was wondering if this can be done within a reasonable price limit. I'm thinking of doing this, but I have doubts on whether I'll be able to find all the necessary parts and a case and screen and whatnot. Do any of you guys have experience with building laptops and if so how much would I be looking at spending? I want one that is around 1GHZ with 256 or 512MB of memory, with fairly good graphics, a nice fat hard drive, and a DVD drive preferably.

    I just hate to buy Dell or Micron or anything like that knowing that they put parts in there that aren't up to par with what I want in my system. Thanks for any suggestions!!!
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    I asked this about a year ago on the old forum, and I believe everyone agreed I'd be better off not trying.

    That advice seems sensible.. I mean lapttops are completely integrated. There's no room for "customization", so there's not much point. And if you can buy the parts for them, there is a good possiblity buying one will jsut be cheaper because OEMs like Compaq and Dell get such great deals on the hardware they purchase, it would be hard to match them probably (Even though I know they seem expensive).

    If you find out where to get some parts and find it is reasonable enough to build your own, then I'd like to hear from you and how it goes.
  3. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    Better start investing in PCB fabrication factory.
    Don't really think its very viable unless your an electrical engineer specializing in embedded microprocessors and computer technology.... ;)
  4. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

  5. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    I attempted that once when I had my shop. It was pretty difficult and expensive to get some of the components like a case, monitor, and keyboard. I finally aborted the project because it was going to become more expensive to build than it would be to buy one with the same configuration.
  6. T-Shirt

    T-Shirt TS Rookie Posts: 289

    The thing is to use really big nails to pound it together,
    after you pound those suckers in to your thighs, you won't care that it's not competitve.:p
    Laptops are pretty specialized, you can buy the best and tweck it. but you can't really make your own.
  7. SuperCheetah

    SuperCheetah TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 709

    Thanks for the replies guys. I've been looking around and it seems as though what you say is true, that it would cost me just as much if not more to build one than to buy one from Dell. Guess I'll just have to settle for one from Dell or something like that. I only wish I could buy that Alienware one LNCPapa had a link to. If I only had 3000 dollars to spare....:(

    Anyway, if you guys see or know of any good deals floating around that I'm not aware of I would appreciate it if you let me know about them! Thanks again!!!
  8. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    You can contact some of the manufacturers and ask what it would cost to have one built to your specs instead of settling for the prebuilt configs they offer. There used to be a few companies that built Laptops to order but they were about as expensive as that Alienware and I think they have all gone the way of the Edsel
  9. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    Lemme just say that I recently spent $3600 for my new Dell - and how I wish I knew of this alienware before I did so. The only thing I don't like about that alienware is the fact that you can only get a Radeon 7500 in it - and from benches I've seen comparing that to the GeForce 4 440 (8.4 gb/sec) card that I have in my laptop now it would get smoked. Also, several of the small additions I had put in my laptop are not available - like MiniPCI wireless, a better combo drive, higher resolution screen, etc. But imagine the raw speed of that machine!

  10. big_guy

    big_guy TS Rookie

    Nice Package, Nice Price

    This is by far the best priced laptop I have ever found.

    Here's the specs:

    -15" SXGA+ (1400x1050) Active Matrix LCD Display
    -Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 2.4GHz with 512KB on-die Cache
    -533MHz Frontside Bus Speed
    -Automatic CPU Throttling for longer Battery Life while on battery power
    -256MB High-Speed DDR333 PC2700 Memory [ Up to 1024 MB ]
    -40.0 GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive [ Upgradeable to 80GB ]
    -High-Speed 5400rpm Hard Drives Available!
    -8X DVD / 24X10X24 CD-RW Combo & Softwares
    -12-Cell High-Capacity Internal Smart Li-ION Battery
    -ATI MOBILITY® RADEON® 9000 4X AGP 3D Graphics Accelerator with 64MB Dedicated DDR Video Memory
    -Optional USB 3.5" Floppy Disk Drive
    -Built-In 3D Stereo Audio, with Audio DJ Access Front Panel
    -Integrated Touchpad with Scrolling Key
    -1 Type II PCMCIA Slot
    -Infra Red, Wireless Fast IR interface
    -4 USB Ports (Version 2.0)
    -1 IEEE-1394 Port (FireWire)
    -Other Ports: 1 audio line-in, 1 headphone, 1 infrared, 1 microphone, 1 parallel, 1 SVGA video, 1 TV-out, IEEE-1394
    -Additional Features: Integrated 10/100Mbps Ethernet LAN, 56K V.92 Fax/Modem + Bluetooth
    -FREE Executive Carrying Case
    -Auto Switch 110/220V AC Adapter, AC power cord, User's Manual, Utility CD
    -FREE Business Works Suite Software Bundle
    -Dimension (H) x (W) x (D) : 1.56"x13.07"x10.81" Weight: 8.6lbs. with Battery
    -One year Parts and Labor Limited Warranty. (Extended Warranty Plan optional.)
    -One Year ExpertAdvantage Technical Support

    Not too bad, huh? It also comes with 25 free programs (software bundle). All of that for (and the price just lowered today) $1279.

    I've seen Dell advertisements in magazines that have the same specs as this laptop that go for over $1000 more!
  11. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,676   +991

    Hi big_guy, that sounds like a good deal even though I'm not into laptops but then again, we need a link or reference where you got that.

    As for SuperCheetah question, one good option might be ECS' Desknotes if you will be plugged to a wall most of the time (these notebook barebones use desktop CPUs, etc.), the only other disadvantage there is the SiS videocard.
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