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How To: Custom Laptop

  • Laptops
  • Hard Drives
  • Customization
Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
July 1, 2014 8:21:21 AM

Is there anywhere that actually lets you customize a laptop? Everywhere I've seen either has gaming laptop configurations or very cheap ones (which is what I'm looking for) for no less than $1200 ROFL (that comes with 4gb ram, 256gb 5400 HDD, Intel i3...).

Primary Concerns:

- 14'' screen (perhaps even 12-13, I still want to be able to see what I'm doing, but it be no bigger than a text book so that I may fit it into a pack)

- 80gb HDD (no need for any space amount over 80gb, all coding applications will be ran off a portable USB, preferably lowest RPM possible for least amount of noise and required air flow, backups are not a problem as I will sync everything into clouds automatically, but perhaps if cheap enough < $40, I could get a 80gb external HDD in case of drive failure so that I don't need to reinstall OS and applications on new a HDD, I can just restore to an earlier point)

- 2gb RAM(perhaps even 3 or 4, if GNOME and something like Microsoft Word will be too intensive for 2)

- 2 USB ports

- CPU x64 (suggested Intel i3 due to nostalgia effects, but considering anything (a dual-core is highly in question), and if it makes extremely little difference, can even do x32 if convincing enough)

- GPU nothing at all remarkable, basically anything that can display an image adequately will do

- Wifi adequate enough to hold a decent connection at libraries for a reliable connection to the internet when browsing coding repositories or information sites

- Cost below $300, if you are planning the budget for me and achieve all the requirements on this list and do not achieve $300, even better

- Modularity, if a part goes bad, I'd like the option to be able to find some other similar part online and be able to replace it, although it only need last a few years, so it may not be an issue, just more of a luxury, and I know with laptops it isn't exactly as easy as that

- Running Linux, Debian 7 (Wheezy)

- If reason or support can be provided, will consider using an APU, since I know I'll probably achieve much more performance that way

- Applications to be ran are Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint, Firefox, Sublime Text 2, etc

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Best solution

a b D Laptop
July 1, 2014 8:27:58 AM

Not really sure what you are asking for here. You want a low-end "modular" laptop? They really don't exist, no market for them. Wander over to Wal-Mart or Best Buy and buy practically anything that costs $300 if that is what you are after.

They pretty much don't make full x32 processors anymore and haven't for a good long while for the consumer PC . Amd64 (x86-64) has been the standard for nearly ten years. Also don't really make 80GB hard drives anymore, you would be lucky to find a 250GB.

July 1, 2014 8:31:21 AM

The times are too demanding. xD I see some 80gb HDDs online for ~$40, doubt they're worth a damn though.
a b D Laptop
July 1, 2014 11:59:41 AM

I get modular laptops for ~$200.

(1) Buy a Fujitsu Lifebook or Lenovo Thinkpad off eBay that boots into Your chosen OS. If You want to have someone to hold Your hand buy one from a Microsoft Certified System Refurbished.

Make sure it is upgradeable to what You want before bidding. Don't assume that socket will hold that chip; find out if it shipped with that chip. For RAM and HDD upgrades, see if there's a HOWTO on the web, or if models with those specs are for sale used/refurbished. If not, then assume the upgrade will not work.

(2) Ask the seller if they would like to upgrade the laptop to the specs You have. I usually do this before bidding. Sometimes, You get a seller that will upgrade from one processor to another for $10, as that's the price difference for them between the two processors. Other charge retail price on the processor plus labor, which is not a good deal.

(3) When the laptop arrives, test it thoroughly for a few days.

(4) Order the parts You want to upgrade the laptop. Processors can be cheap on eBay. Batteries and chargers are best purchased new on eBay, fresh from China. I suggest getting RAM and hard disks new.

For example: I'm running a Fujitsu Lifebook T5010 with a 2.66GHz processor (6MB cache,) 8GB DDR3 RAM, 1TB HDD, and 2 batteries (6 hours) at a time with a spare set of 2 batteries always in the charger.

My T5010 started life with no DVD drive, a processor with 3MB of cache, 2 gigs of RAM, and a 160GB HDD.

One more thing...the another laptop off eBay. It can be one that fails to boot, which might provide You with the parts You need. It can be one that works but has broken plastic, which will probably provide Your with the parts You need. You can buy a working one, which is a truly paranoid approach. I keep a hot standby next to my bed, and I image my HDD once a week. If my laptop dies, I can swap the backup hard disk over, and maybe pay the BSA MAFIAA for a few licenses of software to get back up and running.