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Portable system (sorry for the long post!)

Last response: in Systems
February 3, 2010 3:00:45 AM

I don't expect most to read all of this but if you have any ideas, links, or suggestions please post them!

I am like so many people with laptops, we carry them around, and when we break them out the first thing that we do is plug them in because:
#1 they are too slow on battery power!
#2 if your doing anything fun on it the battery dies too fast!.
#3 the screen is so dim you cant use it unless your in the dark or turn up the settings and refer to #2!

I keep looking at new Gaming laptops but for what I want it to do the prices are :ouch:  :non: 

Some reasoning here:
If I want to check email or browse the net I can do that on my phone!
I like unique things! Hence I drive a Subaru SVX ;) 
I have done a lot of travelling the last few years and if I am going to be some place longer than 2 weeks I lug a desktop! If its less I just resort to my trusty Sony TR2a.

I have a lot of the parts needed for the build but even if I didn't the cost of all new parts is still less than $1k, considerably less than a $2-3k+ laptop that still needs to be plugged in to do any real gaming leaving most people lugging around a battery they seldom use.

So I want to build a "luggable" all in 1 computer the size of a briefcase or laptop case that has full desktop performance, using a desktop micro atx motherboard, cpu, memory, and video card, slimline laptop drives to save space and weight.

They make a riser card that will allow me to lay the video card down to save space they also make a riser card that converts to a ribbon that allows even more options for video card placement.

The lcd will be built into the unit also.

Power requirements and power supplies.................will be the make or break of this project.

I looked into using a laptop screen, but the adapter card to convert the signal from a desktop video card signal to a laptop screen is just too expensive and proprietary! If anyone knows anything I am missing here I think this would be a huge power and weight saving option so all info would be greatly appreciated!

I have an older 17" lcd and was surprised to find it needing only 50 watts! (as it runs internally at 12v @ 4.16a = 49.92 watts)
I haven't looked into any newer models yet but considering the one I have is 4 years old I can most likely get a 19" in a newer model that will fall into the same wattage.

PSU would need to be 225 -300 watt range. I used the PSU calculator and went high end desktop parts and didn't figure in laptop hard drives and slimline DVD/CD and a minimum geforce gt 250 1 gig video card. So I should have some breathing room here.

Thermaltake makes a 270w psu that fits in a 5.25" slot

The monitor will control the physical size of the unit so Mobo size really shouldn't be critical bit to keep things to a minimum I was looking at something like theZotac gf9300
Onboard Video GeForce 9300
Onboard LAN 10/100/1000Mbps + 801.11 b/g
Onboard Audio 8 Channels
Model GF9300-K-E
CPU Socket LGA 775
FSB Up to 1333MHz
Dimensions 6.7" x 6.7"
Chipset NVIDIA GeForce 9300
Memory Type DDR3 1066/1333
Package Contents 3 SATA cable 1 SATA power cable 1 I/O back plate
Memory Slots 2×240pin - Dual Channel - up to 8GB RAM
SATA 3 + 1 eSATA
PCI Express x16 1
Form Factor Mini ITX
Video Ports D-SUB + DVI-D + HDMI
USB 12 x USB 2.0 (6 on back panel, 6 via pin header)
Power Connector 24 Pin
RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5

A cpu cooler like the Thermaltake MeOrb with a 47 mm height will cut down on overall system width which is a major concern for me as I want to keep it briefcase size 17"x14"x5" I have measured 5-6 laptop cases and for 15" laptops the case is at least the size of a briefcase, 17" cases are larger!

As far as a case goes I want to make my own or modify something as I want it to be more than just stuffing everything into a briefcase! With several years sheet metal fabrication experience I think I can create something unique and attractive.

This is as far as I have researched so far, feel free to chime in! I am open to any and all ideas and suggestions. I believe input from many sources is valuable, look at how far Linux has come :wahoo: 

a b B Homebuilt system
February 3, 2010 3:25:14 PM

Great idea. I have thought about that a time or two myself. But, here is what you need to do. You keep coming back to briefcase. Just use a briefcase. How sweet would that be?! Make the LCD fold into the case, and when you're ready to game, plug that sucka in and open the top of your briefcase, and voila!

(I really have no idea if that would work, but it would be really awesome. I wonder if you could just ground it through one of the feet?)
February 4, 2010 2:39:07 AM

I am thinking of doing that for the first one, it wouldn't be nearly as difficult to do it that way but if I do it there will only be one cord (power) that you HAVE to attach on the outside, the keyboard & mouse will be wireless, and the wireless nic is built into the mobo.

I will make usb, firewire, esata, connections accessable from a panel somewhere I just want it simple to open up, plug in and go!

Hmmm a built in 10" retractable flat cord?

Would a modified version of this be stylish enough? Although I would prefer black with maybe a logo in silver :D 
a b B Homebuilt system
February 4, 2010 4:04:40 AM

It would be really sweet. Just one of those little power cord reels tucked in there really nice like, you're good to go. You could even get really fancy and make the "top of the bottom" a worksurface, and have your intake and exhaust on the bottom 1/2 of the case, along with any opticals you wanted to run.