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DIY Laptop, what would be in yours?

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May 1, 2012 2:27:12 PM

I posted this over in the Mobile section but realized this would probably be a better place for it.

I've seen posted a few times questions about a laptop built from desktop components. Let's say hypothetically it were possible, what desktop parts would you like to be able to add, specific products if possible. I'll leave a few questions to get you started.

1.)What screen size/native resolution?
2.)Hard drive Options?
3.)What's the "best" graphics card and processor you'd like to have the option of using? (considering the restraints of making a reasonable sized laptop, being able to cool adequately, and power consumption)
4.)Are internal speakers a must?
5.)What would be the maximum thickness of the finished design (2 in?, 3in?)?
6.)Would a "mobile desktop" solution be acceptable? By this I mean a system that required plugging to work(no or minimal battery), but is still on a laptop frame for easy mobility.
7.) What battery life would you expect for non-intensive use?
8.)What components would you expect to come with the base 'kit' and how much would you pay for that?
9.)Any concerns not listed?

I'll start by answering for myself:
1.) I haven't paid enough attention to this in my past laptops to notice a difference so I'll say anything that works reliably here.
2.) I prefer at least two hard drive bays, just so I have the option of a solid state os drive.
3.) I'm a casual gamer so I rarely need things on highest settings. Probably a Radeon 7750 or GeForce GT 440 would handle anything I need. My max processor would probably be i5-2405s. That would be more than I'd ever need, but it's low power consumption and has enough on board graphics that I could probably make out with better battery life. Can't wait for Ivy though
4.)When I'm home I hook up to my sound system and when I'm away I use headphones so I don't see where these would be absolutely necessary. Most laptop speakers suck anyway.
5.) Anything above 2.5in is pushing it
6.) Sure if it meant better options for other components. My laptops all have dead batteries anyway so I deal with this already.
7.)I'm not really used to battery life, but 2 hours would be outstanding
8.)Probably the chassis, screen, power supply(and battery if offered) and maybe the keyboard. Price is "nothing too ridiculous". Essentially somewhere around the price of getting a good desktop case, display, power supply and keyboard if all that is included. Of course there will be a price bump for a battery. So maybe 550-650 total if all that is included? Sounds good

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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 1, 2012 3:23:37 PM

Nice thread!
1. Monitor- I'm the kind of guy who says a monitor is a monitor. I wouldn't have much of a preference, but I will say that although my Acer Aspire is a pretty lowsy performer with its Athlon II single core, I do love the widescreen monitor.

2. Hard Drive- I'd probably go with an SSD, not so much for the speed but the durability, since laptops get moved around so much and HDDs are fragile.

3. I'd probably get a Llano 3870k APU with the graphics onboard.

4. I've always had internal speakers on my laptop break, so they're not really a "must" for me, as if I'm on the go, I'll bring headphones, and if I'm in a hotel, I'd probably bring a cheap set of externals.

5. I don't mind if its a thick laptop. 3 inches, even 4 inches would be fine, with a llano APU, it would still be a pretty powerful laptop.

6. Yes, if I'm in a car, I'd use a power inverter.

7. Heh, I've owned 2 laptops, one was a 2nd hand Dell XPS M1530, and the Acer, neither of them had particularly good battery life. I'd say if it would last 4 hours without a charge I'd be happy.

8. I'd like to see one under 1 grand with 8 gigs of RAM, the Llano APU, and 120gig SSD.

9. None that I can think of.
May 1, 2012 5:35:24 PM

Nice answers!! I definitely consider the APU solutions to be a great option, I'm just not as familiar with AMD cards. Even though this thread is basically a "what if" not really caring about logistics...logistically the APU setup seems like a great "reasonable" set up for something like that. I'm excited about the Intel HD 4000 benchmarks as well.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
May 1, 2012 5:45:14 PM

Heh, thanks, hey what do you know they do have a pre-built that would just about match my desired specs, I got curious and checked out HP's website and found this:


The llanos are really decent, ironically, even though for CPU performance, Intel is really beating the snot out of Intel their APU graphics are incredible. It really makes me wonder why AMD can't at least take Intel on the laptop market, even the HD 4000 isn't quite ready to take on llano.
May 1, 2012 6:44:27 PM

I'd say two things contribute to that: brand loyalty and that most laptop sales are on the lower end of the spectrum. Most sales are people that just go in to a big box store and say "I need a laptop", it doesn't really matter what's in it as long as it's pretty and it turns on. So for the bulk of purchases there isn't really a "difference" to consumers. By the time you get into the price range and target audience that is actually paying attention to specs, there ends up being very close competition as far as I've seen with overall specs. And I'm sure you know how far fanboys will go to get their preferred company. Llanos sound like a great option. Personal experience turned me away from AMD when I had trouble on multiple systems installing some software I used on anything running AMD setups (unidentifiable graphics errors that we couldn't seem to fix) vs smooth sailing for my intel/nvidia installs. I tend to use my things til the power button stops working so I haven't bought anything recently enough to know if that problem still pops up. But aside from that, great options coming from their side.
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