What do you mean by assembled laptops? If you mean built from the ground up, I've never heard such a thing being cost-effective at any rate. If you mean building from some company's barebone machine...I wouldn't do it. I can't see it being any cheaper than a pre configed and installed system that doesn't use a cracked OS.
As for the where it's best to buy a laptop question - A lot of people ask this without realizing the scope of the question. It's relatively impossible to answer. Are you looking for a better price? Then just look for the cheapest price on any system. Are you looking for a niche program or service that sells in certain countries? If you buy in one country and move the machine to another, you may lose your support program - just ask Maziar.
Frozenlead, what about Linux Distributions? What if you were to use Open source, I know it's not exactly free but wouldn't it be a lot cheaper with a linux distro instead of Microsoft based operating systems? I know there are a lot of things to consider like warranties, support, etc, etc... but like I said, I have some hardware background so I tend to open up stuff my self anyway. But to answer one basic question, I am looking for the cheapest solution possible in the context of this particular question and where I can find it.
Powerpack I was referring to barebones vs. configured. But thanks, your post has been quite helpful already.
Your OS should change depending on your needs. I use Windows Vista Home Premium x64 on my notebook for gaming. My desktop dual boots Windows XP for games and web work, and Ubuntu for coding and SSH connections to the university.
Does anybody on this forum use an assembled laptop? Would it be more economical considering that I do have a background in hardware to go in for an assembled laptop as opposed to a branded PC?.
I guess I assemble my own laptops. I've bought or otherwise acquired a number of laptops in various states of disrepair over the years and have had moderate success in combining all the parts that work into servicable machines. In fact, right now I have a Dell Latitude 110L that needs and LCD and it will be good to go. I started with an Inspiron 1000 I dug out of the "trash heap". I bought a replacement board and lower chassis (including the CPU) for $50 a fan for $10 and a video cable for $8. After I get a panel (with inverter), my total outlay will be around $130 or so for a Pentium M 1.6 with 512MB, 40GB hdd and DVD / CD-RW. . .
You can still get DIY from MSI, Compal, and Asus. . . probably some others. You have to be willing to shop around. Use Nextag, Google Shopping, Ebay, etc. . . .