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Build Advice Should i buy a custom gaming laptop or build my own?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by PFCBroid, 20 Oct 2011.

  1. PFCBroid

    PFCBroid What's a Dremel?

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    I don't know which route to go. I'm new to the tech world, and even newer to the laptop component world. This is why i think it may just be smarter to go to a site that builds custom laptops and not waste my time with a chore that could yield pretty shitty or no results. On the other hand, I would like to think that i could learn as I go with the help of you all here and some guides. It seems like an interesting project and I've heard, if done right, it can be very rewarding and give you a much stronger CPU than buying one. And it would lead the way to one day building my own PC.

    Some extra info and questions: I'm a United States Marine. I am stationed in Florida right now, but could be moving in anywhere from 2 to 9 months. you are never really sure about these things. So how long does it approximately take top piece together your project into it's entirety? I feel like it would be on par with your income. So whenever you get some extra cash, you buy your next component. Which raises another question; how much could an end project cost? I know this is a bit of a moronic question seeing as how it can vary based on the quality and power of each component. But if you've made your own, you could post the specs and cost just to give me a ballpark idea. Also, back to my occupation, how safe (or stupid) is it to travel or ship a laptop in the making? These are my biggest concerns.

    Someone point me in the right direction!!
     
  2. Dae314

    Dae314 What's a Dremel?

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    From what I know about the subject of custom laptop building, the area is largely abandoned due to the increased complexity of putting the components together and the decreased power/price benefit from doing a custom build.

    Here's a few things I can think of off the top of my head which would make building a custom laptop hard:

    1) Laptop components are harder to come by than desktop components (excluding stuff like memory and HDD, I'm talking like case, monitor, keyboard, and motherboard).

    2) Because of how tight the space in a laptop is, you are going to *probably* be extremely limited on what motherboard you can choose for certain cases.

    3) I have never heard of or seen reviews for a skeleton laptop building kit although I know that they're supposed to exist.

    4) Whatever custom building skeleton kit you find that may come with a case, I don't think you will get extremely good cooling out of it. Laptop making companies spend a lot of money custom designing their case to maximize cooling potential and minimize noise. I doubt a custom kit would have that kind of cooling research behind it.

    5) Components of a laptop build usually cost more because everything is miniaturized.

    6) Because components of a laptop build are miniaturized, the components are usually much lower power than full size desktop components.

    7) From the quick research I did on this subject, the custom build your own laptop kits are fairly expensive (not sure about an exact dollar amount though).

    8) I can't imagine how hard it would be to manage the wiring, cooling, and other junk that you would need to do to close up the laptop case.

    9) You have basically no overall warranty on your machine (laptops are known to go through rougher environments than desktops so this is a bigger issue), only part warranties.

    10) As I noted above, laptop making companies spend a lot of money on R&D specifically to make components smaller, consume less power (maximize battery life), add new features, and basically make the most feature rich laptop for you. I don't think you can get results like that on your own.

    I would really encourage you to buy a premade laptop if you want a machine just to do work with. If you want to build a laptop because you want to build it, I would encourage you to do so. However, I don't think custom building a laptop gives any more benefits than simply experience. Since your occupation is military, I would recommend getting a laptop which is easy to travel with but very solid and dependable in construction. I can't tell you whether it's a good idea to have a laptop or not in your profession :p.

    Also keep in mind that if you have to use your laptop outside or in some place where it's very dusty, the cooling system will suffer pretty quickly.
     
  3. Marvin-HHGTTG

    Marvin-HHGTTG CTRL + SHIFT + ESC

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    I have no idea what carry-space limitations, and power limitations you have (though a gaming laptop will require a power source to use anyway), but if you really want a project to build, try looking through the project logs and build a custom MITX-sized case to use. Along with a small monitor, you could have a fairly small/lightweight PC that gives build enjoyment, better availability and upgradability. If a laptop form factor is crucial, building one is not all that viable for the all the reasons above.
     
  4. improprietary

    improprietary FT03 is a bitch to watercool

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    i haven't done my research on specifications and price but you should probably go for an ibm thinkpad, those things are built like new york taxi's.
     
  5. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    If you want a custom laptop, you should contact Origin... they have several laptops, and they states that if you want something beyond what is mentioned on the site, to contact them. Origin is the created by the original founder of Alienware, which they left once Dell acquired the company. I guess they like building laptops and manufacturing and engineering things.

    OH and Origin computer can come in a CRATE!
    http://www.kotaku.com.au/2011/07/origin-pc-eon17-s-laptop-births-new-respect-for-3d-gaming/
    (35$ more for that as an option for laptops.. so worth it!)


    http://www.originpc.com/
     
  6. PFCBroid

    PFCBroid What's a Dremel?

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    so, you mean to say...

    I understand what you mean with a few of your points. I can see why it would be hard to follow a certain path and schematic you set out, because laptops are a technology that will never really see "the perfect one", it's a quest for perfect efficiency. Your reply is about all i need to say, "this is impractical right now." I think i'm just trying to prematurely get my fix to build my own PC. Perhaps once I am out of the corp and living at a permanent location, I will have to time to slowly and surely find the perfect combination of parts to build a lucrative gaming laptop. But maybe at that point, there will be no need seeing as how i'll have somewhere to plant a desktop. Then it would just be for the fun of building.

    I am not really looking for ease of transportation. This laptop is to procure my gaming needs, so power > portability. For this reason also, it would probably be counter-intuitive to spend so much for so little and not reach my goal anyway.

    So, now that i'very just about made my choice... any tips on buying a custom laptop? (so far I'm mozy-ing around iBuYpower, but that's as far as I have traversed)
     
  7. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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    Surprisingly, while I wouldn't normally recommend them, Alienware do some OK-ish gaming laptops.

    That Origin site Goodbytes mentioned looks ok too!
     
  8. PFCBroid

    PFCBroid What's a Dremel?

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    I feel like you're just buying the name with Alienware. I don't need to spend $5,999 on a dual core video card on a 15 in screen.
     
  9. rollo

    rollo Modder

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    Building own laptop is a no go, reasons mentioned above.

    Alienware are not badly priced for gaming laptops.
     
  10. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    I built a laptop from Compal FL90 whitebook components about 4 years ago and saved myself nearly a grand compared to buying a similarly specced model from the likes of Dell.

    It's still going strong for the most part, but I'm looking to replace it now. Unfortunately the companies I bought the parts from back then are no longer in business and the whole whitebook market seems to have collapsed outside of America. Getting a custom-built laptop based around a Compal or Clevo whitebook from the likes of Sager or Xoticpc could work out well for you depending on the price.
     
  11. chewbaccas_nan

    chewbaccas_nan Minimodder

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    Just build a desk top for half the price and its 10 times better
     
  12. PFCBroid

    PFCBroid What's a Dremel?

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    yea

    Have any links to help me get started?

    I am not in a situation to build and even own a desktop right now. The corp isn't exactly about letting you plant roots somewhere, so travelling with a pc in mid construction wouldn't be advantageous for me
     

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