DIY notebooks

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Does anyone have any experience with building your own notebook, or know of
any links with good reviews?  So far, I've found the following sites:

Perry Webb or /

Re: DIY notebooks

Very interesting - a useful direction anyway.

Market indicates clear trends...
o Desktop functionality migrating down to Laptops
o Laptops as replacement for desktops is growing

Market uptake also indicates dislocations...
o Around 40% of the market is still desktops
o Of the mobile market around 15% is "luggable"

If you are going to create self-build notebooks, you may
as well address the limitations of existing designs and in
so doing take market share from those 2 dislocations.

If you standardise certain components...
o Mainboard & GPU size/connectors/electrical
o Cooling solution re layout & capability
o Expansion positioning

Then you can offer chassis offering it all...
o Super eco -- AMD Geode CPU, 1.0" HD, huge LI-Ion
o Super power -- Dual CPU, 3.5" HD, 1x PCI-X or multi Mini-PCI
o Power user -- Dual CPU, quad 2.5"HD, multi Mini-PCI
o Rugged user -- Magnesium lattice bracing, Poron sandwich

You can also move laptop mainboard/LCD into new chassis...
o Into appliances -- SOHO 24/7 server to kiosk
o Into servers -- density & high op temp being attractive
o Into cars -- ruggedness, density, high op temp being attractive
o Into entertainment -- quiet, small, compact, powerful, smarter
o Into micro-desktops -- quiet, portable, kill off Mini-ITX

Luggable market is growing, worth several B$, but dated designs:
o Very heavy, big, clumsy & expensive
---- most cost is the LCD sub-element
---- laptop LCDs require expensive TTL SVGA to LCD boards
o Hybrid laptops could offer interesting scope here
---- larger chassis as flexible as a desktop, but LI-Ion capable

Key is upgradeability - creating an upgrade vs replacement market.

Been wondering when the laptop replacement market stagnates...
o Laptops are declining margin
---- great -- laptop high sunk cost, non-field-upgradeable, proprietary
---- poor -- lower margins, no upgrade cycle interfaces
o Laptops are commodity-priced outsourced-items
---- outsource to market = end up with few market builders
---- few market builders = diminished specification flexibility
---- eventually just badge-engineered easy buyer-substitution
o Laptops are still expensive, so replacement cycle favours desktop
---- business still buys desktops re capability & multi-PC TCO
o Replacement cycle hitting limits re basic user lifecycle
---- replacement cycle favours desktop re multi-system lifecycle cost

At some point the economics switch from a purely replacement cycle
through proprietary design into mixed-upgrade-&-replacement. That
is what happened to the desktop PC eventually, despite PS/2 MCA :-)

Mass-customisation moves from badge-holder to end-buyer.
It also copies the insane Fed-isation of the spending cycle, where to
keep things going we go multiple ownership - if not laptops then by
appliances based on them. Such as multi-homes, multi-appliances etc.

Laptops are getting boring re small, thin, powerful, capable as a pure
development from their original form. Perhaps finally we get the true
integration of the technology across multiple product offerings.

One thing for sure is...
o Self-Build Desktops created a vast secondary component market
o As Desktop ownership has fallen, so that component market has
o Self-Build Laptops or standardisation may create a new secondary mkt

Self-Build might also allow some degree of self-repair:
o A key obstacle on laptops is inability to u/g or replace LCD or CPU
o So sunk cost becomes a reality - secondary u/g offers more margin

Also allows the East to move division-of-profit Eastwards, as it
disintermediates out the "Nike-isation of laptops" to gain profit.
Dorothy Bradbury

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