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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 /


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Haven't fiddled with a CPU yet, but RAM and hard drives are easy.

Beware of Toms Hardware.  They have, at best, incomplete information, and
tend to leave out things that make you later regret ever visiting their

They're only good for some news, and only if you take it with a pound of


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I've also changed memory and hard drives on notebooks as well as put
together a Desknote.  The Desknote convinced me that a desktop CPU in a
notebook size case was a bad idea.  The Desknote had trouble with the power
connector to the notebook burning out from too much power, so they had to
downgrade the CPU to a lower speed than its chipset could support.  People
also report problems with notebooks running 3GHz+ desktop CPU's in

Apparently, the small shops that put together notebooks are using the easily
assembled notebooks to build their own notebooks.  But, it seems very new
for users to build their own.  The reviews listed, other than Tom's
Hardware, indicate some models have compatibility issues we need to know
when buying parts.  What interests me is these notebooks can run Centrinos.
Some are as light as 4 lbs.  These look as good as regular notebooks.  Some
have fast video.  But, our information is lacking.  Tom's Hardware suggests
you could take the parts out of an old (not too old) notebook and use them
in these self-assembled notebooks.  However, this compatibility apparently
doesn't always exist.

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I believe Toshiba is currently or just finished getting sued over using
desktop CPU's in laptops.  Why they couldn't just make them slightly bigger
to deal with the heat is anyone's guess.

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The whole point of this would be to upgrade to something
faster/bigger/better.  However, if one can buy a barebones notebook, and use
the old parts (RAM/CPU) in the new one, the only upgrade could possibly come
from a faster chipset or bigger screen, perhaps an extra USB port or
something.  There's no way, nor would there be a point in trying, to use
parts from a 3 year old laptop in a brand new one.  I guess this would be
handy if somebody busted up their brand new laptop, but most folks tend to
treat new gadgets that cost around $1,000+ with a little care.

The way I see it, few folks are going to try to build laptops when they can
buy brand new ones for $600.  The only parts you can really pick are the
CPU, RAM, and hard drive, maybe a CD/DVD writer.  It would be more exciting,
and usually more cost effective, to buy an older laptop and upgrade it.

As far as compatibility, you are correct, many laptops have issues with
certain CPU cores, RAM makes, and some don't like certain hard drives.
Bigger companies can test a wide variety of components to ensure everything
works as planned, and once in a while they do just that.  If something
doesn't work, they have the resources to absorb a loss without too much
heartache.  Regular folks like you and I, on the other hand, are usually
screwed if we buy something, such as a CPU, install it, find out it doesn't
work, and try to return it.  Maybe they'll take it back, maybe they won't,
but even if they do, plan on paying a restocking fee, having to buy another
processor, hoping it works, rinse, repeat.  Even the most generous retailer
isn't going to put up with return after return of the same part from the
same guy.

Wouldn't it be amusing if you went through all the above, and the next month
a BIOS update fixed the problem?

That is, if you can get a BIOS update from the manufacturer.

Desktops and towers, on the other hand, really should be built by the user
if they have even minor mechanical knowledge.  There one can save money,
have complete control over what items to include and reject, and end up with
something a little more personal.

If you really want something wild and powerful, build a lunchbox.  It'll
cost you about as much as a super high end Dell laptop, and forget about
running it on anything other than a wall outlet, but you'll basically have a
desktop computer in portable form, where you can upgrade on the cheap and
not have to worry about funky laptop manufacturer's bugs and weirdness that
tends to cause problems.


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