View Full Version : Question for the hardware geeks...

02-12-2013, 02:45 PM
To get down to the basics, I've been saving up for a very good laptop, suitable for gaming of course.

I've also been thinking of building a unique case-mod with the use of my friend's shop, but am wondering if putting together a power-gaming package is out of the question because of lack of access to newer parts like graphics cards for laptops? Are they still stuck behind a proprietary wall (meaning you must buy the newest gaming laptop to have it), or are some new laptop parts becoming available through salvage or secondhand suppliers yet?

I'm fully expecting to have to pay for this stuff, and it's not about saving money. Rather, it's about having a laptop that is uniquely my own creation.

For example, I checked out the latest in Nvidia's GeForce line, but while the desktop cards have price listings, the laptop card prices are suspiciously absent. Am I going to have to seek out newly broken laptops and cannibalize them?

02-16-2013, 04:05 AM
Bump, now that somebody's more likely to see it before it sinks to the bottom of the threads again.

02-16-2013, 05:56 AM
I've never seen a laptop 'card'. I'm no hardware expert but they are generally BGA
ICs mounted on the MB. Some have mini cards I believe but they are generally not
a user serviceable part e.g. it's normally cheaper to buy the laptop with the card you

02-16-2013, 06:03 AM
If you dont mind spending some jack on a good machine, the Clevo P373 is a nice machine. You can get it with dual GTX680M graphics cards. There are alot of builders of Clevo laptops out there and they any of them are "top notch" as far as I have experienced.

Here are a couple to check into:

Ibuypower (probably most notable Clevo builder)


Prostar (I have personal experience with this company and highly recommend them)


02-16-2013, 06:15 AM
And yes you must buy the graphics card with the laptop...most of the GPU are not cards, but sockets like a CPU on a laptop, but like one said prior they are not a purchaseable/serviceable part. Nvidia tried to do this awhile ago, but because the motherboards/cooling were not made to support a particualr chip, they had a multi-million dollar lawsuit from overheating GPU cores and motherboards that caught on fire.

02-16-2013, 06:57 AM
Replacing the GPU on a laptop generally involves replacing the motherboard. If you are truly interested in designing your own enclosure, such would provide a slight advantage with the process. However, most notebook/laptop internals can and do change significantly and often even on the same base model. Finding motherboards featuring the latest mobile GPUs is difficult as they are often only obtainable from the manufacturer and they are reluctant to sell those outside of service or dealer channels.

If you have access to the talent, tools and materials, building a custom ITX or Mini-ITX based "luggable" with a built-in LDC is probably a better and more future-proof option.

02-16-2013, 09:16 AM
If you have access to the talent, tools and materials, building a custom ITX or Mini-ITX based "luggable" with a built-in LDC is probably a better and more future-proof option.

Thanks for that idea, sebastianosmith. I'll look into it.

"Luggable" is exactly the concept I was thinking of, particularly with a handle like a suitcase or briefcase might have, possibly with a detachable shock absorbent wheeled "carriage" to tote it around with when traveling. My basic idea was to build a wooden encasement, rounded corners, with a shallow inset panel in the lid that I could paint (I am an oil painter) and then cover with a layer of polyurethane for durability.

My secondary goal is to keep it small, hopefully briefcase size, yet retain plenty of gaming muscle, like the higher end laptops. I want it to be the kind of thing that people will not recognize for what it is, thinking perhaps it was a fancy type of briefcase -- or paintbox even. Small suitcase size is still okay with me, as the french easel I carry around when painting is around that size and still manageable.

jskinner937...yes, was hoping to avoid having to buy something new just to have to break it apart, but perhaps I could convince a dealer to order me a motherboard if they could see the project I was working on had merit. Hopefully, it wouldn't be something that would get them into trouble.

02-16-2013, 09:29 AM
"Luggable" is exactly the concept I was thinking of, particularly with a handle like a suitcase or briefcase might have...

You may want to look at a few examples for inspiration. Take a gander at the ITX-Laptop (http://www.mini-itx.com/projects/itx-laptop/) and the Aluminum briefcase computer (http://www.techrepublic.com/photos/aluminum-briefcase-computer/1184?).

02-16-2013, 09:54 AM
Yes, I've seen them both.

The briefcase computer is more like what I was thinking of, but also thought an elongated "pseudo-paintbox" idea would give me more room for a 17" monitor and perhaps an integrated keyboard. I've grown so accustomed to the touchpad on my current laptop, I'd like to have that along with a numberpad section. Also, more room for the brick, as well as locating it somewhere where it poses less danger to other components when it gets toasty.

The aluminum briefcase is very James Bond, but I think a wooden case mod would fit in better with the kind of work I do, and would be more customizable.