View Full Version : Time to build me a new computer! (I need Help)

2011-03-21, 02:49 PM
So long story short, it is getting to the point where my current rig is becoming obsolete. Therefore, I thought it was the perfect time to build myself a new one, and what better way than to build a briefcase computer?

Since I really don't want to put more than $700 into a computer, buying an alienware laptop is out of the question. The case I had in mind is found right here (http://www.harborfreight.com/18-inch-x-12-3-4-quarter-inch-x-6-inch-aluminum-case-39196.html), mainly due to it's appearance and size.

I suppose the main question is "how should I go about this?" I dont have any experience building computers, I dont really know anyone that does, and the only specifics I know about the design is that I want the intake fan on the bottom of the case and the screen/speakers taking up the lid.

EDIT: What I need from the playground:
Complete list of the parts that actually go into a computer case.
Suggestion for a monitor that would fit.
Suggestions for construction.
Suggestions for a better case at a comprable price.

2011-03-21, 04:18 PM
I'm not sure that trying to build a PC into a case not designed for one is what you should be attempting as a first build--is there no way you can get some experience in building a more conventional PC before trying something like this?

2011-03-21, 05:01 PM
Not really. The course I had to take at the college didn't really cover that actual construction of a computer, and the only other way would be for me to disect the one I am using. I'm really just looks for ideas for parts and where to put them. I was thinking of putting an intake fan on the bottom of the case with exhaust on the back.

Edit: Also, they make cases designed for computers?

2011-03-21, 05:05 PM
to be honest, I'd find a site (like alienware) that sells something you like and start looking on places like www.scan.co.uk and www.dabs.com for the parts. Actually assembling a PC is not overly difficult in concept, its like the world's easiest jigsaw so long as you are careful with the parts.

The more fans you can put in the better, pay attention to noise too. Nothing worse than having a loud fan whining away every time you turn it on.

I actually bought my current PC prebuilt from alienware. Having built my own many times before, I couldn't be bothered with the hassle this time round. (I also had some extra cash because of a house buy falling through and getting the deposit back so money wasn't an issue).

Try not to get too sucked into review sites either, For every pro-intel site you can find a pro-amd site and so on. Especially bad for hard drives. Hard drive reviews are filled with people who just got unlucky and should have replaced under warrenty or don't understand the difference between 10k byte and 10k bit.

2011-03-21, 08:29 PM
Yeah I really don't want to go with a prebuilt chiefly due to the price, plus the battery life would probably be horrible.

2011-03-22, 02:34 AM
Battery life? I don't think you can build a laptop from a pile of bits...they're usually bespoke parts in those things. Normal PC stuff isn't designed to run off batteries. I think you need to be looking into what is actually *possible* here--I assumed you were trying to build a luggable computer that you could take to a location and then plug in to the mains, but it becomes an order of magnitude harder (even assuming it's possible at all) if you want to use it on the move!

2011-03-22, 10:17 AM
Tis the best solution I could find since theres no way I could afford a good gaming laptop. My budget is only about $700.

2011-03-22, 10:38 AM
It depends on exactly what you are expecting out of your gaming. My laptop was $700, and while it isn't amazing at gaming it is capable enough, though I primarily just use my desktop for gaming.

There are several cases that will hold ATX motherboards that are "LAN party" friendly, which doesn't exactly make them portable but they are easier to haul around then many others.
There are also a lot more HTPC/"toaster"/micro-atx cases around now. It is harder to find powerful video cards in the half-size needed for these cases, but there are a few low to mid range video cards that do fit and will do a pretty good job at most games, especially if you aren't trying to run at a higher resolution like 1920x(1200/1080).
Both of these options will likely give you more power for less money then a laptop, but with an external keyboard and monitor they aren't going to be something you move a lot.

If you want a laptop... then you just have to buy a laptop. There is no way around it. The people that do the extensive case mods like you are implying do it for the fun of it and generally end up spending a lot more for the system then it would cost to just buy an equivalent laptop. I don't even know where you would go about finding a power supply designed to run off batteries.

edit: I don't follow the laptop video cards very closely (because I don't really like using laptops) but I believe these are systems with fairly capable video cards in your price range. I haven't done any real research on them, but at quick glance they look good, it at least gives you some idea of where to start.


2011-03-22, 10:49 AM
I'd like to have something comparable to my current rig but with a bigger internal hard drive and in the form of a laptop since I'm often stuck at my friends' houses with naught to do. From what I've seen of laptops, I really cant get a decent gaming rig for a decent price and the last thing I want to do is buy something that cannot be upgraded like a dell.

2011-03-22, 10:57 AM
Effectively speaking, no laptop can be upgraded in any meaningful way.

I also think you would end up spending 80% of your budget just finding the non-standard parts you would need to get started on the project before you even get to the parts to make it powerful. And if you put desktop parts, like a video card, into the system you will have no battery life to speak of anyway.

And what is your current system? What is your target for performance?
Also hard drives are very easy to replace even in laptops.

2011-03-22, 04:06 PM
Right now im looking at a custom build with an AMD Phenom Quad-Core, 4GB RAM, and an ATI Radeon 4850 for the graphics card. The Hard Drive is only a 120 GB since I'd planned to upgrade this comp at some point.

Edit: My target for performance is, since im getting a laptop, the best i can get for my $700 budget. I don't mind going with a small HD if they can be upgraded as easily as you say.