Building a Whitebox Notebook PC

A place to give your thoughts on our reviews!
BklynKid
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Post by BklynKid » Thu Sep 16, 2004 8:39 pm

New site, as well as new version available for Power4 Gear+ Utility.

I won't spam here in the future about new versions, just keep an eye on the site.

http://power4gear.bk-kicks.com/

viro
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Post by viro » Sat Sep 18, 2004 2:43 pm

thank you for giving me a reason why my post was changed (I'll admit, I didn't read the rules because most forum rules are the same), sorry for the trouble, I just wanted to notify you of what I was going to do, because your articles had a big influence on it. Once again, sorry about that.
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kronus
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Post by kronus » Sun Sep 19, 2004 12:42 am

Yep, a usb cd drive. worked great. if you have the OS on a USB flash drive you could use that too i suppose. i just saw the new 2GIG and 4GIG flash drives. SWEET!!!!!!
bobbybrown wrote:
kronus wrote:I'm posting from my new M6BNe :D Still waiting for fedex to deliver the CD drive. I installed XP from a usb drive :wink:

No dead pixels so far :P

Installing all this software takes a long time...
Hi Kronus,

Can you elaborate how you managed to install XP from a usb drive? Did you mean a usb cd drive? I am also waiting for my cd drive to arrive, and am *desperate* to start installing my os and software.

billdwyer
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Post by billdwyer » Fri Sep 24, 2004 12:28 am

I really enjoyed building this M6BNE laptop, however, the $2,200 plus price tag is a little higher than I expected. The cd-rw/dvd, which started at $73 jumped to almost $260, when you add the bracket, which you can only get, from an Asus reseller and you must have to install it in the notebook. I also added a warranty to the $869 whitebook, which added an additional $200.
The cost breakdown is as follows:
Whitebook plus the warranty and the shipping $1156
The 1.7ghz Dothan processor 324
Two Kingston 512 memory modules 178
Fijitsu 40GB 5400 RPM hard drive 106
Intel Pro 2200 Wireless card 46
Toshiba Optical drive 258
Windows XP Pro 155
Total $2,223
It is a beautiful machine and I do not reqret the cost. I learned much and had a lot of fun building it. This is a quality machine. I am glad that I found the 'Build Your Own Notebook" article. Thank you, for writing it.
Next time I am going to build an AMD machine.

kronus
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Post by kronus » Fri Sep 24, 2004 4:33 pm

Asus M6BNe 15.4" WXGA
M6 DVD/CD-ROM Combodrive
ATI Radeon 9700 64MB
Built On ASUS Insignia
1Gig Kingston pc2700
60gb/7200rpm HDD
Arctic Silver 5
1.7 Dothan
2200 B/G
Bag
$1,620
But of course no warranty except on the parts.

Ceres
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Average Battery Life of M6NE?

Post by Ceres » Sun Sep 26, 2004 3:44 pm

I got a brand new M6NE (15') a few weeks ago and I have had nothing but good things to say about this laptop. Everything is stellar on it and I use it as my main computer around 10-15 hours a day.

I have two major beefs with it: #1 is the battery life. I have not been able to get it to last longer than 3 hours 10 mins on battery regardless of which power mode I use. They advertise 4.5-5.5 hours of battery life on their site and If it was even close to that I would not have a problem with it, but 1.5 hours is a big difference.

What kind of battery life are the people who have bought it so far getting?

Beef #2: the position of the ctrl key. They put the fn key where the ctrl key is supposed to go! Seems minor but it can get really annoying fast especially when you use the ctrl key a lot. Does anyone know if there is any way to change the postion of they key? Like some kind of keyboard layout software?

Here are my specs:

15' Screen (ATI 9700 @ 1400x1050)
1.7 Dothan
512 MB RAM
Toshiba DVD/CD-RW
Toshiba 40GB HD w/ 16MB cache @ 5200 RPM
Intel 2200 BG wireless

Ceres

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Post by BklynKid » Sun Sep 26, 2004 3:49 pm

Same beefs as me. Battery life and ctrl key placement.

After a month+ of use I still haven't gotten used to the ctrl key.

Ceres
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Post by Ceres » Sun Sep 26, 2004 4:12 pm

BklynKid: How much time are you getting on your battery and in what mode? I hope the time that they are advertising isn't the time that the computer stays on while it is just sitting there. That would make me very disappointed in ASUS.

Gah! I still don't understand why they would be so dumb to do that. The ctrl key is on the most used keys whereas the fn key is probably one of the least. Why would they give a key like that such a prime space?

If there was only a way to overwrite the functionality of that one fn key to do ctrl as well I would be happy. There is another fn key on the other side of the keyboard after all.

Ceres

BklynKid
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Post by BklynKid » Sun Sep 26, 2004 5:24 pm

I'm getting about the same as you. Maybe 3:30-4:00 on most DC modes. Nothing like advertised, good enough for me, but still.

The fn-key is handled by hcontrol.exe, you could try and crack that and change it to Ctrl :)

Ceres
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Post by Ceres » Sun Sep 26, 2004 6:18 pm

I don't have nearly enough m4d sk1llz to do it otherwise I would try :lol: .

HOWEVER, I have heard reports of some M6NEs that have the ctrl key in the right place (fn and ctrl reversed). I am wondering if doing something like getting a copy of THEIR hcontrol.exe (and config files if there are any) would flip the keys on a software level at least?

If there is anyone reading this thread that has the configuration mentioned above, could you post? Maybe there is some way we could make this happen...

EDIT: on second thought, the hcontrol.exe (and it's associated files) would probably only control the key combinations of fn + <key> and not what the fn key itself would do. So it's not that file we would be looking for. If the program or file that controls the layout of the asus keyboard itself can be found (driver for keyboard?) then it might really only be a simple matter of replacing the files. Too bad I don't know enough about how keyboards work to even come close to being able to find this out.. :?

Ceres

BklynKid
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Post by BklynKid » Sun Sep 26, 2004 6:55 pm

I doubt your software switch solution would work, simply from the practical point of view for asus.

If they did make models with the ctrl and the fn keys swapped, I'm pretty sure they swapped the keys in hardware (as opposed to just swapping the face plates of the keys). Because the BIOS still has to read it as a ctrl key, and there won't be hcontrol running to tell it to read fn whenever ctrl is pressed, and read ctrl whenever fn is pressed.

Also I doubt they would want to recocde their software, they seem to be scared of it. If they weren't, they'd fix their own mess (Power4 Gear) so I wouldn't have to.

:?

AdenTallon
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Post by AdenTallon » Thu Sep 30, 2004 11:29 am

So whats next how to build your own PDA? Cell phone perhaps? Or just skip those two and combined all of this and make the microcomputer/hybrid cell phone. :)

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Post by Apoptosis » Thu Sep 30, 2004 12:07 pm

LOL... you tell me! We can go ahead and build another type of ASUS notebook or go in a different direction.

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Post by bigblockmatt » Mon Oct 11, 2004 12:05 am

So, I have read the reviews and am really interested in building myself and my girlfriend a laptop (though hers will be a bit less powerful that mine. she dont need all the fancy things.)

I have one question, what is the deal with the optical drive thing. Earlier someone was talking about the brackets and such to mount it in. I didnt really understand what solution you guys came upon. I'm just looking for some clarification on the subject. Thanks for all the help the great review on building your own notebook.

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Post by infinitevalence » Mon Oct 11, 2004 9:42 am

Welcome to the forums, basically what was said is that you have to buy the optical drive from the the same place as they have the brackets that allow the drive to be mounted in the notebook.
"Don't open that! It's an alien planet! Is there air? You don't know!"

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Post by bigblockmatt » Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:12 am

I see. Alright, thanks for the help.

ASmith
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A probable solution to optical drive problem!!

Post by ASmith » Wed Oct 13, 2004 3:38 am

Hi there,
I've been reading this thread evere since it was started cause I've been planning on buying a M6BNe for such a long time (and read a ton of threads about it) but just didn't have the money. Now I have it :) Ever since I decided buying the M6BNe I wanted to have a higher-speed DVD writer but it seems to be e huge problem to do so. The original that you can get from alphapcstore.com is crap (2x-R, 4x+R) and costs A LOT :evil: . So I wanted to buy the new NEC 6500A writer (8x -/+R, 2,4+R9 - dual layer) !!! Compatibility problems came out, of course :( I had the idea of purchasing an optical drive that's officially supported for the M6BNe and the NEC one, and then switching the casing (or whatever it is called). I'm almost sure that this is gonna work work. I know that the drives that are shipped with the M6BNe are mostly Toshiba so I think that any Toshiba optical drive would fit in the bay. Today I came across URL a cheap DVD-ROM drive from Toshiba , which I'm not sure if it's gonna fit (at least the casing)..
What do you think of that idea? Is it possible to be done?

P.S. The prices are:
cheap Toshiba DVD-ROM ($29)
URL NEC 5600A ($156.00) - not in stock though :(

Total price comes to $185 plus shipping and taxes. It's still below $200 and more than two times faster and better than the original optical drive that comes with the M6BNe !!!

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Post by kronus » Wed Oct 13, 2004 3:45 pm

the mounting/faceplate is an Asus part, not toshiba.

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Post by infinitevalence » Wed Oct 13, 2004 5:05 pm

having done something like this in the past, i will say that it can be a pain because manufactuers have different plates and mounting brackets, and they do not always line up nice and neat. i bought a dvd/cdrw drive for an old ibm laptop and went to put it into my gateway only to descover that i could not make the eject buton line up. it was a sad day. So do your research before banking on a simple bracket/faceplate switch.
"Don't open that! It's an alien planet! Is there air? You don't know!"

lacaprup
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Are these Compatible?

Post by lacaprup » Wed Sep 28, 2005 12:50 am

Here's the parts list from Page Computers, is everything compatible?

ASUS ASUS Z71V 15.4 WSXGA+ 915P SONOMA CENTRINO WB BAREBONE NOTEBOOK - AVAILABLE END MAR 05
Mfg Part# Z71V
NOTE: Processor, RAM, OS and Hard Drive NOT INCLUDED In Stock
$705.47 $705.47

ASUS ASUS Z71A NOTEBOOK DVD- RW DRIVE
Mfg Part# 90-N9Q1W1000 In Stock
$114.65 $114.65

INTEL MOBILE PM PGA478 2.13GHZ 2MB SL7SL 533MHZ BOX
Mfg Part# BX80536GE2133FJ In Stock
$441.72 $441.72

CMS Products 60GB NB DRIVE 2.5 7200RPM COMPAQ/ DELL/ HP/ TOSHIBA
Mfg Part# HDD72-60.0 In Stock
$252.63 $252.63
not sure about this one

MICROSOFT WINDOWS XP HOME W SP2 OEM SINGLE PACK ENGLISH VERSION
Mfg Part# N09-01191 In Stock
$87.91 $87.91

INTEL WM3B2915ABGNAX 11A 11B 11G 2.4GHZ 5GHZ MINIPCI TYPE 3B
Mfg Part# WM3B2915ABGNAX In Stock
$30.51 $30.51

KINGSTON TECHNOLOGY 512MB DDR2 PC2- 4200 533MHZ CL4 UNBUFFERED 1.8V SODIMM
Mfg Part# KVR533D2S4/512
Due to manufacturer&apos;s strict return policies, item is returnable for replacement only. Note: Kingston offers lifetime warranty for all memories. This is valid for replacement only. In Stock
$56.19 $112.38


Order Sub-Total: $1,745.27

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