Custom laptops are now a reality…

This has been the case for some time, it seems. I was blissfully unaware of it.

The last three laptops I’ve used for any sustained period of time have been:

  • Apple PowerBook G4 (2005-2007)
  • ThinkPad X60s (2007-present)
  • ThinkPad X201 (2011-present)

My ThinkPad X60s, photographed in 2007 — yes, I am a super hacker..

Of those two, the most annoying was by far the most recent ThinkPad. For years considered the best machine for desktop GNU/Linux, ThinkPads are actually getting pretty bad. Its now hard to find a ThinkPad with an Atheros wireless card and Intel graphics, its even harder if you want a machine you can change the battery on.

I found a few companies who sell machines preloaded with GNU/Linux, and sadly many of those machines don’t have this problem fixed either. I was delighted to discover that you can actually configure and build your own laptop online — there are a few companies that offer this, I went with AVA Direct because they offered the most choice of configurations, offered to install Debian on the laptop.

I’m very interested to see what my new laptop is like.

The juicy specs are: 3.1Ghz Intel Core i5, Intel HD video, 16GB RAM, 240GB SSD and a floppy drive.

  1. COMPAL QAL50 (QAL5010011) Core™ i5 Notebook Barebone, Socket G2, Intel® HM76, 15.6″ HD LED Glossy, Intel® GMA HD Graphics
  2. INTEL Core™ i5-3210M Dual-Core 2.5 – 3.1GHz TB, HD Graphics 4000, 3MB L3 Cache, 22nm, 35W, EM64T EIST HT VT-d VT-x XD, OEM
  3. CRUCIAL 16GB (2 x 8GB) PC3-12800 DDR3 1600MHz SDRAM SODIMM, CL11, 1.35V, Non-ECC
  4. INTEL 240GB 520 Series SSD, MLC SandForce SF-2281, 550/520 MB/s, 2.5-Inch w/ 3.5-Inch Bracket, SATA 6 Gb/s, Retail
  5. COMPAL Super-Multi Dual-Layer DVD±RW Optical Drive for Compal QAL50 / QAL51 Series Notebooks
  6. BYTECC External Black 1.44MB 3.5″ Floppy Drive, USB
  7. NOTEBOOK ACCESSORY Built-in 3-in-1 MMC/SD/MS Media Card Reader (Included)
  8. VISIONTEK Killer™ Wireless-N 1202 Wireless Card, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/300 Mbps, Internal PCIe Half Mini Card
  9. ASUS USB-BT211 Bluetooth 2.1 Adapter, 3.0Mbps, USB 2.0
  10. NOTEBOOK ACCESSORY Extra 120W AC Adapter for all VBI / CBB Notebooks
  11. NONE No Operating System (Choose OS or subject to Limited Support)
  12. WARRANTY Assembled and Tested (1 Year Limited Parts, Lifetime Labor Warranty)

Here’s hoping I get something totally cool…

What I hope my new laptop will look like