Saturday, August 15, 2015

Building a computer from scratch - really.

One of my longer term goals is to build my own computer.

And, no, I don't mean build a computer tower, that's easy, that's for any middleschooler/highschooler chump with money.

I mean actually designing the whole computer from scratch.

The two biggest problems with doing this are:

  1. Case Design
  2. Circuit board design
And then a bevy of issues regarding having free/open source drivers, chipsets, etc., most of which are privately owned at the moment. Biggest chipset issues revolve around Intel, so I think if you want to build your own computer you are pretty much not going to touch Intel at all (AMD ftw?).

There are a number of reasons to want to do this:

  1. Ultimate control over design
  2. Ultimate control over components
  3. The ability to keep your system up to date far beyond what even 'building a desktop' would allow.
Anyways, that was really all just a leadup to the topic of this post - materials - does anyone know of a good, easy to manipulate material for doing this sort of stuff?

3D printing sounds like the wave of the future, until you do a simple calculation on the price:

For a 2"x13"x9" sized laptop, that's 3834 cm^3 of material, shapeways lets you custom build something at
0.28 $/cm^3, so that comes out to be a price tag of 1073$ for just the chassis. I've not even bought any parts yet.

So, what I'm estimating the cost to be for e.g. a custom build laptop:

1k$ in chassis
1k$ for board
100$ for hard drive
100$ for RAM
300$ for CPU
200$ other expenses...

2.5k$ at least.

Hmm. That number needs work. And a lot of implementation.

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