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OCZ branches out to include notebooks under its growing umbrella.

While most people know OCZ Technology as a memory company, it has recently branched out into many sector of the computing market. OCZ's portfolio has now expanded to include video cards, power supplies, memory cards and solid-state drives (SSDs).

OCZ hopes to branch out even further with the announcement of a new do-it-yourself (DIY) gaming notebook. End-users will be able to purchase the DIY notebook barebones and add components to the machine to build an entire system. OCZ venders, however, will be able to spec the notebooks however they see fit.

Each notebook comes from OCZ standard with a 15.4" WXGA display, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT 512MB GPU, Intel PM965 northbridge/ICH8M southbridge, SATA support for HDDs or SSDs, 8x dual-layer DVD burner, four USB 2.0 ports, ExpressCard 34/54 slot, and a fingerprint reader. Optional components will include Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, a TV tuner, and a Intel 4965AGN 802.11a/g/n wireless adapter.

OCZ's DIY gaming notebook is no lightweight, however, and weighs in at hefty 7 pounds with a 9-cell battery pack. External dimensions for the machine ring in at 14.25" x 11.25" x 1.5".

"For years consumers have wanted to build their own mobile computing platforms, but the product offerings and market simply did not serve them as they did in the desktop do it yourself segment," said OCZ Systems Solutions Product Manager Eugene Chang. "With the OCZ Do-It-Yourself Notebook initiative, OCZ empowers with the resources like validated component guides, documentation, tech support, and a warranty to allow consumers to configure and build a true gaming notebook with the exact specification that matches their unique requirements."

OCZ also plans to go above and beyond the call of duty by offering validated components in the system, toll-free support, and detailed instructions on how to complete a new system build.

Pricing has not been announced for OCZ's DIY gaming notebook, but will be revealed when the system and its siblings arrive later this year.

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well they're not first
By TMV192 on 5/13/2008 6:43:59 PM , Rating: 3
ASUS released the C90s a long while back, and parts aren't hard to come by either
the problem with these are they are heavy and bulky, and while that's expected the real issue is that unlike Desktops its actually more expensive to build a laptop then get one pre-made

RE: well they're not first
By cmdrdredd on 5/13/2008 6:47:01 PM , Rating: 2
True, price becomes a key factor. They're also huge. I priced out an HP with similar specs to this OCZ offering and it fell in under $900.

RE: well they're not first
By azander on 5/13/2008 6:56:35 PM , Rating: 5
Hi TMV192, thanks for the feedback. Since it is my first post in this thread let me identify myself as an employee here at OCZ. This will just be the first of a complete range of DIY notebooks that we will be releasing, expect to see something exciting at upcoming events. We are going to go in both directions, gaming and portability for the DIY kits, and more and more resources will become available, including upcoming integration step by step videos.

We are starting with the gaming segment because that is where we got the most consumer requests for, it certainly is possible to build a performance loaded configuration (say with SSD’s for example) that can be quite costly, but it is possible to configure the notebook where the total cost is competitive. I can tell you that upcoming DIY notebooks will offer much more room for configuration.

A lot of times in the past manufacturers have released a product and basically left it at that. Our goal is to make it easier with not just the products but a complete initaitive to support sonsumers in terms of validated components, support, and guides.

RE: well they're not first
By TETRONG on 5/13/2008 7:28:30 PM , Rating: 2
Cool, just happy to see someone finally doing this.

Good work OCZ!

RE: well they're not first
By bdewong on 5/13/2008 7:40:46 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, azander has been here for a while and will come in and speak on the OCZ product announcments. It is great to have someone from the company to speak directly to.

I know that these will fall into a niche market because pre-fab computers are usually cheaper and smaller/lighter. I would love if these can be [relatively] low priced even if their weight is on the high side.

RE: well they're not first
By azander on 5/13/2008 7:46:39 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks very much for the kind words bdewong, we really like the feedback we get from the very tech savvy participants of this site. I agree regarding the niche, especially of the higher end gaming DIY notebooks. We will be releasing more “productivity” oriented notebooks in the future that are even easier to integrate, have lower component requirements, and fit into that more aggressive pricing segment.

RE: well they're not first
By afkrotch on 5/16/2008 12:23:58 PM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing these DIY notebooks won't have user replaceable graphics cards or set some kind of standard for them, so you can go beyond the type of card that was originally designed for the notebook.

RE: well they're not first
By murphyslabrat on 5/14/2008 12:23:22 PM , Rating: 3
I know that these will fall into a niche market because pre-fab computers are usually cheaper and smaller/lighte

Originally, Computers themselves were a niche market, as it was a whole lot easier, cheaper, and faster to use a personal assistant. However, with the digital revolution, it has become far cheaper to use a computer.

In the early-to-mid 90's. Computers were readily available at reasonable costs to consumers. There are OEM parts available, but for the most part it is cheaper to just purchase a computer from an OEM itself. After-market parts are usually just for replacing a broken component, or upgrading.

Fast-forward 15 years, and we have another situation entirely. You can purchase a the components to a computer (including OS) for less than the cost of a new computer, especially on the high-end models. Most OEM computers will have a replacement-part index, where you can purchase an approved part, but most cards, CPU's, HDD's, and ODD's are fully interchangeable, as most of them are fully modularized.

Today, you have laptops with closely integrated cooling, making a rigid thermal envelope. One thing that is necessary to make DIY laptops more flexible in price and compatibility would be modularized component cooling. For instance, a video-card slot that utilizes a standardized for-factor for a cooling device, with the device itself included on the card.

RE: well they're not first
By azander on 5/14/2008 1:10:42 PM , Rating: 2
Hi Murphyslabrat, totally right on in regards to the graphics. While most other components within notebooks have become modularized (standardized) the graphics and cooling haven’t quite gotten there yet. Not on the part of the graphics providers but on the part of the notebook makers. In the past many notebook manufacturers have been wary to make videocards or cooling upgradable, and it is cheaper to put graphics down on the actual motherboard. With the higher end graphics this will change, and with standards like MXM it is possible to make a GPU cartridge complete with cooling. The CPU cooler is more proprietary to the layout of the notebook shell, but upgrades are possible with better heat pipes, changes in material, etc. There just has to be enough scale for a market to exist for the upgrades.

RE: well they're not first
By MightyAA on 5/15/2008 2:26:06 PM , Rating: 2
My suggestion. The main issue with notebooks and upgradability is that the formfactor and chipsets are rather fixed (which truely limits what you can do). Even using a MXM standard won't save you because that standard changes often, the chipset limits gpu, and every manufacturer has proprietary cooling solutions without a chance to upgrade.

Honestly, if I were going at the high end performance and enthusiast markets, I'd look to standardizing some sort of port that allows the notebook to dock with a accessory box. CPU and integrated graphics on the notebook (making the notebook much less complex and cheaper). The external accessory box would have a sub-mobo that allowed for desktop gpu's, hd's, soundcards, etc. Basically a psu, small mobo and expansion slots that conforming to desktop standards. That box could be quite small, and most of us gamers with notebooks dock our rigs for playing anyway. Components within the box could be upgraded at will just like desktops. The notebook then is basically a barebone machine that you could detach when roaming around (a cpu, small screen and keyboard). With that concept, you could use any OCz notebook to dock to the station; so that insures you of future sales as well.. (who's gonna pitch his accessory box loaded with desktop components that won't plug and play with any other notebook?). That's really the hook: Enthusiast like to upgrade a component at a time and stretch out the life/speed of their rigs by constant tweeking and component swaps.

RE: well they're not first
By azander on 5/13/2008 7:51:29 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks TETRONG, appreciate the support. One of the reoccurring feedback items we got from a lot of events was that notebooks are becoming much more of a viable gaming platform now, especially for on the go gaming like LAN’s and such. We believe that there are customers out there that not only are interested in configuring a notebook, but would enjoy the experience of building one, just like desktop.

RE: well they're not first
By murphyslabrat on 5/14/2008 12:42:42 PM , Rating: 2
Or for people who can get a better bang-for-buck. Even now with the Asus C90s, you can get a Geforce 8600GT, 2.4Ghz CPU(stock, with the possibility for an overclock), 2GB RAM and a 15.4 inch 1680x1050 screen for just under $1100. Most laptops with similar price only have a 1280x800 or 1440x900 screen, and have slower CPU's.

RE: well they're not first
By SiliconJon on 5/18/2008 5:33:28 PM , Rating: 2
I'm a big bang-per-buck buyer myself. The ability to upgrade parts or customize the system myself retains its own value. Make the DIY laptops truly peripherlized internally with standardized component interfaces and I may get a new laptop sooner than expected. Make the interface standards propreitary or non-existant, and I wouldn't touch it.

RE: well they're not first
By Agitated on 5/13/2008 7:44:35 PM , Rating: 2
maybe partner up with an online vendor who can help with being able to test more parts quickly and giving customers a specific location where they know where they can get parts and not have to hunt around.

Letting people know what cpu's a laptop can support and maybe allowing more options in the bios would be a nice change for once.

RE: well they're not first
By azander on 5/13/2008 8:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
Hi Agitated, very good points. We will be releasing actual component qualification guides with the actual launch later this week, and are working with our customers for additional qual of their top requested components. I’m hoping that some customers will also offer special pricing on the components as well in a complete DIY bundle, but we need to rely on the resellers and e-tailers for this.

Also a very good point regarding the bios, this first offering won’t have as much overclocking as you will see in upcoming units, but it is something that is high up on our list of priorities for the more advanced unit. We want consumers to be able to build and overclock, not to the same extent as a desktop as there are more cooling concerns, but we certainly want to enable our customers with more tools.

RE: well they're not first
By Omega215D on 5/14/2008 1:29:11 PM , Rating: 2
I would like to know further on MXM technology and whether it'll be used in any of your laptops. Many manufacturers touted this form of GPU upgrade but have failed to deliver.

RE: well they're not first
By tnucknip on 5/13/2008 7:48:28 PM , Rating: 2
This is a little off topic (well actually a lot),but since you are an employee of one of the more enthusiast oriented companies I have a question/request about power supplies. If you want to run an auxillary power supply like a 600W meanwell for a TEC then you usually need to buy some relay that is attached to a pci bracket. But how hard would it be to have an relay built into the main power supply.

RE: well they're not first
By azander on 5/13/2008 8:25:45 PM , Rating: 3
Good question, actually I’m sure this can be much better answered by Doug Dodson, our CTO of PC Power & Cooling, but I’ll do my best to answer it. The relay isn’t difficult to design but the demand for the product from our side is so low that the cost of the design and more importantly the added cost of the implementation into internal PSU designs doesn’t make it attractive enough as an add-on currently. In current quantities it is cheaper for consumers to simply buy a separate relay. Of course if we have a ton of demand for something like this then it is certainly something that can be considered for a mass production. Hope that makes sense.

RE: well they're not first
By Pirks on 5/13/2008 8:21:42 PM , Rating: 2
azander, why DIY notebooks are more expensive than pre-made ones, even when pre-made are configured by the customer "on the fly" like at the for example?

And why is it the opposite of the desktop world? I mean why DIY desktops are cheaper than pre-made and with notebooks it's the exact opposite?

Anyone else can explain this phenomenon please?

RE: well they're not first
By azander on 5/13/2008 9:01:54 PM , Rating: 2
Hi Pirks, A good question. In the past it has been mostly related to scale. When a large company has more buying power they are able secure components at a lower cost due to quantity. With desktops there is an overall massive demand for components, and there are more suppliers building competing solutions. Notebooks in the past have used components that are bought and sold in lower quantities, especially in the level below system integration. Many times these notebooks had proprietary designs, like the GPU module for example. Now more and more platform providers are setting standards, and we believe that notebooks can be designed more open like desktops. While there are limitations with space that will limit upgrades (like cooling for example) it is possible that as DIY notebooks mature there will be additional upgradable elements previously built onboard or unable to be updated because of the proprietary design.

That said when comparing apples to apples on components with the great prices that e-tailers are now able to pass on with these standard components it is absolutely possible to build a DIY notebook for the same price or even cheaper than a pre made one. If more companies produce upgradable components, like MXM cards as just one example, that delta will also improve.

RE: well they're not first
By TETRONG on 5/13/2008 9:03:11 PM , Rating: 2
You're oversimplifying.

It all depends on what you're trying to do.

Once you reach a certain price threshold it becomes vastly cheaper to build your own desktop system because the companies like to play cloak and dagger with the available configurations.
Especially Dell. A lot of smart people sit around in a room for a very long time trying to figure out how to extract an extra $350 out of you for nothing. They make it appear that the cages are not even there by having a tiered product line with gaping discontinuities.

If you try to build a budget system you will quickly come to the conclusion that paying $100+ for a copy of windows is a deterrent to DIY under $600 or $700 dollars. Basically, the cost subsidy to get a system with windows OEM makes it hard to build a system under %700.

This is the main reason why AMD is struggling right now.
Because system builders are not using their chips anymore, and Intel gives preffered prices to vendors for doing just that.

To be sure-AMD's recent missteps, and stupidity in trying to chase Intel have not helped them either. They just don't get that Intel is trying to oxygen deprive them. They need to start their own game, and get some stupid marketing like Intel.

RE: well they're not first
By L33tMasta on 5/13/2008 8:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
Well this is awesome. I thought that there would never be a market for things like this and it falls right into my lap. Maybe this is a sign of things to come for the big manufacturers like Dell and HP, even Intel and nVidia to release upgradeable laptop parts. The thing that gets me right now is the current lack in the ability to upgrade laptops outside of RAM and HDD. Something like this defiantly interests me. Even if it is a bit heavy, if they can start to get close to what Dell and HP charge for laptops then I am totally sold.

RE: well they're not first
By FITCamaro on 5/13/2008 9:24:51 PM , Rating: 2
Can you guys release one that comes with both onboard graphics and dedicated graphics? Alienware offered this at one time and while I wasn't able to purchase one (from their extremely high prices), it was a great idea. The ability to choose mobility or performance. You don't even have to make it switchable in windows. Having to reboot and change a toggle would be fine (of course with hybrid SLI this may no longer be necessary).

RE: well they're not first
By azander on 5/13/2008 9:47:52 PM , Rating: 2
Hi FITCamero, we are looking at this as an option. Hybrid will address this certainly, it certainly is nice to actually finish a movie on plane, or go full bore on game when you’re plugged in. We don’t currently have a set project with the spec you describe, but we are working to increase performance and battery life in upcoming units. We are emphasizing features on these DIY notebooks, we don’t want them to be scaled back versions of Tier 1 offerings, but rather competitive true gaming solutions.

RE: well they're not first
By DandDAddict on 5/14/2008 7:02:39 AM , Rating: 2
Any laptop with a 690 or higher chipset and a 2 or better series ati gpu is capable of doing this. The Asus F3 series with 3650s and 2600s are a good example. Mine gets about ~2 hours with the 2600 on and about 5 with the igp on.

RE: well they're not first
By zshift on 5/13/2008 11:18:38 PM , Rating: 2
just out of curiosity, is OCZ going to release any units with a good gpu and possibly a lighter weight. I have an asus g1s with an 8600m gt and I have to say I wish it had more. It does everything for me, but just a little more performance in the smaller form factor would be great. also, I don't see the point in getting a 15.4" unit if the weight is going to be over 7 lbs with all parts included. Might as well go with a 17" and fit better parts (8800m gts/gtx) at a well enough price (gateway fx notebook starts at around $1300).

RE: well they're not first
By azander on 5/13/2008 11:33:00 PM , Rating: 2
Hi zshift, your pretty much right on. I can't divulge specs but I can say weight is an issue we are addressing as well as a much more robust graphics solution. With more graphics however the battery has to be souped up so there is some give and take. I will also say that you are correct in regards to the 17"

RE: well they're not first
By Sunrise089 on 5/14/2008 2:26:52 AM , Rating: 3
First of all, let me request a 15" model with a 8800 class GPU for the high end. It would be incredible if a gaming notebook could offer that combo that fills the enormous gulf between 8600 parts in usable chassis' and 8800s (when they are even available) in annoying non-portable 17" parts. I may be in the minority, but I think whatever market there exists for second PCs that can be used to game (while traveling or staying over at significant others' places etc) is drawn to a 15" form factor, while the 17" affectionados are dedicated LAN party games or students with room for only a notebook.

Second, let me compliment OCZ on choosing to have an employee serve as a corporate mouthpiece like this. The fact that a knowledgeable insider is willing to discuss the marketplace, hint at future plans, and not BS us is really impressive IMHO. I will say OCZ is 100x more likely to get my hard-earned PC spending dollars this way than spending the same money on a mixture of corporate PR-speak and viral marketing in forums. Serious props to you guys.

RE: well they're not first
By murphyslabrat on 5/14/2008 12:50:03 PM , Rating: 2
I am gonna echo everything Sunrise just said. I would rate him up, but I have already given like three posts here 6_6.

RE: well they're not first
By azander on 5/14/2008 1:04:33 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks Sunrise, this is all great feedback, and the reason I’m here. I really appreciate the dialogue with people like you. I understand the need for a balance of portability and performance, part of the reason why 15” models are the real volume movers in the market. I will say that there are challenges in a 15” for a dual card GPU solution, but along the line of your point with a single card in the 8800 class this is plenty enough graphics power for the majority of games and gamers out there. Thanks again for the great comments.

RE: well they're not first
By MasterTactician on 5/14/2008 5:20:31 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't this be an excellent opportunity for a notebook with external graphics, similar to the unreleased Asus XG station, but not limited by the PCI-E x1 Expresscard bus. I've always kept hope that some notebook maker would be intelligent enough to include a full PCI-E x16 connection as a custom port on the chassis, similar to a docking port but with the ability to handle a full desktop GPU.

RE: well they're not first
By rollakid on 5/13/2008 11:56:07 PM , Rating: 2
Hi azander,

I don't know if it is being planned or not but I'd really like to see an AMD system, maybe on the next turion ultra platform.

It's not as fast but the problem is that not everyone would need an ultra fast gaming laptop, like me, who's just a casual gamer after work.

Everyone's running on Intel chip, everyone is using Dell or HP. Now having an OCZ brand laptop with an AMD processor would surely make it looks special, like a Mac. Well, not really, but I like to be different and among the minority...

So far the only laptop that catches my attention is the Asus G2K something... turion + ati graphic. I'm not an AMD fanboy but I want to do everything to keep them in the game for everyone's benefit.

need better gpu's but it's a start
By FXi on 5/13/2008 10:23:53 PM , Rating: 2
Good start from a company that knows gamers. Need to move up to some more powerful gpu's but that will probably take a 17" form factor to do.

RE: need better gpu's but it's a start
By azander on 5/13/2008 11:34:50 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for your comment FXi, I agree completely, we do have our own design coming soon….it will be a 17” and we stressed additional upgradable components.

RE: need better gpu's but it's a start
By Suntan on 5/14/2008 1:15:51 PM , Rating: 2
azander, I decided to create an account here just to throw my Chirstmas wish list into the ring.

One area that would really be nice would be the option for a high contrast, high gamut 17" screen option. For photography when out in the field.

Doesn't need to have uber specs across the board, anything mainstream by today's standards will run Photoshop fine. Just give a good quality, high gamut screen that could be calibrated to acurately reproduce the adobeRGB colorspace would be a godsend. The photography crowd would love you guys.


RE: need better gpu's but it's a start
By azander on 5/14/2008 1:27:06 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks Suntan, great feedback from what I view isn’t a niche market but an overall growing demand. Your comment really hits home for me personally, I’m a big outdoor photography guy, and I would want to use a high performance notebook for a lot of post processing.

Consumers have been asking for better more accurate, higher contrast, higher refresh rate screens for some time. A lot of this goes back to the balance of cost. The panels have an associated cost that has to do with volume from the panel manufacturers. If more consumers demands quality and features the demand for these panels would increase, and with volume the cost would decrease. I can tell you that our upcoming 17” will have two screen options, one of which certainly above industry average and more in line with your (and my) photo processing requirements.

RE: need better gpu's but it's a start
By Suntan on 5/14/2008 2:17:34 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I know this is an issue. To most people, it doesn’t matter if Crysis is viewed with a 6 bit dithered LCD or not if it is chugging at 20fps…

It would be great if someone had the option of adding a top of the line, premium, high gamut screen to a DIY laptop, even if the cost increase was $300-$500 or more. That way you can get the monitor performance without having to spend the money for all the other premium components that are not needed.


By azander on 5/14/2008 2:35:27 PM , Rating: 2
Another issue for photo aficionados is the actual screen type itself. A glossy screen looks awesome for gaming and indoors but out in the field it is tough to see. Here a matte option is preferable, and we are exploring this further.

Barebone notebooks, anyone?
By vivg on 5/13/2008 7:41:22 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't this just a rebranded Compal IFL90/JFL92 barebone notebook?
Plus, the concept of the DIY notebook itself is essentially the same as the concept behind barebone notebooks in general.

However, the fact that OCZ is getting into it is somewhat interesting, though they took the easy way out (rebrand the Compal) instead of actually developing a notebook on their own.

RE: Barebone notebooks, anyone?
By azander on 5/13/2008 8:02:21 PM , Rating: 2
Hi vivg, Appreciate the post. Let me answer with “yes and yes,” but we believe there hasn’t been enough done for consumers in regards to “barebones” in terms of resources and support. This is also just the first of a number of units, and I can tell you that in the very near future (upcoming event) we will announce the next addition to our DIY notebooks, and we built this one from the ground up with the platform supplier. I can’t say anything about platform specifics, only that it can’t be released just yet.

This first unit is just laying the groundwork with a proven quality shell, one we have had time to fully validate and build component qual lists for. We are also in the process of stepping up the documentation and resources for this and the upcoming units. While this is the launch of our DIY initiative, the real exciting stuff is coming when I can announce our advanced design.

RE: Barebone notebooks, anyone?
By vivg on 5/13/2008 9:10:14 PM , Rating: 2
Support is definitely a valid point - support for barebones machines is nearly nonexistant at the manufacturer level (Asus doesn't even keep a current list of barebones machines on their site anymore) and its quite spotty and inconsistent on the reseller level. I think that is probably going to be the biggest step forward with the OCZ launch, though the credibility and publicity that the OCZ name brings to the barebone market is sure to get more people to look at barebone notebooks as viable solutions.

By shadowofthesun on 5/13/2008 8:04:51 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly what I thought when I saw the picture, vivg. This is a Compal IFL-90/92. I happen to be typing this on one now (in the form of a Sager NP2090).

Anyway, in light of azander's comments I'm glad they chose this platform as it's a fairly solid notebook and a good size/weight for a moderately sized gaming computer.

More Azander's, please
By Ringold on 5/14/2008 1:10:20 AM , Rating: 4
Less marketing claims of 1337% performance increases, and more guys like Azander going to community websites and delivering what were clearly not entirely pre-scripted answers. My gosh, it looked like he actually researched issues before answering! :)

I've got no particular comment on this DIY laptop setup except that I'm interested (other people already asked the questions I would), but I just thought that it would be nice if AMD, Intel, Nvidia, Corsair and others did this sort of thing. At least because of Azander, I know someone at OCZ is listening. It's not the first time I've seen a rep in a community forum, but it's much too rare. Next time I'm looking for a part, and there's an OCZ part and another name brand part with similar specs and similar prices, it'll be OCZ that gets my nod. Good behavior, IMHO, must be rewarded.

In case this all sounds biased, no, I'm not on the OCZ take, I'm just genuinely pleased at community interaction.

RE: More Azander's, please
By Sunrise089 on 5/14/2008 2:29:15 AM , Rating: 1

I agree in my post above.

RE: More Azander's, please
By AlphaVirus on 5/14/2008 11:02:25 AM , Rating: 2
I have never purchased OCZ products before, I have always been interested but just never got around to it. I must say knowing they have employees that care enough to sign-up to a tech website is a great thing.

However, Azander if you read this post, just know you are helping OCZ. I am not rich, by far, but I will begin to purchase from OCZ to support a company that supports the people.

RE: More Azander's, please
By azander on 5/14/2008 1:20:09 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks Ringold, Sunrise, AlphaVirus, it’s a pleasure to be in here with you guys. Honestly I view this as a resource for OCZ, one where we are getting direct feedback, and either positive or negative I value it all because it gives us better insight into what customers and consumers really want to see. Thanks for the kind words and valuable comments.

8600M GT? Yawn!
By JarredWalton on 5/13/2008 11:09:20 PM , Rating: 2
You know what would be awesome? If they could provide a DIY laptop where you could choose from a selection of GPUs. 8600M GT is really quite mediocre when it comes to gaming, and for a 7+ pound notebook I would expect more in that area. Heck, I would expect OCZ to make more of a gaming notebook regardless. 8800M GTS is where things really start to get interesting.

Then again, $1200 will get you a Gateway FX P-6831 from Best Buy right now. You can upgrade the CPU to a T8300 for a few hundred dollars and end up with a very nice gaming notebook for under $1500. Blatant self-promotion:

RE: 8600M GT? Yawn!
By Warren21 on 5/13/2008 11:21:31 PM , Rating: 2
I couldn't say it better myself. The 8600GT is only good for gaming at medium settings. That's not where PC gaming shows it true prowess -- being at the forefront of technology. An 8800M I think is the real minimum on any true gaming notebook being released today.

If only ATI could make good on their promise to bring the RV670 to notebooks. *Sigh*

RE: 8600M GT? Yawn!
By Sunrise089 on 5/14/2008 2:31:57 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with this sub-thread that that Gateway is far and again the best competition for a 17" do-it-yourself notebook. As I post above however, if OCZ offers 8800 class gaming in a 15" chassis they've sold me. Some of us want to use the notebook for more than just gaming, and that 17" Gateway monstrosity does not easily permit it.

PS - and no weight isn't the primary issue for all of us. Those users who are average-sized males should have no problem carrying a 7 lb 15" notebook. On the other hand, a 5 lb 17" model is simply too big for me to use comfortably in the air, and doesn't leave me with enough space for my textbooks on the table alongside it in class.

RE: 8600M GT? Yawn!
By azander on 5/14/2008 1:29:11 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the graphics feedback guys. I have to be very tight lipped about any upcoming graphics solution, but I understand what you’re detailing and I am listening.

By jon1003 on 5/14/2008 3:31:40 AM , Rating: 2
You've been able to build your own laptops from barebones for a long time now. I built an Asus barebone 4 years ago. OCZ is just another player coming to market that is more visibly targeting the masses than previous marketing plans.

By azander on 5/14/2008 2:42:26 PM , Rating: 2
Hi Jon1003, you are correct but I do think that there needs to be more support resources for a DIY notebook to be successful. In the upcoming units you will see additional features that are designed for modular upgradability, so an actual product that is designed with the DIY customer in mind, not just the major integrators.

By jon1003 on 5/15/2008 1:15:45 AM , Rating: 2
I do think that there needs to be more support resources for a DIY notebook to be successful
I definitely agree with you there, for diy to be successful in the mainstream. I was a risk taker though, and found the perfect setup customizing my own, and I felt I was getting my money's worth even building my own compared to all the other offerings from smaller boutique sys integrators (that did offer the support you speak of for the product, but at a small premium that super price conscious consumers just don't want to pay for) or Dell at the time. Really I just had the faith in Asus to make a good product, reviews of it on notebookforums, and warranties on the components, but that was enough for me, and the notebook is still working 4 years later with heavy daily usage. But for DIY to go mainstream, it needs mainstream marketing from a company like ocz or others that are already recognized and out there in the marketplace.

This is not as great as it may seem
By timmiser on 5/14/2008 4:55:21 AM , Rating: 2
This is not much more DIY then a Dell or HP laptop that you build on their website. What really needs to happen in the DIY notebook industry is standardization of the components. We finally have notebook memory standarized and the CPU's can be changed. (Remember when the cpu's and memory were soldered onto the MB?) Hard drives are easy to replace and upgrade but that is where it ends.

There really needs to be a standard PCI bus and space standard for the video card bus and we need a laptop MB standard. Sure their can be different size standards for the different laptop form factors 12" / 15" / 17" etc. but the point is that a company like OCZ needs to quit messing around and get with Nvidia & ATI and come up with some form factor standards that can give us true upgrade paths and laptop longevity sort of like what Shuttle did a few years ago with their small form factor barebone kits.

If you can't upgrade the motherboard and video card in the laptop, you still have to buy a whole new unit when the next cpu/mb generation comes around.

RE: This is not as great as it may seem
By azander on 5/14/2008 3:57:13 PM , Rating: 2
Hi Timmiser, our goal is certainly to move in this direction. Our upcoming solution offers greater flexibility when it comes to a number of upgradable components including multiple storage and graphics. We are working with both nvidia and ATi on cartridge type graphics standards, and are a member of nvidia’s MXM initiative. Part of what slows down the standard is that every notebook manufacturer out there seems to make their own modifications to the GPU module. There are a number of reasons why, but if there was a standard it certainly would benefit the consumer.

By timmiser on 5/14/2008 7:54:27 PM , Rating: 2
That is great to hear! I think it would also greatly benefit Nvidia and ATI if consumers could anticipate the next generation laptop video card update like they currently do with destop solutions as it would be a very large growth segment for them. As with any standard, the socket, overall size, cooling solution, and power requirements would all have to have a common solution but it certainly can and should be done. Once that is established, the motherboard would have to be upgradable to accomodate future CPU's but it would still be a very lucrative market.

Will you sell direct?
By Eugenics on 5/14/2008 8:17:33 AM , Rating: 2
I work for a University and spend about $250,000 annually on computer equipment for my department. When it comes to upgrades, OCZ is what I pick. So now I am curious, will you sell directly to consumers and provide discounts to educational institutions or will I need to go through a university supplier like govconnection?

RE: Will you sell direct?
By azander on 5/14/2008 2:57:39 PM , Rating: 2
Hi Eugenics, thank you very much for your support. We typically rely on our channel to deliver our products to consumers. That said, we have worked with government and education clients directly in the past, and do our best to support the unique needs of education institutions when it comes to pricing, service and support. If you need anything in particular I’d be happy to support you.

RE: Will you sell direct?
By TETRONG on 5/14/2008 4:27:34 PM , Rating: 1
Why is your handle Eugenics?
Please tell me that thats your last name.

Question to azander
By hemo200 on 5/15/2008 12:35:26 AM , Rating: 3
Are you going to sell DIY gaming notebooks outside the united states or it will be only in the united states?

RE: Question to azander
By azander on 5/15/2008 12:58:09 PM , Rating: 2
Hi hemo200, the DIY notebooks will be available through our worldwide channel and there will be service and support centers in the US, Europe, and Taiwan.

Hard launch?
By Jassi on 5/13/2008 8:52:55 PM , Rating: 2
Since we have a OCZ employee on hand for the moment, I'd like to ask a better estimate for a hard launch than "later this year", which in tech terms can mean sometime next year.

When can we expect a hard launch of a competitive DIY mainstream notebook? I'm looking at a MacBook (plain or Pro) and based on past DIY notebook offerings by other manufacturers, the price will likely compete with those. Or will be vaporware :p

RE: Hard launch?
By azander on 5/13/2008 9:40:20 PM , Rating: 2
Hi Jassi, I hear you, nothing is worse than a manufacturer saying “later this year.” Unfortunately I can’t give a hard date yet for the mainstream unit as it is still is the works. I can however tell you that the higher end “ground up” DIY design will come out first as this project is in final test and validation prior to mass production. It will be shown at an upcoming tradeshow (hint-hint) and will be a much more powerful gaming solution. The mainstream unit is next in line after this premium solution.

I totally agree with you on the mainstream unit, consumers interested in this product are going to put a premium on performance per dollar and we are keeping that in mind.

By Lunyone on 5/13/2008 10:23:23 PM , Rating: 2
I would've consider a DIY laptop 2 years ago when I was in the market. Unfortunately I probably couldn't afford what they will probably charge for this setup. I was around the $1k price range and got the first Core Duo chip w/ATI x1400 GPU. I would've gladly paid $100 more for a better GPU, if they had one on my Dell Inspiron e1505. Hopefully you can get a C2D or AMD CPU w/a decent GPU for around the $1 range with this setup, otherwise if it's over the $1.5k range it might not sell well. Of coarse I'm more on the budget side of things, but alot of us poor gamers need some options too :)

By Lunyone on 5/13/2008 10:27:23 PM , Rating: 2
I meant the $1k range not the $1 range, as I mis-stated in my original post :)

By Visual on 5/14/2008 3:12:59 AM , Rating: 2
WXGA doesn't sound too exciting though... I hope there will be other options for the screen. Some notebooks that size have even 1920x1200 screens.
Maybe also have a touchscreen option? Won't be as great as a tablet convertible, but since I can't find one of those with a good GPU, I might consider a notebook. Maybe even multi-touch?
Would be too revolutionary to hope for, though...

RE: screen
By azander on 5/14/2008 2:33:30 PM , Rating: 2
Hi Visual, good points, our own ground up design will offer two screen resolutions touchscreen is something we would have to think about. Tablet PC’s or hybrid tablets (swing around touchscreen) are an interesting animal, brings back memories for me. I was actually in charge of the US launch of the one of the very first Microsoft initiative tablets back in 2002 when I was at FIC. The SlateVision sold to OEM’s and found a place in the vertical market but it was too big of a change for consumers. The tablets that were adopted by consumers were the hybrid ones that looked like a notebook yet flipped around to offer the functionality of a tablet. Most consumers used it for productivity apps (drawing, highlighting items in presentations, mapping, etc.) but there are gaming applications as well.

It would certainly be interesting to see a fully powered notebook with touch screen functionality, and even better to see games that really take advantage of touch (kind of like the Nintendo DS titles, but to a greater extent) maybe then it will be adopted by the consumer market. Food for thought anyways and I’ll bring it back to our engineers.

Notebook Displays
By JPForums on 5/14/2008 9:36:35 AM , Rating: 2
Hey, Azander, do you happen to know when good notebook displays will be coming around. Industry wide, notebook displays have been sub-par. They don't get anywhere close to the full color gamut and thus aren't as useful for graphics related uses. Their response times are also lagging compared to their desktop brethren, which are passable, but could still use improvement themselves.

Given that the gaming end of the spectrum is where you are starting, it would be nice to see display manufacturers started improving response times in the notebook arena. This has been a real sticking point for me as far as gaming notebooks are concerned.

On a similar note, do you think OCZ would consider designing a removable display panel and creating an open standard for it and its connection? I realize this would be a distant future type project, but it would certainly spark innovation in notebook displays. You'd have to get together with some of the major display manufacturers to make sure their is enough support for the standard, but it would be a huge step forward IMO.

RE: Notebook Displays
By azander on 5/14/2008 3:53:03 PM , Rating: 2
Hi JPForums, thanks for the comments, I agree with you in regards to screens with better contrast and refresh rates. We are addressing this as well. In fact I think that the push needs to be for higher quality over simply increasing resolution. We are somewhat at the mercy of the panel manufacturers when it comes to innovation, but we are proceeding to spec products at the high end of the spectrum. When it comes to higher end notebooks, especially in the 17” space we believe customers are more concerned about quality, especially in a panel.

Your second point is actually something that our CEO brought up early on when we discussed a real “modular” solution. We think that even if there is not an industry adopted standard there is a way to mechanically make this a reality with current panels. The key is doing it in such a way that does not result in a premium for manufacturing, something durable enough to look and feel fully integrated and yet be easy to service, and reach the scale when we could stock and service these units on the fly. I can’t promise anything but we are looking at this. Great feedback JPForums.

Will there be any AMD/ATI Offerings?
By SilthDraeth on 5/14/2008 9:56:09 AM , Rating: 2
I would be interested in this product utilizing the AMD 780 or 790 chipset. Especially if I could get one of the ultra energy efficient processors.

By azander on 5/14/2008 3:59:56 PM , Rating: 2
Hi SithDraeth, we are always open to consumer requirements and I appreciate the request. We are looking at options but I can confirm the next unit coming in the immediate future is going to be an Intel solution.

That's it?
By Polynikes on 5/14/2008 11:38:09 AM , Rating: 2
Each notebook comes from OCZ standard with a 15.4" WXGA display, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT 512MB GPU, Intel PM965 northbridge/ICH8M southbridge, SATA support for HDDs or SSDs, 8x dual-layer DVD burner, four USB 2.0 ports, ExpressCard 34/54 slot, and a fingerprint reader. Optional components will include Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, a TV tuner, and a Intel 4965AGN 802.11a/g/n wireless adapter.
You call that "barebones?" You can change the same stuff in any other laptop. A DIY laptop, to me, means it comes without anything but the mobo/CPU, and you can change anything, aside from the CPU which would just be too much trouble. What's the point if you can't change something like the video card? Kinda hard to configure a custom gaming laptop yourself when there's one choice for a video card. Most consumers would rather just configure a notebook to their specs and be done with it. It's not like you can't customize a fair bit of stuff on a non-"DIY" notebook, anyways.

RE: That's it?
By azander on 5/14/2008 2:50:17 PM , Rating: 2
Hi Polynikes, thanks for the comments, I understand what you are saying. This first offering emphasizes ease of integration into a gaming notebook. Our upcoming 17" version will allow for greater modular upgradability and options when it comes to both storage and graphics.

By guy007 on 5/13/2008 11:09:46 PM , Rating: 3
Nice. The more competition the better. Good luck in this endeavor guys!

DIY notebook
By foxdie on 5/14/2008 4:12:10 AM , Rating: 1
I may be misunderstanding this whole whole DIY topic, however I'll post my statement anyway. I would like to see OCZ swollow up more of a market than gfx cards, PSU's, exc.
Infact i see the entire notebook industry as a terrable joke. Being charged top doller for something that, for half the cost, can be built as a desktop. If OCZ were to design custom laptop parts, the mobo, gfx, exc, then they could have the exact setup as a desktop but in motherboard form.

I would like to see a laptop that allows parts to be bought and put together just as a desktop does. I want to someday, theoretically, go to newegg and buy laptop parts that i can upgrade my laptop with. So far you buy a laptop but when you need more power, all you can do is upgrade ram,or you have to go buy a new one. Its as bad as an old Apple computer! I want laptop motherboards to have ALL the slots as a desktop to which i can easyily take apart my laptop and slap a new graphics card/ motherboard/ HDD, exc. Whats your take on this azander? Is this what the DIY can do? If so can we now FINNALY just buy parts instead of sending it in or buying a new one?

RE: DIY notebook
By azander on 5/14/2008 3:34:54 PM , Rating: 2
Hi Foxdie, thanks for your post, great points. What you are describing is the reason we are pushing the DIY initiative in the first place. If more component manufacturers supply parts for a DIY notebook then it very well can increase the demand and options for a more modular solution. What you describe is the goal, and we are taking some more steps with the next version in regards to other components. It will never get to the point of a desktop unless a number of manufacturers start supplying a standardized format. It would be great if all notebooks, or at least all the DIY notebooks used a standard GPU module, and that may very happen with nvidia MXM. Then it is feasible to swap out graphics, add a second one when you want to for SLi, etc. Trust me, we hear you.

The second thing you bring up is actually good for both the consumer and the manufacturer. We believe consumers are certainly tech savvy enough to identify the failing component in a notebook, just like they do currently in a desktop. If you could simply pull out a GPU module and send it back to us we could potentially cross ship, reduce your downtime and our cost of RMA. Designed and done right I think it can be a win-win.

By TomCorelis on 5/13/2008 10:44:27 PM , Rating: 2
Finally, a respectable replacement for my aging (Radeon 9600-equipped) Dell Inspiron 8600!

By razorwindmo46 on 6/3/2008 4:09:30 AM , Rating: 2
I have only found one website that does this but, the offering is just what your first one encloses.
I like what I am reading/hearing from azander!
I do disagree with some of you on the weight though. I bought a D900C from M-Tech Laptops and it has a 17" Screen with SLI 8700M's (wish I would have waited for the 8800M's) and weighs just over 12 pounds. Needless to say this is heavy for a laptop but I am willing to haul aroung 20 pounds if I could build a laptop that I could upgrade the video, sound and speakers. How many of you gamers carry a desktop to gaming lan's?
Most laptops sound quality and speakers also need to be upgradable, for most are atrocious.
You can't have great video without the great sound now can you?

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