Making of the Portable Athlon (1/10)

I had a dream. I dreamt there would be a portable computer that was just as good or better in terms of all areas of performance compared to a real desktop system. Sure, we've seen many state-of-the-art notebook computers that touts themselves as 'desktop replacements'. I do not doubt they would indeed be a desktop replacement in business sector, as the high-end spectrum of these machines sport components that challenge many mid-to-high performance desktop models, such as mobile 1GHz CPU.

However, there are shortcomings. Lots of them, actually. First of all, the prices go shooting up the stratosphere, in a much bigger proportion than a normal desktop version, as you add features, be it for usability or performance. Also, to make it compact, notebook computers sacrifice performance and it cannot outperform desktop counterpart even if similarly equipped. The most notable area of this would be 3D acceleration, as today's 3D enabled video chips require too much power compared to a 'normal' notebook video chip, which hindered the release of powerful 3D enabled notebook video chips. Yes, there has been releases of GeForce Go and mobile Radeon chips which claims to come close to their famed desktop counterparts, but notebook units that use these chips are still hard to find.
Wesley's good old 486 notebook, disassembled
Besides, I would have never been fully comfortable even if I had given a 1GHz notebook computer with GeForce Go video chip. As my other articles profoundly show, I'm an overclocker who build my own system from ground up and push around the limits of what I've made. Pushing around a notebook computer, let alone 'making' a notebook is unlike anything desktop-ish. Notebook designs are not standardized, hence limiting customization and tweaking. You run on pretty much what you've initially bought, give or take a few options and many tweaking programs out there won't function well in a notebook system. You can't simply buy a notebook casing like you would with a middle-tower desktop, nor could you buy a notebook motherboard off the shelf.

Still, I wanted to carry my main system back and forth my dorm room and my home some 400km away(for those that are not metric-centric, it's 250 miles), which I do on a regular basis, and that huge chunk of a middle tower system with 17-inch monitor just won't cut it, not to mention risking bone fracture. All these thoughts hit me while I was rolling around my bed in early February, in the midst of the winter vacation. And so, I was set out to make things right. I wanted an Athlon system. Portable.


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Wesley's Tool-Box on : Portable Athlon is Here

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Okay, I admit 'soon' was stretching the truth a bit far, but the long-awaited article, Making of the Portable Athlon is finally up! And it's longer than anything I've written here! Go on and see the glory!

Wesley's Tool-Box on : Portable Athlon Followup

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The follow-up article to the Portable Athlon, which answers such question as how it's carried around and how much it weighs is up for your read. Click here to read!

Wesley's Tool-Box on : Miniature Air Conditioner (1/5)

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Summer + Overclock = Bad Seasonal changes can be an annoyance to overclockers. Winter can provide exceptional overclocking environment, then summer comes up and you can't overclock so much anymore. Korea has vastly distinct seasonal charact

Wesley's Tool-Box on : Miniature Air Conditioner (2/5)

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It Could Just Cool Air I certainly wouldn't try the experiment again on my T-bird Athlon in my Portable Athlon unit for two main reasons, and that has to do with the TEC I have in question. Its power rating is 72W. A TEC can only pump heat

Wesley's Tool-Box on : Wearable Computing Project (1/10)

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The Aftermath of Portable Athlon After completing the world's first portable Athlon computer, it had been on a rather busy public relations charade for a while. It was even featured on SEK 2001, one of the biggest computer shows held in Kor

Wesley's Tool-Box on : Wearable Computing Project (5/10)

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Monitor for a Wearable What is missing in this picture? That's right. This computer did not have a dedicated monitor, and had to borrow the monitor from the Portable Athlon. You'll also notice that a Zalman CNPS3100G (review) was sitting

Wesley's Tool-Box on : Wearable Computing Project (6/10)

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Housing the Components As usual, I chose to use the clear acrylic board ('Plexiglas') to house the components. As you can see in the picture, both the monitor and the main system looks quite nice in their casing. Because I now had some ex

Wesley's Tool-Box on : Wearable Computing Project (8/10)

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The Photo Shoot Because 'I Love PC' wanted to have my wearable PC introduced in their next issue (December 2001), I quickly attached leather straps on the monitor and bought a small totebag to put my system in. The above picture is the ac

Wesley's Tool-Box on : The Second Portable Athlon (1/10)

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Death and Rebirth The original Portable Athlon was signalling its retirement. The highly overclocked GeForce2 MX in the system finally failed, probably due to extensive operation under the cramped environment. The card seemed fine at firs

Wesley's Tool-Box on : Portable Athlon Reborn

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It's already been more than a month since a new system had taken place of the Portable Athlon. It was replaced by none other than its descendant, XPPort-II, a.k.a. Portable Athlon II. I still have some improvements planned for the machine, but I decided t

Wesley's Tool-Box on : The Heatpipe Mod on XPPort-II (1/11)

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Escape from the Low-End The single most annoying thing that bothered me in designing the series of Portable Athlons (First & Second) is that I could not use a full-height video card. This is because the system's internal dimensions


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