OCZ DIY Gaming Notebook 15″


OCZ DIY 15"While the idea of gaming notebooks often conjures up images of some Counter-Strike junkie sitting on the train to work ‘pwning n00bs‘ using his touchpad alone, the reality behind the idea comes more from the LAN gaming scene. As frequent LAN gamers will tell you, probably the worst part of attending a LAN is getting there in the first place. It’s very rare that LAN events are close to home, and traveling long distances on trains or even planes certainly isn’t an enjoyable experience when you’ve got your precious, yet extremely heavy PC in tow. However, with the release of NVIDIA and ATI’s high-end mobile GPU’s coupled with Intel’s extremely fast and efficient CPU’s, the ability to simply carry your gaming machine around on your shoulder has been realised, and the gaming notebook born.

Of course there’s always a catch isn’t there, and from an enthusiast’s perspective, it’s the total lack of customisation and upgradeability. When purchasing a new notebook, even one of the excessively expensive gaming models, you’re often stuck with what the manufacturer deems as the best system configuration. Lower-end models come with slow CPU’s, hardly any RAM and small hard disks, whereas the higher-end ones are fully loaded in every respect but have an extortionate price tag to match. But what if you’re after a notebook with a specification that suits the games or applications you use and doesn’t necessarily fit into the high/medium/low criteria that most manufacturers tend to cater for? Enter OCZ…

Once a company best known for their quality DDR ‘Platinum’ memory kits, OCZ has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years, expanding into new markets and bringing enthusiasts the latest technology at affordable prices. Two such products that are testament to this are the Neural Impulse Actuator and the ‘Core’ Solid State Disk series. However, OCZ have certainly never been a company to rest on their laurels and in the summer of 2008 announced that they would be stepping into the notebook market with a new DIY (Do-It-Yourself) range that would provide enthusiasts and regular users alike the opportunity to spec and build a notebook that exactly suit their needs. Today we’re going to be looking at one of the latest models in this lineup: a Intel® Centrinoâ„¢ 2 based 15″ model complete with an ATI® Radeon HD3650 graphics card. But before we spoil all the surprises, let’s head over to OCZ for some further information:

Building your own gaming desktop can be complicated and meticulous so who would think that building your own gaming notebook would be any easier or even possible? OCZ introduces this exciting initiative to the enthusiast, gamer, and IT professional with the new Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Gaming Notebooks. Designed to make it easier than ever for consumers to take full advantage of the benefits of building their very own gaming notebook, OCZ’s DIY program is one-of-a-kind, and allows consumers to build a truly high performance notebook with their own ideal configuration in just a few easy to follow step

 Processor  Supports Intel® Core™ 2 Duo / Extreme Processors
 (T7500, T7700, T8100, T8300, T9300, T9400, P8600, P9500, X9100)
 Core Logic
 Intel® PM45 + ICH9M
 Memory  Supports up to 8GB (2 X 4GB) Dual Channel DDR2-800
 Disk Storage  Supports 80-500GB 5400RPM or 7200RPM SATA Hard Disk Drive
 Supports all OCZ SSD Drives
 Built-in 4-in-1 Card Reader (MS/MS PRO/SD/MMC/RSMMC)
 Display  15.4” WXGA (1280×800)
 Graphics Processor  ATI® Radeon™ HD3650 GPU with GDDR3 512MB
 DirectX 10.1 Compatible
 Optical Drive
 24x CD-R/RW, 8xDVD+/-R, 6x DVD+/-R DL Combo DVD Drive -OR-
 16x CD-R, 10x CD-RW, 8x DVD+/-R, 4x DVD+/-RW DL, 2x BD Blu-ray Drive
 High Definition integrated sound, built-in stereo speakers
 1 Express Card 34 / 54 Slot
 Pointing Device
 Integrated Touchpad with Scroll Bar
 A4-Sized Keyboard, Vista Key
 3 USB 2.0 ports
 1 VGA port
 1 Headphone jack
 1 Microphone jack
 1 RJ-45 jack for 10M/100M Fast Ethernet
 1 RJ-11 jack for Plug & Play Fax/Modem
 1 DC-In jack
 Kensington Lock
 Power System
 1 Lithium-Ion Battery (6 Cell)
 Physical Characteristics
 6.80 lbs with Battery Pack
 13.99″ (w) x 10.14″ (d) x 1.19″ ~ 1.48″ (h)
 Other Features
 Realtek® b/g Wireless LAN or Intel 5300 b/g/Draft-N
 Bluetooth V2.0 + EDR
 Built-in 2.0MP Digital Video Camera
 Fingerprint Reader
 Operating System  Compatible with Microsoft Windows Vista SP1

For what could be considered a bare-bones notebook, the OCZ DIY 15″ is extremely well-equipped indeed. For starters, we have the DirectX 10.1 compatible HD3650 512MB graphics card as already mentioned, along with a reasonably-sized 15.4″ WXGA screen capable of a fairly standard 1280×800 resolution. A choice between a 24x/8x CD/DVD writer or a Blu-ray drive (the former in our case) is also provided, and the Intel ICH9M southbridge gives support for both standard and solid state disk drives.

Wireless connectivity is provided by an Intel 5300 Draft-N adaptor for speedy net access, and a Bluetooth 2.0 adaptor enables the notebook to communicate easily with devices such as PDA’s, mobile phones and Bluetooth mice/keyboards.

Additional devices such as a fingerprint reader, 2.0MP camera and 4-in-1 card reader also come as standard, and we will be covering these in more detail as we perform a tour of the notebook over the next few pages.