Asus Z70VA Barebone Building Log. The Do-it-All Laptop!!!

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Asus Z70VA Barebone Building Log. The Do-it-All Laptop!!!

Postby YouGiveMeRash!!! » Wed Nov 30, 2005 10:40 pm

This is gonna be my guide to building a barebone laptop using the Asus Z70VA chassis. I will also be including how to do a "pin mod" with a Pentium M 725 1.6ghz Dothan 2mb 400mhz FSB CPU to turn it into a 533mhz 2.13ghz Pentium M! That's a 33% overclock with no increase in voltage! Saving hundreds of dollars. 8)

I recently gave my Dell 700m laptop to my sis and I decided to dive into the whitebook market (name for barebone, empty laptops).

There are many companies out there that manufacture whitebooks such as MSI, Quanta, Compal, Asus, Clevo, Twinhead, etc...

OEMs like Dell, Sony, Toshiba, and the like often have these whitebook manufacturers build their notebooks for them so the next time you get one, it has most likely just been rebranded!

Boutique laptops such as Voodoo, Alienware, and Sager often use Asus and other whitebook laptops and customize/rebadge them as well.

After owning an 12.1" ultraportable with integrated graphics, I was looking for something with power for gaming. I decided that a laptop with dedicated graphics would of course solve this problem, but I wanted to keep good battery life, durability, medium size, sharp screen resolution, and low weight.

The answer: The ASUS Z70VA REFRESH

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The specs on this machine are fantastic. Just take a look:

Chipset Intel 915PM & ICH6-M
RAM- Dual Channel DDR2 DRAM support
Display 15.4" WSXGA TFT Display 1680 x 1050
Video Graphics & Memory PCI Express ATI X700 128MB
Battery- 5 hour run down time 8-cell battery
Weight- 5.60 lbs
Chassis build- Made out of Carbon Fiber Alloy. 120% stronger than conventional plastic
Extras: Traveller's drawer for adding extra battery to total battery life to- 8+ hours or add second hard drive. Audio DJ function- Play music CDs without turning on laptop and entering Windows.

The barebone costs about $990 w/ an Intel mini PCI wifi Card and an included carrying case and 1 year warranty (I am going to void it with the pin mod 8)...but i dont care, cause I dont give a rat's ass about warranties when it comes to my hardware! I'll take the risk for others. :lol: )

I will be buying the CPU off of Ebay (a used 1.6ghz Pentium M 725). The CPU must be a 2mb L2 cache 400mhz FSB in order for the pin mod to work. This will save me AT LEAST a good $200-250 from buying a 533mhz Sonoma CPU. This mod is fairly low-risk and can be done easily with a little patience. 8)

As for the ram and hard drive, I will be buying these from Newegg. I'm going to go with a 7200rpm Hitachi 80gb hard drive and 1gb of OCZ or Kingston DDR2.

I'm going to continue to edit this post as I recieve the hardware slowly but surely WITH pictures and the pin mod. 8)

If there are any questions, feel free to ask! :P
Last edited by YouGiveMeRash!!! on Thu Dec 01, 2005 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Main rig: 1/2" ID Water Cooled Lian-Li V2000B, Abit IP35 Pro, Intel C2D E6750@ -3.4ghz 1.3375v, Mushkin 2gb DDR2-800 996576, one terabyte storage, evga 7900GS KO w/ Zalman VF700-AlCu cooler, Swiftech Apogee GT water block, Ultra X2 550w PSU
Laptop: Asus Z70VA, Pentium M 725 1.6@ -2.13ghz (pinmod), ATI X700 Pro, 1680x1050 native res., bluetooth, the works...
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Postby Sabrewings » Wed Nov 30, 2005 11:05 pm

Moved it to System Mods, Rash. Seems more suited. Good luck, and if it turns out well enough we'll sticky it!
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Postby DAVE1 » Thu Dec 01, 2005 1:31 pm

can't wait till you start building it i have never heard of anyone building a laptop
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Postby YouGiveMeRash!!! » Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:15 pm

DAVE185 wrote:can't wait till you start building it i have never heard of anyone building a laptop


It's pretty simple really. Ultraportables are usually harder to build because they require taking apart the whole laptop (removing the keyboard, all screws, heatsinks, LCD panels, etc...

This particular midsize laptop is easy to build. I mainly just have to turn it over to get access to the socket, ram slot, and hard drive bay.

The second ram slot is located underneath the keyboard, so I will have to remove that which will require more work, but it's not a problem. 8)
Main rig: 1/2" ID Water Cooled Lian-Li V2000B, Abit IP35 Pro, Intel C2D E6750@ -3.4ghz 1.3375v, Mushkin 2gb DDR2-800 996576, one terabyte storage, evga 7900GS KO w/ Zalman VF700-AlCu cooler, Swiftech Apogee GT water block, Ultra X2 550w PSU
Laptop: Asus Z70VA, Pentium M 725 1.6@ -2.13ghz (pinmod), ATI X700 Pro, 1680x1050 native res., bluetooth, the works...
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Postby DAVE1 » Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:17 pm

im sure its not going to be that easy working in such tight spaces

do you have any tutorials to follow so that it will be easier for you?
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Postby YouGiveMeRash!!! » Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:20 pm

I think Asus should have a manual somewhere with pictures on their website, but I plan not to use it unless I have to. I'm pretty sure it will come with the barebone.

I have dissassembled 2 ultraportables completely before, so I have a tad bit of experience. Hope it's enough to get this working!

I think I will read around before I get started though just to stay on the safe side if there is anything special I need to know.

The only thing I am worried most about is getting the pin mod working right the first time. If I pin mod it incorrectly, it could fry the whole laptop. :oops:
Main rig: 1/2" ID Water Cooled Lian-Li V2000B, Abit IP35 Pro, Intel C2D E6750@ -3.4ghz 1.3375v, Mushkin 2gb DDR2-800 996576, one terabyte storage, evga 7900GS KO w/ Zalman VF700-AlCu cooler, Swiftech Apogee GT water block, Ultra X2 550w PSU
Laptop: Asus Z70VA, Pentium M 725 1.6@ -2.13ghz (pinmod), ATI X700 Pro, 1680x1050 native res., bluetooth, the works...
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Postby DAVE1 » Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:27 pm

you should probally check that the processor works first before you do it
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Postby ~Rob » Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:29 pm

You'll be supprised at how easy it is to get under the keyboard. I've installed ram on a few laptops now and once you find good lever points you'll be fine.

x700 eh? that beast is more powerful than my PC!!!
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Postby lilpaki » Thu Dec 01, 2005 3:27 pm

so this barbone has the mobo already inserted and graphics?
to build or not to build,
that is the question?
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Postby YouGiveMeRash!!! » Thu Dec 01, 2005 5:51 pm

lilpaki wrote:so this barbone has the mobo already inserted and graphics?


Yes, Asus fully supports their barebones and parts for the actually laptop can be bought directly from them. The build quality of them is amazing.

The motherboard itself with the dedicated X700 costs about $260 for a replacement if anything goes wrong with it after the warranty period.

The carbon fiber cover can also be bought for it for $30, so if it becomes scratched up or something, I can always order a new one. :D

x700 eh? that beast is more powerful than my PC!!!


Yeah, it isnt TOO much of a beast compared to the Nvidia 7800 GO, but the mobility X700 has performance between a desktop 9800pro and 9800XT in some instances...this is plenty enough for me since I dont put too much emphasis on graphics. Mid-range makes me happy enough. 8)
Main rig: 1/2" ID Water Cooled Lian-Li V2000B, Abit IP35 Pro, Intel C2D E6750@ -3.4ghz 1.3375v, Mushkin 2gb DDR2-800 996576, one terabyte storage, evga 7900GS KO w/ Zalman VF700-AlCu cooler, Swiftech Apogee GT water block, Ultra X2 550w PSU
Laptop: Asus Z70VA, Pentium M 725 1.6@ -2.13ghz (pinmod), ATI X700 Pro, 1680x1050 native res., bluetooth, the works...
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