Description

So, after much waiting and many requests for this build, it's finally here, my gaming build over 2 years in the making. I didn't end up with what I planned to do in the first place, but I may have created something that almost no-one has ever done before. I have created a monstrosity of a laptop, a true Frankenstein's monster of a gaming rig. My dream, ever since finding PCPartPicker, was to build an amazing gaming computer for myself. Even when I knew nothing about anything in a computer, I desired to learn and to make my system, and systems for others, as good as they could possibly be. My first idea for a system wasn't great, I didn't know what an SSD was, I didn't know the intricate details of Power Supplies... Hell, I didn't even know AMD existed, while using an AMD Phenom-powered computer. This system is the culmination of those learnings, a system designed to be truly great at a few things. One of those things is gaming, obviously, given the powerful hardware in play. The other big goal was simply to do something no-one has ever done before. Who in their right mind would take a perfectly good MSI laptop and create something that isn't practical, isn't cheap, isn't portable, and isn't even particularly quiet just for the sake of doing it.

Enough with the theatricality though, lets talk background and parts.

My original idea for this build was just to replace the GPU, since the stock 840M had become supremely unreliable, constantly crashing even during everyday use. My main candidate at the time was an R7 360, just enough power to consider the upgrade worth the money. Since the GPU/Adapter could only power external monitors, those had to be added as well. I decided on three since I had gotten used to a wierd 3-screen setup with my old laptop setup (using the laptop's tiny 1080p screen, a 32" 720p TV that had to be run at 1080p to avoid overscan issues, and an old square AOC that actually could do 75Hz). The GPU was slowly upgraded in the plans over time, with the system increasing to a 370, then a 380, and finally a 390. Unfortunately, I chose the ASUS Strix version that overheats like crazy, and I ended up sending it back a few days later. After that, I decided to just go for broke with a full-fledged R9 Fury, and end the GPU debate once and for all. The XFX is nice, with the ability to run normal tasks completely fanlessly, and will run a cool 65C at 20% fan speed in games.

After the GPU was settled, I decided on the other upgrades, including replacing the far too small stock HDD with a big SSD and external 1TB drive, replacing the hairdryer of a cooler with a cheap AIO cooler and a custom 3D printed mount.

Since things like the GPU and liquid cooler need power, I added a cheap but reliable EVGA 500W PSU to sustain them. The first unit I got had terrible coil whine issues, so I sent it in for RMA (including a packet of gummi bears for good luck) and received a properly working one a few weeks later.

One of the crucial parts of the system is the EXP GPU adapter, which connects to a mini-PCIe port on the laptop (like where the WLAN chip connects) and expands it out to a full-size PCI-e slot. I was surprised how quickly it shipped, considering it had to ship from China, as it beat some of the domestically ordered parts here.

The fans are nice and quiet, at least at 600rpm. I ended up swapping out the fan in the PSU for one of the NB's, since the stock EVGA fans are annoyingly loud. Fun fact: if directly connected to the wires that normally drive the fan in the PSU, the fan will not spin and the unit will massively overheat. I connected it to an external fan controller after that.

Lets look at the parts one by one:

CPU: It's an i5 that is actually a low-end i3. It's got 2 cores with hyperthreading, a turbo boost to 3.4GHz, and apparently produces the heat of a small sun, if the fan speeds of the stock cooler are to be believed. It's definitely the weak point of the system, given the other beefy hardware, but I can't easily replace it since it's a BGA chip. For the most part it runs well in games, and only the more thread-heavy tasks overwhelm it.

Cooler: The stock cooler is terrible on this laptop, and the AIO is so much better. An air cooler wouldn't really work due to the limited clearance below the laptop, so an AIO was really the only choice. The CM 120V was the cheapest option at the time, and it works pretty well actually. Despite having to be mounted with a spare chunk of aluminum (to clear the power delivery chokes) and a self-made mount, this thing stays under 50C at all times, even on minimum fan speed.

MB/RAM: Not much to say about the motherboard, other than there's no UEFI-style BIOS but I'm glad there's a mPCI-e slot. The laptop originally came with one 8GB stick of RAM, but I upgraded it to 16GB with another stick, which is why the price on the RAM is so low.

Storage: The stock 750GB Hitachi drive was far too loud (combined with the stock cooler, I couldn't sleep at night if it was on), far too slow, and far too small. The replacement 850 EVO is crazy fast, to the point that it boots faster than my monitors can warm up, and the Seagate drive is big, quiet, and pretty fast for a mech drive. Beats my dad's WD Black to open large files 9 times out of 10.

GPU: Wow, it's a beast. The Fury cards are technically the most advanced cards in the world, being the ones with the most transistors on a single die and with the most advanced memory type. That kind of technology shows up really nicely in games too. Even at 5760x1080p, games run buttery smooth, never dropping below 60fps at max settings. 4GB of RAM is never a bottleneck, since the HBM memory seems to be able to swap data around fast enough that stuttering and frame drops never become an issue.

Case: So it's not really a case... It's a laptop on a stand designed for a 13" Macbook sitting on a shelf screwed lopsidedly (Thanks Dad, great handyman-ship) into a wall. At least it's different right :D

PSU: It runs well, especially with the new fan in it. It's got the power to run the fans, pump and GPU, while the 150W laptop charger powers the laptop itself. Technically it's a dual-PSU system. That's something you don't see often.

OS: Got this from DreamSpark again, free Windows is nice :)

Fan Controller: It's nice to have a controller that isn't some fancy touchsreen, temp sensing, fan failure-alarmed pile of crap. The Mix 2 has everything I want, it's got enough fan headers for future expansion and has rheostats that work. I do wish I could turn the fans down a bit more though.

Monitors: You know how people love to parade around the "Fact" that IPS screens look soooooooooooooooooo much better than TN screens? Here's blatant proof that that's total BS. The GN246, even in 60Hz mode feels faster and more responsive, as well as looking great (even off-angle) even in direct comparison to the two H236s. In fact, the GN246 actually looks better than the H236's off angle, because the damn things start glowing blue once you go past about 30 degrees off center. Due to buying the GN246 when I bought the original 390, which has a DVI port, I'm limited to 60Hz on it, because the Fury does not have a DVI port and there aren't any adapters that can do DP to dual-link DVI for less than $100 that actually work (*grumble* Monoprice... *grumble*).

Peripherals: This is pretty much the amalgamation of all my favorite parts. I've got my favorite mouse, my favorite keyboard with my favorite switches, and my favorite headset, all attached to my system. It's just lovely to have deliciously clacky and tactile MX Blue switches under your fingers, with an extra comfy mouse under your other hand. Headphones sound great, but still press on your ears pretty hard even after an M50x pad swap and a full 9 months of wear.

So, there we have it, my finally completed gaming system. Hope you enjoyed the preceding wall-o-text and I look forward to the next build :D

Comments

  • 46 months ago
  • 18 points

cablelivesmatter

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  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Wait wat....

Is it really...

The PCPP Legend?...

Jipster69?...

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

When you have tears of joy from the legend returning after hopping on randomly to the site, probably just a break from "vacation" though

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

oh dear lord jipster lives!!

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  • 46 months ago
  • 5 points

You really like things to be silent don't you. I always wanted to see pictures of this Frankenstein build.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow vagabond and jip in the same place

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  • 46 months ago
  • 3 points

I've waited a very long time for this MR pants. Nice to finally see what you've gotten done.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah I gotcha and Congrats on getting featured!

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  • 46 months ago
  • 3 points

I thought I was the only one who used CPUs built onto the board. +1 just for the weirdness of this entire thing.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Laptops boards are so underrated for this sort of thing. :D

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

a laptop on steroids for 3k+ >.<
that's a lot of expensive juice

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  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Cool setup... Unless you have any cats in the house hehe

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  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

I'm genuinely shocked and a little appalled at the complete lack of 'well done for thinking out of the box' related comments. Perhaps it's just skirting a little too close to 'dad joke' territory?

Would love to see how the cables are all interconnected as I've considered laptop pcie bridges previously (and still kinda am) and can't entirely get my head around how you manage everything. Along the same sort of vein, I would've assumed some sort of custom case as well. Let's face it, at its most basic level, a PC case is just a box to store your components in while they work. Having one which is efficient for airflow, heat management, cable management, etc is nice, but ideally having your components put away safe is the general idea. So... Wooden box or acrylic to start? ;)

If absolutely nothing else, you've now got an amazing GPU (which looks remarkably good out on display like that) so if you do want to get yourself a MB/CPU upgrade in the future, that part is already worked out.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I really don't understand, like get that you wanted to do something different but for the money you could have put together a really nice little powerful and quiet box. It seems you have no room for upgrades or expansion with no apparent benefits from the 'laptop' form factor?

Sorry don't mean to sound rude I'm just very confused :)

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

See what your saying, although you did buy a $550 GPU!

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha fair play, I spent more than that on storage and have never even loaded up solitaire :)

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Cool..but what's that PC to the left and what is in it?

I like the idea of the laptop with Desktop GPU(I've seen it done before, it's cool but not practical). I just wanna know what's in that other PC, and if that's what made you do this. Or if you just wanted to.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Very unique. Sounds like you had a lot of fun and challenges. Its a hell of and eyesore though! I mean that in the best way possible of course.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow you own 3-d printer. What CAD application are you using? Pardon me if you already mentioned this in you description but I was to lazy to read it all lol

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

This is real skunkworks wama jama building. If you lived next door my lauwn would die. lol +1 for NB PL-2. +1 for cable management. Best rat puter I ever seen. +1 for the Fury, under utilized for what the package is. Did you really build this or did it fall through the rift?

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

So, you dont actually have a PC. You have a bunch of parts on a shelf.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

You have everything man .! +1

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I've always wanted to use one of those eGPU kits for a laptop...what does the mPCIe port limit the bandwidth to? 3.0x4, 2.0x4? Either way, what percentage of the full GPU power are you able to access you think? hopefully greater than 50%....if possible run some benchmarks and let us know. Very Cool project. it'd be cool to attempt the external GPU on a new, skylake laptop and utilize the type C Thunderbolt 3 connection since it's 40Gbps...in fact a few companies have made several prototypes of PCIe expansion chassis that utilize thunderbolt 3, hopefully they'll actually bring them to market eventually.

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

This is great to know.

I initially used to think that newer generations double performance(so, an older generation cuts it in half). So, I thought my 1.1x16 slot will severely limit my GTX650. I'm wiser now, and I am able to run it quite comfortably. That's one thing though that a 650 is nothing compared to the Fury :P.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Is that a video card that you have on display on that shelf? If so, that's pretty cool!

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

This is beautiful. Definitely earns a +9001.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

This may be the coolest yet weirdest PCPartPicker Build i have ever seen... I really do like it though.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

So this is the work of art you showed me when you posted something about that coil whine.

This is pretty fantastic I must say. +1

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I was browsing another forum and I saw some others say that their fury had a whine too.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm getting a decent mid-range laptop before heading into college that has a 960M so its not exactly built to play Crysis 3 but this looks interesting to me. It could potentially let me play higher end games in my dorm room with this extender thing and MOBA's when I'm on the go.

So could you explain the PCI-E extender a little more? I'm still a bit confused on how you connect it to the laptop.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Desk?

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

No lol, what desk is it.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Could you link me to that background, it's beautiful.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

mrluckypants96, it is your creation and effort. You loved what you did, so that is the only thing that is important :)

I downloaded your first image to try and look at it closer.

For me, I don't get the "look". But it is your build, congrats

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Making a badass gaming rig out of a laptop... that's awesome. What a cool project!

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Ghetto

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

That MSI laptop in the corner... XD :P

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I know, its pretty awesome.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Would be awesome to see a photo of how you mounted the AIO cooler to your laptop MOBO as I am very interested to see that.

Glad you finally posted this whacky machine, it blows my mind the things you can do with enough adapters haha.

+1

Your awesome!

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Fair enough sounds like a mission and a half.

Would have been neat if you made a build log/video but I guess i'm just asking too much :P

Enjoy the gaming!

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

I have the same issue, only think to document it once its finished :/

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

+1

I don't even know anymore.. Why did you not just go for a new rig at this point.

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

A really crazy build but I like it! Have you thought about the future of the build? How does the i5 cope in heavy cpu games like GTA V? The laptop i5 would probably heavily limit your gaming potential in the next couple years for sure so I was just wondering whether you would transfer your components into a new case with a new mobo and cpu? +1 for being unique!

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

The first option may be the more wallet friendly choice ha ;)

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

gotta admit... took me a sec to see wtf was goin on here lol.... now that i do, interesting indeed. Original :P

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow. At first, I'll be honest, I didn't understand. After all this is not the sort of build one sees all the time. But by the end of reading through your in depth description I was rooting for you! Haha, nice to see something so unorthodox pop up on featured builds. Completely impractical may be a downside, but 'completely unique' is a badge not many can pin to their lapels. Congrats on the build, man!

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 ofc. ;)

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

I was very confused to see you'd got a Fury and a 500W PSU. Then I saw the final setup pics. That's...well, it's unique, I'll give you that.

I'm not quite sure what I think - it's impressive to see it put all together but I think I'd prefer to sell the laptop (or keep it as spare) and put the money towards an actual pc with case.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

That PCI thing for ur graphics card reduces the performance of it BTW, I have researched that quite a bit.

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice to see someone else has a Steam controller! This build is awesome, I really wish there was a way I could give my Surface Pro 3 an External GPU setup as well, since it's processing power is pretty woeful compared to my new desktop build, but it doesn't have any ports accessible for an adapter. This is awesome, well done!

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

It probably does, but it's got everything pretty tightly glued together do there's no way to get to it without opening up the screen (which also makes repairs impossible). Maybe a future surface will have thunderbolt or at least USB-C or something though.

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

How's the keyboard quality... I was thinking of getting one for Christmas

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

"I am shocked... shocked that there are AMD cards that can output performance of this magnitude!"

"Sir, you're gaming on one right now"

"Oh,.. okay then..."

+1 on the setup :P

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

That GPU is like a show piece... Its sexy

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

so I sent it in for RMA (including a packet of gummi bears for good luck)<
They should be sending you gummy bears, now that would be good customer service!

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

i have one word for you:

beautiful.

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

no problem! :) it's a lot nicer than my build, I'll give you that. i don't even have a decent desk lol

and wires are both a blessing and a curse aren't they?

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

oh goodness that's a mind blower. totally want that now.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

How do people know the exact dimensions to 3D print something? That has always boggled me.

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

The most I've done is eyeball a stopping block attachment for some school project and even then it was a pretty hard fit even with proper calipers.

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh, I see.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah-nah, I gettit.. Awesome work my slightly unhinged, but well rendered friend :D

I can't say I quite got over 9000 on my recent lost-cause refresh (also not really planned/costed either). Nay, no where near 9000 next to this craziness.. This is something else man. But I gettit, it happens. You get an idea that starts scratching at you, and after awhile, after resisting for what seems like ages (and trying penicillin), you take both hands to the itch scratch like hell!.. errr Anyway.

"Dust shall fear us, cases are for ******* and consoles! We are men, men with highly powered GPUs and all the space we need right here!" **flaps arms wildly at blank wall space

Love it. +1 AWESOME

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Lol this awesome. Congrats on your killer mishmash kitkabash rig

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

It's always good to get a laptop with only one stick of RAM in it. Helps upgradability too. Whoever gifted you the laptop, kudos to them.

My own laptop has a i5-4200M in it. It's slightly slower than the 4200H, but it's a detachable processor. I can upgrade it if I want to(although finding a laptop processor here is quite hard). The laptop came with a 4GB stick in it, I've since upgraded it to 12GB.

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  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, this is definitely a fire hazard.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

cool build, hows that steam controller working for you?

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

Wait it's a laptop?

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

CABLE MANAGEMENT PLEASE

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

How are you so rich

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Ok Dr. Frankenstein, help an Igor out. Like you I've had a similar setup for a while now; Got a Dell Precision Workstation with the fastest CPU available (Truly beast) with a EXP GDC Adaptor with an R9 280 pushed by an 850W power supply. And that is running a Ultrawide monitor. Been going great for a few years now. I love it performance is grand and reliable. So why is it that when I put an R9 Fury in there I get nothing. The Dell won't even get past BIOS.... I'm stumped. Too many hours on it... driving me nuts. Time to ask someone with a higher wage LoL. I would really appreciate it.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Does your Acer - GN246HL 24.0" 1920x1080 144Hz Monitor have “Display port”

  • 46 months ago
  • 0 points

WHY SO MUCH CABLES UNDER DESK!!!???!?!?!?!?

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  • 45 months ago
  • 0 points

Dad here. Just as a point of clarity, I did offer to fix the shelf immediately after I saw that the level was off. The OP said it was alright and chose to leave it as it was. I ain't fixing it now, punk.

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