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economical laptop

 >> I'm trying to figure out the most economical way to get a functional 
 >> laptop. . . . I would like to know if building one from parts is cheaper 
 >> than getting a regular laptop that I can upgrade over time

 > You can't really build a laptop yourself from parts, because they all use 
 > their own funky shaped parts, unlike desktops.

True.  The standardization that made all desktops look alike pretty much broke 
down for laptops as the individual companies tried to differentiate themselves.

One way you might be able to save some cash -- depending on your work habits -- 
is to consider more external devices.  For example, you might want to just get 
a cheap CD drive to start and, later on, get an external DVD player/CD burner 
that plugs into the USB port.  Or you could get less hard drive in the laptop 
and get a bigger external drive to supplement it later.  While the laptop itself 
is pretty much limited to the vendor that made it, the ports are generally still 
standard.  The other advantage of external devices is that you can keep using 
them even if you upgrade to a new laptop or desktop.

Of course, that means that stuff all gets left behind when you're on the road.
If you do most of your work in a library or hotel room, you're going to want the 
whole package with you all the time.

Just a thought,
John Whitfield

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