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Thread: Brain Cell help

  1. #1
    Forum Member AlienMom's Avatar
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    Brain Cell help

    A few months ago, I purchased a large (huge!) laptop, an Alienware 17 R3. I know that the Brain Cells are being phased out, and I also know that there aren't any current ones that will hold this monster-sized laptop.

    My husband has a Super Ego with a 2M Horizontal Brain Cell, and my laptop can be squeezed into that. It's a tight fit along the long side of the laptop, but it works. Since he still carries this laptop in that case, I can't justify stealing it from him.

    I have a brand new Brain Bag, and there is plenty of room to spare inside that backpack for this computer and a BC.

    Question 1: Was a vertical BC ever made in the 2M size (or larger)?

    Question 2: If I'm unable to find a used BC that will fit, does anyone have any recommendations for a protective case to use when I carry this laptop inside my Brain Bag?

    There are a lot of junky cases out there, and since I'll most likely need to use mail order, I want to avoid getting something that won't protect my laptop.
    Tom Bihn addict since 2010: Red/Black/Steel Swift, Sapphire/Steel Small Cafe Bag, Azalea/Sapphire Medium Cafe Bag, Forest/Ultraviolet Night Flight Travel Duffle,Aubergine/Zest Aeronaut 45, Island Travel Tray, Lots of Large Shop Bags, Aubergine/Steel Maker's Bag, Plum Daylight Briefcase, Navy/Iberian Side Effect, French Blue Brain Bag, Orange 152 Field Journal Notebook, and LOTS of multicolor accessories.

  2. #2
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    I didn't know Brain Cells are being phased out. Are there plans to replace them with anything more protective than the Cache?

  3. #3
    Forum Member jujigatame's Avatar
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    I was thinking maybe the old Camera I-O might work but after checking the specs on that laptop it's still not tall enough.

  4. #4
    Forum Member AlienMom's Avatar
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    It's a pretty huge laptop. I'd be happy with a Cache, although I think the Brain Cell would provide the best protection. At this point, I just want something that will protect the monster whenever I need to transport it to another location (usually before my midterm and final exams).
    Tom Bihn addict since 2010: Red/Black/Steel Swift, Sapphire/Steel Small Cafe Bag, Azalea/Sapphire Medium Cafe Bag, Forest/Ultraviolet Night Flight Travel Duffle,Aubergine/Zest Aeronaut 45, Island Travel Tray, Lots of Large Shop Bags, Aubergine/Steel Maker's Bag, Plum Daylight Briefcase, Navy/Iberian Side Effect, French Blue Brain Bag, Orange 152 Field Journal Notebook, and LOTS of multicolor accessories.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlienMom View Post
    A few months ago, I purchased a large (huge!) laptop, an Alienware 17 R3. I know that the Brain Cells are being phased out, and I also know that there aren't any current ones that will hold this monster-sized laptop.

    My husband has a Super Ego with a 2M Horizontal Brain Cell, and my laptop can be squeezed into that. It's a tight fit along the long side of the laptop, but it works. Since he still carries this laptop in that case, I can't justify stealing it from him.

    I have a brand new Brain Bag, and there is plenty of room to spare inside that backpack for this computer and a BC.

    Question 1: Was a vertical BC ever made in the 2M size (or larger)?

    Question 2: If I'm unable to find a used BC that will fit, does anyone have any recommendations for a protective case to use when I carry this laptop inside my Brain Bag?

    There are a lot of junky cases out there, and since I'll most likely need to use mail order, I want to avoid getting something that won't protect my laptop.
    @AlienMom, You probably need someone who is familiar with using the Brain Cells with really large PC laptops over time (e.g., AVService?), but I'll give you my take on this based on what I remember. The largest Brain Cell I can recall them making is the size 2XL, which I think was only available in the Horizontal Brain Cell. It was the only one that they charged extra for due to the larger size, and I think that it only fit into the SuperEgo (e.g., too big for the Empire Builder). It could fit an earlier generation Alienware computer:
    "The Size 2XL Brain Cell has interior dimensions of approximately 16.5 12 2.25 inches (420 305 57 mm), exterior dimensions of 17 13.375 3 inches (432 340 78 mm)"

    My guess is that this is the size Brain Cell that you might have with your husband's SuperEgo. I don't recognize the "Size 2M" model. There used to be models like "Size 2S" and "Size 3S" that were basically slightly different (larger) variants of the Brain Cell for PC laptops. I believe @tpnl has the Size 2S Brain Cell. There were variants like "Size 4X" and "Size 4Z" when Apple redesigned the specs of the 15" MacBook Pro laptops, and there was the late design "Size 6T" that they made for the IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad series just before they moved to the larger cinema sized screens. That's the latest/last of the PC-modded special size Brain Cells I can remember, and I have one of those (slightly better fit than the Size 4 I used for that model before this came out).

    Apart from the Size 2XL, I think the largest Size Brain Cell is the Size #1, which is still made, and which was for both horizontal and vertical Brain Cells. I think the Size 1 was the largest size Vertical Brain Cell they made:
    "The Size 1 Vertical Brain Cell has interior dimensions of approximately 15.4 10.3 1.2 inches (392 262 30 mm), exterior dimensions of approximately 17.6 11.2 2.3 inches (448 284 58 mm)"

    I had to search for the dimensions of the Alienware 17 R3 laptop. This came back as 430 x 291.9 x 34.4 mm/ 16.93" x 11.49" x 1.354"

    @jujigatame, The Camera-IO (and the Tripod Quivers) are already retired

    @loma, just before the new products debuted this Spring, and immediately after the move to the new web site, Darcy posted;

    "Bags To Be Retired

    Now, on to some sad but necessary news. Below is the list of bags that we anticipate we will retire in 2016. We have to make way for all of the new stuff in the works, and retiring current designs is the only way to do that.

    Camera I-O (what we have now is all we'll ever have; no more batches will be made)
    Tripod - Lighting Kit Quivers (same as above)
    Horizontal Brain Cell (same)
    Vertical Brain Cell (same)"

    They have still been making a few Brain Cells, I think.

    HTH

    moriond
    Last edited by moriond; 07-27-2016 at 02:35 PM.

  6. #6
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    As usual, moriond has it right: the largest size of Vertical Brain Cell that we made was the Size 1. We did previously make a Size 2S Vertical Brain Cell, but that was smaller than the Size 1 in some dimensions (Size 2S 14.5 x 10.8 x 1.7 vs. Size 1 15.4 10.3 1.2 inches) We never made a 2M, 2XL or 2XXLT Vertical Brain Cell because those would've been too tall to fit in the Brain Bag (our tallest backpack at the time).

    Quote Originally Posted by AlienMom View Post
    Question 2: If I'm unable to find a used BC that will fit, does anyone have any recommendations for a protective case to use when I carry this laptop inside my Brain Bag?
    Good question, and I'm stumped, but I'll keep thinking on this. I checked here at the factory to see if we have any 2XL or 2XXLT Vertical Caches left, but sadly we don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by loma View Post
    I didn't know Brain Cells are being phased out. Are there plans to replace them with anything more protective than the Cache?
    No plans to replace the Brain Cell with any other kind of case because the Cache (especially with the rails system) has proven to be very popular.

    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    They have still been making a few Brain Cells, I think.
    We've finished all of the last batches of the Brain Cell and won't be making more, so what's available now on the Brain Cell page is all that ever will be available.
    Last edited by Darcy; 07-27-2016 at 04:05 PM.
    Current Carry: The Hero's Journey, Skookum Dog Citizen Canine, Founder's Briefcase, Synapse 19 (day hikes), Guide's Pack (longer day hikes), Yeoman Duffel (winter/emergency stuff for the car), Aeronaut 30 (travel), Night Flight Travel Duffel (camera bag), Moveable Feast + Shop Bags (food)

  7. #7
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    Just to add a bit more, @bagman made a nice MS Excel tool to show the approx. fit of a laptop to the various TB Brain Cells and Caches at the time. You just enter your dimensions. See the 5th post for the file

    My Brain Cell Fit Tool

    Unfortunately, even at max length, the Vertical Brain Cell Size 1 would not fit your 17” laptop by about 1” – and that is even if you could stretch the side padding to fit the width. The Vertical Size 2S would be worse lengthwise as it is shorter than the Size 1 but is a bit more accommodating widthwise.

    Interesting that the tool shows some large Cache sleeves.

    For your size of laptop, the only option I have seen for Brain Cell levels of protection would be a Pelican hardcase – say to the 1490 (though width may not be enough) or 1495.

    For a soft sleeve, aside from a generic sleeve, a used no longer in production TB Cache size or the Alienware Vindicator, SFBags makes custom sizes of their SleeveCases. I do like the Zeroshock line of SleeveCases and G-Form. However, I no longer see the larger cases anymore but you may be able to find them on eBay.

    If you feel handy you could just make a hardcase yourself using some corrugated plastic and fit it on your Brain Bag. But, it would not look as pretty!

    Hope this helps

    Cheers!
    TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!

  8. #8
    Forum Member Sejour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlienMom View Post
    Question 2: If I'm unable to find a used BC that will fit, does anyone have any recommendations for a protective case to use when I carry this laptop inside my Brain Bag?

    There are a lot of junky cases out there, and since I'll most likely need to use mail order, I want to avoid getting something that won't protect my laptop.
    I'm also hoping to get a Brain Cell before they run out of stock. But, as @Darcy and @tpnl note, even the largest model would be too small for the Alienware. In that case, I would look into Pelican cases. They are as well made as Tom Bihn and are probably more protective than even the Brain Cell. Most people use Pelican to transport (via air) camera and other sensitive equipment. So, it'll be more than enough for a laptop. But, if you're looking for something less protective, the Icon Sleeve with Tensaerlite might be an option. But, I don't believe the Icon case comes in a version that fits the Alienware.

  9. #9
    Forum Member AlienMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    I checked here at the factory to see if we have any 2XL or 2XXLT Vertical Caches left, but sadly we don't.

    No plans to replace the Brain Cell with any other kind of case because the Cache (especially with the rails system) has proven to be very popular.

    We've finished all of the last batches of the Brain Cell and won't be making more, so what's available now on the Brain Cell page is all that ever will be available.
    Is there any hope that more of the 2XL or 2XXL Vertical Caches will be made? I'm willing to pre-pay for one or two. Smilie

    I don't transport this laptop often enough to justify a Pelican case or anything truly massive. I'm mostly looking for something that's better than stuffing it in between layers of clothing in my Aeronaut 45. The ability to use my shiny new Brain Bag to carry it is all I really want. The Brain Bag doesn't have any padding, so I need "something" to put the laptop in just to keep it semi-protected.
    Tom Bihn addict since 2010: Red/Black/Steel Swift, Sapphire/Steel Small Cafe Bag, Azalea/Sapphire Medium Cafe Bag, Forest/Ultraviolet Night Flight Travel Duffle,Aubergine/Zest Aeronaut 45, Island Travel Tray, Lots of Large Shop Bags, Aubergine/Steel Maker's Bag, Plum Daylight Briefcase, Navy/Iberian Side Effect, French Blue Brain Bag, Orange 152 Field Journal Notebook, and LOTS of multicolor accessories.

  10. #10
    Forum Member Sejour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlienMom View Post
    I don't transport this laptop often enough to justify a Pelican case or anything truly massive. I'm mostly looking for something that's better than stuffing it in between layers of clothing in my Aeronaut 45. The ability to use my shiny new Brain Bag to carry it is all I really want. The Brain Bag doesn't have any padding, so I need "something" to put the laptop in just to keep it semi-protected.
    I see. In that case, I would be tempted to just get a soft sleeve and sew a strip of webbing to the back. Then you can get a pair of Annex Clips and suspend the laptop in the Brain Bag. That would be enough protection in my opinion. The sleeve would protect against scratches while the suspension would protect against drops.

    An Alienware on its own is rather durable. After all, it's a gaming laptop rather than an ultrabook. But, if you want something a bit more sturdy, you could get a case similar to the Thule Gauntlet line (which is semi-rigid) instead of a soft sleeve.

    For something a bit more protective, I would go on Etsy and get a custom sleeve made. You could request a plastic core, foam sling and webbing. Essentially, it would a custom built 17" Brain Cell. But, of course, this would be the most expensive option out of the three.

  11. #11
    Forum Member AlienMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sejour View Post
    For something a bit more protective, I would go on Etsy and get a custom sleeve made. You could request a plastic core, foam sling and webbing. Essentially, it would a custom built 17" Brain Cell. But, of course, this would be the most expensive option out of the three.
    Thank you so much for this idea! I'm actually about to buy a new sewing machine that's capable of quilting fabric. It will take some tinkering, but I'm sure I can build my own Cache that's custom fitted to this computer.

    I'm new to the world of gaming laptops, and I'm glad to hear that they are relatively sturdy. This thing is huge compared to my MacBook!
    Tom Bihn addict since 2010: Red/Black/Steel Swift, Sapphire/Steel Small Cafe Bag, Azalea/Sapphire Medium Cafe Bag, Forest/Ultraviolet Night Flight Travel Duffle,Aubergine/Zest Aeronaut 45, Island Travel Tray, Lots of Large Shop Bags, Aubergine/Steel Maker's Bag, Plum Daylight Briefcase, Navy/Iberian Side Effect, French Blue Brain Bag, Orange 152 Field Journal Notebook, and LOTS of multicolor accessories.

  12. #12
    Forum Member Sejour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlienMom View Post
    Thank you so much for this idea! I'm actually about to buy a new sewing machine that's capable of quilting fabric. It will take some tinkering, but I'm sure I can build my own Cache that's custom fitted to this computer.

    I'm new to the world of gaming laptops, and I'm glad to hear that they are relatively sturdy. This thing is huge compared to my MacBook!
    No problem at all! I'm looking to get a new laptop so I've done a bit of research into this. Sadly, I'm useless at sewing so that's why I thought about using Etsy. But, in the end, it seems like a Brain Cell might work better for me.

    Here's a few links showing the design of the Brain Cell (sorry for the size of the images!): I, II and III

    In terms of designing the sleeve, you could use corrugated plastic sheets to form a box. But, if I would doing it myself, I would be tempted to use acrylic sheets as they're much stronger and long-lasting. The entire sleeve could be lined with packaging foam with memory foam at the bottom. You could even make a sling out of memory foam to replicate the Brain Cell design. I was even thinking about adding a few air packaging cushions (they're normally used to protect laptops when shipping) at the bottom of a bag/sleeve to help with drop protection. Of course, it all depends on how thin/protective you need the sleeve to be. One thing to note is that a lot of companies offer free cutting of foam/plastic sheets when you buy from them. I know a few places in the UK but I'm sure there's similar companies in the US. It might save you the hassle of cutting things to size.


    PS: Gaming laptops are generally more sturdy than ultrabooks since they don't need to sacrifice durability for thinness or design. By the way, if you're really concerned regarding damage, I would look into Dell's Extended Warranty with Accident Cover. That's what I'm planning on getting. So, if anything does go wrong, you can just replace the laptop.

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