Instructables
Picture of Build your own laptop
DSCF0003.JPG
Why would someone go out and buy a computer from a manufacturer like Dell or Gateway, when they could build a more powerful computer for less money? The answer, they do not know how to build it.

This may sound like a complicated process, but in all actuality, it is very simple.

This guide will help you build your very own laptop computer.

DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for any damage done to hardware during installation.

I also do not want to be contacted about computer problems. Go to your local repair shop (NOT GEEK SQUAD) and get it fixed. If the computer that is having problems was the one that you built (or tried to) then I will help. I just don't want a bunch of people who are asking how to fix unrelated issues.

I hope you enjoy building your computer. I did. In fact I'm using the computer pictured right now.

If you want to build a desktop computer, check out my Instructable on that
 
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Step 1: Buy parts

Picture of Buy parts
The first thing you will need is the barebones notebook, or a barebook as some call it. These can easily be found by using the Google Product Search. The barebones notebook should be the base, screen, keyboard, and touchpad of the laptop. Many sellers will offer almost every part to go with the laptop. I suggest that the only thing you buy with the laptop is the CD/DVD drive. These are different for every laptop so go ahead and buy it with the laptop.

I used an Alienware base for my computer.

As for the other parts, you should be able to find them separate. Here are the parts you will need besides the CD drive:
-Processor (check the barebones notebook for socket type, new ones should have socket M or P for Intel and socket S1 or FS1 for AMD)
-RAM or Memory (check the barebones notebook for memory type, new ones should have DDR2 style)
-Graphics card (some may have it already built into the motherboard, check to make sure it's not before buying one)
-Hard Drive (check the notebook for hard drive type, new ones should be SATA)
-Wireless card (check the notebook for wireless card type, new ones should be Mini PCI-E)

You should be able to find most of these parts at Newegg.com, or eBay.
colum.peel5 days ago

Just curious. When updating a laptop, can any processor be used or must a laptop specific one be used. I have been eyeing an i5-4670 to update my alien with, but will this cause countless software and running issues.

Chances are it's laptop-specific, and any upgrade would be marginal due to different sockets and chipsets. There are a lot of details that are different these days. Check your current processor against any other processor at ark.intel.com

mparanjpe3 years ago
Can you run an apple operating software on this instead of windows?

You would have to learn how to install an operating system and would have to buy an apple OS to do so, but it is possible.

You could make it a Hackintosh, which means running Mac OS X on non apple hardware. Not all hardware is compatible though, and it isn't quite legal.
stormyxia10 months ago
I was wondering if anyone has tried to crack the case of a Toshiba Qosmio?
the laptop is an 18.4" and I'm needing to upgrade it. I am having trouble finding a motherboard that would fit this laptop motherboard is going out. Specific specs are:
Qosmio X500Q930X with Serial#: 3B174363W and Mfg part #: PQX34U-01F01U.
Would anyone like to take the challenge and please help me figure out if they make a motherboard that is better than the one it came with and one that would fit this huge case. please email me at stormyxia@hotmail.com. or respond to post. Thanks all!!

Probably too late but there aren't other motherboards that will fit your laptop or any other laptop.

Laptops are specifically designed around or in their case for the most efficient layout. Your best bet would be to find an exact match on ebay or chuck it and get a Dell Latitude with similar specs (Latitudes are business grade laptops, they are better built and last longer)

I am thinking of upgrading my dell inspiron m5040. I think the big problem that I will have though is CPU Fan and heatsink will be too big to fit into thin case. Any suggestions??

ErikPH8 months ago
This made it so much easier for me to build my laptop,thanks for posting ~Erik
Bscool11 months ago
What is the list of what parts you bought and from where exactly did you buy them.
mikkel2501 year ago
Thanks for posting! I'm sure I could have figured this out on my own, just like I did with building a desktop, but it's really great to have a way to approach this task with as much info as possible to avoid (costly, annoying, easily avoidable) mistakes. This guide is great.
amitra11 year ago
I don't know really it is possible or not, i read in this post it can. Let try, and come back post again ! I found it as in social bookmarking site www.mspidy.com telling also it would be by ppl continuous try. Social media news and web tips also telling the same. !!
ya you can totally see the license key. I don't wanna say how, but you seriously needa get rid of that.
XxsonicxX1 year ago
Can you list all the parts that are needed for the computer? Also can you list optional parts. Don't forget to add the price to the list
How much did this cost you????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Briguy95 years ago
"Why would someone go out and buy a computer from a manufacturer like Dell or Gateway?" The answer: because building a laptop is usually harder, more time consuming, and usually more expensive. That's why someone would go have a laptop customized for them and have it built.
This is definitely a good option to learn about laptops and computers while doing so. But presently with lots of low cost laptops available in the market, and specially with they being more reliable . Buying a laptop is a better option I fell. However this is only my opinion and the content is really good and helpful for many geeks like me.
it maybe harder and time consuming...but it sounds fun.

As always it's all relative, and there are pros, cons both ways. I'm capable of assembling a computer. Every time it's time for me to upgrade, when I put the pencil to to paper, purchasing as assemble computer give me more for my money. By the time upgrade, it's time to upgrade Windows, and the monitor is getting dim. The average computer buyer will be happy with the packages Dell markets, and so far their sales reps do give me the computer I want, less expensive than I can assemble one for, with Windows and new monitor. Yes proprietary cases, and mother boards are the pits, when it come to getting the most milage out af a computer, but I
Why buy what you can make? Anyone can cough up some cash for a laptop, but not everyone knows exactly what's in it, and how it works.
EXACTLY! For some reason people are surprised and sometimes shocked when they find out that my computer is scratch built. Its just way more fun to build!
Then either you are horrible at building computers, lazy, don't know what you're talking about, simply don't know how to balance performance with price, or most likely all four. People like you are why any potential computerist gets discouraged from the start and wastes an opportunity to learn more about computers, have fun being able to say they made one, and possibly get a career out of the whole deal.

And if you think the whole deal is a waste of time, you might disagree with that guy who built a computer system in his garage, what was his name? Oh yeah...

Steve Wozniak.

-Y
I have built 12 computers and taken apart/fixed countless more. Briguy9 DOES know what he is talking about, and sounds a lot smarter than you. Building your own computer from scratch is usually ALWAYS more expensive. It goes without saying that it is more time consuming. Briguy9 makes an exceptionally well-put and thoroughly true statement on this matter, without making himself look like a snobby jerk (ala yeturbumi). People like yeturbumi are the reason potential computerists get discouraged from the start when they take his advice and try to make their own computer and it ends up costing twice what a premade would cost and has driver issues up the wazoo or refuses to start altogether. If it's your first time building a computer, you should try to build one from old scrap computer parts, so you don't risk wasting money and feeling burned in the end. Bottom line: I'm someone who has built a boatload of computers, and I personally would buy a premade for stability and peace of mind. I would not discourage anyone from attempting to build there own. I would, however, tell them that you should know building your own computer is not a cost saving measure, as it is almost always more expensive. The reason people build their own computers is because of the endless customization and personalization it affords them.
ngeil gatorgrip3 years ago
How could building your own computer possibly be more expensive? If you do comparison shopping and buy certain items in a group there's no way it should cost more. You don't have to pay for the labor, shipping costs, and addition cost companies charge to make a profit on a computer. Building a computer is not hard at all. As long as you know all of the components to get, it's as simple as following the user manuals to plug everything in. I built my own computer with no prior knowledge or experience and had no issues whatsoever.
Actually, the cost of my desktop-in-the-making adds up to $600-800, whereas the Alienware Area-51 is $1600 minimum. They don't have the exact same specs, but they're pretty close.
hey i wanted to know how much hdd and ram you used to make the laptop and can i use a nvidia card instead of intel graphic card does the both cards have same arrangement pins pls reply ASAP
hey i wanted to know how much hdd and ram you used to make the laptop and can i use a nvidia card instead of intel graphic card does the both cards have same arrangement pins pls reply ASAP
actionjksn2 years ago
Although it would be fun to build a barebones laptop it is certainly not cheaper and you would get more bang for your buck with a store bought model. With desktops it is cheaper to build a high end computer but not a low end model. If I was getting just a tower and spending at least 500 dollars I would come out pretty well. But that's the cutoff point, if you're spending any less you might as well buy something already built. Even at 500 bucks it probably wouldn't be spec'ed any better it would just allow you to use a better motherboard and power supply.

As far as your quote of "I suggest that the only thing you buy with the laptop is the CD/DVD drive. These are different for every laptop so go ahead and buy it with the laptop"
This is completely untrue. The bezel can be changed out to whatever drive you install in it. Anything new will be a SATA interface and will fit. I installed a DVD burner from an HP laptop into my wife's Lenovo and it went right in there. The only exception I have seen is my newer Lenovo T 410 Thinkpad uses an extra thin drive but it is not a very common form factor... yet. By the way it's called an Ultra bay.

I do regularly do RAM, Hard Drive and even processor upgrades on my and other peoples laptops. The Processor upgrades become affordable after the laptop has been out a few years. I upgraded my wife's 4 yo Lenovo laptops single core Celeron to a T7300 Core 2 Duo for only $40.00. That made a huge difference.
TheGreatS2 years ago
When your done, you can add a laptop handle.
casino_dave5 years ago
Or Linux ;) I say this only because I'd say someone who would build a laptop would certainly be a fan of Linux.
Mint is my favourite
Mint is your favorite because it is the best :)

I am a mint guy too!
My favorite is Puppy. Weird, I know, but I just like it :).
I like SuSE. I don't know why... I just do.
I like Ubuntu, but Damn Small Linux(DSL) must be good
I also would install Linux, Ubuntu to be precise.
spawnos37172 years ago
If one knows where to look (with an insane amount of luck), it's possible to get some parts for low cost or even free (legally). Fortune favors the bold, and as such, will reap benefits far beyond the dogmatic limitations of retail corporations. I'm not dismissing the hard work of manufacturers, but if they can build low cost machines, why can't we?
Hegamonia2 years ago
Hey, I was wondering if I could gut my HP Tablet PC TC1100 that I got off of Ebay and replace everything with a different motherboard that is far more powerful so I can run games like Supreme Commander 2 and X3-Terran Conflict on it.

link to a picture of the model, copy/paste if it does not highlight:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-TC1100-Tablet-PM-1-0GHz-512MB-40GB-XP-Tablet-Case-/200670176221?pt=Laptops_Nov05&hash=item2eb8dfe3dd
agrossi22 years ago
I built my laptop but my computer will not acknowledge my wireless card I used a Mini PCIe card but it is asking for an Ethernet cable not wireless connection any help. I could use it.
agrossi22 years ago
Hi great guide. but Im purchasing a mini pci card and I am not sure does the model need to be specific to the laptop or can I get any PCI card. if this question seems dumb its because its my first lapotop and im learning on the fly
Pr.TOSHIBA2 years ago
Could anyone tell me if it is possible for me to build my own laptop out an existing laptop. Specifically a 1996 Sharp PC-3040. It has a 100 mghz Pentium processor and 54 mb of RAM. I would probably need to put in a new motherboard. Is that possible? I think that it would be funny to have that old laptop with an i5 or i7 processor and 8 gb of RAM.
grundisimo3 years ago
The laptop i'm using right now only cost me a box of pepsi cans. The seller lost about two hundred dollars in doing this.
epicnoobpwn3 years ago
Once you total up the price of all the components, its cheaper to just get one from a manufactuer with the same or better specs. I calculated the price of a barebone laptop plus all the parts and it was like $400 (I think it was an ocz) more. My asus (republic of gamers series) laptop is allows me to upgrade my cpu (socket p) and hdd (2 drive bays), though not the ram (maximum amount already inserted.
braxtonb1103 years ago
i've been searching around for a while where did you get the barebones alien ware case?
bmlbytes (author)  braxtonb1103 years ago
It's not a barebones system. It was just an old system I had. I demonstrated the process by first disassembling it, then reassembling it. Now that Dell owns Alienware, they don't make the laptops as flexible as they used to.
ok thankyou
menandz3 years ago
Nice!
I just have a question. My laptop has an onboard/built-in graphics card. Can I add a better graphics card on it?

BTW, my laptop is a Blue S96HM, its also the Asus S96HM/Z96Hm.
The mobo is Asus S96HM...
Thanks!
Almost certainly no.

The GPU is probably soldered directly to the mainboard, so cannot be removed or replaced.
I can not find any place to buy a laptop video card. Can some one please tell me where I can find one.
Thanks
It is very rare for the graphics processor to be on a seperate board in a laptop.

Instead, it it soldered directly to the mainboard, and cannot be removed or replaced, so you need to look for a mainboard that has the graphics processors you want.
account3r23 years ago
what do you search on google PS (product search) to find a bare book? ive searched for a while, finding nothing but a barebook for $800. i saw a new laptop on dell for $500!
Newegg.com
Darkshot5 years ago
Okay, I've had this planned for awhile now, but the only thing thats been holding me back is my parents. Just recently my parents bought me a laptop, its a Compaq, and they said i couldnt mod it at all :(. SO, i asked my dad if i could get a job today and he said no, not until i get my licence and then i can get money and he doesnt care what the hell i do after that. That being said, heres what i plan on putting into my custom laptop once i get those two things:

HD screen
Win7 64 bit
Quad Core processor
nVidia GeForce w/ 512 DDR2
8GB DDR2 RAM
Intel® Core™2 Extreme quad-core mobile processor
Some type of motherboard with those spec's
Keyboard with a keypad
2 fans, if possible in the machine
500 GB hard drive
12 cell laptop battery
3G if possible
AND
blu-ray dvd/cd optical drive

I plan on this being my senior project for HS, that......or i could make a video on how a computer works and make it 3hrs long XD

Any tips and/or advice would be most helpful. I know its going to cost ALOT, and I dont mind selling some stuff to get the project done. :)


If your gonna dream, dream big :)
You seem to not care about the motherboard. Thats a mistake. The chipset on the mobo has almost as much to do with the speed of the computer as the processor, not to mention the front side bus speed, etc. You could also do better on the graphics card, if you're trying to make a really high end machine. If you just HAVE to have a laptop, I'm certainly not going to stop you, but you will save thousands (not exaggerating) of dollars by making it a desktop, and plus you introduce the possibility of more than one video card (which is wayy better than one really good one), water cooling, and most importantly, upgrading parts so its not a piece of junk in three years. PS: If you're going for an Intel quad core, make sure its a true quad core, and not just a split dual core. Those are way more expensive, so you might want to look at AMD.
Definately agree, go for a desktop if you're going to put that much money into it. It's not worth making a laptop a beast, because they never last as long, and with a desktop you can fit a lot more in it, and make upgrades avaliable.
Yeah go build a powerful desktop and then buy one of those $300 netbooks for your portable needs.  You will get more power and it will probably be much cheaper. (most of the time the people that I see with laptops are just checking facebook etc.  if you are a person who likes to go to LAN parties, build a computer like the HP Firebird...)
I agree, I am currently building a netbook (or maybe it is a net-top?) and am shooting for the Intel Atom. Not sure how much it costs, or what motherboards it is compatible with, but come on! The good one is 2gHz and it's smaller than a post-it!

-Y
I'm running a Toshiba NB205 one of the first gen netbooks. its a beast with Linux mint 10 on it. (yes it was just released)

From my understandings.. the Atom processor is an inbeded only processor. So to purchase a Atom, you would need to buy a whole mother board.

This is just what i've seen and heard. If i'm wrong, correct me please. :)
I thought they had a discrete version of the atom for sale, but couldn't find it after some quick googling. I would just say buy the netbook, since it is hard to make one cheaper than they do. Building a desktop is still far cheaper, however...
Saturn V Wehrdo3 years ago
I've had my desktop for about 5 years. Still running XP (which I actually like), and I played with the programming so much that it freezes up whenever I try to run multiple things at once (like 4 PDFs, 2 IE browsers, Windows Media player, and Word.)
Ya, i was sorta just throwing figures out there, but after i found out how thick and hot the sucker would be, i figured a desktop would be better....problem with me is that i just seem to jump from one thing to another. I WAS going to build my own laptop a little while ago but decided against it when I fell in love with my truck, and car audio. Trying to get inrolled in a Community Collage atm for that, still havent heard back, but then again i just emailed them yesterday. Also, while i do understand about your concern about the mobo, Nvidia seems to work best with the Extreme I7 due to combatablility issues. The only reason I choose the I7 was because of the graphics card. If i were going to go with a Radeon card then i would most DEFINATLY go with the AMD Phantom because its the same exact company and would most likely be the best match for performance and not burn out as much. Problem with Radeon is that its hard to get more than one graphics card into there. But Alienware has somehow done that....no idea how since laptops are cramped enough in my own opinion. Also, the I7 is untested in alot of fields, atleast im pretty sure from what ive read. So I do believe you are right on going with the AMD Phantom. But in the long run it would probably cost me $1000 or less for a desktop with all the specs.....eBay is god! But thank you for your concern, hope to hear back from you soon! :) -Darkshot
You need to listen to your parents. Go make a computer from old parts, don't mess up the brand new one they bought you.
Yes, And Oct boot os'es :D(windows xp{1},windows vista{2},windows7{3},tiny2003{4}(to suck every last bit of performance out of your pc) Ubuntu Linux{5}, Fedora Linux{6}, Mac OS X x86{7},SkyOS{8}) That's my dream :D Thought it would Really take some time, and would require at least 1TB to live freely :)
While as i do agree with you, they only make 500 GB hard drives for laptops. Win 7 I have beta tested, it seems to be the best out there.....IF you have a upgraded machine. I was running on 1GB RAM and it was slow as a grandma crossing the street. :)
Yes its true that the limit so far is 500GB, But i have heard that 1TB Hardrives are gonna come soon :) Also, I tried windows 7 the first day i saw it ,Love at first sight , My specs where 1.5GHz And 768MB of Ram, It was lightning fast! i don't know why it was slow for you, it still ran ok on a windows 2000PC i had.
 there's already a 1tb out, Saw it in gizmodo  i think. 
Woah!
 Yep the downside, is that they don't fit my MBP xD but i'd guess it won't be long until we see roll out 1tb from factory (I guess along with Intel's Nehalem mobile processors)
Oh yeah, I thought you where talking about laptop Hardrives...
With desktop hardrives, the largest i have seen was 4 TB.
Tv1996 Darkshot5 years ago
That's one hell of a machine. Probably gonna cost you upwards of 2000 bucks. That's my dream laptop too. Only with a blu ray burner. But if you are going to go through all that, might as well go all out. Upgrade the hard drive to 1tb and it would be perfect.
Darkshot Tv19965 years ago
I believe my calculations were....$2700? but read my other comment down below for the full story
Tv1996 Darkshot5 years ago
They do have 1tb 2.5 in hard drives. I think they are to thick right Now though.
taurus1234 years ago
Too much work for nothing! You can buy laptops now for around $300. What you are proposing will cost much more and a lot of time. How about the OS?
True, but by building one yourself you get a faster more reliable laptop that isn't loaded down with crapware that you don't need, and will probably never use, and probably has more memory. Building it yourself also gives you the know-how on how to upgrade it when some of the parts go out of date. Questioning why people build this is like questioning why people build their own PC. This has the same "pros" and "cons" as that (and some extras). That is why people are building these. I believe that anyone who uses a laptop on a daily basis, and is a tech-geek (or is just damn frustrated with it's slowness), would want a custom one that is of a much higher quality. Also I, for one, believe he left out the OS on purpose so that the people can choose. Those of us computer-builders are usually limited to either Windows or Linux. If you have a computer or laptop already, I am assuming the fact you are on Instructables means you do, you can go to the Linux website and download the OS to a disk or USB 2.0 FlashDrive or even a USB 2.0 Passport (a.k.a. an external hard-drive) for free, and it is legal. Sorry if I was a bit mean, I would just like you and the people who agree with you to understand that what you call "nothing" is (and often literally) the blood, sweat, tears, hope, and dreams of DIY computer-geeks from all around the world. Again I am sorry if I was mean, I have almost NO people skills because of my ADHD and OCD, which for some reason don't like to play nice with each other and can sometimes cause me to flip out at just the slightest bit of irritation (I know it's not an excuse, but I just needed to get that off my chest). Again, sorry if I was mean and have a nice day.
sparx014 years ago
Hey, just wondering, about how much is it to build this?
(in Australian dollars)
Thx!
bmlbytes (author)  sparx014 years ago
Building any computer will be fairly comparable to the prices you see in stores for new ones. Depending on the parts you order, you can save up to $200 (162 AUD) though.
 can you use this same method to modify an already built laptop

bmlbytes (author)  DehLeprechaun4 years ago
Yes. Laptops are surprisingly easy to replace parts in. Just make sure the parts you order will actually work with your system.
Foaly74 years ago
How would one install a webcam in this?
bowmaster4 years ago
How much did the entire project cost?
funnyfoo05 years ago
hi I am considering building a laptop is it possible to build one for less than £200 and also would buying a broken laptop then replacing parts work better
Well, yes, if you buy off of sites like eBay and Newegg then you can definitely build a relatively nice one for that price. I built one for less than $100 (not sure how much that is in your currency) and it works well. Low memory cost linux distros are a godsend for low power computers, like Puppy or Damn Small Linux (both of those are so small that they run entirely out of 128 megabytes of RAM). Puppy is often used in really old computers that have very little RAM. Also remember where your priorities are. If you are barely scraping for the money, focus on price. If it's not an issue (which it usually is), focus on performance.

Fixing up a broken laptop is much harder, almost impossible for a beginner (even if you are just replacing parts), will cost more to have someone else fix, and gives less satisfaction in the end. So no, I don't think it would work "better".

I hope this helped.

-Y
tikkaterror4 years ago
what kind of graphics card will usually work in a laptop.
king-afb4 years ago
 can you use a touch screen monitor instead
do you know where i can get a netbook case? The only one I know of is the OCZ one, but I can't put my own motherboard into that. do you know what the normal motherboard form factor is for netbooks? thanks!
Foaly74 years ago
This has USB ports, right?
ANDY!4 years ago
How can i start from scratch and put a keyboard in or connect a screen.
i cant find any laptop bases not alienware not barebones not anything! Please give a link!
P.S. How much do you think that this project would cost? Please give any range. Thanks!
emmick44 years ago
 i am having trouble finding any barebones!!!!!!! plz put a link or sumtin 2 the the 1 u got
linux is awesome
scott!5 years ago
does anyone have an idea on how much this will cost?
ReCreate scott!4 years ago
A little over 2.5 Million.
over 9000
its OVER 9000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
funnyfoo05 years ago
is it possible to build a laptop for under 350 us dollars any help would be very apreaciated
andrew1015 years ago
i shud install a new video card in mine.... i dunno where to get thermal paste tho...
you should be able to get it a radio shack probably...or try to find an electronic store....fry's i know does have it... just don't pay too much you don't need great amount of it.
whatever im not too worried. i need to find a good video card, find out if its compatible THEN get the stuff to install it
Derin andrew1015 years ago
thermal paste does not need to be compatible
Briguy9 Derin5 years ago
That could have been possibly the stupidest comment i have ever seen, other than the kid that didn't know what 32 + 32 was or something.
u mean derrin's comment? haha
andrew101 Derin5 years ago
wow. im not THAT dumb. im saying i need to make sure the video card is compatible haha.
bmlbytes (author)  Derin5 years ago
And it would be rare that your card is not compatible with your board. Just make sure it would be able to fit in the board and your good.
bmlbytes (author)  andrew1015 years ago
Go to a local computer shop, or order some from Newegg.com. It's pretty cheap stuff.
fwjs285 years ago
YAY UBUNTU
bmlbytes (author)  fwjs285 years ago
Woot!
roflmfaool
Roflolmao
fwjs28 Briguy95 years ago
indeed
fwjs28 f86sabre5 years ago
...
bmlbytes (author)  fwjs285 years ago
Yes
Darkshot5 years ago
Was also wondering if i could get some nice lookin laptops from a electronics store, or in the dumpster. Just for the body i mean.
DebH575 years ago
This is just great BML, I like the other one on building the tower type too. Thanks for posting this. 5
bmlbytes (author)  DebH575 years ago
Thank you.
p0tty5 years ago
This isn't building a laptop this is installing components in a turnkey system...
bmlbytes (author)  p0tty5 years ago
It's about as close to building a laptop as you are going to get.
p0tty bmlbytes5 years ago
lol? then rename your instructable!
bmlbytes (author) 5 years ago
I guess so. And it would keep the costs down too!
morganw5 years ago
What brand of laptop would you say is the best overall, like durable, fast, reliable, wont overheat. that kind of stuff.
bmlbytes (author)  morganw5 years ago
To build your self or to just buy prebuilt?
prebuilt
bmlbytes (author)  morganw5 years ago
IBM has been known for strong, durable laptops. As for how fast they are, that is a matter of which laptop you buy, not brand. Most new laptops have a pretty good cooling system, but if you go too cheap, expect it to overheat if you dont use it on a solid table.
ok thanks
jerry3605 years ago
hey i was just wondering but what kind of barebones computer because i looked at newegg.com and there where 3 different kinds and also can you tell me about how much this project is? because when i looked at the barebone computers them selves they were about $200 to about $350 so im wondering if it would be cheaper to buy an eee pc and just add more memory since you don't have to buy the wireless card. Thanks.
oh one last thing..if you are brave you can take this on step further...with my dell chassis I can even get a new motherboard and video card...but that would costly!
bmlbytes (author)  tech_sponge615 years ago
Motherboard replacement is difficult for even the professionals (I know because I am a technician at a repair shop). I would not recommend getting the motherboard separate since it can only fit in one chassis anyway. Buy the chassis and the mobo together.
yea I opened up my laptop to see how hard it would be and yea it would probably take me along time and I would most then likely not know where to put the screws in when putting the new board together...I might get a new video card for my laptop though..its one of the few dells i know that doesn't have the video chipset integrated into the mobo.
bmlbytes (author)  tech_sponge615 years ago
Yeah there are a few Dell laptops that have separate video cards. If your looking for a good one, choose an nVidia 8600 or higher.
thats the problem though where would i find a video card for a laptop?
bmlbytes (author)  tech_sponge615 years ago
Look on Google Product search. Make sure yours supports Dell laptops
? what do you mean? anyways I found a card for my laptop now i just need to find some where to buy it...
bmlbytes (author)  tech_sponge615 years ago
omnibot5 years ago
Nice ible. It may also be noted that Windows nowadays has some powerful competition from free OS's such as Ubuntu and other Linux distributions.
bmlbytes (author)  omnibot5 years ago
Ah yes. If someone wants to they can certainly install a Linux OS on one of these. With the installation of WINE or similar program, you don't need Windows at all. This will save you another $100 or so.
Can't say Wine get's all that much use on mine. Unless there's some really great MS-only program needed.
bmlbytes (author)  omnibot5 years ago
Yeah I guess. I use it to play a few games. Most things have a free equal in Linux.
True. There are some programs, mostly exotic file converters, that I run through wine.
cornboy35 years ago
"You will need to install Windows on your computer" *faint*
bmlbytes (author)  cornboy35 years ago
Oh its not that hard. Vista is exceptionally easy.
brunester5 years ago
do you know the relative cost to making your own as opposed to buying like a dell? is the extra work worth the price point?
bmlbytes (author)  brunester5 years ago
The cost isn't too much less, but you do get what you want. It's difficult to say exactly, because it all depends on what you get. Some of them are going to be very close to the same price as a prebuilt, and some will be dramatically less. Overall, the price is usually lower than what you can buy from a manufacturer.

Desktops on the other hand, are at least 100 US dollars less than a manufacturer built one.
In all honesty its just better to buy a Dell or like computer. The only reason someone should take this sort of project on is so they can say they "Built" their own laptop. Manufacturers like Dell have deals all the time that make them way more cost effective then building your own, plus you have technical support and usually a 1 year warranty standard with a pc you buy as apposed to none when you build your own. Just wanted to put my opinion in. Great instructable tho.
bmlbytes (author)  uncle_al_05 years ago
Almost every single part in a custom built laptop has at least a one year warranty, and some as much as a 3 year warranty. Technical support with these companies are less than substandard. Not to offend you uncle_al_0 but a computer that you build yourself will not only be better, and the way you want, but you will also get the satisfaction out of having built it yourself. You are right though about price. There are times when a company has too many left over, they sell them for a good price. Laptops are not as cheap to build as desktops are.
I see your point. I do agree that building desktops is usually cheaper then buying a complete one, I just bought a Dell myself. It is the first complete computer I've ever bought, and I've owned and built 5 main PCs. It just so happened that this time around Dell had a great promotional deal and it didn't cost me much more to add the few things I wanted. Newegg has been my choice for ordering parts for my own as well as others computers that I fix. I forgot about the warranty's on the individual parts, and I apologize.
bmlbytes (author)  uncle_al_05 years ago
No need to apologize, you had a valid point. I just kinda want to promote building a computer on a DIY site : )
Look out for my first instructable soon, I've been a member for quite some time and haven't had the ambition to do one, but since I bought this computer instead building, I'm going to mod it with paint, lights, and possibly a side window.
bmlbytes (author)  uncle_al_05 years ago
I can't wait to see, let me know when you do it.
You get exactly what you want.. Some people don't like to settle for what the companies sell. Others just like the challenge or enjoy building their own computers.
quizquest5 years ago
Apologies for the extreme ignorance...but where do I get silver thermal paste, and how do I apply it? Other than that, this does sound pretty doable.
bmlbytes (author)  quizquest5 years ago
Oh sorry I forgot to add that to the stuff you need. You can find silver thermal paste at most local computer shops. You can also find it at NewEgg.com. It's pretty cheap stuff.
bmlbytes (author)  bmlbytes5 years ago
I forgot to tell you how to apply it. You can use a credit card or other flat edged objects to smooth it on after you put a tiny blob of it on. It's pretty simple. If you mess up just a little, no worries because if the heat system is put back on tightly, it should smooth itself out.
Hey nice job...I noticed that alot of people were concerned about price on building one of these....my advice if you really want to save money is to try a computer swap meet. I know of 2 in my area los angeles...and you can find barebooks for a couple dollars some times...I've seen some for around 30 dollars...so thats one way to save. also look on ebay or craigslist for busted laptops..something minor like a screen. you can make a laptop for really cheap if you want to try...I'll give it a shot with only 100$ see what i can find..laters!
bmlbytes (author)  tech_sponge615 years ago
Thank you, these are good suggestions. And you are right, a very cost effective way to do it is to buy broken stuff and replace the parts in them. Many people sell their laptops after the hard drive goes. Hard drives do not cost that much and are very easy to replace (see step 10). I think I may post an instructable later on how to replace the screens and inverters, since that seems to be the most common issue with laptops.
mikedoth5 years ago
I'm all for building a laptop myself if and only if it's cost effective. Saying that I can't wait for it to become the norm and cheaper than it already is.