Picture of Build your own laptop
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.

Step 2: Things you will need

Picture of Things you will need
You don't need that much to do this. I suggest using a multi tipped precision screwdriver. I use the one pictured below. You can buy these at Home Depot.

You will also need some silver thermal paste (also called thermal grease or thermal compound). Get it at a local computer shop for about $3 or go on NewEgg and get it for $2.

It is also recommended you get some type of anti static wrist strap and you have an area that is not prone to static (as little fabric as possible). I'm doing this on my bed which is a big no no, but I don't really care too much. I have plenty of computers.

Step 3: Remove the bottom panel(s)

Picture of Remove the bottom panel(s)
I suggest you remove all of the bottom panels. For purpose of demonstration, I will only be removing the panels that are needed.

To remove the bottom panels, there will be several small screws in each one, remove all of the screws. After you have removed all the screws, you should be able to pop it open. Most of them have some little plastic tabs to hold it in better. Just pull a little on the panel and these should pop out with the panel.

Step 4: Remove cooling system

Picture of Remove cooling system
The next thing you need to do is remove the cooling system. This is the big metal system with a fan in one part of it. It should connect to where the processor and graphics card will go.

Remove/loosen all the screws in it and pick it up to remove it.

Step 5: Install the processor

Picture of Install the processor
To install the processor you need to check the layout of the pins. One or more of the corners may have pins missing in order for you to line up the processor with the socket properly. Make sure the processor is lined up with the socket and drop it down. Do not push it into position. If it does not drop into the socket, make sure the socket is not locked. A screw driver may be needed to unlock it. Use the screw driver to twist the plastic screw in the top.

Once the processor is in place, lock the socket by twisting the plastic screw in the top with a screw driver. It should only turn about 180°

Coat the processor core (the square black chip on top) with a paper thin layer of silver thermal paste.

Step 6: Install the graphics card

Picture of Install the graphics card
You should now install the graphics card, if your computer does not have it built in.

Install it by pushing it up into the graphics card socket. Make sure it goes all the way in. After that, screw the graphics card into its spot. There should be holes on the graphics card that match with the motherboard so you can screw it down.

After you have installed it, apply the silver thermal paste like you did with the processor.

Step 7: Reinstall the cooling system

Picture of Reinstall the cooling system
You can now put the cooling system back in. Make sure that all screws are tight, but do not use power tools to make them tight. If you use power tools, you will most likely break something.

Step 8: Install the memory (RAM)

Picture of Install the memory (RAM)
There should be two slots on the motherboard for memory. Install them at a slight angle and push down on them to snap them in place. Make sure they go all the way in.

Step 9: Install wireless card

Picture of Install wireless card
There should be a small slot that looks like the memory slots, only smaller. This is the slot for the wireless card.

Insert the wireless card in a similar manner to the memory. The wireless card will not snap into place like the memory but instead you will need to screw it down with two screws near the top of the card.

After you have it installed, connect the gray and black wires that run by the wireless slot to the card. There should be two metal connectors near the screws that you can snap these on to. To snap them on, make sure they are directly above the connector and push straight down. They will not go on at any angle. You will hear a snap when they click into place. These are your antennas.

Step 10: Install Hard Drive

Picture of Install Hard Drive
To install the hard drive, you will need to take the cradle out of the computer. This should be a little metal cage that is 2.5 inches wide and about 3.5 to 4 inches long. It will either slide out of the side of the computer or may be behind a panel in the bottom of the computer. It may be held in with a screw.

Once you have the cradle out, put the hard drive in the cradle and screw it into the cradle.

Replace the cradle with the hard drive into the computer.

Step 11: Install CD Drive

Picture of Install CD Drive
You may not need to do this if your CD drive was already installed.

To install a CD drive, just slide it in the side of the computer. It should click into place, but may need a screw to secure it. If it needs a screw, look for the screw with a picture of a CD next to it.

Step 12: Connect the battery

Picture of Connect the battery
Replace all of the panels back on the laptop if you have not done so already. Make sure you replace all the screws and the plastic tabs are back under the case.

Once you have done that, connect the battery. This step is self explanatory.

Step 13: Done!

Picture of Done!
You have built the laptop and it is ready for use. You will need to install Windows on your computer, but that will be explained in a later Instructable.

Enjoy your new computer!!!
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AssossaGPB.9 months ago

I want to build my own laptop for programming and maybe light gaming, but I can't find any bare bones kits online that don't have a processor and gpu and are under $500. Could you please link me to where you can find these? Thanks!

Just buy a regular laptop, or build a desktop. Trying to "build" a laptop is useless and it will be very expensive.

Ok, seems easy enough to make one from scratch but how about if I ordered a laptop (e.g. Alienware, Acer etc) would I be able to modify the GPU, RAM, CPU and hard drive? If so how much would I be looking at spending and how can I modify it?

Depends entirely on the manufacturer. I would suggest just building a desktop or buying a laptop and not trying to upgrade it. The market for laptop parts is very niche, therefore parts are extremely expensive.

colum.peel10 months 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.

A 4670 is a desktop processor, so no. The sockets have to match exactly.

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

JakeGoesHam10 months ago

okay, so I need to replace the GPU on my laptop, and I was wondering is there a specific GPU i have to buy? or? Because i dont want to spend the money and then it not fit in my laptop.

I have a Gateway NE56R41U Laptop with the following specs:

Intel(R) Pentium(R) CPU 2020M @ 2.40Ghz 2.40Ghz Processor

4.00GB of RAM

64-bit Operating system, x64 based processor.

If someone could help, I would really appreciate it,

You can't add a GPU. It has integrated graphics.

also how do you know which parts will fit the laptop that you have? how do i know that the cpu will fit the laptop that i have?

where can i get a laptop base?

AivarV1 month ago

I'm totally new to building laptops but I'm keen to try building my own.
Firstly I've got an ASUS G75VW which is about 2 years old.
(16GB RAM, 17.3" FULL HD 3rd Gen i7-3610QM 3.30Ghz Turbo nVIDIA GTX 670M 2Gb)
My first question is - can I modify it by upgrading the motherboard, processor and graphics card? The new ones would be: Motherboard - Asus MAXIMUS VII HERO; processor - i7-4790K and Graphics Card - 4G GTX 970. Could I use my existing 16Gb RAM, 1 TB HDD and 250GB Kingston SSD?
Sorry about these beginner questions, I guess I have to start with the basics...

Hey bro, I wouldn't do that... There's no way that a laptop would fit a desktop motherboard or fit a desktop graphics card... The guide is a little misleading, but there is no big parts marketplace for laptops like there is for desktops. The CPU Motherboard and GPU are going to be pretty top of the line for your laptop as well. So sorry :( it's pretty much impossible unless you design your own laptop case and battery :D

Thanks, I didn't realize that these parts were actually desktop parts. I'm having a bit of trouble finding laptop ones as it almost never sais what type they are for :) I might go for a desktop instead then, just feeling like building something :)

gavinh61 month ago

I wonder if i could recase a laptop instead of the cheap plastic put something like alnium

I am very interested in doing something like this, however, as a general reference, how much did this cost (roughly) and what are the specifications?
GoopesH3 months ago

where can i find a laptop case, and they only show stands when i search for things like "laptop base" or "empty laptop shell"

i have an old dell lattitude d531 and im wondering if i could strip it and then put in new everything except for the keyboad and disc player?

That should be able to work, just follow the process and it should be dandy, i suppose.

JB19058 months ago

do i have to buy a laptop to edit it?

can i not just buy a motherboard on its own and than somehow make it?

Trust me, you do not want to how the process of what you're asking, it'd be best to just follow the author of this articles instructions or just try and go find a desktop PC building article, either way, just act as if you never even asked question im replying to above.....

just kidding, but still, i hope YOU know what im trying to get at, right?!....... >_<.. .-. ._.

robinjhorton4 months ago

Would the step for installing the hard drive work if I am replacing one in my laptop? And I KNOW you said you didn't want all kinds of questions, but I'm not quite ready to BUILD one from the bottom up as it were - lol. I want to start small - and the only thing 'wrong' with the laptop I have now (other than it's 4 years old) is the hard drive. I know I need to put in Windows, (yes I'm a computer idiot - sorry) will that then 'run' - I don't need to install a separate operating system or anything?

Yes the same method will most definitely work. You would just have to locate your hard drive and remove it and replace it with the new hard drive you have. Just be careful and watch out for static electricity when you working on it. And yes once windows is installed on the new hard drive it will work without anything else.

anand364 months ago
What is the use?
I just want to make a new laptop of my own. Not to reapir the hardwares. I do not like this at all. Can ou show me how to create a new laptop of my own?
Lusacan anand363 months ago

You can not really make a "laptop" like dell, asus, or msi, because they create custom motherboard and other components that you need special equipment to do. With that said you can make a "laptop" by buying components such as a motherboard, memory, hard drive, and monitor, and making a custom case that you can fit them all into to make it portable. Another way is to use raspberry pi, a mini computer, and connect it to a screen and then make a case for it to look like a laptop or an all in one computer by putting the raspberry pi inside the monitor. You can most definitely make a laptop but you would have to buy pre-existing components and then make then all fit inside a case and make then run off batteries. If you have the skill and the knowledge and the tools then go for it, but if not then just buy a pc

aparamasivam8 months ago

what type of barebones notebook are you using?

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.
stormyxia1 year 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??

ErikPH1 year ago
This made it so much easier for me to build my laptop,thanks for posting ~Erik
Bscool1 year ago
What is the list of what parts you bought and from where exactly did you buy them.
mikkel2502 years 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.
amitra12 years 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. !!
Aaron Stein2 years ago
ya you can totally see the license key. I don't wanna say how, but you seriously needa get rid of that.
XxsonicxX2 years 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????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
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