Buying a pre-assembled laptop from a store is usually frustrating as not all the options you want are available and the price can be prohibitive. Not to mention the cost of the software that companies install on it. You can get around all of these restrictions if you're willing to get your hands dirty a little. Building your own laptop is difficult, but incredibly rewarding. Follow this tutorial to find out how.
Method 1 of 3: Details
Step 1. Decide for what purpose you need a laptop
A laptop for word processing or email will come in many different configurations, as opposed to a laptop for playing the latest games. Battery life is also an important factor. If you plan to use it autonomously, then you need a laptop that will not consume a lot of power.
Step 2. Choose the processor that meets the needs of your computer
The processor will affect all the other components that you plan to build your laptop from, so choose the processor first. Compare processor models to determine which offers the best speed, price, and power consumption. Most major online retailers will allow you to compare processors side-by-side.
- Make sure you buy the laptop (mobile) version of the processor and not the desktop version.
- There are two main processor manufacturers: Intel and AMD. There are many pros and cons for each brand, but overall AMD will be cheaper. Examine your processor models as closely as possible to make sure the money is well spent.
Step 3. Select a laptop case
The laptop case will determine which parts can be used when assembling your laptop. The case will come with a motherboard inside, which will dictate what kind of memory you can use.
- Consider your screen size and keyboard layout. Since the case cannot be adjusted to fit the screen and keyboard, please select them correctly. A large laptop will be more difficult to carry and likely to be significantly heavier.
- Finding a corpus can be quite difficult. Type "barebones notebook" or "whitebook shell" into your favorite search engine to track down retail enclosures. MSI is one of the few manufacturers that still makes barebones notebooks.
Step 4. Buy memory
Your laptop needs a special type of memory. This type of memory is different from desktop memory. Look for SO-DIMM memory that will work with the motherboard in your case. Faster memory will give better performance, but may result in decreased battery life.
Try to buy memory between 8GB and 16GB for optimal day-to-day performance
Step 5. Select a hard drive
Laptops tend to use 2.5 "hard drives, as opposed to 3.5" drives that are used in desktop computers. You can choose a 5400 RPM (RPM) or 7200 RPM (RPM) drive, or opt for an SSD with no moving parts. Solid state drives (SSDs) are generally faster, but they can be more difficult to use over a long period of time. SSDs also exist in the NVMe specification, which is 7x faster than SATA and uses compact M.2 drives. If you plan on taking your laptop with you wherever you go, an SSD is the best choice as it is more resistant to physical damage.
Buy a hard drive with enough space to do what you want with your laptop. Most enclosures do not have room for more than one hard drive, so it will be difficult to expand later. Make sure you have enough hard disk space after installing the operating system (typically, the operating system is 15–20 GB in size). Most people now choose volumes from 500GB to 1.5TB
Step 6. Decide if you need an external graphics card
Not all cases can accommodate a dedicated mobile video card. Instead, the graphics will be handled by the so-called integrated video card, that is, located on the motherboard. If you can install an external graphics card, decide if you need one. These graphics cards are essential for gamers and graphic designers.
Step 7. Buy an optical drive
This option becomes optional since you can install operating systems from USB flash drives and download most programs over the network. Most laptops these days don't have an optical drive, and disk media have been supplanted by memory cards and external drives.
- Some housings already come with optical drives. Not all laptop drives fit into chassis, so make sure the drive fits into the chassis you choose.
- Deciding if you need an optical drive is easy. Just think about how often you use discs. Remember that an external USB drive can be used instead of the built-in drive.
Step 8. Select the battery
You need to find a battery of a suitable shape and with the correct connector (There are microcircuits in the battery that transmit information to the computer about the temperature, working or non-working state of the battery and its charge level in percent). If you are going to use your laptop for a long time without access to an outlet, choose a high-capacity battery. You will have to compare many different models before you choose the one you want.
Buy a battery that has positive reviews. Read user reviews of different models
Method 2 of 3: Build
Step 1. Buy tools
You will need a set of jewelry screwdrivers, preferably magnetic. Laptop screws are very small and more difficult to work with than desktop screws. Buy tweezers to remove screws that will fall into slots.
Keep the screws in plastic bags until needed. This way they will not roll out and get lost
Step 2. Ground yourself
Electrostatic discharge can quickly destroy computer components, so make sure you are grounded before assembling your laptop. Buy an ESD grounding strap, it is affordable and fairly cheap.
Step 3. Turn the case over so that the bottom becomes the top
This will give you access to the motherboard through several removable covers on the bottom of the case.
Step 4. Remove the hard drive bay cover
This panel covers bay 2, 5 that will contain your hard drive. The location varies by case, but the bay is usually located towards the front of the laptop.
Step 5. Install the hard drive into the bracket
Most laptops require a hard drive to be installed in a bracket that matches a standard hard drive. Use four screws to secure the hard drive to the bracket. Screw the screws into the holes for them, make sure you install the hard drive in the right direction.
Step 6. Insert the enclosed hard drive into the hard drive bay
Use tape to apply enough pressure to push the disc into place. Most brackets will be secured with two screws. Insert the screws to secure the drive.
Step 7. Install the optical drive
The method will vary depending on the case, but usually they are simply inserted from the side of the case, the SATA connector plugs in itself as the drive moves all the way.
Step 8. Remove the panel covering the motherboard
This panel is likely to be more difficult to remove than the hard drive cover. You may need to use the lever to lift it up after removing all the screws.
Step 9. Install memory
Once the cover is open, you will have access to the motherboard and memory slots. Insert the SO-DIMM memory chips into the slots at an angle, and then push them down until they click to lock them in place. Memory chips can only be installed in one position, so do not try to force them in.
Step 10. Install the processor (CPU)
There may be a padlock around the socket into which the processor is installed. You may need to use a flat head screwdriver to unlock it.
- Rotate your CPU until you find one of the four corners of the processor that does not have a corner post. There will be a notch that will match the notch on the socket.
- The processor will fit into the socket only one way. If the processor does not fit, do not use force, you can bend the pins and destroy the processor.
- Once the processor is inserted, lock the CPU socket lock.
Step 11. Install the fan
Your processor should come with a cooling fan. Most fans will have thermal grease already applied in place that connects it to the CPU. If the fan does not have any paste, you will need to apply thermal paste before installing the fan.
- After applying the paste, you can install the fan. The exhaust should line up with the vents on your case. This part of the job can be quite difficult to get things done when you are trying to align everything. Do not put any force on the radiator, just wiggle it, wiggle it trying to put it in place.
- Hold the radiator at an angle until you find the position you want. This will help keep the thermal grease from smearing on all components.
- Attach the fan power cable to the motherboard after installing the fan. If you don't plug in a fan, the laptop may overheat and shut down after a few minutes of use.
Step 12. Close all covers
Once all components have been installed, you can replace all covers and secure them with screws. The assembly of your laptop is now complete!
Method 3 of 3: Getting Started
Step 1. Make sure the battery is inserted
It is easy to forget to insert the battery during the assembly process, make sure it is inserted and charged properly before booting the computer.
Step 2. Check memory
Before installing the operating system, run Memtest86 + to make sure that the memory is working properly and that your computer is working in general. Memtest86 + is free to download online and can be loaded from CD or USB stick.
You can also check if the installed memory is recognized by the BIOS. Find the Hardware Monitor section to see if your memory appears
Step 3. Installing the operating system
For homemade laptops, you can choose between Microsoft Windows or Linux. Windows costs money, but offers a much wider range of software and hardware compatibility. Linux is free and supported by a community of volunteer developers.
- There are many versions of Linux, the most popular being Ubuntu, Mint, and Debian.
- It is recommended that you install the latest version of Windows as older versions lose support over time.
- If you have not installed an optical drive, you will need to create a bootable USB stick containing the operating system files.
Step 4. Install the drivers
After installing the operating system, you will need to install drivers for your hardware. Most modern operating systems do this automatically, but there may be one or two components that need to be installed manually.