How to build your own laptop

How to build your own laptop
How to build your own laptop

You will most likely find yourself frustrated by purchasing a pre-assembled laptop from a store. The features you want are not available and the price can be outrageous. We are not even talking about all the software preinstalled on the computer. You can avoid all of this if you're willing to put your hands in the dust. It may not be easy to build your own laptop, but you will find great satisfaction in it. Follow the guide below to find out how.


Part 1 of 3: find the parts

Build a Laptop Computer Step 1

Step 1. Think about how you are going to use your laptop

A laptop for word processing and checking emails will have totally different characteristics from a laptop for playing the latest video games. You also have to worry about battery life, if you want to go around with your laptop, you will need a setup that doesn't strain the battery too much.

Build a Laptop Computer Step 2

Step 2. Choose a processor that suits your needs

The case you buy will also depend on the processor you want to use, so choose that first. Compare processor models to find one that offers the right balance between speed, cooling, and power consumption. Most online stores will allow you to compare processors with each other.

  • Make sure you buy a laptop processor, not a desktop processor.
  • There are two main manufacturers of processors: Intel and AMD. You will find many pros and cons for each of these two brands. Do as much research as possible on the processor models that interest you to make sure you get what you pay for.
Build a Laptop Computer Step 3

Step 3. Choose the laptop shell

It is the shell that will determine which parts you can use for your laptop. The case will be sold with the motherboard attached, which will dictate the type of memory you can use.

  • Remember to check the screen size and keyboard layout. Since you won't be able to tailor the case to your needs, you'll find yourself stuck with whatever screen and keyboard you choose. You will have a harder time carrying a larger laptop and it will also be a bit heavier.
  • It can be difficult to find cases for sale. Type "laptop cases" or "empty laptop" on Google to find sellers who may have these in stock. MSI is one of the few manufacturers that still sell laptop cases.
Build a Laptop Computer Step 4

Step 4. Purchase RAM

Your laptop computer needs RAM to function and the format of this memory is different from that used on a desktop computer. Look for SO-DIMMs that will work on your case's motherboard. You will achieve higher performance with fast RAM, but it could also decrease your battery life.

Try to put 2-4 Gb of RAM in your laptop for everyday tasks

Build a Laptop Computer Step 5

Step 5. Choose a hard drive

Laptops typically use 2.5 "hard drives unlike the 3.5" hard drives you'll find in desktop computers. You can choose between a standard 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM hard drive or choose a solid hard drive whose parts do not come off. The non-removable hard drive will run faster, but it may be more difficult to use for long periods of time. You can also get an SSD drive, they are more and more common.

Get a hard drive that has enough space for what you want to do with it. Most cases don't have enough space to fit a second hard drive, so you'll have a hard time adding more memory later. Also, make sure you have enough hard drive space left after installing the operating system

Build a Laptop Computer Step 6

Step 6. Decide on the need for a dedicated graphics card

You won't be able to fit a dedicated laptop graphics card into all shell styles. Instead, graphics rendering will be handled by the motherboard in the shell. If you have the option of installing a dedicated card, consider whether you really need it. This will be especially necessary for gamers and people using image or video processing software.

Build a Laptop Computer Step 7

Step 7. Find a CD drive

This part, however, becomes more and more obsolete as laptops evolve, since you can install the operating system from a USB stick and download most of the software you will need.

  • Some cases will be sold with a CD player. You will not be able to fit any type of CD player into your case, so make sure the CD player you have chosen fits properly into the case you have.
  • Whether you should buy one or not depends on how often you use CDs or DVDs. You can use an external drive in the same way as an internal drive.
Build a Laptop Computer Step 8

Step 8. Obtain a battery

You need to find one with the correct shape and connection you want (laptop batteries have multiple pins). The battery contains integrated circuits that tell the computer the temperature, the charge level, and whether it needs to be recharged or if it is not working. If you plan to use the battery often, get one that is long lasting. Take the time to compare the models before you make up your mind.

Read user reviews and get yourself a battery with great reviews

Part 2 of 3: mount the laptop

Build a Laptop Computer Step 9

Step 1. Obtain the necessary tools

You should have a set of small screwdrivers, preferably magnetized. The screws on laptops are much smaller and more difficult to remove than the screws on desktop computers. Buy a pair of needle nose pliers to get to the hard-to-reach screws.

Keep your screws in small plastic bags until needed. This will prevent you from rolling them over and losing them

Build a Laptop Computer Step 10

Step 2. Discharge your static electricity

Static electricity discharges can damage the components of your computer, so make sure you have discharged your static electricity before assembling your laptop. Wear an anti-static wrist strap to avoid static electricity, you will find cheap ones.

Build a Laptop Computer Step 11

Step 3. Turn the shell over so that the back faces you

You will gain access to the motherboard by removing several plates from the back of the laptop.

Build a Laptop Computer Step 12

Step 4. Remove the plate covering the hard drive bay

This plate covers the 2.5”bay where you will put the hard drive. Its location will be different depending on the case you purchased, but generally it will be located towards the front of the computer.

Build a Laptop Computer Step 13

Step 5. Install the hard drive into the bracket

On most laptops, you will need to install the hard drive in a dedicated holder that surrounds the hard drive. Secure the hard drive in the bracket with four screws. The arrangement of the screw holes will ensure that you have installed the hard drive in the correct position.

Build a Laptop Computer Step 14

Step 6. Slide the hard drive with its bracket into the bay

Use the anti-slip tape to apply enough pressure to properly install the hard drive. Most brackets will line up with two screw holes after you install them. Now insert the screws to secure the hard drive in place.

Build a Laptop Computer Step 15

Step 7. Install the CD drive

The installation method will depend on your case, but as a rule of thumb you will need to insert it into the front part of the bay opening and then plug it into SATA connectors.

Build a Laptop Computer Step 16

Step 8. Remove the plate covering the motherboard

It will be more difficult for you to remove this plate than to remove the one from the hard drive. You may need to crack it open before you can remove all the screws.

Build a Laptop Computer Step 17

Step 9. Install the memory modules

Once you open the plate, you will have access to the motherboard and its memory slots. Insert the SO-DIMMs into the slots at a small angle, then push them down into place. Memory modules can only be inserted from one direction, so do not force them if they do not fit.

Build a Laptop Computer Step 18

Step 10. Install the processor

There might be a processor lock around the socket where you will be installing the processor. You may need a flathead screwdriver to unlock it.

  • Turn your processor over to see the legs. You should see a corner where there are no legs. This corner will line up with the corner marked on the socket.
  • There is only one way for the processor to fit into the socket. If you cannot fit the processor into the socket, do not use force, you could damage the tabs and damage the processor.
  • Once you have installed the processor, return the processor lock to its "locked" position.
Build a Laptop Computer Step 19

Step 11. Install the fan

You should have found a fan in the processor box. Most fans will come with thermal grease spread over the part in contact with the processor. If you don't see any paste, you will need to put some paste in before installing the fan.

  • Once you have spread some dough, you can install the fan. The fan outlet should line up with the ventilation holes in your shell. You might have a bit of trouble at this step to line up the holes. Try not to force the fan or heat sink, but move it gently to align it.
  • Hold a small angle on the heat sink until you find the correct position. This will prevent you from getting thermal paste all over your components.
  • Connect the fan plug to the motherboard once you are done installing it. If you don't plug in the fan, the laptop will heat up and shut down after a few minutes.
Build a Laptop Computer Step 20

Step 12. Close the plates

Once you have all the components installed, you can close the plates over the openings in the shell and secure them with the screws. You have finished your laptop!

Part 3 of 3: start the laptop

Build a Laptop Computer Step 21

Step 1. Make sure you have installed the battery correctly

It's easy to forget to put the battery on while you set up your computer, make sure you have inserted and charged it correctly before you turn on the computer.

Build a Laptop Computer Step 22

Step 2. Check the memory

Before installing the operating system, run Memtest86 + to make sure that the RAM is working properly and that your laptop is working well in general. You can download Memtest86 + for free online or you can boot it from a CD or USB stick.

You can also verify that the memory you have installed is recognized by the computer through the BIOS. Refer to the Hardware section to see if your memory appears there

Build a Laptop Computer Step 23

Step 3. Install the operating system

You can choose between Microsoft Windows or a distribution of Linux since you built your computer yourself. Windows is rather expensive, but gives you a huge range of software and compatibility with other computer hardware. Linux is free and is continuously updated by a community of volunteer developers.

  • There are Linux distros to choose from, but Ubuntu, Mint, and Debian are some of the most popular.
  • We recommend that you install the latest version of Windows, as previous versions are no longer compatible with software over time.
  • If you don't have a CD drive, you will need to create a bootable image of your operating system that you put on a USB stick.
Build a Laptop Computer Step 24

Step 4. Install the drivers

Once you have installed the operating system, you will need to install the drivers for the various components. Most modern operating systems will do this automatically, but you may need to install one or two manually.

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