How to Build your own Laptop

LaMott is a PC Tech, and wrote in to ask this: “My question is why isn’t there an industry standard of MBD’s & cases that techs can use to build their own laptops? Also, what percent of people in the U.S. would you say build their own PC’s vs. those that buy?”

PC fanatics are up in arms over how Apple doesn’t let you build your own Mac. I hate to say it, but there’s a good reason for it. Some people feel that’s not how things should be. I guess I won’t open that particular can of worms.

By the way, if you are subscribed to my Podcast, you could be eligible to win a computer this Saturday, March 15th! If we reach 20,000 subscribers, I will be giving away the AMD Spider computer system. Ok, so now on to your answer!

I don’t think 12% of the world population build their own computers. I actually think it’s less than 5%. Most people will buy off the shelves. It’s a matter of convenience and being taken care of. People think that they are better off buying from a well-known brand. I seem to recall an old movement surrounding building laptops. There are so many things that go into a laptop. A notebook needs to be designed to move around. Weight is a concern, the lid needs to easily and fully shut, the connections need to be secure. Is it possible? Yes, it is. At the end of the day, I really think it may not be worth it. There’s just too much that goes into it, and it can get to be extremely expensive to get everything just right. CCMike, who is an Op in my Chat room said it best: “Many laptop platforms are much too “style” specific to be able to find parts for”.

For any of you who enjoy building machines, I ask you this: If the parts were all available, would you build a laptop from scratch? I honestly don’t know that I would. There’s just so many complexities that go into building something that’s designed to be mobile. It’s a different level of challenge from building a desktop computer.


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50 thoughts on “How to Build your own Laptop”

  1. It would seem to me that building your own laptop would cost just as much, if not more, than buying one off the shelf. Laptops are specifically built to withstand rough treatment compared to desktops. Cases are designed around the components, where desktops are designed to accomodate a variety of components. This would make it difficult to build without extensive knowladge or manufacturing equipment. I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

    What percent of people build thier own laptops vs buying them? I would say the number is rather high today. With all the “Plug and Play” components that need very little expertise to install.

  2. I would build my own desktop computers if it was a PC, but then if it was a Mac well then you can’t build it. But when it comes down to a laptop I would probably want to buy one, not build it. Just because how small it is and I think it would be hard to bulid a laptop. I think there would be a lot of heating issued if you screwed something up. So I would build desktop computer, but not laptops.

  3. It would seem to me that building your own laptop would cost as much, if not more than buying one off the shelf. Laptops are built to endure a much rougher life than a desktop. The case design is based on the components that will go into it. Desktops are built to allow instalation of various components with ease. Movement, banging and portability do not have to be factored into them. Building your own laptop isn’t something i see in the near future.

    What is the percentage of people that build their own desktops? I believe it would be quite high based on today’s “Plug and Play” interfaces that allow a person with limited knowladge to install the components with minimal issues. Components will only go in one way and will not allow themselves to be installed incorrectly in most cases. The only thing that really needs to be known are what components to buy in order to get a working system.

  4. I must agree Chris. I dont really think there is much of a market for notebook “modders”. I would not personally want to mod a notebook, i think they are better “pre” configured.

  5. Ya if you want to get a custom laptop then you are much better off to find a manufacturer that will take customizations then to try and build one yourself. Unless you absolutely want to build it yourself.

  6. I often wondered this myself, I wish there was a open standard to build your own Laptops.
    but yea, the market for it just isn’t there i suppose.

  7. I would so build my own laptop. Not only that, if the parts where available I would build my own mobile workstations. I would make mobile computers that could be used to work with other mobile computers to do task such as Video editing, (computer with LARGE amounts of ram, 8+Gigs) and computers that could store LARGE amounts of data.( three or four hard drives) CHEAPLY!!!! I would make them so cheap that the average college student could build one that would fit the needs of whatever research they are currently doing.

  8. I would definitely build my own notebook computer, because that would be awesome. I could choose whatever I wish and it would be cheap!

    Actually I am using a barebone laptop right now. We have a company here in Latvia, that builds barebone laptops by your specifications. I have a white 12 inch laptop, with C2D 2.0 Ghz, 1gb ram (667) and a 120gb sata hdd + all those accessories that every laptop nowadays has (even a DVD writer) and it all cost me around 500GBP, and it has a local warranty, which is awesome.

    They even offer the same Tablet barebones, which are cool.

    Perfect for students, like me 🙂

  9. What about a self customizable barebones setup as is available in tower and desktop systems. or even a case and the parts to self install you own choice of hardware as you see fit. As one who can’t afford a decent laptop I would love to be able to buy a piece at a time and build it over time.

  10. I am perfectly fine buying a notebook computer from a manufacturer. I really wouldn’t want to worry about having to worry about heat dissipation, and getting things to work together and being crammed together in such a small space. It seems to me that anyone that would really want to be doing this, probably already could if they really sat down and engineered something. Having said that, im sure that there aren’t enough people that would be interested in building a laptop, as there aren’t enough people interested in building desktop computers even. Which is exactly why OEM’s make so much money…

  11. First, I dislike very much the background channel this page load, leaving me to consult it only OFF LINE…

    Allways, building a pc will cost much than buying one off the shelf with similar performances.

    But a builded pc could have exactly the components you want, being a proper solution for your intended tasks, like a ultra performant LCD with modest CPU, or vice versa…

    For laptops, now it is possible to customise a little, like network cards, video cards, card reader… And yes, you can’t do much…

    If I can find a LCD screen + case to start with, and other components to add as I wish, instead of having my desktop build, I’ll have my laptop. Anyway (in 1-2 years), my next pc will be a laptop!

    Positively I’ll build my laptop. After all, you need just few parts, but you like to choose the manufacturer/performance for each one:
    – LCD size/resolution/technology (matched with a case);
    – case;
    – System board (can have onboard audio, video, network…);
    – CPU + fan;
    – RAM;
    – Video card;
    – Audio card;
    – Network cards;
    – Disk drive (hdd, sdd…)
    – external CD/DVD unit…

    This could be a good niche for an enterprize, not to build for you a laptops (there are already many companies in this field)), but in the manufacture of parts and you just have to select the right ones in the kit you want. As I said, there are miniature versions of some parts available for laptops, like nVidia or ATI video cards, a large series of network cards (LAN, wireless, WLAN), but is a little difficult to find system boards, or cases – matched with a LCD display, and so on…

    I guess that the missing link is a “standard” for SB, to have some miniature PCI, xPCI, AGP… sockets to be able to add what card you want…

  12. I would build my own laptop in a second. The only thing I want to do for the case is use something a bit larger than normal and use a pelican 1495 case as the acutal case. I want to put 2 15″ LCD screens inside it and use an external keyboard. I want something that will be completely sealed against abuse of water dust and vibration.

  13. Building your own laptop is more popular then you think. You can buy bare bones for laptops in various sizes for screen, heat dissipation and hardware harnessing. It is actually not that difficult. I built one myself a year ago. It was not as sexy, but work perfectly fine.

  14. YUP 🙂 i followed instructions 🙂 i dont need em now gamer is upset he cudnt afford the insturctions 🙂 no matter the laptop

  15. If I had the opportunity, I would MOST DEFINITELY build my own laptop. I couldn’t be much happier with the desktop I built. I wish I had more cash to add on to it, but it is the best computer I’ve ever had.

  16. No offence but think before you speak.
    “Ieeerrr…..” “ai…..iiii.”
    I found those really annoying and stopped watching.

  17. If you used the good ol method of trail and error before corporations and got your hands dirty then you dont need a guarentee.

  18. Yes you do, you get a warranty on each component and if anything fails you have complete support of the manufacturer of that product.

    This video wasn’t very good, I didn’t really learn how to build my own laptop, as the title suggested. Quite disappointed. I’m going to make a video about why and how you should build your own desktop computer.

  19. i built my own system- took me a few months to do my research and look for benchmarks and future reliability and how long my hardware will be able to perform with the future, and i will not make the same mistake as i did with my previous build where i chose to build a fast single core FX-53 system with Dual core was right around the corner.. so i went quad core this time and im already seeing the benefits of true megatasking. i also have dual displays so my productivity sky rocketed.

  20. My System:

    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (the overclocking potential of this processor is through the roof)

    Nvidia EVGA 8800GT SuperClocked (with plenty of room to further overclock + i seem to upgrade my GPU every 2 years anyways)

    4Gb Ram (mothboard supports DDR3 and 45Nm cpu’s)

    500Gb Hard Drive( i was using 80Gb’s previously so 500GB is PLENTY at this point)

    Dual Displays: 22″ High Definition WideScreen LCD paired with a 19″ HD WideScreen LCD (for increased productivity and screen realestate)

  21. Movement of the harddrive wouldn’t be an issue when solid state hard drives are more widley used. I think once moving parts are eliminated, you’ll see more “homebrew” laptops.

  22. you can build a barebones Asus notebook pretty easily. The parts are just complex and smaller, but assembling a board inside a laptop chassis, isn’t that hard.

  23. I agree that few build their own pc’s, and even fewer should build their own laptops. I wonder though if more people build their own computers overseas than in the US…

  24. You can build your own laptop. ASUS sells barebone laptop systems, all you need to do is add ram, processor, and CD/DVD drive. i built 2 laptops this way

  25. I’ve built most of the desktops I’ve ever owned, and been happier with the ones I’ve built than the ones I’ve bought (I get to choose where I cut corners, and where I go all out).

    I would absolutely build my own laptop if I had the same kind of options / advantages that I have in building my own desktop. The problem is because the do-it-yourself market for laptops is so small the access to parts at OEM prices just isn’t robust enough.

  26. if the parts were available yes i would build my own laptop, i guess i am in the 5% of people that built that build their own computers.

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