Nowadays, most people prefer to build their own laptops rather than buy a pre-built laptop to meet their specific needs. There are obvious advantages to this. First, you can select the components required to build your laptop. Building your laptop usually allows you to have a specifically tailored system to your needs. Besides, you will save a few dollars because you're not spending money on components you don't need. Furthermore, it makes no difference whether you're a tech enthusiast who keeps up with the latest laptop hardware or a casual user looking to get a little more bang for your buck; here's a guide on how to build a laptop.
Why Would You Build Your Own Laptop?
You can buy pre-configured OEM laptops directly from manufacturer websites or stores. These laptops are usually mass-produced with specifications suitable for a wide range of applications and purposes, and you can start using them as soon as you get home from the retail store or once the next package delivery truck arrives.
However, these laptops may not match the demands of individual users, particularly gamers and professionals. Also, custom laptop computers are quite cost-effective. The notion, of course, is that you create it yourself. Besides, at the same price, the performance of custom computers much outperforms that of brand computers because you may pick computer accessories based on your needs and avoid spending money on components you don't need. As a result, it's worthwhile to build your laptop.
Now that we understand why you need to build your laptop, let's check out how to build a laptop on your own.
Steps on How to Build a Laptop
Step 1: Gather all the components
i). Determine the primary function of the laptop.
A laptop designed for word processing and email checking will have quite different characteristics than a laptop designed for playing the newest games.
ii). Choose a processor that fits the requirements of your machine.
The laptop shell you buy will be determined by the processor you want to install, so choose your processor first. Then, compare CPU models to see which one provides the greatest speed, cooling, and power consumption balance.
- Ensure Make you're buying a mobile processor rather than a desktop processor.
- There are two main processor manufacturers; Intel and AMD. Therefore, do as much research as you can on the processor models you're want to ensure they're worth the money.
iii). Choose a laptop shell.
The notebook shell will define which elements of your laptop you can use. The shell will have the motherboard already attached, which will dictate the size of RAM you may use.
- Consider the screen size and keyboard layout too. Because the shell isn't customizable, you'll be stuck with the screen and keyboard you go for.
- Since finding shells for sale can be overwhelming, to find stores that sell them, type "barebones laptops" or "white book shell" into a popular search engine. Some laptop manufacturers or vendors will let you select only the shell.
iv). Purchase the memory
Your laptop will require memory to function, and the memory format differs from that of a desktop computer. We recommend looking for SO-DIMM memory compatible with the motherboard in your shell. Faster RAM provides faster performance but may result in lower battery life. Get 8 GB or 16 GB of memory for excellent everyday performance.
v). Purchase a hard drive.
Laptops usually use 2.5" drives rather than the 3.5" disks seen in desktop computers. You have the option of selecting a normal 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM drive or a solid-state drive with no moving parts.
- Solid-state drives (SSDs) are normally faster and have no moving components, although they might be more difficult to operate over long periods.
- SSDs also come in an NVMe version. NVMe may be up to 7 times faster than SATA and comes in a smaller M.2 form factor.
- Purchase a hard disk with enough space to allow you to accomplish whatever you want with the laptop. Because most shells don't have room for more than one drive, upgrading afterward can be problematic.
vi). Determine whether you require a specialized graphics card.
A specialized mobile graphics card will not fit in all shells. The processor's integrated graphics unit will instead handle the graphics. So first, determine whether you require a dedicated card if you can install one. They are handy for gamers and graphic designers.
vii). Choose a battery
Look for a battery that has the right shape and uses the same connector. For example, a battery that comes with integrated circuits (ICs) where the IC notifies the laptop of the temperature, the battery is not working, and you shouldn't charge it, and the battery %.
Step 2: Assembling it together
i). Gather the tools
You will need a set of jewelers, preferably magnetic screwdrivers. And to reach any screws that have fallen into cracks, get a pair of needle-nose pliers. Besides, until you need them, keep your screws in plastic baggies. This will protect them from getting lost or rolling away.
ii). Ground yourself
Electrostatic discharge can easily damage computer components, so ensure you're grounded before putting together your laptop. An antistatic bracelet will keep you grounded, and they are inexpensive.
iii). Flip the shell over to face up the bottom.
The motherboard will be accessible with multiple detachable plates on the unit's rear.
iv). Remove the lid panel from the drive bay
This panel usually protects the 2.5" bay that will hold the hard drive. The bay's placement varies depending on the shell, although it's usually at the front of the laptop.
v). Install the hard disk into the bracket
Most laptops require the hard drive to be attached to a bracket that fits around the drive. Therefore, use four screws to fasten the hard drive to the bracket. The screw holes will usually guarantee that you have it placed correctly.
vi). Place the bracketed hard drive into the bay
Apply enough pressure with the grip tape to seat the drive. Once the drive is installed, most brackets will have two screw holes. Insert the screws to secure the drive.
vii). Mount the optical drive.
The procedure varies depending on the shell, although you can install them from the front of the bay opening and let them slide into SATA connectors.
viii). Remove the panel that protects the motherboard
Removing this panel will most likely be more difficult than removing the hard drive panel. After removing all of the screws, you may need to pry it apart.
ix). Install your memory
Once you open the panel, you will access the motherboard and memory slots. Insert the SO-DIMM memory chips at an angle into their slots, then press them down to click them into position. Avoid pushing the memory sticks into place since they can only be mounted in one direction.
x). Install the CPU
A CPU lock may be present around the socket where the CPU is mounted. You may need a flathead screwdriver to turn it to the "unlocked" position.
- Flip your processor over so you can see the pins. There should be one corner that is pin-free. This notch will correspond to the notch on the socket.
- The processor will only fit in one way in the socket. If it doesn't seat properly, do not force it because you will bend the pins, damaging the CPU.
- After inserting the CPU, the processor lock to the "locked" position.
xi). Set up the cooling fan
This centrifugal fan either cools the CPU or several other components. A cooling fan should have come with your CPU. Most centrifugal fans will have already applied-thermal paste to the bottom connecting to the processor. If the fan doesn't come with thermal paste, you need to apply some before installing it.
- After applying the paste, you can now mount the fan in place. You should align the exhaust with the vents on your shell. This stage might be challenging as you try to align everything up. Nevertheless, instead of pushing the heatsink and fan assembly in place, wriggle it in.
- Keep aligning the heatsink until you reach the appropriate position. This will help prevent the thermal paste from smearing all over your components.
- Once the fan is mounted, connect the power wire to the motherboard. If the fan is not well connected, the laptop will overheat and shut down after a few minutes of use.
xii). Close the panels
After installing all the components, place the panels back over the openings and fasten them with screws. Your laptop is finished!
Step 3: Starting it up
i). Check that the battery is properly inserted
It's easy to overlook the battery throughout the assembly process, so ensure it's correctly placed and connect it to a power supply before powering up the computer.
ii). Evaluate your memory
Before installing an operating system, run Memtest86+ to confirm that your RAM is working properly and that your laptop is functioning. You can download Memtest86+ for free download online and run it from a CD or USB disk. Besides, you can use the BIOS to recognize the memory you inserted. Finally, check the Monitor or Hardware sections to check whether your RAM is listed.
iii). Set up an operating system
You can select between Microsoft Windows and a Linux version for self-built computers. Windows tends to be more expensive, but it has a wider selection of programs and hardware compatibility. Conversely, Linux is a free, secure operating system backed by a community of volunteer developers.
- We recommend installing the most recent version of Windows, as older versions lose support after a certain period.
- There are several Linux versions to pick from, but some of the most popular include Ubuntu, Debian, and Mint.
- If you do not have an optical drive, you must create a bootable USB drive containing your operating system files.
vi). Install the necessary drivers
After installing the operating system, you'll need to install drivers for your laptop. Current operating systems will handle most of this automatically, though one or two components may require manual installation. Besides, most components will feature these drivers on a disc. So, if your operating system cannot locate the necessary drivers, use the disc.
Criteria to Consider When Building Your Laptops
When constructing your office or gaming laptop, the primary attention will be on the components. Every computer comprises multiple components, each with its own set of advantages in price and performance. In addition, you have the option of customizing your CPU, storage devices, RAM, network card, graphics card and operating system.
1. Laptop processors
The processor (also known as a CPU) is the brain of your computer. Your PC is built around this single little chip for virtually all the parts. It usually determines how energy efficient your self-built laptop will be and what additional components you may use. These processors are classified into five categories;
i). Low power processors
These small chips are the most energy-efficient CPUs available. They're designed for use in laptops that require a long battery life and only provide performance enough for casual users. You have the Core m7, m5, m3, and Intel Atom from fastest to slowest. These CPUs are typically soldered to the board and are not found in custom laptops.
The performance category is where you will find the best systems, whether looking for a polygon-crunching gaming laptop or a cutting-edge media machine. For example, the Intel i7 is the best-performing CPU on the market right now.
The i7 is now available in a dual-core 'prosumer' version in its sixth generation for individuals who want a bit more power. Alternatively, you may choose one quad-core HQ or K model CPU, though they use significantly more power.
Most customizable laptops will have one of these graphics processors installed. You may select between Intel's i3 and i5 series processors for your laptop. The i3 is a simple processor, yet it offers great performance for office purposes. Conversely, the i5 laptop build mainly focuses on multimedia and even runs some mid-level games. AMD also offers the less-popular A-series processor, between the i3 and i5 performance.
The Intel Pentium, AMD E-series and Celeron processors are intended to be economical. These are found in low-end computers yet provide adequate performance for basic office operations on your laptop. If you don't require much from your notebook, a few manufacturers may substitute one of these for a mainstream CPU.
2. Laptop's storage
Laptop storage is where your PC keeps all of its files. When you want to construct your laptop, there are a few different types of internal storage to consider, and which one you may select varies a little on the platform you are using. The three variables you will use to assess your internal storage are interface, size and type.
i). Storage interface
Both solid-state drives and hard drives are widely available in a 2.5-inch SATA format. Nonetheless, we're seeing more of them sold as M2/PCIe configurations. The M2 is a small connector that provides high-speed PCIe bus access. So if you want to construct your laptop, you should use this format if you still want to retain your 2.5" space free for extra storage.
ii). Storage size
SSDs usually come in capacities ranging from 128GB to 1TB, while hard disks are available in capacities ranging from 500GB to 2TB. For most applications, we recommend a 256GB or 512GB SSD. Nonetheless, if you need more storage and have space for an M2 SSD, you can add a 1TB HDD for a reasonable price. Although it isn't fast enough for regular usage, it is ideal for storing media files.
Solid-state (SSD) and hard drive (HDD) are the two local storage options for the laptop you're designing. Nowadays, there are relatively few reasons to choose a hard disk. One of them is that they're inexpensive and can hold a large amount of data incredibly slow. Therefore, these drives are only useful as a secondary backup drive for a primary storage device. Conversely, a solid-state drive is extremely fast and dependable.
3. Laptop's memory
The RAM is where your PC keeps all the data it is presently working with (like the desk where an office worker sits to complete their task). Imagine dealing with hundreds of pages of papers on a small, cramped workstation? This is how it usually feels to use a laptop with low RAM. There are two ways to assess your ram's performance.
i). Speed of memory
Since your memory is timed to sync with your processor, you rarely have much control over this aspect. Besides, the laptop feature either DDR3 or DDR4 memory. Check your processor's specs if you're unsure which one to go for. It will provide you with the necessary reading. The sole exception to this rule is those who want to buy a K-series i7 CPU and overclock it. However, overclocking is uncommon in laptops and will violate your warranty.
ii). Size of memory
The size of memory is the most evident measurement. Some laptops have as low as 2GB of RAM, while others come with 32GB. Most users will want at least 8GB of storage space for regular web surfing and computer use. Conversely, power users will most certainly want to upgrade to 16GB of RAM, which is currently the sweet spot between price and Value.
Heavy gamers or multimedia users will consider 32GB, though a few apps can use this much memory. Besides, most laptops enable you to customize the Size of RAM.
4. Graphics cards
i). Gaming graphics
The best graphic card for Laptop Gamers is an Nvidia GTX series. There are two generations on the market: Pascal and Maxwell. Pascal is the most recent, and it includes the top-of-the-line GTX 1080.
ii). Integrated graphics
The latest Intel i-series CPUs include a built-in graphics card. This is referred to as onboard graphics, and it is extremely stunning! However, for most individuals, integrated graphics are sufficient for day-to-day use and light gaming.
The Nvidia Quattro graphics cards are built on the same architecture as their gaming counterparts; however, they have been optimized for professional use. For example, you can use these graphics cards to edit videos, run mathematical simulations, and produce 3D graphics. And though it's the most expensive item on the list, you should only get it if you need it.
Though it is not a frequently considered component, your display usually significantly impacts how much you enjoy your laptop. Since you spend most of your time looking at the screen, selecting the right one is critical. There are two things to consider when displaying: size and resolution.
i). Display size
Laptops come with screens ranging from 10" to 17". Unfortunately, you won't be able to adjust the screen size after you've chosen your laptop. Therefore, if you are dissatisfied with the display size of a certain model, your only alternative is to select another one. The best display size is 13" for portability or 15" for performance. On the other hand, 17" screens are quite lovely to use, though you should choose them if you will not be carrying your laptop around all the time.
Besides, large displays have a high power consumption rate; thus, battery life will suffer. Conversely, 10" and 11" laptops are frequently sold as ultraportable or convertible tablets. In general, these systems are so small that there have fewer configuration possibilities.
Resolution is the number of pixels in your laptop's display. So when Apple advertises its computers as "retina," it simply means that the pixels are so thick that you can't tell them apart.
Most laptops on the market feature 4K screens, equal to the retina versions seen in Apple PCs. Besides, most PCs come with 1080p displays. They are inexpensive, and most software is designed to work on a 1080p display. If you are gaming, the lower resolution implies higher frame rates.