Building a laptop at home using parts ordered online takes the average computer literate person less than two hours. The planning and budgeting is the challenging part. Unlike with building desktops from scratch, laptop customizers need to start with a basic, already-constructed laptop, purchasing parts off the shelf to alter it to their desires.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Hard Drive
- Graphics Card
- Antistatic Wristband (optional)
- Antistatic Mat (optional)
- Phillips Screwdriver
Purchase a basic, inexpensive laptop. If you can, to save money, purchase one without an operating system already installed. Refurbished laptops provide the best value for this purpose. These machines are used but have been tested by the manufacturer to still function properly.
Shop for laptop hardware components that are compatible with the motherboard of the basic laptop that you've bought. Record the physical dimensions of all the major components that you buy to make sure that everything will fit inside the case.
Optimise your purchases to get the best performance for your spending. For the largest boost in laptop performance for the least cost, add RAM. Larger hard drives are also relatively inexpensive. For gaming or intensive graphic design, a new graphics card will boost performance for those purposes.
Install each component according to the manufacturer's instructions. Follow instructions on how to access the laptop's internals using the manual provided by the manufacturer of the basic machine. If the laptop is refurbished, search the original manufacturer's website for an online copy of the manual. Leave at least a half-inch between each major component so that heat dissipates properly. Use an antistatic wristband and mat to reduce the chances of damaging your components through static electricity discharge.
Test each component after each has been installed. Monitor the temperature of the system using the motherboard BIOS that can be loaded at start-up. Follow the on-screen instructions as your computer is booting up to discover how to access the BIOS. Installing custom components into a laptop, especially high-performance ones, can lead to heat issues unless the additional heat generation is offset somehow. Purchase a cooling base or operate the laptop without a battery to reduce heat build-up.
Tips and warnings
- Compare the cost of customising a laptop to that of purchasing one new or refurbished with similar specifications. Be sure to include sales tax and shipping and handling costs into your budget calculations.
- Avoid purchasing components from manufacturers without an established reputation. Their components may be less expensive, but poor quality components tend to wear down more quickly.
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