Building your laptop is an excellent way to learn how a computer works. It is a daunting task and will take a lot of time, resources, and money, but it could help meet your specific needs. You will need some hardware components to start.
These will include a motherboard, storage devices, central processing unit, power supply, a monitor, a case, and memory. Moreover, you may later need to add some extra elements if you want to build your laptop with high-end specifications like fingerprint readers.
This guide will show you how to build your own laptop from scratch. It will also cover potential issues you may face, a list of the different steps involved during the process, and a deeper look into how much it costs to build your own laptop.
Why You Should Build Your Own Laptop
Regardless of your skill level, building your own laptop gives you an advantage over people who have not built their own. Businesses, homes, and even cars use them daily. Knowing how they are built will come in handy as a life skill. You may want to build a laptop to use for programming, gaming, or just to help you with everyday tasks.
Building your own laptop is essential if you require exact specifications that laptop manufacturers do not offer, such as higher internal storage and additional features. In some cases, it may even be too costly to buy a laptop from an online retailer.
This is often common with gamers who require a wide range of specs for their games. Moreover, building your laptop enhances your problem-solving skills. While making the laptop, you will likely come across some obstacles, such as how to insert additional storage. However, you will find a way to fix them.
How Hard Is It to Build Your Own Laptop?
It is quite difficult to build your own laptop and the reason is not far-fetched. For one, laptops are portable and compact. This means that you will need to solder many parts on the motherboard, which is a complicated process.
Not everyone can solder, and some people make mistakes during the process. Ensuring that everything fits may be a problem, as well. However, with the right motivation and tools, you should be able to build your own laptop.
How Long Does It Take to Build a Laptop?
The time it takes to build a laptop is partially up to you. Generally, gathering and assembling the laptop should take a few weeks. However, it could take longer if you do not have all the necessary laptop components and required tools.
How Much Does It Cost to Build Your Own Laptop?
The cost associated with making your own laptop depends on what you want to build. Are you building a gaming laptop that requires more advanced components? Are you building a simple laptop to browse the Internet? For the barebone laptop, you can spend up to $1,000 to build it, while for a simple laptop, it may cost you as low as $300.
How Much Cheaper Is It to Build Your Own Laptop?
It may be slightly cheaper to build your own customizable laptop. The reason is that custom-built laptops can perform better than brand new computers. You will have the chance to choose the best accessories and laptop components. You can also avoid bloatware that often comes with new laptops for faster memory and long-lasting battery life.
What Do You Need to Build Your Own Laptop?
To build your own laptop, you need some important components. The following list may get longer depending on the features you want to include on your laptop. However, for a general laptop, you’ll need the tools below.
- Motherboard. This component is essential for all computers because they can’t work without one. However, you may be wondering what a motherboard does. It distributes power, handles power consumption, and promotes communication between different PC parts.
- Central Processing Unit. The central processing unit (CPU) executes a lot of system processes. However, CPUs also serve other purposes.
- Graphics Card. The graphics card is responsible for generating output images for the laptop.
- Random Access Memory. The random access memory (RAM) offers speed and capacity. More RAM means you can install more programs, and your processing speed will be faster.
- Hard Disk Drive and Solid State Drive. Both the hard disk drive (HDD) and solid state drive (SSD) store information. However, the difference between them is that the former stores information mechanically, while the latter stores it electronically.
Building Your Laptop From Scratch: A Step-by-Step Guide
Below you will find a step-by-step guide on how to build your own laptop. These steps act as a general guide but may be modified depending on the specific components you’re including in your project.
Purchase the Necessary Parts
The first step is to choose a processor for your laptop. This part is crucial because some processors on the market may not meet your required standards. Do your research and find the best one for your project. Next, select a case for your laptop. You also need to get the motherboard and purchase memory.
However, think about the motherboard chassis before buying the memory. Purchase a drive. There are two options here. You can choose the solid state drive or a hard disk drive. Also, don’t forget about the laptop battery, graphics card, and CD ROM drive if you intend to have one.
Assemble the Parts
After gathering the parts you need, assemble them in the case. Start by rotating the shell to add each one. You can use a jeweler screwdriver for this part. However, ensure that it is magnetic so you can easily pick each part up and screw things in. While adding all the components into the laptop case, don’t forget to put the screws in one plastic bag. This makes it easier to keep track of them.
Insert the Hard Drive
Once you have assembled the other parts, add the hard drive. It helps to add brackets during the installation of the hard drive. These brackets help it to latch onto the frame. If possible, use screws to ensure that the drive is attached securely. While adding the drive, apply some pressure before taping it to the frame. There are screw holes in each drive to help it stay in place, so you need to attach them. You can add the optical drive to the shell when you are done.
Check the panel covering your laptop’s motherboard to find the memory slot. When you have located it, insert the memory chip into the slot and release it by pushing it down. It will easily snap into place. Check to make sure the memory cards aren’t overcrowded in one direction.
After installing the memory, check the CPU space to see if it will fit. It is important to ensure that it fits correctly and you don’t need to force it. If you do, the pins may pop out later. When you install the CPU, lock it in and add the cooling fan.
Add the Drivers and Operating System
Before installing the drivers and operating system, check the battery to ensure it is properly inserted. Also, fully charge the battery before switching on the laptop for healthy battery life. You can also conduct a memory test to ensure that the memory is working well. Furthermore, you need a CD or a bootable USB drive to boot the laptop. If it works, then you can install your operating system and drivers.
Do You Need Coding Skills to Create a Laptop?
You do not need coding skills to create a laptop if you’re using parts. However, it helps to know the basics of coding if you want to understand how the computer and its features work and will be used. It is also an excellent skill to pair with your computer engineering skills.
Can You Learn to Build a Laptop in a Coding Bootcamp?
Most coding bootcamps teach you how to become a tech professional, rather than how to build a laptop. They focus on coding concepts and processes to help you begin or advance your career in tech. This means that you do not need to attend a coding bootcamp to learn how to build a laptop.
Gather Feedback, Reflect, and Iterate
Making your own laptop may be stressful, especially if you are not a trained computer engineer. However, you can build your laptop from scratch with the right guidance and patience. However, keep in mind that the process will not be without setbacks. Since laptops are smaller than desktop computers, they may require a lot of soldering, which is difficult for some people.
Nevertheless, building your own laptop may be necessary if you want a custom computer. Some people need custom computers for gaming or other functions. Moreover, while you’re building your device, you can use quality materials.
How to Build Your Own Laptop FAQ
You can build a custom laptop by yourself with the right tools and components. The process takes a few weeks or less, depending on how much time you’re able to dedicate to it. It may be cheaper than purchasing a laptop from a well-known manufacturer.
The answer depends on what you need the custom laptop for. Generally, it’s cheaper to buy a laptop, rather than build your own. However, this isn’t always the case. If you need a laptop that is highly customized and includes features that are rarely found together, it could be cheaper for you to build your own laptop.
Yes, it can be difficult to build a laptop. Of course, this depends on whether you’re assembling parts of building every component. It also depends on the keyboard layout, screen size, drive bay, disc memory, drive panel, and actual performance of the laptop.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
To build a custom laptop, you need a central processing unit, dedicated graphics card, motherboard, battery, laptop case, hard disk drive, and random access memory. You may also need to use a jeweler screwdriver to piece it together.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.