View Full Version : I want to build a laptop, any advice?

January 23rd, 2013, 04:08 AM
I've been looking on Ebay for a computer within $100 that had every thing i wanted. Needless to say i was disappointed.
So i thought that maybe i could build one.
What i want in my laptop: 4GB ram, Back lit keyboard, DVD drive, Mac like touchpad, and reasonably thin.
My ideal would be something similar to this: http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-15-l521x/pd

How much would it cost to make something like this?


January 23rd, 2013, 04:31 AM
It's to my knowledge that this is going to be quite the task, as building a custom laptop isn't as simple as building a desktop. There is a pretty small market out there for laptop components and hardware, so if you do end up going the build route, be careful.

January 23rd, 2013, 05:48 AM
I hope you mean $1000, because $100 isn't gonna happen :P Either way, building laptops is not something commonly done, and I honestly wouldn't know where to start. Maybe a more specialized retailer like System76 would be a better option.

January 23rd, 2013, 07:21 AM
Unfortunately I'm only 14, so I don't have the money. If I built a laptop I could get my parents to help pay fr it because then it would educationinal.

January 23rd, 2013, 07:24 AM
Why not just buy the dell?
Building a laptop is much harder than building a desktop. Your best bet would be to take a suitcase build a computer in the bottom half of it. Duct Tape a screen to the top part of a suit case and find big enough battery to power it and still hold a charge for awhile.

January 23rd, 2013, 12:25 PM
Why not just buy the dell?
Building a laptop is much harder than building a desktop. Your best bet would be to take a suitcase build a computer in the bottom half of it. Duct Tape a screen to the top part of a suit case and find big enough battery to power it and still hold a charge for awhile.

Suitecasepc epic!

January 23rd, 2013, 12:36 PM
If you have access to a TV then you can always try a Raspberry Pi for a basic computer experience...


Warren Hill
January 23rd, 2013, 01:45 PM
Best advice DONT.

You can build a desktop easy enough. You can get cases, motherboards, processors etc and put together the system you want.

Laptops however are unique and many of the bits are designed specifically for that laptop.

You would need to convince a laptop manufacturer to sell you most of the parts and even if you could convince them its going to cost more than the full laptop would.

Go for a desktop or if you just want to learn you could look at devices like the Raspberry Pi

January 23rd, 2013, 02:19 PM
You can build a desktop easy enough.

You'll still need some basic knowledge on how to fit it all together, though...and the components won't come cheap if you're looking to build a powerful desktop computer.

edit: if you want to use Windows, the license alone will cost you more than $100. That said, you can still get a laptop for around that price on ebay...but don't expect it to be a high-end PC. You should be able to get a new netbook for $200-$300.

January 23rd, 2013, 02:42 PM
If you really want to have all the things you desire from this laptop then perhaps you could try one of the following:

1. Buy a cheaper model second hand and then try to retro fit/heath robinson the extra features; or
2. Buy a damage repairable laptop from ebay and do the repairs.

Either way, you still need to have your head in the game to do it right. As people have said, a lot of laptop components a re specific to the laptop so making sure anything you retro-fit will work would be of the highest importance.

Good luck - if you manage it, we need photos posting on here.


EDIT: I wonder if you could gut a laptop and fit a rasperry pi inside, linked to the laptop screen? That could be pretty sweet. Getting the display from HDMI could be tricky - probabbly not a task for the faint hearted.

January 23rd, 2013, 02:46 PM
You might be interested in this site:



It shows what can be done with small size motherboards such as the Mini-ITX form factor. It also shows what you need to do to get what you want. The issue would be getting a laptop type screen.


January 23rd, 2013, 02:49 PM

January 23rd, 2013, 04:25 PM
If I decided to repair a laptop instead of building one, could I replace the keyboard with a backlit one? And the touch pad for a better one?
I don't want to try raspberry pi because it can only have 1gb of ram right?
Anyway I found this on eBay and was wondering if I could repare this or use it as my laptop body if still decide to build one:

January 23rd, 2013, 05:08 PM
I'd strongly recommend against buying a broken laptop unless you know for sure that you can get it fixed...otherwise, you'll just end up with a broken laptop. Then again, the laptop you mentioned had a starting bid at $0,99 so it might not be such a big loss...

January 23rd, 2013, 05:25 PM
Yes I'm not spending more than $50 on a base laptop or one to fix. Right now I'm considering buying a old laptop making it steampunk. http://www.google.com/search?q=steampunk+laptop&hl=en&safe=off&tbo=d&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=6Q4AUebiOZC00AHVoIHQAQ&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&bih=673
Wait wouldn't that be easy? All I need is a screen and I can get a wooden box maybe I should try building a steampunk laptop. Whatdo you think?

January 23rd, 2013, 09:49 PM


The process to build a laptop computer starts with a barebones model that you might find at your local electronics store for $500 to $600. From there, you will swap out lower performing components for higher ones and add the options you want until you have a screamer of a laptop. The optical scanner and motherboard might be hard to change, but almost everything else can be modified. Before you start, inventory your parts to make sure you have CPU, memory, hard drive, graphics card and wireless card. Don't forget large and small Phillips-head screwdrivers (with magnetized heads), needle-nose pliers and small baggies so you don't lose screws.
Initial Assembly

Your first step will be to flip the laptop upside down on a clean surface and remove the rear panel. This allows you to examine the sockets and slots you'll be filling up with your speedier components. The central processing unit (CPU) is the brains of the new laptop. This is the first component to install, taking care to drop it straight down into the slot rather than slide it in. Next comes the wireless adapter, which is easy to pop into its slot. There are four wires with connectors available, but you only need three of them. One of the black wires is for a TV antenna tuner--the one off by itself. Ignore it.
Final Assembly

Insert the video card into the appropriate slot by holding it at a 30-degree angle and pushing in and down. Now insert the hard drive into its slot, using only thumb pressure to make it click into place, then plugging in the cable and securing the protective cage around it with screws. Now it's time to insert your memory boards into their slots, using the same technique as with the video graphics card. You're done messing with your laptop's guts. Replace the cover, flip it over, install the battery, plug it in and switch it on.

The final step to make your laptop usable is to install the operating system. Whether you choose the latest from Windows or Mac, the process is the same. Press the F2 button as the laptop is powering up. At the boot screen, set the DVD drive priority to first and put the operating system (OS) disc in the sliding drawer. Follow the on-screen instructions until your OS is installed. You are now the proud owner of a do-it-yourself laptop computer.

Or follow this set of instructions

Lightning Dragon
January 23rd, 2013, 11:10 PM

Your best bet is to just save up for a new laptop model. 100$ is not going to get you anything, really. If you buy a broken laptop to fix, you will need proper tools to take it apart and put it back together, the parts (which could change depending on what is broken, and how old the model is) and knowledge of how to do it, or else break something new.

But if you are really tight on money, you could always buy a refurbished laptop. But you could also consider asking around Tom's Hardware (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=tom%27s%20hardware&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&sqi=2&ved=0CDAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tomshardware.com%2F&ei=Yl8AUeC9JY600QGA8ID4CA&usg=AFQjCNEag1Mur5C1_dzeUbsLofiq6WkKcQ&bvm=bv.41248874,d.dmQ) about it. They will be able to provide you with detailed posts and details.

Otherwise, I would suggest trying to build a desktop laptop that grahammechanical linked to earlier. :)