build your own pc Easy, but is it even possible to build your own laptop? Surprisingly, the answer is “yes”, but it all depends on how you define “building” a laptop. There are many different ways to get exactly the laptop you want.
Why is it hard to build your laptop?
One of the biggest strengths in the desktop PC world is that everything is based on open standards. So CPU, graphics card, motherboard and other components are all built to fit together in standard ways.
The problem with this approach is that it wastes space and is not very efficient. It doesn’t matter when you’re putting a tower case computer on your desk, but when you have to carry a computer with you, it needs to be compact. While the technology in a laptop is still at a fundamental level as in a desktop computer, the actual design and form factor are not.
There are few (if any) standards regarding the design and construction of laptops. Laptops are packed with custom hardware, which is permanently soldered on. So the idea of building a laptop by buying a set of components and then putting it together yourself doesn’t make much sense. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t find the laptop you want.
upgrade existing laptop
You can upgrade most laptop RAM and hard drives, but you can’t replace the core components of most of them. At least not if you lack the knowledge and tools to resale parts.
If you want to know more about upgrading a laptop, visit Can You Upgrade an Old Laptop, and Is It Worth It?
assigning a new laptop
If you’re ordering a new laptop online, why not get the components you want? There is often a good selection of pre-built laptop models covering the most popular configurations. Although you may think that your needs are unique, there is probably a pre-built laptop you need already on a shelf somewhere.
The advantage of this approach is that you will get your laptop quickly because the actual assembly is already done. This is a good reason to order a laptop online instead of going to the store because a brick-and-mortar shop is likely to have only the most mainstream configurations.
ordering a custom laptop
For most people, building your own laptop means ordering a custom laptop. Unlike laptops pre-built on the shelf and ready to ship, custom laptops are unfinished laptops with no final components installed.
You’ll often see an option to “customize and buy” the laptop on the manufacturer’s website. This indicates that someone will assemble the laptop to your specifications within the possibilities of that laptop frame.
The main downside of this option is that you have to wait a few weeks before your laptop arrives. After all, a real person will have to put it all together, test it, and send it to you on its way. You’re going to pay a little more for the privilege of factory customization. But then again, if the right prebuilt machine existed, you wouldn’t have to go down the route of building your laptop in the first place!
Buying a Barebones Laptop
The barebones laptop is an interesting option closer to the idea of ”building” your laptop. When you buy one, you essentially get a laptop that doesn’t have components like CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, and sometimes even a Wi-Fi module and keyboard. These laptops also come without an operating system, so you have to decide which laptop you want.
Barebone laptops often use standard desktop CPUs and provide a desktop CPU socket. However, there will be limits to the maximum TDP (Thermal Design Power) of the CPU you install. The power and cooling solution of that particular barebones laptop will be more than anything for that.
In terms of GPU selection, most barebones laptops use the MXM Mobile GPU standard. You can read more about MXM in our laptop upgrade Article. Most other components should be standard for barebones laptops. However, if you need a keyboard, webcam, or any other tightly integrated part, it’ll probably only be available from the barebones laptop manufacturer.
using laptop shell
Laptops are a special class of computers that do not contain any type of computer at all. It’s usually just a clamshell case, screen, mouse, keyboard, and other basic peripherals.
The idea is to use another device as the “brain” of the laptop. For example, Samsung’s dex The feature gives you access to the entire desktop environment by simply connecting the phone to a USB-C dock and peripherals. A DeX-compatible laptop simply brings all those components together in the laptop shell. This means you don’t have to carry two devices around; You only have one computer that you use either as a smartphone or as a laptop when needed.
There are also laptop shells that can work in laptops with devices such as the Raspberry Pi. Examples include: Cropy2 And electro, Since these small educational computer boards are so small, they can work with a variety of laptop shells designed for them.
Buy a Modular Laptop System
The ultimate dream of making laptops is to have complete modularity. Don’t like your GPU? swap it out. Need more ports? No problem! Not only does this allow you to build the laptop you want, but it also means that you can customize the laptop to fit a variety of use cases. Perhaps when you go on a business trip, you’ll be putting in more battery power and draining that powerful GPU you don’t need right now.
So far, only one company has made a real effort to make such a device. frame has created an ecosystem that claims to offer all the upgrades and flexibility of a desktop system without compromising on what made laptops so popular.
The framework is a new offering, and it’s not clear whether any other companies will follow suit. Still, they promise that you can, for example, replace your current motherboard and CPU with a newer model without having to buy a new laptop in the future.
Of course, as you might have guessed, there’s still a problem with modular laptops because they’re still proprietary. Until the day that there is an open standard that has spread across various laptop brands, building your own laptop will never be the same as building a desktop PC.