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How to build a laptop ?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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February 1, 2010 5:35:33 PM

I'd like to build myself a laptop from scratch, and I have a few questions.

Would a carbon fiber case be lighter than the typical aluminum or plastic case?

I'm not sure if I should buy the parts separately or try and find a cheap broken laptop. I think I'm going to go with the HP dv5.
If I buy a dv5 replacement mobo, what parts will need to be added on to it? What components/wires ?
Processor
usb board
harddrive - will I need a special connector to connect a hdd to the board? Do SSD's require anything speical to hookup?

how does the lcd screen connect to the mobo? is there another board that I'll need or will I need some type of inverters?

some models have an ati or nvida dedicated gpu, some have the intel accelerator 4500; If I get one with the intel gpu, will I be able to connect an ati/nvida gpu? Or will there not be a slot?

I plan to build the case completely from scratch, so fitment can be taken care of, I just don't know if the pci port is there, and if it is, is it possible to add the gpu in? Or is there something in the bios that will refuse it for some reason

Would it be possible to buy another keyboard (backlit) and connect it?
How is the touch pad connected? Is it a separate board, or is it on the mobo? how is it attached to the mobo?

Thanks for the help :) 

More about : build laptop

a b D Laptop
February 1, 2010 6:30:26 PM

If you're going to undertake this, I highly suggest you buy a broken notebook off of Ebay and take it apart, just to learn what's all inside.

You won't get cables or anything from a manufacturer when you buy replacement parts - they assume you have them already, and they don't allow you to buy the cables from them. They're too small to be numbered and stocked individually (speaking from experience, here).

That being said, I think cables are your biggest issue. You're almost going to end up buying a finished computer and making your own case for it, then transporting the parts.

To answer all of your "how does this connect to that" questions - proprietary cables. Some of them are ribbon, some not. But all of them are different from component to component, model to model. Probably the only standard ports on the inside of the notebook you'll use are the mini-PCIe port (for your wireless card) and the SATA port (which you'll use for your hard disk). The rest are all proprietary connectors with proprietary cables. Sucks, doesn't it?

As far as GPUs go, you need to get a motherboard that comes with a discrete GPU. Trying to add one in is too difficult, because (you can probably guess...) the port isn't standard!

The keyboard is, again, proprietary, but backlighting it would be an interesting mod project.

I hope I've answered most of your questions - this is an interesting project. Pictures would be nice if you get it done.
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February 1, 2010 7:22:09 PM

There are a couple of projects like this over on ZDNet. Whatever you get with the motherboard is pretty much what your stuck with. Only a few laptops use something like an MXM slot to upgrade graphics. Perhaps this will change when shuttle launches it's line of standardized motherboard parts latter this year.
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February 2, 2010 2:31:12 AM

Could you give me a link of some of the projects?

I've never taken apart a laptop so I'm sort of in the dark, but I don't want to spend $300 on a used/broken one and ruin it.

Any suggestions on good models to look for? I'd really like a p7xxx-p8xxx processor.

I noticed that some p series processors use ddr3 and some don't. What determines the RAM that the computer can use? how important is the fsb? some have 800 mhz and some have 1033 mhz, any relation between the fsb speed and ram's max speed?


Would it be possible to use the cable that comes with the keyboard, and splice the wires to another keyboard? maybe add power/ground wires in? Or do you think it would be more complicated than that?
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a b D Laptop
February 2, 2010 3:23:39 AM

socialstealth said:
Could you give me a link of some of the projects?

I've never taken apart a laptop so I'm sort of in the dark, but I don't want to spend $300 on a used/broken one and ruin it.


Considering you're thinking about making a carbon-fiber case, I don't think $300 should trouble you. However, you can find broken machines online for lower than $100.
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February 2, 2010 9:11:26 PM

Can someone explain to me processor compatibility w/ laptops?

I'd like a p7xxx or p8xxxx processor, but the t5xxx t6xxxx etc. are more common

which t#xxx processors have mobos that will support the p series processors?
is there anything else that has to be compatible?
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a b D Laptop
February 3, 2010 2:44:19 AM

Overall, by the time you find all the pieces, and buy them, it's cheaper to buy one off the shelf. As frozenlead suggested, if you really considering building one, find a broken one or a very cheap used one to take apart before doing any ordering. No point in spending all that money for parts if you can't put them together.
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