Building a laptop from scratch??

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ipod24, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. ipod24 macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2005
    Has anyone out there ever thought about building their own laptop from scatch?? Or have done it?? Is it easy?? I'm thinking of building one as it would be a lot cheaper than buying a brand new one. I have seen loads of new parts and it seems pretty easy with the PBfix it guides because they tell you exactly what to do?? What do you guys think about that??
  2. eleveneastgate macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2005
    Never built one, but took one apart.

    What you need is:

    • The Right Tools
    • Patience
    • And shut off your phone cause you do not wanna be bothered when your doing it.

    Good Luck and post some pics when you're done, :D
  3. happy.buddha macrumors member


    Jul 18, 2005
    New Hampshire
    It actually wouldn't be that much cheaper to build one than buy one, unlike desktops laptop parts are still very pricey and you won't catch much of a break on the price, also not a whole lot of laptop case manufactures out there selling their cases to end users, I think that if you could find all of the parts that you needed you would actually be paying more to put together your own than you would just buying one straight.
  4. ipod24 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2005
    erm.....yes I kinda know that, anything more specific *God I bet it will take hrs but determined!!*
  5. therevolution macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2003
    Are you sure it would be cheaper?

    Desktop computers are fine to put together one component at a time because they were designed to be modular. You buy an ATX case, put in an ATX motherboard, put in a CPU that matches the socket on the motherboard, and so on.

    Laptops don't work this way. There's no standard case size or specification, so arbitrary cases and motherboards won't fit together. The CPU and video card are usually soldered onto laptop motherboards, so you can't change those. You can swap out the RAM and hard drive, maybe even the CD drive, but that's about it. If you're planning to start with a case/motherboard combo, and just add RAM and hard drive, then I guess you're fine. I doubt you'd be saving any money, though. Is it really worth going to the trouble?
  6. badmofo9000 macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2005
    Shores of Lake Michigan
    There are many white box laptops. For do it yourself kind of people. Asus and MSI are manufacturers that do this as well as many others. I have built a Amd Turion 64 laptop from MSI and it is very nice.

    The DIY laptops usually come with case, motherboard, graphics chip(soldered on), cd drive, and screen. But with the option to add exactly what cpu, hard drive, ram and wireless/bluetooth card I wanted.

    I built mine instead of buying one because I could get exactly what I wanted without all the extra stuff that some of the big companies want to through at you.

    When it was all said and done I spent about $1200(US).

    15.4"widescreen with truebright display
    2.2 Ghz Turion 64 CPU
    80GB 7200rpm HD
    1GB pc3200 DDR ram
    ati x700 w/128mb vram
  7. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    A DIY Mac notebook? Never heard of such a thing (I have heard of DIY Wintel notebooks...)

    If you want to save money on a Mac notebook, a more likely scenario for the adept would be to buy a fixer on EBay, and use the PBFixit guides.

    That is in fact how I own my 1.25Ghz 15" Powerbook! (replaced busted LCD) It wasn't easy, but wasn't too bad with the PBFixit guide. Make sure you have the all the required tools listed in their guide though-

    PS- Re-reading your OP, it sounds like that's what you basically want to do- get a bunch of parts and put together a Mac notebook? A fixer is still probably a better bet, as there are lots of little miscellaneous parts (cables, ribbons, screws, etc.) that would be hard to find piecemeal.
  8. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    being a techie, that type of thing appeals to me...let me know how it goes

    i mentioned this at least five times over five years, but there was this one techie who took the guts of a g3 imac and infused it into a sony 24" inch crt and made an "ugly" but functional big beige machine out of it
  9. ll350 macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2004
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Here's a helpful site

    However, I'm not sure if you're talking about building an apple or a PC laptop. The only way you can build a apple from scratch is by buying old parts, and putting them together your self. I bought a 800 Mhz G4 iBook that was in pieces for $200. The original user had busted the screen and then taken it apart to instal a new one themselves but eventually gave up. So I had to buy a replacement screen, and replacement parts for the stuff he lost or damaged when he was trying to fix it. I'd so in total I spent about $400-450, but I got most the parts I needed for $200, with was MUCH cheaper than the pieces would have go for separately even used. Even with finding that deal, once you count in the value of the time and effort I had to invest, I would have broken even buying a G4 from Apple's refurb store, and I probably would have gotten a faster laptop.

    If you're looking to build a pc, your in better luck, but unless you plan on building a high end laptop, your better off buying one from a retailer as a complete package. I would say unless you are looking to buy a PC laptop that is worth $2000 or more, you'd be better off buying one already assembled. $1500 is probably the minimum break even point.

    A decent barebone laptop will be around $750
    $125 for a new Optical Drive Module
    $100 for a new hard drive
    $60 for memory
    $125 for the OS
    $40 for the wireless card
    $300 for a New Pentium M chip
    So that brings you to $1500
    and that doesn't count the time and effort you spend on it, or any tools you'll need.
  10. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    It can be done. Just be VERY careful about what you want to do and what you actually spend. I, too, bought a used iBook off eBay a long time back, the owner thought the track pad was bad. It wasn't. So I bought new components for it and made it new again. That was really fun but time consuming. I agree with OP in theory -- it seems like a challenge.

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