PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM/Barebones Laptop Question


Hi Mike,

I'd like to build a really powerful (Windows) laptop - I suppose much cheaper to build than pay for brand name.

As far as my tech knowledge (hardware/putting one together/researching & following instructions), I guess I'm about an 8/10 - mostly just from being able to research & follow guides.

Of course a light, thin, sleek body would be great, but that is last on my priority list. I don't want a 20lb. cinderblock on my waist, either - that has to be ice-cooled. I'm not trying to go THAT hard-core. I'm not even a gamer.

I do want a high-resolution monitor, and being able to upgrade to as much RAM as possible is important.

I would probably rather get one that comes with a great monitor, motherboard, and chip. (Or should I do the chip myself?)

I want to buy everything one-at-a-time, everything top-notch.

As far as finding the best in each category, I don't THINK that will be too hard; and I don't THINK assembling everything will be too difficult.

What I'm having a hard time trying to figure out, is where to start.

What I guess I'm going to be looking for is a barebones setup that doesn't look too hard to assemble, and definitely comes with a good monitor, lots of cooling vents/fans, and every port that I would need (several USB - some 3.0; HDMI; etc..). What am I forgetting, that I should be paying attention to?


There are a lot of places that sell the shells/barebones systems, but do you happen to know of a good, quality, fairly reputable company or should I be looking more at a good quality setup itself (as in brand name) - but I don't know if there IS such a thing - a brand-name "shell".

And, would you recommend getting a setup with the board & chip (and fans) already installed? What do I probably want, 'already installed'?

Generally, just any info that you can give me on this will be much appreciated. You may even know of a great production model out there, with a decent price.

Any input that you can give me will help me a lot.

Thank you very much,

You can't build your own laptop technically, at least not in the same sense that you can build your own Desktop because there are no laptop component manufacturers that sell for the enthusiast market.

What you can do is heavily modify/upgrade an existing laptop because you're limited by the manufacturer case, lid, LCD, etc. Laptops are designed as a unit and you can't just buy a laptop motherboard and case and go from there like you can a desktop.

As far as modifying a laptop goes, the first step is definitely research. What you would do is find a 'bare bones' basic laptop that you like the design of and fits into a decent low price range. From there you'd have to research what the model the motherboard is, if the processor is socketed versus soldered onto the board, and whether or not the motherboard could handle a better processor.
Checking out Dell, Toshiba, Alienware, HP, various manufacturers, especially Dell, where they offer multiple different processors as part of their customization of individual models is a good place to start. If the vendor provides multiple different choices in their laptops that they sell then it's a pretty good chance the components could also be 'user upgradable'.

Once you locate an ideal basic laptop candidate you can go from there. Get a better processor, more memory, better hard drive, preferably an SSD, upgrade the wireless card.

I have found quite a few article on this topic and I'm sure there are even more out there. Here's a few:


PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM

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Mike Rigsby


Areas of expertise: PC Hardware, Peripherals, Barcode Scanners, Printers, and Applications, Networking, Microsoft Applications. I am good at researching issues and have a lot of contacts in the IT industry. So, if I can't directly answer a question I can likely find the answer. Areas I won't be much help in: Apple Computers, Linux, older Networking technologies like Token Ring, or Thick/Thinnet.


I'm currently a Network Administrator for a contract circuit board manufacturer in Oregon, USA. I've been working on PCs from a hobby standpoint for better than 25 years. I've been doing it professionally for 4+ years.


A+ Certification, Network + Certification, MCP, MCDST, MCITP

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