A Guide to Buying Barebones Laptop and Components
It is perfectly possible to build your own portable personal computer. The main component which you require is a barebones laptop. It will give you the foundation which you need. From then on, you can select the components that you prefer. Use this guide to build the ideal computer for you. Get the performance and durability which you require without spending more than you can afford.
What Is a Barebones Laptop?
The basic definition is a laptop which comes without the internal components necessary for operation. This enables you to customize the device fully in line with your needs. Still, the barebones unit is not just a shell. The most basic of models come with a motherboard, screen and keyboard as well as with a shell. You can choose the other components in line with your requirements and preferences and fit them in.
You do not have to have expert knowledge to assemble the device. No specific tools are required either. You simply need a set of instructions to complete the work.
What Is Included and What Is Not
Currently, the range of barebones laptops available in the market is constantly expanding. As the manufacturers are competing against each other, they offer barebones with different sets of components. The classic models come with a shell, motherboard, screen and keyboard. Optical drive is usually included as well. The motherboard is the component which all other ones are connected to. That is why it is always included. If you go for this configuration, which is the most basic of all, you will need to buy CPU, memory, hard drive, video card and wireless card.
It is also possible for the basic system to come with a CPU, a wireless card and/or a video card. It all depends on the configuration chosen by the manufacturer. Usually, manufacturers include components which are more challenging to find separately in the market. This allows for convenience and cost-efficiency. Still, these components can be replaced if the owner wants.
Customization is the main advantage which you will have with a barebones laptop. You can get the features and capabilities which you require exactly without having to spend endless hours shopping and without having to make compromises. Customization is a preferred option for professionals who require specific laptop performance and tools in their work. It is also a top choice for dedicated gamers who want to enjoy maximum entertainment and fully personalized experience.
The other primary advantage of getting such a unit is cost-efficiency. Typically, it costs less to put together your own laptop than to buy one with the same specs from the store. You can save a good amount of money especially if this is one of your core goals.
Flexibility is another advantage which you will enjoy. You can replace one or more components at any time in line with your changing needs. You can easily upgrade your personal computer as time passes without making a large investment.
There are some important factors which you need to take into account before you begin the barebones laptop project. When you have a clear goal and a well-prepared plan, you will certainly get the best possible results.
Laptop purpose – You need to have a precise idea of what you will use the device for. This will give you a clear idea of the components which you require and their specifications.
Budget – Since you will have to buy a range of components, you can easily spend more than you have expected. That is why it is best to prepare a budget in advance. This will make the shopping experience much more productive.
Technical preparation – You should be fully prepared for assembling the laptop. You will benefit from instruction manuals, blueprints, diagrams, video instructions and all other support materials which can be of use to you.
Selecting a Laptop and Components
The following tips will help you to choose the best items for the building of your fully customized personal computer.
Laptop specs – You need to focus on size, weight, screen size and make, and compatibility. Typically, you will have to strike the right balance between size and weight, on one hand, and screen capabilities and performance on the other. An LCD screen with size of 15.4 inches will give you great picture quality for playing games and watching movies without making the whole unit too heavy. When it comes to compatibility, you have to check specifically which types of components the barebones laptop can work with.
Brand considerations – All popular brands including ASI, MSI, ECS, Getac, Asus and Clevo offer very good quality. You should certainly run your own brand research based on recommendations from users and expert advice especially if you have highly specific requirements.
CPU – Some experts recommend selecting the CPU which you want to use first and then finding a barebones laptop which is compatible with it. Often, the motherboard is made to be compatible with processors from just one brand like Intel or AMD. The good news is that it will typically work with several different CPU models from the respective brand such as i3, i5 and i7, for example.
Memory – The two main RAM options which you have available are DDR2 and DDR3. DDR3 is around 2% to 10% faster so it is usually preferred. Still, you will get comparable performance from DDR2 but for less.
Hard drive – You should certainly focus on SATA hard disk drives. It is up to you to pick the storage size depending on your individual needs. Check whether your barebones laptop can work with one or more hard drives.
Video card – You need to base your comparison on memory and clock speed, internal power connectors and thermal design power. It is best if the card supports the latest version of DirectX. Generally, the higher the model number is the newer and more powerful the unit is.
Wireless card – You need to check the standards, the signal range and the security. You will certainly want to get a more powerful Wi-Fi card if you like using your laptop at different places around your house, office and outside.
You are now prepared for building your barebones laptop.