You'll have a hard time finding parts to build your own laptop from scratch ... You may be in for a rough ride. You can easily order a custom built laptop or customize a brand name manufacturer's laptop... but you cannot easily build you own laptop. There're no established supply channels to do this. And that is why it's very rare to see step-by-step guides on how to build your own laptop. Of course, parts like the hard drive and memory you can easily get up-to-date. But you'll have a hard time getting the right chassis, hinges, motherboard, LCD screen, touchpad and so on. And even if you get them, most likely they'll be used parts and outdated. For the same total price you can get a complete outdated laptop.
There are few places that specialize in laptop parts, and you can try them but you'll find out that the selection is very limited ... and you won't be able to build an up-to-date Pentium 4 or equal laptop. Still, try these:
Laptop Parts & Upgrades - Large warehouse of parts available for your laptop. Priority Computer Parts - Replacement parts for laptops. Hard to find and older items.
Some other places that specialize in laptop repair may have more parts but they'll be used and most won't be for sale but for replacement or repair only. But if they have a surplus or an overstock, they'll sell it to you. Try these places:
Excel Computer - They stock 1,000’s of laptop parts and they are available for immediate delivery. Laptop Repair - Discount repair on all brands, free estimates. *You won't be able to buy Dell parts from Dell or IBM parts from IBM... Also, try to shop for laptop parts on Ebay or Sell.com; here's what I've found on Sell.com which is kind of interesting ... they sell a complete laptop chassis equipped with motherboard, fan, mouse pad, sound card, speakers etc. Build your own laptopNEW Gateway SOLO 2150 Chassis
Pentium III Motherboard
This is a new & tested Gateway 2150 chassis. It has a 14.1" LCD bezel assembly: Front and back bezel, hinge cover, latch releases, metal framing, video inverter board and all cables. Takes a Gateway Solo 2150 14.1" LCD Screen, part number LP141XA. Top and bottom chassis case with memory cover. Motherboard with tin plates, modem cable, pcmcia module with covers, 2 speakers with covers, sound board, bridge battery, fan assembly, on/off bezel & board. Will sell with or without floppy drive, touchpad or LCD cables. Mention if you want these parts when making an offer. This item is new and great for parts, or adding parts to complete your own Pentium III system.
Give it a shot!
... But if you find yourself overwhelmed with this idea then you may want to explore these options:
Getting a custom built laptop
Now, here you can choose from a few fine companies that specialize in custom laptops. They'll have plenty of options for you to choose from. Go to my resource page for more information on how to build your own laptop through customization.
Custom built gaming laptop
Specialty gaming laptops are usually loaded with features and could be more expensive. Check these companies that specialize in gaming laptops: voodoo, alienware. ...Or see how you can build your own laptop gaming system for less.
Using A USB Replicator
USB Port Replicator?! Sound like a scary word? Don't be scared, using a port replicator is even simpler then installing a docking station! It's the hottest thing around now. The cheapest laptop is the cheapest laptop. It doesn't come with many options. But by using a USB replicator you could enhance it with additional ports and features, and make it look like a $2000 laptop. I can show you how to do it the cheapest way around ... Interested? Then read on.
What is a Port Replicator?
A piece of hardware that stays on your desk while you travel with your laptop. When USB Port Replicatoryou return, you can plug the replicator into your laptop and at the same time connect all the devices that you want your laptop to support. The Replicator is a scaled down version of a Laptop Docking Station (see my guide). But you don't snap your laptop into it; instead it connects to the USB port on your laptop by its USB connector. Then you connect peripherals to the replicator.
How will a port replicator help to enhance your laptop?
The essential purpose of the USB Replicator is to create many 'replicas' of your laptop's USB port - as it says in its name. Then you, in turn, use these 'replicas' to plug in multiple peripherals that support a USB connection. In order to connect the USB port replicator itself, all you need is one USB port on your laptop. Even the cheapest laptops come with at least one USB port. An average replicator has multiple USB ports built-in, and it allows you connect all or most of your USB devices which was not possible if you had only one USB port on your laptop. You can connect your printer, your scanner, your handheld, your digital camera, a joystick, an external CD or CDRW or DVD drive, any other drive that support a USB connection, a flash memory drive, a flat panel monitor, an Internet modem, and, of course, a keyboard and a mouse.
So, as you can see a USB port replicator can be used similarly to the docking station to turn your laptop into a mobile system for convenience and portability. If you need to take your laptop with you then just unplug the replicator from your laptop... when you come back home just plug it back in. You'll never have to connect or disconnect all of those devices again. Most importantly, you can connect many more devices, and all at the same time. A USB port replicator often called USB Hub. One USB hub is different from another; some stock up from 4 to 7 USB ports, some also carry other types of ports. Some can even be joined to each other to multiply the number of ports available. Here is an example from TigerDirect.com: Iogear USB Slimline MicroHubIogear - GUH174 - 4-port USB Slimline MicroHub Iogear's 4-port USB Hub allows you to expand a single USB port to 4 ports, and yet it is small enough to fit into any tight space. One USB cable that can be easily tucked away is included, for your convenience. It supports data transfer rates of up to 12Mbps (1.5MB/sec). Do I need to worry about comparability between different versions of USB replicators - USB 1.0, 1.1, 2.0? Not really. If your USB replicator is of version 2.0 than it'll support all previous versions. The USB 2.0 devices support all three data-transfer rates: 1.5 Mb/s (v. 1.0), 12 Mb/s (v. 1.1) and 480 Mb/s (v. 2.0), meaning that they are fully backward compatible with earlier versions for consumers’ investment protection.
The USB 1.1 devices support both the 1.5 Mb/s and 12 Mb/s rates. So, for example, if your USB 2.0 digital camera connected to your laptop through the USB 1.1 replicator it'll work but with a lower transfer rate of 12 Mb/s. Which peripherals are designed to work best with the latest USB 2.0 replicators? Most of the following USB devices are now available with the highest USB transfer rate (v 2.0) of 480 Mb/s (or at least with 12 Mb/s):
Flash memory cards (flash drives)
Which peripherals are designed to work with slow USB transfer rates?
These peripherals operate at slower speeds because they do not need fast data-transfer rates. (And if they supported such performance, it would add considerably to their cost to the consumer.) These include:
They operate at the two lower data-transfer rates of either 1.5 Mb/s or 12 Mb/s.