General Question

dina_didi's avatar

How to build a computer?

Asked by dina_didi (1276points) June 24th, 2014

I have an HP Pavillion g6 notebook and I want to build a new computer. Can I use some parts of my notebook for the computer? Are any parts compatible? If they are, which are these?

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19 Answers

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Thammuz's avatar

Most times, no, it’s a notebook.

Notebooks are mostly integrated, the components are soldered onto the motherboard and the motherboard itself is “optimised”, as in “it’s got its own weird shape”. It’d cost you more to ask someone to build you a laptop with the parts you could scrounge out of your old one, than to just buy a prebuilt one.

The only things you can get out easitly without collateral effects are the HDD and the DVD drive. Do get at least the HDD, they make for good external hard drives or even internal expansions if you’re willing to sacrifice the DVD on your next laptop.

If you want to build a laptop, there are sites that do it, it’ll cost you, but you’ll get something good for your money.

FYI, building a pc is mostly done with desktop/tower models, not with laptops. Building a laptop usually requires professional equipment.

dabbler's avatar

@Thammuz is correct. It’s quite difficult to build a laptop yourself due to the high degree of integration of the parts.

It is fun to build a desktop/tower machine, though. Newegg, tigerdirect, mwave, are all good places to shop for components.

dina_didi's avatar

I hoped I could save some money to build a good pc for gaming from using some parts from my notebook but I suspected that the parts were not compatible… Thank you for your advice! I am going to visit those sites and I hope to find something good with a reasonable price!

jerv's avatar

Laptops are full of proprietary gear, and their components are designed for low power consumption and low heat output at the expense of performance. Totally unsuited for gaming unless you like Solitaire.

Desktops use standardized components, and have the luxuries of more electrical power available and vastly better cooling, often at half the price.

There’s plenty of sites that do builds for budget gaming rigs. The AMD A-series is a simple solution as it has tolerable graphics built-in, but you’re usually better off with a regular CPU and separate video card. The Haswell i5 is good yet moderately priced, as is the Radeon R7 260X. Just don’t skimp on the power supply; go name-brand if you don’t want to fry stuff. I use a 600w Cooler Master, but you can generally do fine with 450w, and Thermaltake and Rosewill are good.

dina_didi's avatar

@jerv I know… Τhe main reason I want to build a pc is because laptops are not good for gaming. Most people tell me that I must have an Intel i5 processor and a great graphics card but these are the most expensive parts… At least the power supply is affordable!

LostInParadise's avatar

@jerv , I am not very savvy when it comes to computer hardware. Might this be a solution?

jerv's avatar

@dina_didi Even a budget build will run you at least $400, probably closer to $600. And any power supply that is powerful and reliable enough to run a gaming rig will run around $70–90; the cheaper ones deliver “dirty” power, and often only half as much of that as the box says while those like mine are rated at operating temperature rather than room temperature, and thus actually deliver what they say they will.

@LostInParadise Not even close. Compare a Smart car to a Camaro to get an idea of the difference. A 1GHz ARM cannot compare to a 3GHz Haswell, and the GPU in that wouldn’t even handle one frame of the games I play, let alone be able to do 40+ of them per second. Nice try, but not nearly powerful enough.

RocketGuy's avatar

BYO desktop is definitely the way to go – lower cost components, buy the fastest video card and most memory you can afford. @jerv has a good point about power supply. Need power to run all the fans too, so don’t skimp on that.

BTW, power at rated temperature is a big deal. Some cheap items stop working when they exceed that temp. Good components still work fairly well at that point.

Thammuz's avatar

If the issue is a gaming pc, then a desktop custom build is by far the better option.

Personally, i suggest buying reasonably high end (Around 1000 bucks, screen and case not included), so you can wait longer to update; it’s a strategy that has served me well so far.

I bought my pc 2 years ago and it still runs everything at max quality save for some poorly optimised (i.e. dark souls) or incredibly demanding games (the witcher 2).

It might seem a daunting expense, but if you have the means to afford it, even if it means waiting a bit longer, i highly recommend it. Last time i updated i had been going with the same build for about 5 years running, almost since the start of the last console generation.

Furthermore, this time around, it seems consoles are lagging far behind PC from the get go, which means you’ll probably be able to postpone the first upgrade even more than i did.

Thammuz's avatar

If you buy a cheap(er) GFX card (like the Zotac i have on my rig) always make sure the heatsink and fan are not shit and can do their job properly.

I almost had a hardware failure due to heat and had to change the heatsink block completely because it was so bent out of shape by the heat buildup the air barely passed through it anymore and the chipset reached above 80°C.

dabbler's avatar

If you are not gaming, the Intel Haswell graphics can work well for up to 4K resolution. No graphics card needed at all, saves $$ upfront and typically draws a lot less power than added graphics cards. I’m running a WQHD monitor (2560×1440) and a sidecar 1440×900 TV off an i7 Haswell system and it has no trouble with loads of pedestrian stuff running at the same time. I noticed I had a Dr. Who episode going in Netflix full screen on the small monitor, a YouTube about an electronics mod and some vid somebody posted on Facebook all running at the same time with no problem.
There is a similar AMD built-in graphics system available and these days I’d consider that. too. When I built my last box the AMD thing was new and was relatively power-hungry. These days, what I read says the AMD system is definitely competitive with Haswell.

(If you are gaming, of course you will want a rip-snortin’ graphics card or two. The cards out there are gorgeous bits of tech, I almost wish I needed one.)

I recommend a premium power supply. Most PS get pretty good efficiency in the higher load range (80–90%) but the better ones will have 90+ efficiency ratings all the way down to minimal loads, where most of our computers sit being idle most of the time.

Don’t get the cheapest motherboard you can find either. If you can shell out for it get a mobo that can be over-clocked, whether or not you ever intend to overclock it, because those are built to stand extra stresses and remain stable. At standard speeds they can be more durable than a lesser mobo.
I wouldn’t bother paying the premium for an overclock-capable CPU, though, unless you really, really want to do that. They just cost so much more than the near-fastest standard parts. I see great prices in the low-to-mid 3Ghz range, but several hundred more for the near-4Ghz parts.

johnpowell's avatar

While this is a bit dated hardware wise the basics are the same.

With the exception of the headers everything pretty much only plugs in one way.

You might want to also ask on something like Craigslist. If someone posted an ad asking for help building a computer from a box of parts they had I would jump all over it for 20 bucks. I would even totally walk them through what everything does and why what goes where. I just like building computers.

dina_didi's avatar

Thank you for your help! I didn’t know many important things about pc building but now I think I can make it! @johnpowell thank you! If I need anything I will ask!

BhacSsylan's avatar

I would also suggest using, it’s a really great planning tool to let you keep track of all the parts you want and to make sure they’ll work well together. As far as part ratings and prices I would check other places since I’m not sure how up to date that data is, but information like socket types are all good.

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

You can re-use the hard disk and probably any optical drive installed in the machine. RAM chips are socketed but probably not compatible with any reasonable PC motherboard. There may be a few other re-usable parts within the laptop (some have internal expansion sockets which are populated) but you probably won’t be able to re-use them in a PC.

Even those parts that can be reused in a PC won’t give satisfactory performance in your particular case. The sole exception is the hard disk, if it happens to be a fast SATA SSD drive of sufficient capacity. In a laptop this is unlikely but not unheard-of.

jerv's avatar

Thought this might help.

maybellekim's avatar

first you must know what are you want and for the parts try to search first the processor memory video card and hard drive :)

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