You need to understand that laptops are not desktops.
Laptops are not desktops. Did you ever see the movie version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Remember how Zaphod had to be told that Buttons Aren’t Toys, so he didn’t keep hitting them and screwing things up?
Laptops Aren’t Desktops.
Now…. I’ll explain why. And how. But first… you really need to accept and trust me on this. Laptops Aren’t Desktops. You might be feeling some anxiety right now, dying to tell me how aware you already are that they are different.
You just don’t know how different.
Dell contracts out to have the motherboards made for their computers. There isn’t even just one manufacturer they use to make their motherboards. From one Dell employee..
They are proprietary motherboards that do not have corresponding model number as they are Dell's designs that are custom manufactured by various manufacturers depending on our logistics. This information is confidential and I will not be able to share it with you.
Not crazy about the grammar, but still, they come up with the design specifications for that model line, and they have the motherboard made by the company that fits their needs at the time. This is the size and shape of the motherboard, where the screw mounts are, where the fan will be… where the connectors and USB ports will be, etc.
Have you actually looked at two or three different model laptops at one time? How about pictures of different laptops. Ever notice that no two have USB ports in the same places? How about the LED power lights? Ever notice how none of them have them in the same places? Power buttons.. the Toshiba A75 I talk about has the power button actually on the motherboard. The plastic finger pad for the button has a long extension on the end to reach it. This is opposed to most other systems that have the actual power button on a small daughterboard, connected by a ribbon cable…. which varies in width and connection location from laptop model to laptop model.
Each model series is custom-made. Each one. Sure, some companies will try to recycle some design commonalities, but those will only last two… maybe three model lines before every individual element has been changed for another. Could be just moving the USB one centimeter, or going from a four LED to a three LED…. or pushing the optical drive up slightly… or moving the card reader to the front.
Every new model line is almost treated like a new creation. They decide what they want it to look like, they fit in the components they want, they shape the motherboard according to the available space. Even the location and number of screws holding the motherboard down contribute to the structural rigidity of the laptop.
So… no. There are no guides for doing what you want to do…. because you want to try to custom fit something inside a case, that wasn’t made to have anything custom fit inside it.
Can it be done? Absolutely. No one’s going to walk you through it though… because you want to walk down a new path… taking some unknown laptop hardware and fitting it into some unknown laptop shell.
I can give you tips. If you look in the laptop casing, you’ll see those brass screw anchors. You’ll need some of those. Look at the laptop motherboard. Notice that the screw locations are marked with white triangles. You are going to have to adhere to those brass anchors at those points, in the new case. You might find a Dremel and some Plastic Epoxy to be necessary for the job… and don’t forget that when you insert those brass anchors into the epoxy, you need to fill the center of the anchor with something to keep it from filling with glue.
You are going to have to cut new access holes in the laptop casing for the new locations of the USB ports and such.
Cables aren’t going to line up. Keyboards are likely to be an issue. They are custom made for each model line of laptop… a little less these days, but definitely more as you go back further in laptop history. And no.. the ribbon cable for the keyboard that the laptop used to use isn’t likely to fit in the connection on the replacement laptop board. The screen wiring harness is going to be another issue. You’ll have to use the one that goes with the new motherboard, but you won’t know if it will work with the holes available in the current hinge setup and still reach the back of the screen… and that’s another thing you’ll be taking from the new laptop setup.
The LCD panel. It isn’t like a desktop monitor. Most screens do share the same connector at the back of the panel, but the connector to the board isn’t always the same… or in the same location from model to model.
With the right parts? And by Right parts, I mean, if you went and bought the right new laptop, ripped the guts and screen out of it and custom fit it all into an older, larger case…. then yeah. Time, Dremel, Epoxy, and Head Scratching… and you could probably do it.