Quick question for the techie people

Hellos guys, quick question: does anyone know where one van buy a laptop motherboard?

Long story: I saw people using motherboards from laptops with broken screens for a desktop build. I have since a few weeks been following second hand sites hoping to get a good deal on a gaming laptop with broken keyboard or such, but it seems that most people don’t sell it there or only sell what is left over after taking everything out they can. So I thought about buying just a laptop motherboard with the cooling system. But I can’t seem to find a site that provides them.

Why would I want a desktop with laptop motherboard? Because I don’t have space for a regular desktop on or near my desk. It is a build in desk, so cooling would largely be affected also. A laptop is far more easy to hide away, on the back of a monitor or such. And if I look at a custom gaming All In One or custom gaming mini desktop such as the Pudget Echo Pro, than those things cost as much as a alienware laptop, than I am talking about the i7 7700 vs the i7 7820HK (that dell overclocked) and a GTX1060 vs a GTX1070M so a bit less processor performance and a bit more gpu performance when choosing for a laptop. And if I could get only the motherboard, than that would be cheaper.

I would like to combine it with a touchscreen monitor, aka making my own surface studio with better performance

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The way I understand it you’re looking for modern hardware in your laptop motherboard (nowadays the CPU and the GPU will definitely be soldered on the MB). I doubt anyone will simply sell their gaming laptop they bought within a year just because the screen or keyboard is broken, fixing it makes more sense.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to go for a mini ITX or some other small form factor motherboard?
You’d be able to choose your own components and upgrade them too.


For standard PC usage and office work, I’d stick with a mini PC or a miniATX motherboard inside a suitable case. Mini PCs are popular for businesses looking maximize desk space, and can usually be easily mounted on the back of monitors that support it. Otherwise, get yourself a V (or similar 2-in-1) and setup a docking station! :smiley:

Here are some mini PC’s to consider:

Using a laptop motherboard will make your desk setup look horrible, and it’ll be a lot of effort for a miserable reward. Laptop motherboards are designed for their manufacturer’s laptop casing, and usually can’t be installed inside of a standard PC case.

When it comes to pricing, bear in mind that the more compact you want your system to be, the more it will likely cost. Making well designed hardware that fits into a small space is tricky, so companies charge more for the effort.

If you are looking for gaming hardware, its probably best that your just make room for a regular sized PC to breathe. High fidelity gaming sessions will generate a lot of heat, so small form factors and tight spaces will cause overheating. If you get long connection cables and a good cable management system, you can theoretically put it anywhere.

Well, the more recent the motherboard, the better for me. But if it would be 4/5th gen quad core with a GTX 970m/980m that would be enough performance for me. And I know that hoping for a recent laptop with broken screen is probably ridiculous but even an older laptop would work if it had high specs for that time, but that is also why I ask if there is some place I can just order a laptop motherboard, it would be cheaper than a whole laptop since it doesn’t have a screen, keyboard, battery etc that I wouldn’t need.

Why not just a mini ITX? I have done some search on that, but I have never came across a real thin desktop formfactor. The smallest I saw was the pudget Echo Pro, 11cm thin with the fans pointed at the side. That could fit underneath my desk, but I fear that the cooling wouldn’t be sufficient. Laptops motherboards are more made for confined spaces, and every cm thinner I can make, that means a cm extra of airflow under the desk, pretty important for performance. The laptop to desktop conversion I have seen did manage an overall thickness of under 4cm, that is something that I could easily even place behind the monitor instead of placing it underneath my desk. The only desktop options that I have seen were AIO systems, but they are as pricey as a performance competitive laptop…

Or do you know a way to get a thin desktop that I don’t know of? I have about 25cm between my desk chair and the side of my desk, so a 18cm desktop would never have enough airflow, 11cm thick desktop would have a higher chance of having enough cooling, but I think even that wouldn’t be good enough for cooling a i7 7700 with gtx 1060

You could also aim for water cooling the setup. That way you can put the radiators wherever you want depending on the length of the tubes. But that will probably get quite costly.

That is still pretty recent. I think 970/980m are still sold as new laptops right now. I don’t think there’s a place to just buy a laptop motherboard. It’s kind of an odd thing to shop for. Maybe try buying a used/broken laptop somewhere. (broken so the MB, CPU and GPU still work of course).

If the cases are not thin enough for you try using a mini MB and using a PCIe raiser so you can put your graphics card anywhere and dont have to have it sticking out of your MB. You could then put it beside the MB for example. You could mount it openly without a case or make a thin one yourself.

The Pudget Echo Pro uses the off-the-shelf Silverstone FTZ01 case, which shares it’s design with the RVZ01 and ML07. Those cases are among the best of mini ITX cases in term of cooling, even beating some much larger ATX tower cases.

My desktop PC has the RVZ01 case, and I can testify its superb cooling. I have it with an i7-6700K and GTX 1070, and the temps are really great. Under full load, they are just around 70C. Previously I had the R9 290 graphics card, which as you may already know, was a really hot card. The key here is to put proper fan setup. The more fans you have, the cooler it gets, or the slower you can make the fans spin to make it less noisy.

Here’s the temp with the R9 290 Silverstone Raven RVZ01 / RVZ02 / ML07 / ML08 / FTZ01 Owners Club | Overclock.net

If you want a smaller system, consider building in the Silverstone RVZ02 or ML08. Its around 30% smaller than the RVZ01, but the cooling is not as good for a high-end overclocked system. Dont worry though, it is more than enough for the GTX 1050 or 1050Ti, which is comparable to the 980M in term of performance.

If you want it to be super small, get the DAN A4-SFX case. Its a mere 7L, but costs 200 dollars for the case alone. Cooling is not a problem as demonstrated here

This build below is less than 10cm (4 inches) thick, and comparable to laptops with i7-6700HQ and GTX 980M or 1060 3GB
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i5-7500 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($188.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: MSI H270I GAMING PRO AC Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory ($53.87 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Samsung 960 Evo 250GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($129.99 @ B&H)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB ACX 2.0 Video Card ($131.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Silverstone ML08B HTPC Case ($72.50 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Silverstone 500W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular SFX Power Supply ($94.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $772.32


I don’t know much about the technicalities, so apologies if this is nonsense but… wouldn’t a laptop Mb be pretty limited in terms of supporting desktop components? Either in terms of power, or form factor, or max frequencies that the chips could deal with etc. I can’t imagine they build laptop motherboards to deal with things beyond what is in the laptop. And if that’s the case, why not just use a laptop with a broken screen, and plug a monitor in.
But like I said, I know nothing of the technicalities.

Nowadays it’s not possible anymore. Processors are soldered onto the motherboard, so they can’t be replaced. Graphics cards usually don’t use a standard form factor, sometimes they’re also soldered onto the motherboard. So buying a separated laptop motherboard just makes no sense. Better buy a laptop with broken screen :wink:

Thanks for the advices on small desktop builds, I don’t know about pole risers to get a thin build! A case is something that I would make myself, for the money that ask, I can build myself a more beautiful case. I know a shop near me that does help with custom desktop builds, if I would try building one myself, than I will have a look over there. They can enlighten my about making those things myself, since I don’t know much about a desktop build

Well then just google for a mini board and a pcie riser. You can fit in the rest of the components as you normally would and just make your own case.

That is what I am doing now with pcpartpicker now. But the techie people I know are all on the side ‘no way you can build a case yourself’. A friend did configure a pc for me that he says is a better choice than what I did configure (i5 7600 vs i7 7500 and gtx 1050Ti vs gtx 1050) but than claims I am the stupid one that would invest in the 500gb SSD that I know I am going to need instead of ‘starting with a 250GB ssd and upgrade than when needed and have the money’. I think it is more stupid to pu money in a i5 7600 and gtx 1050Ti when you know you will try to save money to get a i7 7700K and a gtx 1070. I think there are many possible views on a budget desktop build, so I think I better get help from someone that knows what he’s doing instead of friends that claims to know it better than you…

For the record: another thing that I did put a bit more money in instead of GPU and CPU was the motherboard, I did go for one that has a M.2 drive while he said that SATA III is also sufficient for an ssd… But to get max potential for SATA III with ssd, you have to get an ssd that gets to the around 750 MB/s speeds, and those most likely have higher possible speeds with M.2, so I don’t get why he would cut corners on the motherboard

I don’t know what your planning to do with your pc, but for the general population SATA III actually is enough. I wouldn’t spend too much extra on it right now as well. Depends on what your plans are on how long you’re going to use that pc and for what.

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As long as possible. I have an asus N551 laptop that has SATAIII SSD and I know that is sufficient, but will that be sufficient over 10 year? For a laptop that doesn’t matter that much, for a desktop thinking over 10 years is not that stupid. It could save some money to go for a just sata III motherboard with SSD but that money is something that I would certainly not spend in a cpu that would be replaced once I can afford a i7 with better performance, same for the gpu

The motherboard is the best part to save money, trust me. You don’t need an M.2 slot. Not at all. SATA 3 speeds are more than you need, and even SSDs that don’t max it out are plenty fast.
Furthermore, you don’t need to store everything on an SSD. It’s generally considered best to buy a 128-256GB SSD for the OS and programs (depending on how many you have) and a 1TB HDD for all your files. That way you get almost 3 times more storage for the same (or lower) price, while still having that blazing fast speed for OS and programs.

Yes it is quite stupid… everything will be outdated by then, even your fancy overclocked i7. Everything. We will most likely have a new RAM type, probably new PCIe version and so on. We don’t know what will happen, so giving such huge hopes is just weird.

Your best bet is to get the best CPU you can get right now, as CPU sockets change very often and you won’t be able to upgrade it without replacing the motherboard and maybe RAM too. Then think about the graphics card, you don’t need the best one because those should be easy to replace for at least 5 years (just a guess).

Don’t worry about SSD speed, the speed impact grows together with “space thirst” so by the time SATA3 becomes too slow, your 500GB will be considered tiny amount of space. Just get the one that has enough storage for you and long warranty.

And don’t buy a decent CPU if you know you’ll have to upgrade it. Better save up some money in advance and buy the one you want. Because other components are easier to replace and cheaper to replace. A CPU is expensive, so you’re throwing out more money than you should for a “temporary part”. And it’s “hard to replace”, by that I mean sockets change very often and after some time you’ll have new sockets all over the place and limited availability of CPUs that match your socket.

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Hm, that’s always the question. I personally would go for SATA III, if I’m on a budget and if not then I’d go for the newest and best possible as long as it’s not too overpriced. But I’m actually happy, if my pc works fine for 5+ years. I built mine back in 2011 (more or less good mid-range) and it’s still ok for the average game a few years back and I didn’t like many of the newer games anyways, but now that the VR stuff is starting and we’re heading towards 4K I’m also thinking about building a new one next year or the year after (I’ll also be working then).

In conclusion: I just want to stress that it’s hard to predict what hardware you will need in 5+ years. So aiming for a M.2 isn’t a bad idea in that regard, but if you’re on a tight budget anyways then you can just aim for 5 years and get new stuff, if you have more money. And who knows what you’ll do with a pc in five years :stuck_out_tongue:


Thanks for the advice! I will drop M.2 from the wishlist than. The 500GB SSD was already paired with a 1TB HDD, I run quit a range of programs and I don’t think 250Gb will be enough for them. That is what you get when you have a gaming habit and need video editing software for youtube and need 3D software to prepare projects… I have both Forza horizon 3 and GTAV, both are not that small programs. But if I drop the M.2 than things get a bit cheaper. And than I will try to get the CPU I need, and probably a second hand GPU for the start would be good enough

Most of the all-in-ones use a laptop style motherboard in a desktop form. So the question is not really whether you want a laptop style motherboard in your desktop but rather whether you are willing to deal with extensibility constraints to have a much simplified footprint - I suspect the micro PC footprint PCs also use laptop style motherboards, which is how they shrink the footprint of the overall PC. In these PCs, there is limited capabilities for using slots (typically the only upgradability if available is the hard drive and memory).

Id have to disagree with some of you. We are now transitioning from SATA to M.2, the same way we did from PATA to SATA. As soon as the majority has M.2, there wont be any new SSD with SATA slot. Granted, you can always use an adapter, but if you plan to keep the computer for 5+ years, M.2 is a good investment, and boards with M.2 arent that much more expensive anyway. Same applies for DDR3 vs DDR4.

Here’s the tip for keeping a PC for long:

  • Buy products with the longest warranty. Even if youre not going to use the warranty, usually products with the longest warranty are built to last longer. That is why theyre confident enough to do that. Good example is EVGA SuperNOVA series with 10 (ten!) years warranty. Dont fall for “military grade” or “extreme durability” marketing BS if they cant back it up by giving you long warranty
  • If youre gaming, your GPU will last 3 years maximum. Not more. Buy a GPU that has good resale value, it varies from one country to another, but usually NVIDIA is better.
  • Get as big per-stick RAM as possible. If you, say, need 8 GB RAM, dont buy 2x4 GB even though its faster. And avoid DDR3 if possible, go for DDR4.
  • If youre buying Intel, and you can upgrade to the K-series CPU without spending a ton of money, go get it. Those has really good resale value, often 3x as much as its non-overclockable counterparts when you go to the used market few years from now. Even if you dont buy a Z-series mainboard, the investment will pay off, or even net you profit, when you sell it. One exception is 7350K, its too expensive for its performance.
  • Speaking of 7350K, skip the entire Core i3 line. Either get the Pentium G4560, or go straight to i5/i7. Core i3 is just 10% faster at double the price compared to Pentium (only in Kaby Lake generation).

Have to disagree here. You can buy older (non-K) Core i5 or i7 for dirt cheap now in the used market. It is a good idea, if youre going with budget platform, to get a Pentium G4560 and upgrade to i5 or i7 down the line.

Dont fall for marketing. Go to the store and try VR or 4K yourself. For example, Im not comfortable with using VR headset, so I dont see myself using VR anytime soon.

Those can be installed on the HDD.


Let me highlight a place for you:

Of course it’s good to just buy a “placeholder” CPU until you can get a better one. But it’s a bad idea to spend money on a 7500 and upgrade to 7700K, because that’s like 3 SKUs apart. If he had chosen a Pentium or something among the lines, it would be good. But there’s no point in spending over $200 on something you’re planning to throw away soon.