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Building a $6000 data science laptop for $2100 in 2022 - Part 2: installing stuff

Updated: Jun 29, 2022

This one is all screwdrivers and NVIDIA drivers. We'll install the RAM, hard drive, and Ubuntu.

Photo credit:

In the last blog post, we bought the following hardware:


​RAM upgrade

​Hard drive upgrade

I'm not getting paid for your clicks here, I'm just providing links in case anyone else wants to build along with me. If you found other hardware you'd prefer to use, let us know in the comments! The goal is for all of us to build the best data science laptops our money can buy, right?

Okay, let's get down to business. Check out the following video to see where to install the new RAM and SSD. Note that I left the Windows SSD out of the computer while I was installing Ubuntu just to avoid any possibility of overwriting the wrong hard drive. I simply plugged the Windows SSD back into the secondary hard drive slot after I installed Ubuntu.

Operating System

For the work I do, I prefer to use an Ubuntu operating system. A lot of data scientists have this bias, for reasons I'm probably unqualified to go into here. I'm sure there are some great Medium articles out there to explain it. Bottom line, we're installing Ubuntu.

This laptop has slots for two hard drives, and it comes with Windows 11 installed on a 512GB SSD. That could be useful, so I'll keep the Windows installation on that drive and install Ubuntu on the new 4TB drive. Since my most intense read/write loads will be done on Ubuntu, I'll put Ubuntu in the primary hard drive slot, which has slightly faster read/write speeds.

Installing Ubuntu is relatively easy these days. We're going to use Ubuntu 22.04, which is the latest Long Term Support (LTS) version of Ubuntu available right now. The makers of Ubuntu say that this version features

significant leaps forward in cloud confidential computing, real-time kernel for industrial applications, and enterprise Active Directory, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, FIPS and FedRAMP compliance

The steps for installing Ubuntu are laid out in a really nice tutorial here, so I'll just comment on places where I had to make a decision as I followed the process. Here are the twelve steps:

Step 1: No comment.

Step 2: Used version 22.04

Step 3: Used my existing Ubuntu machine's native "Startup Disk Creator" to turn a 32gb USB stick into a bootable drive

Pause to physically install the new 4TB SSD and 64gb RAM (see video - not mine, but on point)

Step 4-12: See video below.

That's all for now! Seems to be working properly.

If you decide to build one, let us know how it went in the comments! We're especially interested to hear if you did things differently, and why you made your choices.

Happy building!

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