Friday, December 2, 2022

Upgrading Graphics Card Laptop

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How To Save Money On A New Graphics Card

Upgrading Your Laptop – CPU / Graphics / RAM / Disk

Right now, graphics cards are really expensive. The trouble is that the recent cryptocurrency boom has severely increased demand because there are plenty of currencies you can successfully mine with GPUs.

Our advice is to avoid buying unless you really have to, because let’s face it, spending potentially hundreds of dollars more than you need to isn’t a good idea. But that’s not to say there aren’t deals out there worth taking advantage of, and we’re doing our best to make sure we’re bringing you those deals regularly.

What Are My Upgrade Options Then

Does this mean we are stuck with the GPU that we get with the laptop? With most laptops out there, the answer is yes. But there is hope in the form of Thunderbolt.

Thunderbolt is very interesting connectivity that combines PCIe, DisplayPort, and sometimes DC Power all into a single port. With Thunderbolt 3 and 4, the port is a USB Type-C.

Note that not all USB Type-C Ports are Thunderbolt capable. But all Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 Ports use USB Type-C. Look for the Lightning Bolt logo around the USB-C Port that indicates a Thunderbolt Port.

It is a little confusing but the important thing here is the PCIe lanes of the Thunderbolt Port. Using a Thunderbolt port, you can essentially transfer data at a very high speed .

So, GPU manufacturers or third-party designers started to take advantage of this port in the form of External GPU or e-GPU. Some manufacturers design enclosures for traditional desktop Graphics Cards so that we can insert them into these enclosures and connect to a Thunderbolt Port.

So, the next important thing to look for is Thunderbolt support in a laptop. If your laptop comes with a Thunderbolt port, then one way to upgrade its Graphics Card or GPU is to use e-GPU over Thunderbolt Port.

Of course, this is a very expensive upgrade as you have to purchase a full desktop Graphics Card and a supporting Thunderbolt enclosure to make this an e-GPU.

How To Upgrade A Laptop Gpu

First off, we have to uninstall the graphics drivers. For this, we are going to download a program called the Display Driver Uninstaller which will get rid of anything related to your graphics card on you GPU.

Then, turn your laptop off and unplug it as well as removing the battery.

From here, the motherboards will all look different, but you should see a bunch of screws that need removing to continue, so continue to do that.

Once open, you should be able to identify your GPU. It will likely look similar to the one you are about to install.

Now, you need to identify if you have the spare slot that you can install your new GPU in. If there is one, you dont have to worry about taking out your original one and possibly damaging the original one.

If there is no extra slot, simply remove the old GPU and place the new one in place of it. If this sounds too harrowing though, there is another way to upgrade the GPU:

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Make Sure The Card Fits In Your Case

Most full-sized tower cases can accommodate even the biggest graphics cards. If you have a smaller case , youll have fewer choices.

There are two primary issues here: card width and card length.

A lot of the higher powered graphics cards are wide enough that they take up the space of two slots. If youve already got another type of card plugged in next to the slot youll use for your graphics card, youll need to take that space limitation into account.

The more thorny issue is card length. While low-end and mid-tier cards are generally short enough to fit most cases, more powerful cards tend to be much longer. And in some cases your available space might be further limited by where hard drives are installed, where cables are plugged into your motherboard, and how power cables are run.

Also some very small PC cases might limit the height of the card you can use.

The easiest way to handle all this is to pop open your case and measure the space you have available. When youre shopping online for cards, the specifications should list the measurements of the card.

Theres also one more factor to consider: the cards power inputs. Mid- and high-end cards require a dedicated electrical connection to the computers power supply. The plug for this cable is either on the top of the card, or on the end of it . Youll usually need an extra half inch of so of clearance for this plug, in addition to the dimensions of the card itself.

And speaking of power

Integrated Vs Discrete Gpus

These upgrade kits swap out your laptop

Most modern CPUs have integrated graphics, which are essentially GPUs that are built into the CPU itself, or are otherwise closely interlinked with the CPU. These integrated graphics tend to be lower-performance options, providing enough power to drive the operating system and run web browsers, email clients, productivity apps, and other routine software, but not enough for anything more than casual games. This is quickly changing as CPUs become more powerful, but for now, if you want to play games, a separate GPU is likely the best solution.

Standalone GPUs range from relatively low-cost, entry-level options all the way up to incredibly powerful GPUs that can cost well over $1,000 all by themselves. You can buy discrete GPUs as part of pre-built systems, for a PC youre building yourself, or to upgrade an older GPU.

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Can I Upgrade My Laptops Gpu/graphics Card

Youre likely wondering if you can upgrade your laptops GPU for better gaming performance. Graphics Cards/GPUs are a super prominent specification now due to the rise in popularity with graphically intensive applications such as Gaming, Video Editing, and Deep Learning.

Back in the day, laptops didnt have decent graphics, they just had a simple integrated graphics unit for simple image rendering. Now laptops with dedicated graphics are becoming widespread, you can find a laptop with the latest RTX technology effortlessly.

Answer: Laptop GPUs are impossible to upgrade whether theyre integrated or dedicated, this is because theyre usually soldered to the motherboard. The only way to change your laptops GPU is to get a whole new laptop, laptops just arent meant to be upgradable in the way desktop PCs are.

How Do I Know If My Laptop Supports Upgrading Its Gpu

Apart from checking the tech specs for your laptop in its user manual or online, there’s no way to be certain as to whether your PC supports upgrading its graphics card.

However, the form factor of your system can provide a good indication of whether you can replace your laptop graphics card or not.

If you’ve got an ultrabook or a thin-and-light notebook, it is almost certain that you don’t have the option to switch out your graphics card with a better one. These laptops are too concerned with packing all their components into such a small package to allow for user-replaceable components.

If you have one of those bulky gaming laptops, I reckon that there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to switch out its graphics card with a better one. These laptops tend to have a lot of space for a lot of user upgrades, like a second hard drive, CPU changes , and changing out graphics cards.

Which Laptop Brands Support Graphics Card Upgrades?

If you have a laptop from certain brands, there’s a good chance that you have a user-replaceable graphics processing unit in them.

Eurocom is a Canadian brand that provides upgrade kits for the graphics card in your GPU. They also offer laptops of their own, and many of their models support changing out your laptop’s GPU.

So, if you have a Eurocom laptop, you might be in luck. You’ll be able to buy an upgrade for the discrete graphics card in your computer from their website if yours is a supported model.

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Is A Laptop Gpu Upgrade Necessary

The short answer is that you never really need to upgrade your laptops GPU unless you are a gamer that is stuck with a card 4 or 5 generations behind the modern models or your GPU is failing/dead. A less-than-ideal card is still capable of playing some of the most popular games out there in both VR and flat screen with little issue.

Check out our guide to GPU lifespan to help determine if your card is on its last leg.

Install A New Power Supply

Upgrading a Laptop Graphics Card – The Purchase

For a 380-watt draw, we’d recommend at least a 500-watt power supply for safety’s sake. A new power supply installation isn’t rocket science, but it’s a time-consuming upgrade, and you’ll want to make sure to get a new supply with the same physical fitment.

Most new power supplies in ordinary-size tower PCs use the “ATX” power-supply form factor, which governs the size and shape of the power supply. You’ll just want to be sure, if the new ATX power supply you get is longer front to back, that your PC’s case has the extra clearance for it. In rare cases a desktop may have a proprietary, non-ATX power supply or use a smaller form factor, called SFX. In those cases, you’ll want to check with the system maker’s support personnel for your upgrade options, though you can get aftermarket SFX supplies easily, if you’re sure you have one.

Beyond the wattage is the issue of the physical power connectors that you need to run from the power supply to the new video card. Before you even conceive of a card upgrade, check out the required power-supply connectors on your new graphics card. The lowest-end cards might not have any power connectors, with the card able to draw its needed power through the PCI Express slot. More likely, though, your new card will have a six-pin or an eight-pin power socket on its top edgeâor two of them, which can be of either type.

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The Integrated Graphics Card Problem

In many cases, it is simply impossible to upgrade the graphics.

Many laptops have an integrated graphics card which means that the graphical processing unit is part of the central processing unit and you cannot make an upgrade here.

Well, this is not strictly true because you could replace the entire motherboard of your laptop so that you can add a more powerful graphics card and get rid of the integrated one.

But this would cost so much to do that you would be better off purchasing a new laptop with the graphics performance you are looking for.

Graphics Card Upgrade Kits

In the last few years, graphics upgrade kits have become available from companies like Eurocom. However, these will only work with certain laptop models, so you need to see if a kit is available for your laptop or not.

With these upgrade kits, you will not only be upgrading your GPU but your CPU as well.

This is necessary for you to experience the true performance benefits of upgrading your graphics on your laptop.

You will find that the upgrade kits are only available for a small number of laptop models.

The upgrade kits are only available for laptops manufactured by Clevo. You have probably never heard of Clevo before, but they manufacture many laptops for different brands.

Usually, the laptop upgrade kits are available for high-end gaming laptops larger than standard laptops and heavier at around 7 pounds.

You can check to see if an upgrade kit is available for your laptop on the Eurocom page here. It will cost at least $300 to purchase an upgrade kit if there is one for your laptop. However, some of the upgrade kits are close to $2,000. And then, you will need to do the upgrade work yourself, which is not for the faint of heart.

Alienware M15x VGA Upgrade Kit

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What If I Cant Upgrade

If you cant upgrade your motherboard, power supply, or case to work with the specific graphics card you want, or youre using a laptop and you want more power than is available, you also have the option of using an external graphics card enclosure. These are basically external boxes into which you can plug a PCI-E graphics card. They have their own power supply and a way plugging into a PC . Some come equipped with a graphics card already some are empty enclosures for plugging in whatever card you want.

They arent an ideal solution. They do require an extra power outlet and a high-speed connection to your PC. Plus, they dont offer the same level of performance as an internal card. In addition, these enclosures start at about $200 . At that point, you have to start considering whether upgrading your PC or just building a low-cost gaming desktop is a better route to take. But for laptop owners or those who want a relatively easy way to add graphical power, theyre an interesting alternative.

Make Sure Your Motherboard Has The Right Kind Of Slot

How Can I Upgrade My Laptop Graphics Card

Todays graphics cards all use the PCI-E standard for plugging into your computers motherboard. This standardized slot gives high-speed access to your PCs processor and RAM, and its position on the board allows easy access to the rear of the case, letting you plug one or more monitors directly into the card itself.

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Almost all modern graphics cards require a PCI-E x16 slot, and almost all motherboards that feature any full-sized PCI-E slots at all will have one. If you only have an x8-speed slot, thatll work too, though performance on the most intense games might be a little limited. The important part is that you need a full-sized slot and not one thats designed for smaller x1, x2, or x4 cards.

The other thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the higher powered graphics cards are wide enough that they take up the space of two slots. If youve already got another type of card plugged in next to the slot youll use for your graphics card, youll need to take that space limitation into account.

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Integrated Vs Dedicated Gpu

They are similarly a type of graphics card, but they have certain differences:

Integrated

Here are the distinctions to remember:

  • It uses the system CPU or RAM. It doesnt have its own.
  • Cheaper than dedicated ones.
  • Youll need more RAM on the system level.
  • Good for 2D and light gaming, light work

Dedicated

These are the differences to note:

  • Have a separate CPU and RAM.
  • Uses more power.
  • For high-end gaming performance, heavy editing and graphics work.
  • Most GPUs are by NVIDIA, AMD
  • A lot more expensive!

From these comparisons, youll easily see why people want to upgrade from an integrated graphics card to an external dedicated one.

The performance is highly different, so a GPU upgrade is a must for some of us.

Laptop Gpu Dock Downsides

  • Very pricey, often moreso than the actual graphics card that youre buying. Some eGPU enclosures may include GPUs, but those also tend to be even more expensive.
  • Bandwidth limitations will restrict your GPU performance. While the exact performance deficit is difficult to quantify, Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 are both considerably slower than your average PCI Express x16 slot that a desktop GPU is meant for.However, theyre still considerably faster than USB, which isnt compatible with eGPUs in general.

Take a look at JarrodsTech on Youtube discussing and benchmarking the eGPU bottleneck:

Gaming is still improved by a dock but takes a major blow compared to desktop, whereas productivity workloads are only marginally impacted by the eGPU bottleneck.

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The Power Supply: Do You Have Enough Juice

While integrated graphics sip power from the CPU, many discrete PCI Express graphics cards can guzzle so much energy from your PC’s power supply that it may not be able to support its operation. Before you run into that problem, you can measure how much energy your PC uses.

A conventional desktop PC can consume anywhere from 60 watts to 600 watts, but actual power consumption is largely based on hardware configuration and your software load. For instance, a recent demanding game pushing frames at 4K resolution will demand much higher energy consumption than the PC sitting idle at a Microsoft Word document.

When measuring power consumption, you want to base your power-need estimates on peak use rather than averages, and leave enough overhead for load spikes. I’m fond of my Kill A Watt power meter for this task, but any wall-plug power meter should do.

Let’s say you run a power monitor on your system, which has an old AMD Radeon R7 260X card in it. Under peak load, you find that the system draws about 380 watts. Searching reveals a peak draw from this card of about 220 watts.

Dock Station For Egpu

How to Upgrade Built in Graphics Cards in Laptops

It is a device that has a PCI-E slot and controls. Power is supplied separately from the wall outlet, not together with the laptop. Sold separately from the graphics card.

Instructions:

  • Turn off your laptop completely.
  • Connect the power cable to the station and plug it in.
  • Connect the device to your laptop via the Thunderbolt port: plug the connector into the corresponding connectors.
  • Adjust the signal delay with the switch and get to work.

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Why Does Your Graphics Card Matter

For many people, gaming is the most hardware intensive task that you will ask your PC to perform. Its no surprise, then, that serious gamers spend hours researching the latest GPU technology, and they often upgrade their GPUs on a regular basis. As GPUs get faster, games are designed to take advantage of the extra performance, and that pushes manufacturers to make even faster GPUs, continuing the cycle.

If youre not prioritizing gaming, then you might not care as much about your GPUs capabilities. That said, professional applications often make direct use of a GPUs specialized processing capabilities, just in different ways. Examples include video editing, where a GPU can be used to speed up processes like video encoding, 3D rendering, and computer-aided design/manufacturing applications like AutoCAD. All these programs benefit from the additional processing power of a GPU, though they benefit most from GPUs designed specifically with these applications in mind.

Choosing a GPU is, therefore, an important part of building, buying, or upgrading a PC. As with every PC component, the first question to ask yourself when choosing a graphics card is: how will you be using it?

Gaming

The gaming industry has been instrumental in the evolution of GPU technology. Todays PC games are more realistic and complex than ever before, and the increasing performance of modern GPUs is both part of the reason why, and a response to gamers demanding better-looking and more complex games.

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