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add video card to a laptop?

by zero3son / September 13, 2007 8:57 AM PDT

Is that possible?

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If you have to ask. . .
by Coryphaeus / September 13, 2007 9:31 AM PDT
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question about a Mini PCI-express video card
by jgschafer84 / February 22, 2009 5:50 PM PST

I just bought a HP Pavilion dv4, and i saw that there was an extra slot, i know it is for sure PCI, and i believe to be able to upgrade it with a video card for dedicated video memory. any ideas on where i can at least look up about these types of cards for laptops? thanks


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Gateway M series
by Gateway M / April 9, 2009 9:45 AM PDT

i was wondering what kind of video card i could get for the Gateway m-series m7844-u and where could i get it. thx.

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It's very simple.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 9, 2009 10:47 AM PDT
In reply to: Gateway M series

If there is such a card, Gateway will have it. Call them.

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Very unlikely
by Jackson Douglas / September 13, 2007 11:25 AM PDT

Some will let you install Mini-PCI cards, but it's pretty uncommon. Most have a video chipset which is soldered directly to the motherboard.

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by Impreza WRX / September 14, 2007 4:21 PM PDT

There are PC-Card video cards, but they suck like warp driven vacuum cleaners.

Some laptops use a new specification for mobile graphics that allows you to upgrade in the future. These systems, however, are few and far in between, possibly because laptop makers don't want a standard layout or way of doing things.Most laptops, though, have on-board graphics that perform poorly in any situation, and they can't be upgraded.

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by TrackStar1682 / September 14, 2007 5:06 PM PDT

But you knew there had to be a catch, right?
You need to have an ExpressCard slot, and the only thing available at this point is very expensive.

Asus makes such an upgrade, but it's $600. How important is it?

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Maybe Yes - Maybe No, but Why Are You Asking?
by High Desert Charlie / September 15, 2007 2:13 AM PDT

The previous answers above are correct. There are some laptops with video cards in addition to the motherboard, but most are integrated into the design of the motherboard.

The simple reason for this is space. The number one objective in designing a laptop/notebook is the conservation of space. It's a lot easier to design the unit for a Video Chip than an inter-changeable card. I guess the real question is why you're asking.

If your laptop did have a separate video card, in most cases you would need to disassemble the entire unit to replace it. Few users are up to this task. Disassembling a laptop can be a disaster if you aren't extremely careful. Also, replacement video cards are extremely expensive (if you can find one for your laptop), and a repair shop will charge you plenty to do the work for you. I finished one yesterday and the card cost $180, with labor at $99.00 and I really undercharged for the labor.

PCI Express slots were mentioned earlier, but the likelihood of finding an actual video card for a PCI Express slot is slim. They do make some really cool PCI Express cards for TV Recording and playback.

One final thought. When it comes to notebooks/laptops, simple is better. In my experience working on thousands of laptops, the more complex the design the more the likelihood of failure down the road. Hope this helps.

High Desert Charlie

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Do you mean PCI-X?
by Jackson Douglas / September 15, 2007 2:34 AM PDT

PCI Express, or PCI-E is rapidly becoming standard in new systems as a replacement for PCI and AGP. On desktops at least. Finding such a slot in a laptop would probably be quite the interesting discovery.

There's PCI-X, which is a largely failed competitor to PCI-E, mostly seen in Apple's XServe line. Seems like they're mostly used for high bandwidth, low latency, sorts of things like gigabit ethernet cards.

But don't forget heat and energy consumption as major factors in laptop design. Integrated chipsets use far less energy, since they're not as high performance, which increases battery life and reduces the amount of heat generated that has to be dealt with somehow. When working in such confined spaces, heat buildup can be a real issue. Battery life is also a major selling point on laptops.

I'm just a proponent of the idea that if you need more than an integrated video chipset on a laptop, what you probably want, is a desktop. Laptops do not make good gaming systems, or good systems for any other high end sort of task from CAD work to photo or video editing. Those things should be left to desktops, and laptops should be more along the lines of portable word processors and Internet terminals.

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Maybe but probably not
by seanm924 / September 15, 2007 4:36 AM PDT

Most laptop graphics' cards are soldiered right to the motherboard and can't be removed. Yours might be the exception but its doubtful.

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external option possibility(?)
by ifishcat / September 15, 2007 5:33 AM PDT

here is something that has caught my consideration, though admittedly I've yet to try it, and can not attest to its viability...

apparently, through the expresscard (or PCMCIA) slot, one can for an above average cost ($1000 for starters?) get an expansion box, allowing the adding of a standard desktop pci (and/or pci-x) card.

the possible point is, the tech is there, there are options. as to whether its more cost effective to just buy a newer laptop with the better graphics, is left to the individuals choice, eh?

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Dell Inspiron 1720
by 2Cold Scorpio / September 16, 2007 8:38 AM PDT

I'm looking into getting a Dell Inspiron 1720. I'll be getting a 256MB GeForce 8600 GT video card. In this case, it that upgradable? I ask ecause most replies in this thread imply integrated graphics solutions found in any laptops (the base option on the Insp. 1720 is such an integrated option), but i wonder that with the 256MB GeForce I'll have if it'll be a different case. I'd be interested in upgrading it to a 512MB card someday. Happy As a side note that may be of interest, my old Inspiron 8100 I got in 2001 had a 32MB GeForce2 Go card, though I do not know if it was integrated or not. It was the best option at the time though! Happy

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I looked and it looks like no.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 16, 2007 9:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Dell Inspiron 1720

The good news is its at nearly the top of what you can get in laptops today.


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Dell Video Cards
by jonesja / September 16, 2007 10:35 PM PDT
In reply to: Dell Inspiron 1720

I purchased a Dell Inspiron 8500 several years ago and chose a high end video card option. While the video is nice there are several issues you should be aware of (some of these were mentioned above): 1) It generates heat like you will not believe. In fact, so much heat at times it causes the computer to freeze. The integrated fans running on high are still not able to cool it sufficiently. That being said the system has a P4M chip which certainly contributes; 2) The video card that you purchase with your laptop will ONLY be made for that laptop. I had recently had a video card issue. In an effort to fix it, I flashed the video card BIOS according to directions POSTED on the Dell web FRIED the card when the flash program failed. It turned out that I later found that this had happened to several people, yet Dell REFUSED to accept responsibility and REFUSED to replace the card. I was fortunate to find a replacement card on eBay. It cost me $120 and it was made for a 5/6 year old computer!!!! 3) When I searched for video card options I found two. One was the original card I purchased the system with, and the other was a card made specifically for the next generation system (one step forward from mine). When I read reviews about the second card, EVERYONE complained that the heat generation was WAY TOO much for the laptop to handle. So, while I am all for nice video on a portable system, do not plan on replacing or upgrading the video card in you laptop. You need to purchase it with the mind set that any feature that cannot be added by USB or Firewire is out of reach. All in all our Dell laptop still runs fine. It is slow and often has many Windows-related issues, but it still get the job done. As for me, I will not purchase another Windows laptop. My next purchase will be a MacBook Pro. The hardware and performance are outstanding and I know th quality to there as well. I will load Windows on the Mac using Bootleg so that I can get work-specific stuff done, but I will enjoy the quality, ease of use, stability, and longevity of the Mac.

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Dell video cards
by 2Cold Scorpio / September 16, 2007 11:41 PM PDT
In reply to: Dell Video Cards

Well, thanks for the help. Luckily, the vid card is good enough that it won't require even the thought of upgrading for at least a couple of years. But still, my old Dell's 32 MB vid card held on for a long time, this one oughta do the same. Happy I just asked out of curiosity (because it would be nice to bump it up to a 512 card with DDR3 RAM eentually), ut its not an absolutely needed upgrade. By then I ought to have a new monster desktop built. Grin

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