At some point in the life cycle of a Laptop, there is usually the demand for better graphics performance. For desktop computers, this is a fairly simple and easy process, and there are a wide range of upgrades available. However, in the case of a Laptop computer, most are told that this is not possible. That in order to upgrade the graphics capability on their laptop they should purchase a brand new expensive model. This is quite frankly, either a misinformed opinion or a bad sales pitch. In this Tip we will explore the graphics upgrade options for Laptops.METHOD 1:
For ANY Laptop with an ExpressCard
slot. This method will be something you use at your desk, and it will stay there. This is not a portable option by any means, but it eliminates the necessity of buying a whole new computer. You will need:
1. A Power Supply from a desktop computer.
2. A PCI-Express graphics card of your choosing.
3. HWTools Expresscard to PCI-Express adapter.
The HWTools adapter is a very much barebones kit (85$), and therefore the cheapest alternative compared to overpriced units
(750$!!!) from other suppliers that do the exact same thing.
The HWTools site has a very good installation and user manual for the adapter. It is essentially using the computing power of the graphics card and channeling it through the ExpressCard port.METHOD 2:
Netbooks. Sadly, most netbooks do not have an ExpressCard slot and cannot benefit from the method above. The one option available for improving graphics performance ONLY aids in video playback, namely Flash (Youtube) and H.264 video footage. This is done through the installation of a Broadcom CrystalHD card, which essentially offloads video decoding from a slow Netbook processor. An in depth review and test of this card is done by Nick Mertes and can be read here.METHOD 3
: MXM-upgrade! Yes, some laptops support what is known as the MXM graphics card format. These cards can actually be removed from your laptop and upgraded with better cards of the same format. The lists of MXM compatible laptops can be found HERE
, and HERE
. The site MXM-upgrade.com is dedicated to helping those with MXM to upgrade their laptop graphics.
That is all and I hope this has been informative helpful.