You may reasonably think, “Can I upgrade my laptop graphics card?” if you discover that your laptop simply lacks the power to support heavy graphics processing on more recent video games and for your professional work. The answer to the question is, regrettably, no. Your laptop’s internal graphics card cannot be upgraded. The straightforward explanation for this is that the GPU is soldered to the board and cannot be taken off.
A graphics card, also known as a graphic processing unit (GPU), is a unique electronic circuit with the processing capacity needed to create the images we have seen on computers. They can be found on both desktops and laptops. Speaking about laptops, these are incredibly adaptable computers with top-notch performance that are also portable. A laptop’s graphics card performs the same functions as a desktop’s graphics card. But what if you believe the graphics power is insufficient or unable to meet your needs?
In this article, we’ll examine some of the fundamentals of the GPU architecture in recent laptops. After that, we’ll try to comprehend the potential benefits of a laptop graphics card update.
Laptop Graphics Card
Initially, graphical cards’ main function was to assist the CPU in rendering 3D graphics. Of course, graphics cards still do the same function today. But they are far more capable and sophisticated than that. You can render images, graphics, and movies using graphic processing units (the integrated circuit in the center of a graphics card). You can use it to create content, play games, and perform other similarly graphically demanding jobs.
Modern laptops typically offer excellent graphics capability because they are essentially portable PCs. With the convenience of putting your laptop in your bag, you may use the GPU to play games or encode/decode videos.
Types Of GPU
GPU comes in two different types. They are
- Integrated Graphics card
- Dedicated or Discrete Graphics card
Integrated Graphics Card
Integrated graphics actually make up the majority of GPUs on the market. What are integrated graphics, then, and how do they function in your computer? Thinner and lighter systems, lower power consumption, and cheaper system costs are all made possible by CPUs that include a fully integrated GPU on their motherboard.
Leading integrated graphics technology is provided by Intel® Graphics Technology, which incorporates Intel® ArcTM and Intel® Iris® Xe graphics. Users may enjoy vivid visuals on devices that operate cooler and have long battery lives thanks to Intel® Graphics.
Dedicated Graphics Card
With integrated GPUs, many computing applications can function effectively. A discrete GPU, often known as a dedicated graphics card, is more appropriate for applications that require a lot of resources and have high-performance requirements.
These GPUs increase processing power at the expense of increased energy use and heat production. For discrete GPUs to perform at their best, separate cooling is typically required.
Can I Upgrade My Laptop Graphics Card?
Once more, the answer to this old query is a resounding no. On a laptop, you cannot upgrade graphics card of laptop in the same way that you cannot replace the CPU.
Along with the GPU chipset, the motherboard also has all of the supporting electrical parts, such as the capacitors, VRMs, VRAM, and ICs of a specific GPU. The simplest explanation is that a laptop’s graphics card is soldered. Since it cannot be taken out or changed, it is useless. If you’re interested, you may try unsoldering the GPU as a side DIY project, but be aware that doing so voids your laptop’s warranty and greatly increases the likelihood that your present GPU, motherboard, or both will be irreparably damaged.
PCIe Interface Vs MXM Interface
The PCIe interface is used by both desktop computers and laptops to connect High-Speed Input Out (HSIO) components, such as graphics cards. This raises the question of why you can’t change the graphics cards in laptops if you can do so for desktops. In essence, there was a time when NVIDIA pushed for the MXM interface to be used, allowing for GPU upgrades.
The abbreviation for Mobile PCIe Express Module is MXM. While the majority of the key components of the MXM standard are still in use, the upgradeable element is still not implemented. This standard was intended to streamline manufacturing and offer a consistent upgradeable GPU socket. This is due to the fact that, despite NVIDIA’s campaign, it is up to the manufacturer to decide whether or not to include an upgradeable GPU socket in the laptop.
Once again, the MXM standard’s detachable feature has lacked momentum. In the end, if users have the option to replace their GPUs, NVIDIA and AMD will stand to earn the most, while laptop manufacturers won’t see any financial rewards.
What Are The Ways To Add An External Graphics Card?
The answer to the question “can I upgrade my laptop graphics card” is not as far as the internal graphics card is concerned. You COULD, however, externally add a more recent and effective graphics card.
There are three ways to add an external graphics card to your laptop.
- Mini PCIe to PCIe x16 eGPU Kit
- M.2 NVMe to PCIe x16 eGPU Kit
- Thunderbolt 3.0 eGFX Dock
1. Mini PCIe to PCIe x16 eGPU Kit
The first approach is to purchase a Mini PCIe to x16 kit and install your graphics that way, as is advised by numerous users online. This kit is available online. On one end of the kit, which is located inside the laptop, it connects to the Mini PCIe Slot that houses the wireless card. On the other hand, you receive a whole x16 slot where a desktop-grade graphics card can be installed. In order for this kit to function, you must remove your wifi card.
However, this kind of system has a lot of drawbacks:
- Only one PCIe lane is available in the Mini PCIe slot!
- One of the greatest problems with this configuration is that a tiny PCIe slot only provides a single PCIe channel.
- The fact that the kit can be expanded to an x16 slot on the other end does not automatically imply that it will provide that slot’s bandwidth.
- The total system would still be restricted by the PCIe lane’s bandwidth.
- The optimal requirement for a graphics card is much higher than this. Although a graphics card can function with 8 or 4 lanes of bandwidth, 16 lanes are preferable.
- The performance of the installed graphics card would be severely hampered by the laptop’s Mini PCIe slot’s single PCIe lane.
- A desktop power supply unit is required.
- You will require a Power Supply Unit, which must also be mounted outside, in order to power the graphics card.
- The BIOS and graphics driver may need to be adjusted.
- It is not a plug-and-play configuration.
- The settings may vary based on the manufacturer and BIOS version of the laptop you are using.
- However, you must fundamentally locate the LAN settings as well as those for the graphics equipment.
- To avoid any conflicts, you must turn off WiFi, Boot to LAN BIOS, and both discrete GPUs.
- Additionally, you’ll need to download the drivers for your installed graphics card.
- Internal WiFi on your laptop won’t be available.
- No WiFi will be available on your laptop if the network card is removed.
- Compatibility Issues.
- There is still no way to know whether this kit will function with your graphics card despite all the effort put into making it work.
2. M.2 NVMe to PCIe x16 eGPU Kit
The M.2 NVMe to PCIe x16 slot kit is another kit that is extremely similar to the one mentioned before.
- Since an M.2 slot on a laptop typically connects to 4 PCIe lanes, it can deliver bandwidth of up to 4 PCIe lanes.
- However, the available bandwidth is still much below the 16 and 8-lane recommendations for the graphics card.
- Keep in mind that you must have an NVMe M.2 slot. This should NOT be mistaken for a SATA M.2 slot.
- Compared to the tiny PCIe to x16 kit above, this kit is more expensive.
- Your laptop must have an NVMe M.2 slot; older laptops typically don’t.
- Compatibility is still a concern about which you cannot be confident.
3. Thunderbolt 3.0 eGFX Dock
The use of a thunderbolt 3.0 eGFX (External Graphics Card) dock is the last and most recommended method. These frequently include a power supply unit (PSU).
The following are a few well-known Thunderbolt 3.0 eGFX Docks:
- Razer Core
- PowerColor Devil Box
- Cooler Master MasterCase EG200
- Cooler Master MasterCase NC100
- AKiTiO Node Titan
- they are frequently produced by reputable, high-end firms, making them quite dependable.
- A laptop with a Thunderbolt 3 port is necessary.
- The laptop must have a Thunderbolt 3.0 port.
- Unfortunately, Thunderbolt 3.0 connectors are currently only available on expensive computers.
- You will need to carefully consider your investment since just the enclosure (with the PSU fitted but without the graphics card) can run you ₹30000 to ₹40000.
Conclusion On Can I Upgrade My Laptop Graphics Card
Therefore, the question “Can upgrade laptop graphics card?” has an answer. Is a no in relation to the internal GPU. If your budget let it, you can add an external graphics card.
We can only hope that in the future, the MXM standard’s modular component will gain traction and we’ll eventually obtain detachable laptop GPUs.
If you have any queries, feel free to drop a comment below.
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