How To Upgrade Graphics Card On Laptop?

by Arslan Ashraf

How To Upgrade Graphics Card On Laptop?

When running some heaviest realistic games on laptops, it becomes pretty burdensome for usual ones to provide a fluent screenplay. It’s because most laptops lack some extraordinary graphics-related capabilities compared to PCs. Still, many laptops are out there that can give you magnificent graphics performance in gaming and content creation. If you want to get good-quality visual output from a laptop, you either have to purchase a new and high-quality one or just make some changes to the previous one. 

In such a case, we may try upgrading the laptop graphics card. But a question arises, how to upgrade graphics card on laptop? We will look at each method in this post to help you get outstanding graphics specifications on your laptop. But remember, laptops aren’t typically designed with graphic card up-gradation. They don’t have ample room, so it becomes pretty challenging to swap parts. Still, we will try every possible method in this article to take the laptop’s graphics game to the next level. 

How a GPU works?

A good GPU is considered the leading factor when a sensual script is concerned. The pictures you see on your laptop screen are composed of tiny pixels, and usually, a screen display has more than 2 million pixels. The CPU coordinates with the GPU and several software applications to show these visuals. A CPU sends the data to the GPU, through which the GPU decides how to use the pixel on the screen to create an image.

Afterward, this information is sent to the monitor so it can showcase the visuals-related output to you. A graphic card’s duty is somewhat complex, but its principles and components make it easy to understand. The computer has to decide what to do with each pixel to create an image. For this purpose, it requires a translator, which can take the binary code from the CPU and convert it into picture form for the user’s convenience.

How to Upgrade Graphics Card on Laptop?

There are almost three different methods to upgrade the graphics card on a laptop. Well, we will discuss each process in detail, together with their precautions, advantages, limitations, downsides, and more. Let’s dive deep into the actual discussion!

Upgrade Graphics Card On Laptop
How To Upgrade Graphics Card On Laptop

Three methods include:

  1. Purchase a new powerful laptop
  2. Upgrade laptop graphics card directly
  3. Connect an external GPU or eGPU

Method 1: Purchase a new powerful laptop

The first, easy, and most impactful way of upgrading the laptop graphics unit is by purchasing an all-new laptop. We suggest this method at the top because gaming laptops aren’t designed to upgrade their graphics unit. There is not much headroom to swap the card since each manufacturer tries its best to minimize the extra space and make the laptop as slim as possible. In such a situation, you would have to either reassemble the laptop without upgrading the card or create space to put in a new card. 

In contrast, several laptops have built-in capability to let the user upgrade the graphics card. Still, the upgradation could be a costly and tiresome process to do since you have to spend a lot of time researching the compatible GPU. So as I mentioned, the easiest way could be to purchase a powerful laptop with the desired graphics card to get the most out of gaming and content creation. You can read this gaming laptop guide before visiting different online retail stores or a computer shop. 

THE PROS

Easy-to-apply method

Saves your time

THE CONS

You have to purchase a new laptop

May be pricey 

Method 2: Upgrade laptop graphics card directly

The second method to upgrade the laptop graphics is by changing the laptop’s graphics processing unit. It might be a confusing process, but if you follow simple milestone-based steps, you can do this easily. But even before diving into the actual method, several pre-upgradation steps must be followed to carefully complete the upgradation. Therefore, in the following two sections of the post, we will look at some pre-upgradation steps and then move toward installing a new graphics unit. 

Follow these pre-upgradation steps.

The process of upgrading your old-dusty GPU is straightforward, but a few things need to be done before swapping. Of course, these steps might be annoying for some users but spare a thought for our first-time computer enthusiasts. For swapping the card, you don’t need to be a computer expert, and you just have to follow the guidelines written below.

Purchase a new GPU: if you’re interested in swapping the laptop’s GPU with the most powerful one, then you have to purchase that first. But before selecting one, make sure to check whether it’s compatible with your laptop or not. For this, you must start by checking the new graphics card’s form factor and power requirement—match both factors with your laptop. After ensuring these two, the next factor that can help you assess the new card is its clock speed. It must be enough so the card can provide you with adequate graphics output.

Collect all the necessary tools that are required for the installation. After uncovering a suitable graphics card for your laptop, the next thing you have to do is to gather all the necessary tools that are required to safely and easily install the card into the laptop. Remember, you don’t need a bunch of tools for doing an up-gradation in the GPU. Instead, you just need to have a screwdriver and, sometimes, a metal strip. Continue reading our full article; eventually, you will achieve swapping a new Graphic card without any issues.

Uninstall the old drivers: A graphic card has its own drivers, and they are confined to a very tiny program in your computer that allows and enables the graphics to be communicated by the graphic card within the operating system. But you must uninstall all the updated drivers from your laptop or older card before installing a new card and its drivers. Remember, you must do this process in a hierarchy as it would create a bypass between you and any type of issue, like you might see a blurry screen or poor screen resolution, etc.

Clean your laptop, including the GPU socket: If you aren’t sure about the dust build-up in your laptop, now is the time to get rid of all the dust. Dust is the prime enemy of any computing device since it blocks airflow and may cause overheating. Plus, it’s also essential to save the newly-installed graphics card from the dust. If you are not an expert, you can just use a thin nozzle of the vacuum cleaner and vacuum up all the dust from the lower end of your PC case to prevent any dust particles from entering the components.

Upgrading the graphics unit

Now after following all the above steps, you can now replace your old graphic card with your newly bought one. The whole process comprises a bunch of easy-peasy steps that must be followed to do the job smoothly. Let’s uncover those steps!

Note: I’m assuming that you have checked all the necessary conditions that must be checked and followed before installation. Most importantly, you have ensured that the laptop on which you will perform the upgradation lets you upgrade its card. 

  • Step 1: The GPU is tightly screwed into the place at the back of the laptop to secure it, and moreover, it would prevent it from the effects of gravity. Unscrew these bolts and carefully put them together so they can’t cause any trouble for you.
  • Step 2: Now, you will unplug the power connectors, which are generally located on the side of the card and usually face you.
  • Step 3: Up to this point, the card has been disconnected and is almost free. The final step is to push the catch you notice on the PCI-e slot. This catch looks like a lever, and eventually, it will unclip your GPU from the motherboard. Sometimes, you might have to apply some more force after this step.
  • Step 4: Once the old card has been removed, you can now position your card into the actual slot, and you will hear a click sound (the sound of reclipping). Reattach your power connections to the GPU and then screw back all the bolts and plug in the battery. 
  • Step 5: Now everything is plugged in. Turn it all back on and see if it powers up. Remember, modern GPU fans run idle until the graphics card heats up, so don’t worry if nothing moves at starting.

Note: You have to check whether the laptop has recognized the new GPU or not. For this, check out the next step, step 6

  • Step 6. Press Windows key + X > navigate to the 6th option, Device Manager > click on Display adapters. After that, you will find the names of all graphics cards attached to the laptop. If the newly attached is there, your card has been connected. 

Note: you’re done with upgrading your GPU. Now it’s the time to load your favorite titles again and get a fantastic gaming experience at a higher frame per second, with enhanced details and a smoother display.

THE PROS

Saves your money

You just have to upgrade the older laptop

THE CONS

Time-taking process

Not applicable for all the laptops

Risk of damaging your laptop

Method 3: Connect an external GPU or eGPU

If you love your laptop and don’t want to upgrade it, you can try connecting an external GPU or eGPU with it to enjoy the true graphics experience. But the condition is there must be a compatible Thunderbolt 3 port on your laptop in order to carry on this method. You must purchase an eGPU if you don’t have one already and connect it to your laptop using the Thunderbolt 3 connection. For more information about the eGPUs, you can read, is eGPU worth it and get to know all the necessary aspects of these graphics units.

THE PROS

Quite an easy method

Enjoy PC-equivalent graphics

No need to upgrade the laptop

THE CONS

Not applicable if the laptop doesn’t have a Thunderbolt 3 port

Conclusion 

A laptop isn’t that effective for gaming, even if it’s a gaming laptop. The reason is that the laptop GPU can’t beat the PC’s discrete graphics cards in terms of performance. If you have a laptop and want to know how to upgrade graphics card on laptop and enjoy an impressive gaming performance, this article is for you. We have discussed three methods to upgrade the GPU on a laptop. You can purchase a new laptop with a better card or connect an external GPU. If a laptop lets you change the GPU, check the step given above to do so. 

Remember, each method has its own advantages and limitations, together with performance statistics. Upgrading your is the most effective one since it doesn’t take much time. All you have to do is to find a powerful laptop and purchase it. On the other hand, connecting an external GPU is also quite easy. But if you’re interested in actually swapping the older GPU, it may take a reasonable amount of time. First of all, you have to purchase a new laptop GPU, open the laptop, and install into on the laptop by looking at a set of simple steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best graphics cards to use with a laptop GPU dock?

Every graphics card that provides you with your expected performance is perfect for you. Still, some names may inspire you to go for them due to their excellent performance. Those include Nvidia’s GPUs for professional workloads and AMD cards for gaming.

What graphics card does my laptop have?

There is a simple set of keyboard clicks to find what GPU your laptop is using. For windows, press Windows key + X to access the Device Manager > Display Adaptors, and find your card. Go to the Apple menu in macOS and click About This Mac to get your card’s name.

Arslan Ashraf

Arslan Ashraf is a tech enthusiast and an experienced technical writer at GamingDairy. He has been writing all types of guides, tutorials, and tips for gamers, developers, and other people who use computers. His way of writing is quite unique: he starts with testing every single piece of Hardware and does a long list of experiments before writing the actual masterpiece. Well, if you have any queries, ensure to connect with him!