How to Upgrade a Laptop's Graphics Card

By Mickey Walburg

Laptop computers are popular with people of all computing habits, from casual users to hardcore gamers. As more media applications such as games and movies are used by laptop owners, many people feel the need to have the video card in their laptop upgraded so that they can run the latest media and games. If you have a laptop and want to upgrade the video card, you may be able to do so.

Step 1

Contact your laptop manufacturer to determine if laptop's video card can be upgraded. Unless you purchase a high-end or gaming laptop, the video card is usually not upgradable because it is integrated directly into the motherboard of the computer. Higher-end and gaming laptops have discrete video cards that can oftentimes be upgraded if the laptop manufacturer chose to produce an upgraded model of the video card. If the laptop is unable to have its video card upgraded, you'll have to buy a new laptop to get an upgraded video card.

Step 2

Purchase an upgraded video card directly from the manufacturer. Laptop video cards are specially designed and made by the laptop manufacturers and are generally available only from the manufacturers themselves. You may be able to find them on auction sites or from third-party dealers, but to ensure that the card works properly with your laptop model, you should go through your computer manufacturer.

Step 3

Find out if the card is user-serviceable or not. If it is, you will be sent the part and can install it yourself by taking apart the laptop computer, removing the old video card and putting the new one in. If not, then you may have to pay an additional fee to have the laptop manufacturer send a technician to install the video card for you.

Tips & Warnings

  • Laptop computers are more difficult and complicated to take apart and service than desktop computers because of their small size; unless you are experienced at dismantling and reassembling laptops, you may want to have a technician install the video card upgrade.