Laptops are typically designed for the on-the-go work that most employees and business people require from their computers. However, gamers and graphic designers also expect their computers to be capable on the go, so they also use laptops. But the fact is that laptops are not always made to have a great graphics card due to certain limitations. However, can you replace a graphics card on a laptop?
The graphics card on a laptop cannot be replaced as most laptops are built with integrated graphics cards already soldered to the motherboard. In addition, powerful graphics cards tend to be too large and power-hungry for laptops to handle.
A laptop can be an amazing machine because of all the things it could do as a portable computer. However, the very fact that it is portable gives it its limits.
So the inability to replace the graphics card is one of the biggest limitations that people usually look at when it comes to laptops, especially when we talk about hardcore gamers who only want the best graphics from their computers.
Can a laptop’s graphics card be replaced?
A laptop is such an amazing machine that has changed the way the computer world works today. While in the past most households had a desktop computer, today this has changed as most people now have laptops instead of desktop computers.
After all, a laptop is much more convenient and portable. And of course, laptops are getting more powerful every year as they begin to bridge the gap between them and their more powerful desktop counterparts.
While in the past, laptops were usually used by people who are always on the go for their work or business, this has also changed today as people now use laptops for gaming as well. This is because some players prefer to play on the go rather than stay in their homes most of the time.
This means that laptops are now powerful enough to play high-end games. However, this is usually only reserved for laptops that are at the higher end of the price spectrum. So in that case, more affordable laptops that are closer to around $1000 or even cheaper may not be able to handle the graphical demands of some of the best games we have today. For gamers, this means they may want to upgrade their laptop’s graphics card.
But is it even possible for you to replace the graphics card on a laptop? This has always been a question that has worried a lot of people in the past, as they were usually told that laptops tend to be stagnant machines that won’t last as long as desktops due to upgradeability. Even though it was in the past, does it still apply today as technology has evolved?
Unfortunately, yes, laptops are still more or less stagnant computers. This means that if you have a laptop with a low-end graphics card, it may be impossible for you to change or upgrade its graphics card to a more powerful version. In other words, your most likely alternative if you want to play high-end games is to buy a newer, more powerful laptop or build a desktop with amazing gaming capabilities.
Why can’t you replace the laptop graphics card?
Now that we’ve mentioned that you can’t upgrade or replace the graphics card on a laptop, you might be wondering why that is. To answer this question, we return to the same factor that makes the laptop so popular – its portability.
If you look at the laptop, it was made to be portable and comfortable to carry. That’s why it comes with a slim clamshell design that requires parts and components that are small enough to fit inside the case.
So for this reason, most laptops that are on the affordable end of the price spectrum have integrated graphics cards. This means that their graphics card is already integrated along with the CPU and is soldered to the motherboard itself similar to how a laptop processor is most likely soldered to the motherboard.
This makes it impossible for you to remove the integrated graphics card as it requires you to also remove the CPU or even the entire motherboard itself. You would most likely find more success in saving money by purchasing a more powerful laptop.
Meanwhile, even if you have a laptop with a graphics card that is not integrated with the processor or motherboard, the graphics card was most likely manufactured and designed to fit the form factor of the laptop and the motherboard itself.
So buying another graphics card that was made for a laptop does not guarantee that it will fit your laptop. It doesn’t even have to be compatible with the motherboard.
Also, keep in mind that powerful graphics cards tend to have higher power requirements that some laptops may not be able to handle. This is why gaming laptops tend to be larger and bulkier, as they are built to provide the power, space, and cooling system that a powerful graphics card needs to perform well enough without overwhelming the entire machine.
All that being said, it’s now easy to see why you can’t replace the graphics card on your laptop and why some people prefer to buy a new laptop if they want to use the computer for hardcore gaming.
On a laptop, how can you play recent games?
Just because you can’t replace your laptop’s graphics card doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to buy a new laptop to play higher-end games that your current laptop’s graphics card might not be able to handle. This is because there are now eGPUs or external graphics cards that some laptops are designed to use if they want to handle powerful games that require powerful graphics cards.
An external graphics card is a dedicated box that is designed to house the GPU. This box can be connected to a laptop to provide graphics capabilities that some games and processes may require from a laptop.
This is possible due to the rise of modern technology and how a Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C port is powerful enough to provide an external GPU with the performance, large data, and image bandwidth it requires to work well with a laptop.
However, most eGPUs are designed to only work with a few laptops of the same brand as the external graphics card. For example, the MSI gaming dock comes with an MSI laptop that is compatible with the dock.
Of course, this is still a developing technology struggling to gain traction today. At the time of writing, not many people have bought an eGPU, but it may be interesting to see what it can do in the future given how it allows the laptop to function as a PC on the go as well as a gaming PC you can keep at home.