How to Upgrade the GPU on Your Laptop

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The graphics processing unit (GPU) controls the graphic display of the computer monitor. Some computers have integrated graphics where the graphics processor is part of the motherboard. Some systems have separate stand-alone GPUs. If your laptop has a separate GPU, chances are you can upgrade it. Upgrading a laptop GPU requires disassembling the computer and replacing the card with a compatible unit. With a laptop, it requires a replacement GPU designed to both work with your operating system and fit in your laptop. Before you tear down your laptop, perform some research to find out if your system can be upgraded.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Replacement GPU

Information About Your GPU

  • Click "Start" and select "Control Panel."

  • Click "Appearance and Personalization," and then select "Change display settings."

  • Click the "Advanced settings" link. A new window will appear.

  • Click the "Adapter" tab and locate the "Adapter Information" section. This gives information about your current laptop GPU or if the system uses integrated graphics.

Replacing GPU

  • Shut the computer down and unplug the power adapter. Turn the unit over and remove the battery, hard drive and optical drive. The hard drive is usually located beneath a plastic cover. The optical drive usually slides horizontally out of the unit after you remove the retaining screw.

  • Open the display and pry the hinge bezel up. The hinge bezel is located above the keyboard and covers the display hinges.

  • Remove the screws securing the laptop keyboard, beneath the hinge bezel. Lift up on the top of the keyboard and unplug the ribbon connector (and any other connector) beneath it. Slide the tabs out from beneath the palm rest and remove the keyboard.

  • Unplug the display screen from the circuit board below the hinge bezel and remove the hinge screws. Remove the display assembly (the entire screen) and set it aside.

  • Turn the laptop over and remove all screws securing the plastic case around d the system board.

  • Separate the two halves of the plastic case and remove the top half, exposing the system board.

  • Locate the GPU of your laptop. The location of the GPU depends on your particular laptop and system board. Remove the screws securing the GPU to the motherboard and lift the card out of the system.

  • Replace the GPU with the upgraded GPU compatible with your laptop and motherboard.

  • Reassemble the laptop, following the dis-assembly instructions in reverse.

  • Turn on the computer and install the accompanying software (if applicable) or drivers for the new GPU. All hardware devices require drivers to work properly. You can download drivers from the GPU manufacturer's website if the GPU did not come with driver software.

Tips & Warnings

  • Disassembling each laptop is slightly different. Learn exact instructions for disassembling your particular laptop by consulting the service manual.
  • Label each set of screws as you remove them. This helps identify screws when you are reassembling the laptop.
  • You cannot upgrade an integrated GPU. Integrated GPUs are part of the motherboard.

References

  • Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
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