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Sony Vaio Notebook videocard upgrade?

Posted on 2002-05-06
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Last Modified: 2013-11-10
I have a Sony Vaio FX240 Notebook and am wondering if it is possible to upgrade the videocard (or allocate additional RAM).

I just received the notebook as a gift and will be taking it on the road with me for my new job, but want to be able to game as well as work.

Thanks.

Tracy
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Question by:flyt4tmn
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10 Comments
 
LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Wakeup
ID: 6992135
I do not think it is possible to upgrade the video card without chaning out the whole system board.  The video is built in on the board...so i guess it's not IMPOSSIBLE...But it would probably cost you more than it's worth to replace.  I am sure you could inquire and ask Sony.  To see if they have a video card solution for you.  There aren't any ram upgrades for the video card.
I have worked on several laptops before having to replace the mainboard (which contains the built in video.)  It's not an easy task.  If sony created a replacement board for your version of the laptop with better video capabilities then it is a possibility for you to change it.  If not then no there is no possible way.

However there is regular Ram that you can add:
http://config.vikingcomponents.com/detail.asp?ConfigID=19003&mid=71312&model=PCG%2DFX240%2C+PCG%2DFX240K

This will not solve your video card problem tho...sorry!

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LVL 13

Accepted Solution

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magarity earned 100 total points
ID: 6992182
From Sony's spec sheet:
"Intel®815EM graphics chip with up to 11 MB video SDRAM (shared)"

So where it says 'up to 11MB' indicates the user can change the amount of RAM allocated to video.  This will be in BIOS setup.  Check the user's manual for how to enter setup (varies from machine to machine).

Keep in mind that increasing video memory takes away from operating system memory.  This model comes with 128MB, so increasing video to 11MB still leaves 117 for Windows and programs.  It is also upgradeable to as much as 512MB, but this depends on your budget whether you want to get more memory.

I suggest simply increasing video allocation to the maximum and seeing if it helps.  I really don't think it will cause enough difference in the operating system's performance.

Otherwise, as has been pointed out, a given laptop is stuck with whatever video processor it comes with.  Especially the integrated Intel solutions.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6992193
PS - While this model has decent specifications it is clear the design philosophy makes this is a working laptop, not a gaming laptop.  You will almost certainly not be able to play recent 3D games like Tribes2.  You'll be better off trying games from the Quake2 generation of 3D games.
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Wakeup
ID: 6992211
What kind of games were you wanting to play?  LCD screens are not the quickest on FPS and refresh because of the ghosting.  So playing fast action packed games may not run smoothly no matter what you do...
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:oldgreyguy
ID: 6992311
you may also want to look at the Latest Intel Graphics drivers for this chipset

http://support.intel.com/support/graphics/intel815/index.htm
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Author Comment

by:flyt4tmn
ID: 6994332
Thanks for the responses.

Yes, the laptop is great and will work great in the career change because of the travelling, but to be honest I was hoping to play Medal of Honor, but am willing to settle for Mobile 1 Rally Championship, Grand Prix Legends and maybe F12001...as well as work.

Magarity's response about increasing RAM then allocating more RAM to video memory is what I was wondering about.  I wasn't aware that the video memory is integrated into the board, and so most certainly won't replace the board.

I'll look for the BIOS setting to allocate more RAM for video, then purchase more RAM if this work.
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Author Comment

by:flyt4tmn
ID: 6994334
See previous post.

Thanks again!
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6994472
"I wasn't aware that the video memory is integrated into the board"

Specifically, there is no video memory.  Some of the main system RAM (the same used by the CPU) is simply reserved for the video controller's exclusive use.  As you might well guess, this saves a noticable amount of memory by not needing video memory and the related control logic.  The downside is that less memory is available for the CPU to run programs.  At the full 11MB setting, this will use up almost 10% of the 128MB this unit comes with.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6994494
According to Crucial:
http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.asp?Mfr%2BProductline=Sony%2BVAIO+PCG&model=VAIO+PCG-FX240&submit=Go

This model VAIO has two memory slots.  One is already used by the 128MB module from the factory.  If you choose to add one in the empty slot, choose according to your budget and expected program load.  The 128 for $45 looks good, unless you are running crazy amounts of programs at the same time.  Average usage will not benefit from the 256 so unless you just have extra cash to burn there is no need.  Also, if Win98 is installed it will not be stable with more than 256MB total.  Win2000 and XP can handle as much as can be installed in this model.
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Author Comment

by:flyt4tmn
ID: 6995314
Thanks.  It's actually running Windows Me so is the PC still subject to the memor limitations of Win98?  If so I'll pick the memory up at Crucial.

Now, I just need to find how to allocate more RAM to video...oh yeah, I need to find the manual that has gone missing since moving last week.

Tracy
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