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Laptop Video Card Upgrade

Posted on 2014-10-02
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Last Modified: 2014-10-13
Hello,

I have a friend with a Gateway computer he bought from us a while back.  He's looking to see if he can upgrade his video card.

I know NORMALLY you can't do that, but since it is a dedicated video card, I'm assuming that we should be able to.  Of course, I'm worried about compatibility, the slot it is using, and if it will fry his motherboard from being too powerful.

The computer is a Gateway FX p-7809u running Windows Vista.  We have already upgraded the processor to the P9600 which it took with no issue.

Any suggestions?
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Question by:Scott Thompson
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LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 40358646
Refer to the manufacture's web site by machine name/type/service code/serial number for specifications for the components.  If this notebook as a removable video card is should be PCI, AGP, PCIe or some such.  Or the card may be visible in device manager by mfg and model number.  You should be able to find that card on the net and get a more recent, more powerful version, assuming Gateway specs advertise it as upgradable.
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Author Comment

by:Scott Thompson
ID: 40358655
I don't see anywhere on Gateway's website to get a list of the specs or parts that came in this laptop.  I can download drivers for the P-78 but that's about it. :(
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Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 250 total points
ID: 40358856
is this what he currently has? (ACER ?)
Graphics Controller Manufacturer NVIDIA  
Graphics Controller Model GeForce 9800M GTS  
Graphics Memory Capacity Up to 1 GB  
here it's specs :  http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-9800M-GTS.9918.0.html

i'm afraid you're in for a search; hera a comparison table :  http://www.notebookcheck.net/Comparison-of-Laptop-Graphics-Cards.130.0.html
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LVL 88

Accepted Solution

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rindi earned 250 total points
ID: 40358867
Replaceable Video cards built for laptops are almost always legacy cards that were built specifically for that particular laptop. Usually you can only get them directly from the laptop manufacturer. Besides, they usually only make 2 different card models at the most for one laptop, so chances are 50/50 he already has the higher powered video card.

As those parts are legacy, they will be very expensive, and since the laptop still has Vista on it, it will be old so those parts probably aren't available anyway anymore. Usually it will make more sense to replace the laptop with a new model, as upgrading will be likely to be just as expensive if even possible. You must also count your labor time along with the price for the part.

Sometimes maybe you can get hold of a broken or 2nd hand laptop of the same model, but with the better video card, via ebay or similar portals and then use it's parts for the upgrade.
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LVL 8

Author Closing Comment

by:Scott Thompson
ID: 40379047
Thanks for the advice.  I'll look more into it, but it basically looks like he's stuck with what he has.  Oh well, it was an idea!
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