Can I add a discrete GPU to my laptop?

Pooky Joralyn May 28, 2013
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I want to add a discrete GPU to my laptop – can it be done?

My laptop is Lenovo E49, with Intel Core i3-2328M, 4GB DD3-1333 RAM, chipset is Intel HM77. The wireless card is mini PCIe (there’s no a spare slot though, so I might need to swap it) and it seems like the only port available for something like this. I don’t want the beefiest GPU though, just something that’s about 2 or 3 times better than the stock Intel HD 3000, and it should be the mobile one, not desktop. And it would be nice if it’s switchable, like nVidia Optimus.

Is it even possible?

  1. DalSan M
    June 1, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    I think you might be able to as long as it is a socket G2. Problem is finding somewhere that sells it other than from China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong. I know that the Ivy Bridge i7 mobile processor would be around $100 less than the laptops I linked you to, but the i3 should be around $250 or so.

    Finding a reputable online site to purchase the SSD would probably be better, especially since it should be cheaper. Just make sure that you research and look at the reviews for the brand and model of SSD before purchasing. Nothing worse than purchasing a product to find out that many people have issues with it.

  2. Pooky Joralyn
    June 1, 2013 at 9:53 am

    So can I stick an Ivy Bride Core i3?
    SSD is in my eye, but I have difficulty finding it. Very few guys at the shops know what an SSD is!

    • ha14
      June 2, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      You can try intell cherryville ssd at least 180 gb, it comes with 5 years warranty, I have one in my pc, plus you can download intel ssd toolbox it is like hard drive monitoring tool

      To play games always you need dedicated gpu

  3. DalSan M
    May 31, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    The first, quickest, and cheapest upgrade is memory. You probably will have more than 2GB of memory free most of the time, so for extra boost of performance, look into using RAMDisk. It uses a portion of your memory as a storage disk for programs that you choose, thus making it run even faster than it were to be on an SSD. This would allow you the time to find a good SSD as a reasonable price, then as the processor prices go down, see about purchasing the i5 CPU or the i7 if available.

  4. DalSan M
    May 30, 2013 at 8:53 am

    The bottom of the laptop would have to be removed to expose the mini PCIe slot and the cable from the modified mini PCIe card would run underneath. This means that you would need to build a stand for the laptop to make sure no damages are made to the motherboard or laptop. From there, the proper adapters, cables, and power supply for the desktop graphics card should be connected properly, then you can connect the graphics card to a monitor or HDTV. This is far from an optimal solution, but can work with supporting laptops for gaming performance. The built-in display of the monitor does not have the proper connectors for the desktop graphics cards, so an external display must be used. I would have to say that unless you are dead set on being able to play most of the latest games, this solution is not really that great of a solution at all. The risks along with the money and time spent on doing this to basically turn the laptop into a desktop is not something I would really try to accomplish, especially with the CPU becoming the bottleneck in performance even after doing all of this. Also, there is no guarantee that this will work with your laptop. If you are willing to accomplish this, then I would get a cheap USB Wi-Fi adapter for network and internet connectivity. After a station has been made with all of these posts, it should bee simple to remove the mini PCIe card adapter and replace it with the Wi-Fi card abd replace the bottom of the laptop so that laptop can be portable again. I'm not sure what all it would take to make the mod station (cables, graphics card, and card adapters) portable, though it would not be able to be used on the move because of needing the desktop power supply, and a desktop computer may be just as portable as this setup. If you happen to do this and it works out for you, you definitely deserve bragging rights because I have never seen nor heard of this being done. I would love to see computer manufacturers make laptops compatible with this type of setup, that way it is just plug and play. This would definitely make it harder for desktops to survive.

  5. Paul Vi
    May 30, 2013 at 12:08 am

    I don't think there's a mini PCIe video card for your laptop you can try using a vidock, really when it comes to laptops you should buy a gamers or video editor's model if you want powerful graphics.

    • Pooky Joralyn
      May 30, 2013 at 7:49 am

      The thing is that I don't use any intensive programs (or games), I just want to know if I can ever upgrade it in the future. And I also heard that those Nvidia or AMD cards aren't upgradeable either, am I right?

    • Paul Vi
      May 30, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      Probably you won't be able to upgrade your gpu, but if you are an average user (e-mail, web browsing, youtube, everyday computing) I think your gpu is enough and you don't really need any kind of updates, I have a 4 years old laptop and I still use it on a daily basis.

  6. DalSan M
    May 29, 2013 at 9:21 am

    There aren't any mini PCIe video cards that can be purchased. External video cards only allow for connections for external displays, not for boosting performance. Unfortunately, laptops are not good for upgrading in this department, nor is it for upgrading the CPU. The mini PCIe slot is really only meant for wifi cards or wifi cards with bluetooth, not much else.

    • Pooky Joralyn
      May 29, 2013 at 9:33 am

      So I'm out of luck, right?

    • DalSan M
      May 29, 2013 at 9:46 am

      I'm afraid so. This question has been asked her before, and I think the only card for video was for mild video decoding, which is much worse than what you have in your system now. Other than making sure your system is updated, especially the graphics driver, using IOBit Game Booster (Turbo Boost in Advanced System Care), and disabling other unnecessary or unused services and programs from running in the background, there isn't much else to boost the graphics capabilities. You're not the only one that wishes laptops could be upgraded this way, which is why the desktop computer will not die soon. (With the way the new game systems are supposed to be (no more used games at a cheap price), there might be a surge in purchases for gaming desktops.)

    • Manuth Chek
      May 29, 2013 at 10:06 am

      "The only card for video" - I don't understand this though.
      I'm not a demanding user anyway, I just want to know if I can ever get one as it ages (or when it's gone outdated), as I'm gonna use it for a long time.

    • DalSan M
      May 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      These are the types of mini PCIe graphics cards that are too big to fit inside the laptop, plus only has 16MB DDR memory, hardly an upgrade: The only good news is the possibility of a DIY external graphics card upgrade through the mini PCIe, though an external display must be used, and the laptop would have to be stationary: and Basically, you can convert the laptop into a make-shift desktop with dual graphics, the external graphics being desktop quality.

    • Pooky Joralyn
      May 30, 2013 at 7:34 am

      So the external one can't drive the laptop's display. And I just realize that mine has no ExpressCard, how can I just stick the mini PCIe cord under the machine?

  7. Prashant M
    May 29, 2013 at 5:52 am


  8. ha14
    May 28, 2013 at 9:16 am

    you can try external graphical cards
    The New ViDock Family: ViDock 3, ViDock 4, and ViDock 4 Plus

    How to make an external laptop graphics adaptor

  9. Rajaa Chowdhury
    May 28, 2013 at 4:57 am

    Lenovo announced the laptop E49 , designed for business users, government and educational institutions. Lenovo sparingly describes the characteristics of this product. The base for Lenovo E49 is dual-core Intel last generation, integrated video core supplemented with a discrete GPU NVIDIA technology NVIDIA Optimus. In addition to USB 3.0 ports in this model there is a Thunderbolt interface . Source :

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