Can a laptop use a dual slot graphics card?

Discussion in 'Mobile Computing' started by Adam3b, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. Adam3b

    Adam3b New Member

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    Hi all,

    I currently have a Alienware M17x laptop.
    At the moment I only have the following motherboard / graphics card setup:

    Motherboard Information
    * MB_Manufacturer- Alienware
    * MB_Version- A02

    Video Adapter
    * Video_Caption- NVIDIA GeForce 9400
    * Video_AdapterRAM- 256MB

    And this is useless and barely any games run properly on it, so obviously I need to upgrade it.

    So my questions is 2 fold:
    Can I change the graphics card in it to a dual slot one and if so any recommendations on how and which one to change to would be appreciated.

    No-one in my family knows much about computers so would appreciate any help at all.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Teme

    Teme Super Moderator

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    Hi there!

    i general all laptops have their gfx cards integrated to the laptops mobo. So you can't change them. If you really want a gaming system then you should invest money to desktop system.
     
  3. blibbax

    blibbax nahm8

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    Yes, as posted above, dual slot graphics cards, and indeed all graphics cards available via retail, are for desktop PCs.
     
  4. Adam3b

    Adam3b New Member

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    Hi,

    Thanks for the reply, but I believe the Alienware laptops can use discrete and integrated graphics, which I don't completely understand, but think means I may be able change the graphics card.

    If anyone can conclusively confirm or deny this issue please let us know :)

    Thanks.
     
  5. blibbax

    blibbax nahm8

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    Yes, the laptop can use discrete graphics, but only discrete graphics designed specifically for it. Not anything that you can buy off the shelf. Even if you could, the power supply will probably not be enough for any upgrade.

    I guess you could contact the manufacturer, but there's no point trying to make any changes yourself.
     
  6. Adam3b

    Adam3b New Member

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    Ok, guess i'll try ringing up Dell then, thanks
     
  7. blibbax

    blibbax nahm8

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    As was posted above, if you want a gaming system, then unless you're very, very rich, it's advisable to put together a desktop specifically for the task. You can still use your laptop for everything else.
     
  8. shaman9876

    shaman9876 New Member

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    I have a M9700 and yes the graphics cards are upgradeable but you have to either get one off ebay (used) or get it from Alienware (new). If you go the ebay route make sure that you system is compatible with the cards. Not all have the same power requirements or sockets which the laptop uses. When a retailer talks about dual slot Video cards they are talking that it take 2 slots in the Desktop due to the size of the heat sinks so you can not use the slot directly next to the PCI Express slot when using them.
     
  9. Adam3b

    Adam3b New Member

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    Ah ok thanks.
    In hindsight I should've got a desktop, but because I've already invested in the laptop and the rest of it is quite good that is why I was looking to upgrade.

    I think I'll try contacting Alienware for a new one, as I have no idea on all the details about the power requirements / sockets. If you buy it from Alienware do they help instal it or would I have to figure out how to do that myself :S

    Really appreciate the help.
     
  10. blibbax

    blibbax nahm8

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    I can't answer that question, but if you do ring them, let us know what GPU they offer you as an upgrade, and at what price - it may well be that you could buy an entire game-ready desktop PC for the same price as a high end laptop GPU, especially if you already have some bits (monitor, hard drives, etc.) lying around.

    Even the best GPUs in laptops are only equivalent to mid-range desktop parts.
     
  11. Adam3b

    Adam3b New Member

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    Alright guys, it seems at least part of this may have been accidently wasting your time.

    I found something in Alienware support which explains that I was using integrated graphics which just uses Nvidia GeForce 9400, but by turning on discrete I already had an Nvidia Gefore GTX 260, which is pretty good.

    Only problem now is the fan is really loud for a sustained period of time, so might be something wrong with the card, but if there is at least I know I can complain to support.

    So thanks everyone and sorry for wasting your time.
     
  12. blibbax

    blibbax nahm8

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    Congratulations, must be like Christmas come (very) early :p

    I would imagine that a GTX260 in a laptop would be loud... unless it's running very cool as a result (download GPU-Z or Realtemp to find out) then this is probably intentional.
     
  13. Adam3b

    Adam3b New Member

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    Thanks pal, I think you're probably right, I downloaded the first of those programs and couldn't see anything that looked really wrong, but not exactly sure what to look for so I might ring support up just to check.

    And yea, was a bit of a relief to see that graphics card appear :D
     
  14. shaman9876

    shaman9876 New Member

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    I have dual 8700mGT's and they are loud when they turn them-self's up during gaming. That is why I use a laptop cooler with mine to keep the heat down.

    Something else most laptop owners don't think about is cleaning the dust off the fans and fins of the cooler's. Alienware has a lot of walk thoughs on how to open there systems up in their support section. Below is the link to your system.
    GPU area "Alienware : The Best Custom Built Gaming PC for the Ultimate PC Gamer!"

    CPU area "Alienware : The Best Custom Built Gaming PC for the Ultimate PC Gamer!"

    You just do the part that gives you access to the fans and that is it. I would recommend opening up the fan area's at least once every 4-6 months same as a desktop if you don't want them to start over heating. Alienware's are notorious for that (Read their forums if you don't believe me). I open mine up that often and there is always a lot of dust in there even with a laptop cooler.
     
  15. Adam3b

    Adam3b New Member

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    Thanks m8, i'll give that a go at some point.
     

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