Running games and other intensive tasks with your laptop often requires extra power.
Graphics cards are the solution, and they make work much easier.
As we explore GPUs in this article, we’ll help you answer some pressing questions you may have about them.
Here’s What You Need To Know About Laptops And Graphics Cards
Many laptops have GPUs. It’s quite easy to check, and there are several ways to do that. However, It’s quite difficult and expensive to upgrade your laptop’s GPU.
Your laptop doesn’t need a GPU to work, although some, like gaming laptops, do. They either are integrated GPUs or dedicated GPUs, depending on the configuration of your device. Also, you can purchase graphics cards from different sources, and that comes with certain benefits. GPUs have their drawbacks too.
How Do I Know If I Have A Graphics Card On My Laptop?
Here are several ways to determine if your laptop has a graphics card:
Check for a GPU Sticker or Decal
If your laptop has a graphics card, it often has an identifying sticker or decal. All modern laptops come with decals that show the type of hardware in them.
You’ll find them stuck just below the keyboard, beside the touchpad areas or underneath your laptop. Mostly, these decals identify your processor, your GPU and sometimes your operating system.
Use The Device Manager
You can also use the Device Manager in your laptop’s Control Panel to check for a GPU. The device manager will show you all the devices, processors, drivers and software installed on your computer. Here’s how to find your graphics card:
- Go to the Windows Search box
- Search for Device manager and click on it. This opens a dialog box with a list of all devices installed on your computer.
- On this list, Select Display Adapters. A drop-down arrow will open this option.
- From here, you can confirm the model and manufacturer of your graphics card.
Use the DirectX Diagnostic Tool
You can also use the DirectX diagnostic tool to search for the GPU in your device. Here’s how to do that:
- On the Windows search box, type dxdiag. You can also run this diagnostic tool using the Command Prompt.
- Click on dxdiag to open the DirectX Diagnostic Tool
- On the Diagnostic Tool interface, select the first Display Tab
- This Display Tab will show you the type of graphics cards on your laptop.
- If your laptop has two GPUs, switch between the two display tabs for more information.
Use a Scanning Software
You can use a scanning software like TechPowerUp GPU-Z to check for a GPU on your laptop. This scanner analyzes your laptop’s configuration and devices and gives you information on your graphics cards.
It’ll also give you more information about your GPUs like their speeds, release dates, technology types and memory size.
Check the Manufacturer’s Website
Most laptop manufacturers have product description pages that give you all the details of your device model. Some websites give you a product list to choose from and let you find your model and its specifications. You can learn more about your GPU this way.
Other manufacturers let you search your device model using its serial number. This method is usually more accurate, giving you accurate details about the specs of your laptop, including its GPU.
What Does A Graphics Card Do On A Laptop?
A graphics card optimizes the quality of your visuals by rendering images at accelerated speeds. It stabilizes visuals when running high-quality graphics applications like Machine Learning, Video Editing and Gaming.
Can You Change A Graphics Card On A Laptop?
Most modern laptops don’t allow you to upgrade or change your GPU. Even where possible it can be costly, as it will require you to upgrade your motherboard as well. If you want an enhanced display experience, you may have to purchase an eGPU or upgrade to a newer laptop model.
Do External Graphic Cards Work?
External graphics cards work excellently.
They perform just as well as internal GPUs. eGPUs are external devices that you must connect to your laptop to perform all your GPU-dependent tasks.
Which Graphics Card Is Best For Laptops?
There is no one-size-fits-all GPU for laptops. However, you can choose a GPU that serves your needs in the best way possible. Different graphics cards have different capabilities, and everyone has a preference when presented with options.
You can pick between NVIDIA GPUs and AMD GPUs, but the difference often lies in pricing rather than performance.
Some laptops can’t handle high-performance GPUs. Therefore, you’ll only pick a graphics card that’s compatible with your current hardware.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Laptop Graphics Card?
Replacing or upgrading top-notch graphics cards can cost upwards of $1000. That’s not cheap. For entry-level and intermediate laptops, GPU replacement may cost less, However, It’s still expensive relative to buying a new device.
These prices depend on the GPU model, its market demand, availability and manufacturing costs. Since modern laptops make it harder to replace graphics cards, professional labor for the task may drive up costs even further.
Where Can I Buy Laptop Graphics Cards?
Here are some places where you can buy a graphics card:
The Manufacturer’s Website
The best place to find a graphics card is on its manufacturer’s website. Not only will you get the latest models but you’ll also enjoy other benefits like return policies and warranties. Some companies also offer after-sales services like installation and maintenance.
Many online retail stores like Amazon, eBay, Walmart and BestBuy stock GPUs and eGPUs. You’ll find some of them offered at discounts, and you can also enjoy purchasing them on pocket-friendly payment plans.
Whenever GPUs are out of stock on the manufacturer’s website, you’ll find many online stores still stocking them. Besides that, you’ll still enjoy access to returns and warranties.
Local Computer Stores
Many entry-level to top-range graphics cards are available at your local electronics store. Besides that, you’ll also consult the sales reps inside these stores for expert opinions on the best GPUs for your laptop.
Many stores also take returns and sell devices with warranties. Others also offer free installations and in-house repair services in case you break your GPU or laptop.
Is A Graphics Card Necessary For Laptops?
Laptops don’t need graphics cards but it’ll also depend on several factors:
It depends on what the laptop is for. Gaming laptops and professional laptops for video editing and 3D rendering can’t do without discrete graphics cards and powerful ones at that.
Entry-level and intermediate laptops may come with GPUs, but they’ll often serve less demanding tasks like document processing, browsing and entertainment.
GPUs are expensive to manufacture, and even more expensive to buy. Adding a potent GPU to a laptop often drives up its price exponentially.
Doing this denies many people an opportunity to own a laptop, especially considering many laptops are already costly. For this reason, some laptops come with lower-quality GPUs or none.
Many laptops will still function even without a graphics card. The GPU is often a complementary device, unless the laptop requires more processing power to render high-quality projects and games.
Do Graphics Cards Increase Laptop Speed?
Using a graphics card will help improve your laptop’s performance. Often, you may have to upgrade your GPU or extend its abilities with a secondary GPU. A better GPU will step up your laptop speeds and improve the quality of your display.
Do Graphics Cards Improve Video Quality?
GPUs often improve the video quality of your laptop, especially when playing games in high definition. Graphics cards upscale your video quality by rendering them at top speeds.
What Are The Disadvantages Of A Graphics Card?
Graphics cards have several disadvantages:
They Are Expensive
Many GPU models are costly. The more powerful a GPU is, the more it costs. Manufacturing GPUs isn’t cheap either, and this also plays into the cost of gaming laptops.
They Affect Your Laptop’s Battery Life
Unless you’re using a GPU or eGPU that uses a separate source of power, your GPU will drain your battery fast. Graphics cards consume your laptop battery up to 3 times faster than normal, and this can reduce your battery lifespan. You’ll run out of charge cycles keeping your GPU running.
GPUs often overheat when handling heavy functions. Some GPUs have fans to mitigate this, but overheating remains inevitable.
They Add to the Weight of the Laptop
Laptops with inbuilt graphics cards weigh more than those without. To accommodate GPUs, manufacturers make their laptops bigger and use more heat-resistant materials.
If you factor in heat sinks, multiple fans and other complementary innovations, it only adds to the weight of the laptop
How Many Types Of Graphics Cards Are There?
There are two types of GPUs: Integrated GPUs and dedicated GPUs The difference between these two lies more in speed and functionality.
Integrated GPUs lack their own memory and CPU, instead of using what’s already available in the laptop. Dedicated graphics cards, on the other hand, have their own RAM and processors
While integrated graphics cards work best in cheaper laptops, dedicated GPUs work best in high-end gaming laptops.
What Happens If My Graphics Card Isn’t Good Enough?
You’ve got several options:
- You can purchase a newer laptop model with an up-to-date GPU. Since it’s already difficult and expensive to upgrade your laptop GPU, you can spare yourself extra expenses this way.
- Upgrading your device with a newer GPU can also work, but you should be ready to bear the costs that come with it. Sometimes, the age of your laptop may restrict your options but once at this stage, take what you can get.
- You can opt for an eGPU. It certainly beats buying a new laptop, especially if you have a more recent version. It also takes away the cost of an internal GPU upgrade, as well as the risks involved.
Graphics cards are a welcome addition to your laptop. Since it’s quite difficult to upgrade their GPUs, getting an external graphics card is a better option than purchasing a new laptop. Where possible, opt for an eGPU.