Give Your Old Laptop a New Graphics Card With These DIY Kits

Thinking about buying a new gaming laptop? Hold up: you might not need to. A new graphics card could breathe new life into your old machine—and now it's easy to actually buy one you can install yourself.


Technically, you've been able to swap out your laptop's GPU for a newer chip for some time now—it's just difficult to find compatible hardware on the open market. Gaming and high performance laptop graphics come on special MXM modules that are usually only available to corporate clients. Now, PC maker Eurocom is selling them to consumers directly. If you're willing to get your hands dirty, you could upgrade your laptop on the cheap.

Well, relatively cheap. Outfitting an Alienware 17 with a newfangled Nvidia GTX 970M GPU will set you back $750—but that's still half as much as it would cost to buy a new model with the same graphics chip.

Right now, Eurocom has upgrade kits for a handful of recent Alienware and Clevo laptops that'll see them sporting GTX 880M, 970M and 980M GPUs, and there's even a couple $2,000 setups that will outfit your machine with a dual-GPU 980M SLI configuration. Perfect if you don't mind ripping open your machine. If you do? Well, you could just send your laptop in—Eurocom installs components, too. [Eurocom via CNET]



I wish more manufacturers would take a modular approach to performance laptops. I had to replace the hard drive on a small notebook this weekend. It required pulling the entire motherboard since the drive was hard mounted on the BOTTOM of the motherboard without an access panel. Steps: remove battery, remove DVD drive, remove keyboard, remove a thousand screws, remove upper plate, remove a thousand more screws, remove fan, unplug ten different ribbon cables, lift motherboard out while simultaneously shifting it forward and to the right as you keep four ribbon cables out of the way, flip motherboard over and remove old hard drive. Reverse procedure to put it back together. It helps to have tiny fingers to deal with tiny screws.