Updating A Notebook Graphics Card

Neil Jones

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I need to run a CAD application on a notebook that requires an Nvidia Quadro graphics card. I'd like to buy a used notebook and install the Nvidia Quadro graphics card myself. What does a notebook require to be able to accept an Nvidia Quadro graphics card?
 

lostandwandering

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Most of the time with laptops you do not have the ability to upgrade the graphics card. The GPU is either soldered into the motherboard or the manufacturer uses a proprietary adapter for the card. Your best bet is finding a used Lenovo ThinkPad or Dell Precision and going with that. Take a look at the Outlet part of Dell's website.

http://www.dell.com/outlet
 

teaser

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Check this out....your going to need something like this if you want to use a different graphics card in a notebook.....http://www.villagetronic.com/vidock2/index.html
 

lostandwandering

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Most of the time with laptops you do not have the ability to upgrade the graphics card. The GPU is either soldered into the motherboard or the manufacturer uses a proprietary adapter for the card. Your best bet is finding a used Lenovo ThinkPad or Dell Precision and going with that. Take a look at the Outlet part of Dell's website.

http://www.dell.com/outlet
 

Neil Jones

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How do I know if a notebook supports Express Card 2.0 / PCI Express 2.0 which apparently the VIDock2 needs? How long has Express Card 2.0 / PCI Express 2.0 been available on notebooks?


 

lostandwandering

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Look up the system specs, it should tell you there. Read my last post though, it will be cheaper and more efficient if you just get a laptop that already comes with the card.

How much are you looking to spend?
 

Neil Jones

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Thanks. From the Dell site you linked to it looks like I'm going to have to spend $1,000 min. I guess I wouldn't have a problem with that except for the fact that I've had very bad luck with notebooks breaking and not being able to be repaired. The last Dell notebook I had developed some sort of problem with its motherboard and at that point I could no longer recharge it or run it plugged in. Left a very bad taste in my mouth for Dell products. It also sucks that I don't know of any notebook that's upgradable motherboard wise. Does such a thing exist?
 

Neil Jones

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I looked under " View details" on the Dell web site and nothing that I can find says anything about whether Express Card 2.0 / PCI Express 2.0 is included.
 

lostandwandering

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Not really. Each laptop is probably going to have a motherboard that is specific to the individual model. Sometimes you can replace motherboards in laptops that have received updates (ie upgrading a Core2 based Studio 15 with the motherboard of an i7 based Studio 15). But again, this is going to be more expensive and more of a hassle than just buying the system with what you want already installed.

You are in a tough position because these pro series cards are not cheap. Most models with Quadro cards start at around $1100
 

Neil Jones

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I agree with you that I'm in a tough position. I need a solution that I can use at my "office" which is the shop floor (no desk) of a machine shop. It's not the $1,000 that is so much a problem for me it's knowing that notebooks are disposable items that are of dubious quality. :fou: The latter is of course just my opinion.
 

lostandwandering

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Well, the one thing that's going to be different in this case is the quality. Workstation laptops generally have far better quality than their consumer counter parts. HP's ProBooks and Dell's Precisions have chasis that are made of aluminum, not plastic like consumer models. And Lenovo continues with IBMs typically excellent build quality.

Also, about the dock that teaser linked to. I don't think it requires Expresscard 2.0 as much as it will actually be able to utilize it. As far as I can tell from a few minutes of research, Expresscard 2.0 is a relatively new standard so I don't think many systems will have it yet. But don't quote me on that. Your best bet is to contact the people at Village Tronic and see what systems will support the dock.
 

hang-the-9

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We use Lenovo T series, and some of the models have nVidia Quadro graphics. The one I use is a T61, and has that. They are solid and reliable, but I'd get one with an upgraded warranty. About the only "known" issues I know about them is the CPU fan going loud and failing. About a $30 fix for that.

If you are not too worried about having a full warranty, you can pick one of those up for about 1/2 new price on ebay.
 
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