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Switching video cards in laptops?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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June 12, 2006 6:05:33 PM

I'm looking at two possible laptop solutions with the exact same chassis/chipset, one has a x1600 and the other a 7900 GTX, is it possible to get the x1600 model and switch out the x1600 to the 7900 at a later date?
June 12, 2006 6:30:44 PM

It's the Clevo 5750.
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June 12, 2006 7:23:13 PM

Ok, theoretically, yes.

But that machine, from what I can see never was factory equiped with a 7900 GTX. That means that you may have 2 problems. Fitting a 7900 GTX into the case or slight inconsistancies that arise from the 2 platforms (going from ATI to nVidia).

I could not find any systems modded on the internet either, that leads me to believe the true answer is, "No" do you have the chassis already?
June 12, 2006 9:39:57 PM

Then yes, the 7900 GTX will fit in there.
June 12, 2006 9:52:20 PM

I guess the question I'm really asking though is how swappable they are. Is this something that I as the consumer would be able to change, or are the power requirements for the two cards different such that the motherboard needs modification or soldering is involved? Thanks =)
June 12, 2006 9:59:58 PM

The card swap shouldn't be that difficult, but I question were you are getting this machine with an x1600 in it to start with because they don't normally come with x1600's.
June 12, 2006 10:14:19 PM

It says on the link to the Clevo machine that it comes with either the 7900 or x1600.
June 13, 2006 3:50:22 AM

Those 2 video cards are so completely different that it is strange. The 2 cards I know of that go in there are the 7900 GTX or the x1800 ATi, but not the x1600.

Where are you getting this machine?
June 13, 2006 3:56:01 AM

I guess I misspoke, it's from discountlaptops.com, the Sager 5750.
June 13, 2006 4:08:06 PM

The Clevo and the Sager are the same box. Sager just rebranded it.

I'll tell you, I am not too pumped on that system couple reasons:

17" with WXGA+ that's sots big, I don't think you are going to be happy with it, WXGA is a good middle of the road size for a 15.4" but SXGA+ is better for a 17", WXGA+ is kind of a bastard of the two. You're wasting a lot of real estate by not having the SXGA+ resolution IMHO.

The MR x1600 has ony 128 MB, shared "Hyper(diaper)" memory doesn't count, it's junk. Think of this, the video card is "sharing" system memory on an Intel chipset no matter how hyper the mother fruit is it still has to send the command through the CPU to hit the memory controller then to the system RAM which has to go through its latency cycle, turn around and lend itself to the video card. It's way too slow. Not only that with 128 onboard the video card is taking a good chunk (when available) of your system memory (this can go up to 512 MB so thats 384 MB sucked out of your system.

I think there's better systems out there. What's the entire cost on this dog and what are the specs?
June 13, 2006 4:15:28 PM

17" WXGA+ (1440 x 900) Active Matrix Display
Pentium DUO 1.83GHz Processor (Yonah / 2 MB L2 Cache / 677 FSB)
Artic Silver 5 (AS5) Thermal CPU Paste Compound
Ati MR X1600 128MB w/Hypermemory up to 512MB VRAM
1024 MB DDR2 (667 MHz) Memory (512 MB x 2)
80 GB Hard Drive (7200 RPM) SATA
8X DVD±R/RW / 4X+Dual Layer / 5X DVD-RAM / CD-RW Multi Drive (Pioneer DVR-k16)

$1500 including shipping. For the price I'm happy, and while I know it the LCD isn't the best quality, this was one of the few chassis I found that comes with a DVI connection.

Of course there are better laptops out there, I'm just not in a position to pay $2000.
June 13, 2006 4:36:10 PM

That actually is a pretty good deal. The 17" models are definately more expensive and there just isn't the selection choices that the 15.4" models have. Rock on with yo bad self!
June 13, 2006 6:03:41 PM

The graphics card is actually something I was wondering about. Is the amount of RAM simply a variable on the same product name (the M56P in this case), or is a difference in RAM cause for a product renaming? Cause I've seen many different M56P cards out there, some with 128, some with 256.
June 13, 2006 6:17:55 PM

For that matter, are the standard PCI-e cards applicable to notebooks? Cause they don't look like they fit in there, but I haven't found any special notebook PCI-e cards.
June 13, 2006 6:45:29 PM

The amount of RAM for the video card is dependent on how much it initially comes with. They can basically add or subtract as much as they want. In this case it is hard to imagine the very small aount of money they saved not going with 256 MB.

No, a desktop PCI-e card will not fit in a notebook, they are specialized, and not "readiy" available.
June 13, 2006 7:13:15 PM

Do you know any retailers for the specialized cards?
June 13, 2006 9:01:18 PM

I can get you 7800 GTX and 7900 GTX cards. I have an order in right now 2day that ships tomorrow (hopefully today)

7800 GTX Video $ 359.00

7900 GTX Video $ 399.00
June 14, 2006 12:39:25 AM

Those prices are quite attractive, but right now I'm a little leary of installing a new card from everything I've read on the web. Perhaps a little ways down the road. Thanks for your help =)
June 15, 2006 11:33:35 PM

To the original poster....

I own a Sager 9880. And yes, theoretically it is possible that a video card can be upgraded. BE WARNED most notebooks videocards may NOT be upgraded. They all have the same size, footprint, etc. But mostly, it's MOTHERBOARD limited. Go to notebookforum.com you will see many upset people who have believed that they would have a machine that would have upgradeable graphics when in fact they do not. The only advantage to the modular video card is that you can take it out to send to the manufacturer, (almost guaranteed I've had to send mine in 3x) saving you money on shipping for an exact replacement. This is the only advantage I see. And anyone that tells you these video cards are upgradeable are not being honest or are misinformed.
June 15, 2006 11:44:31 PM

Well, I actually am being honest, I have built off models from that ODM, and I did in fact call corporate tech support and asked them and they said exactly what I posted.

I think the just of it was, "Possible, but you're probably going to have problems switching between a ATi and a nVidia card."
June 16, 2006 12:17:22 AM

The only reason I asked is because the exact same Clevo chassis/chipset/mobo is sold with both the video card I have as well as the video card I want. Otherwise I wouldn't even bother. =)
June 16, 2006 12:26:53 AM

@ KillerNotebooks..

In no way was I referring to you being dishonest. If thats how you interpreted it I'm sorry :cry:  . I just wanted to let him know that these companies "Hype" the fact that the vid cards are interchangeable. Which they are. However they are not able to upgrade the video cards in almost ALL situations. To buy a laptop based on the presumption that it is upgradeable is not practical because in reality they are not. To do a side jump or actually go to a lower card yes, there are exceptions, like you indicated.
June 16, 2006 2:55:11 AM

My mistake. I am an idiot at times. I got beat up at Anandtech forums after I got thrown off so I am all weirded out.

I was just having flashbacks and stuff so that was all me man... sorry.

You are right that all this stuff is portrayed as just his "bolt on" or "drop in" upgrade, which in most cases is not. This freaking Intel Yonah to Merom "drop in" upgrade better be real or I am going to go Chicago Union Style on the CEO of Intel and blow his house up.

!