Earlier people who were interested in outdoor or indoor games have now become electronic athletes or e-athletes. Advancement in technology is not only affecting our business. Rather it is affecting our day-to-day activities like how we eat, how we play games, etc. So, as the technologies are flourishing, most people now prefer to play games online via laptops, desktops, or smartphones. And for supporting such high-quality games upgrading graphics cards on laptop or desktop becomes necessary.
Nowadays people want to play each & every game that comes in the market, on whichever devices they have such as a laptop or desktop. But they forget one thing that the upcoming games may not support on their laptop or desktop having earlier versions of graphics cards. So, before enjoying new games they need to upgrade their device's graphics card.
Before diving deep into the topic, let’s take an overview of the topics we are about to cover here:
What does a Graphics Card mean?
The graphics card is a piece of computer hardware installed on the motherboard or can be added as an external card, to provide high-quality graphics at a higher speed. It is a type of display adapter or video card that processes and executes the graphical data using advanced graphical techniques, features, or functions to provide high-clarity graphics images along with the color, definition, and overall performance.
The graphics card is also known as a graphics adapter, graphics controller, graphics accelerator card, or graphics board.
Types of Graphics Card
- Integrated Graphics Card: The graphics card is inbuilt in the motherboard and can’t be upgraded easily. This type of graphics card comes with standard laptops or desktops which are also cost-effective models.
These are sometimes known as the onboard graphics card, as they are the default options with the standard computers. To upgrade an integrated graphics card, the insertion of a new graphics card is required.
Users using the computer for standard tasks like surfing the internet, watching movies, listening to music, creating documents, etc are fine with integrated graphics cards.
- Discrete Graphics Card: It is a graphics card that is added as an extra component on the motherboard. These may be referred to as a stand-alone graphics card inserted into a separate GPU slot on the motherboard.
Users interested in gaming or video editing need discrete graphics cards to speed up their image processing time so that they enjoy their games as well as video editing works.
Why do you need a Graphics Card?
As of now, we know that the graphics card is used to provide image display on the monitor screen with high clarity, color, definition, overall performance at a higher speed. Let’s know some more points about why it is needed.
- To handle Calculation-Intensive Games: The first and foremost reason behind using graphics cards is to support advanced featured high-quality games. Today’s integrated graphics cards are good enough to handle older games but need discrete graphics cards for playing calculation-intensive modern 3D titles.
- For Supporting Graphics-Centered Apps: The graphics cards are used not only by gamers but non-gamer users too. If the user does lots of photo editing or video editing type of tasks, then also graphics cards play a quite important role. It supports lots of Graphics-Centered Apps such as Adobe Premiere Clip, Quik, PicPlayPost, Pixabay, Pablo, etc.
To know more about these apps refer to the links here:
- To Support the Number of Monitors you want: Some motherboards support multiple monitors via multiple video ports such as VGA port, DVI port, and by toggling the setting in the BIOS for using both of them at a time. But most of them don’t have such a feature. So to handle the number of monitors a discrete graphics card is used which supports multiple video ports. The graphics card doesn’t need to be an expensive one, just buy the one that has the number and the type of port supported by your system.
Can you upgrade Graphics Card on Laptop?
No, the upgrading graphics card on laptop is not possible in most cases. This is because laptop graphics cards are embedded into their motherboard permanently so, in order to upgrade it, you have to replace the whole CPU. And the moment you try to open or tamper your laptop forcefully, you can also say goodbye to its warranty. However, if you want to upgrade your laptop for gaming or video editing purposes then you can add an external graphics card along with the laptop graphics card.
Which Graphics Card will be appropriate for your Laptop or Desktop?
Before upgrading the graphics card, you need to find out which graphics card is suitable for your laptop and desktop. Some points to keep in mind while choosing an appropriate graphics card for your device are:
- Before choosing any graphics card first, decide for what purpose you want it. Because if you want to play games that are not graphics-intensive such as Dota, League of Legends, Overwatch, PUBG, and Fortnite, then the low or mid-end graphics card will be enough for you. But if you want it for playing the latest single-player games or triple-A titles, as well as for heavy video editing, then you need to go for the mid or high-range graphics card.
- Needs to check the compatibility of the new graphics card with the rest of the system software like "video editing or playing software", "games", etc whether their speed or quality gets degraded or remains the same. You also need to check whether the slot on the motherboard will support the graphics card of your choice or not.
- Since all necessary calculations regarding graphics quality, color, definition, etc are performed in the memory area provided to the GPU so keep the focus on finding a graphics card with the right GPU.
- Also required to check for the availability of memory because the graphics card uses the memory allocated to GPU to perform calculations efficiently. Lower-end cards come up with 4GB of memory and higher-end cards come up with 16GB of memory.
- Lastly, you have to decide which manufacturer provides the best deal for the graphics card you choose. This might be easier to select, as there are only two manufacturers for the graphics card AMD and NVIDIA. As the market is changing on a regular basis no one predicts which seller is good, so it will be better to follow the news for a while before making a purchase.
How to upgrade Graphics Card on Laptop or Desktop?
In one of the above topics, we have seen that laptop graphics card are not replaceable in most cases, then also you can improve the speed and quality of the existing laptop graphics card by adding an external graphics card to it.
Some of the best external graphics cards for laptops available in the market are:
- Asus ROG XG Station 2
- Razer Core X
- Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box
- Sonnet EGFX Breakaway Box
- AKiTiO Node
We will deal with some of them later in this article.
After selecting a suitable external graphics card for a laptop, you need to know about the things required to establish the connection between your laptop and the external GPU. These things are:
- eGPU, laptop, display monitor
- Thunderbolt 3 connection and cord
- Video graphics card
- Power supply
Now, let’s move on, to find out the way of upgrading graphics cards on the desktop. Since in desktops, graphics cards are plotted onto their motherboard and run via a graphics card driver, before installing a new graphics card, we need to uninstall the older one. Even though you are going from NVIDIA to NVIDIA or AMD to AMD drivers, you still need to uninstall the older one before installing the new one.
The steps for upgrading graphics card on a desktop are as follow:
- In the Search Everywhere bar type Device Manager.
- A new Device Manager window opens
- Now click on Display Adapter.
- After that right-click on your current graphics card.
- Select the Uninstall device option to uninstall it.
- After uninstalling the current graphics card driver, now it’s time to install a new one. For installing the new card, you need to have the necessary power connector.
- Now place the new graphics card into a vacant PCIe slot on the motherboard and switch on the power supply.
- To use your brand new graphics card, you need to install a new driver.
To download drivers, links are given below:
- At last, install any one of these drivers by simply following the on-screen directions.
As of now, your desktop has been upgraded with the new graphics card, you can use it for playing calculation-intensive games, editing videos on Graphics-Centered Apps, etc.
How to upgrade Graphics Card Driver?
There are various ways available for upgrading the graphics drivers. Here we are going to explain two of them:
- Upgrading Graphics card drivers through Windows update
- Upgrading Graphics card drivers manually through Windows Device Manager
Upgrade Graphics card using Windows update
The steps are as follow:
- In the Search Everywhere bar type Control Panel.
- Go to System and Security.
- Then inside Windows Update click on the Check for Updates link.
- Now the computer starts searching for updates.
- Check under the Optional Updates category and find the one which points to update your graphics card driver.
- Then click on Install to upgrade the driver.
Upgrade Graphics card manually using Windows Device Manager
The steps are as follow:
- In the Search Everywhere bar type Device Manager.
- A new Device Manager window opens.
- Now click on Display Adapter.
- After that right-click on the graphics card you want to upgrade then the properties window will open.
- Now switch to the Driver tab and click on Update Driver. The Update Driver Software dialog box appears.
- Now select Search automatically for updated driver software.
- After selecting this option, the computer starts searching for the driver for your graphics card.
- Windows now ask you for a driver location. Find the folder where you have downloaded it. Double click on .INF file.
- Now click on the Next button to install the new driver. Desktop screen display might get blank a few times, but when it comes back you will see the dialog box with a message “Windows has successfully updated your drivers”.
- Click on the Close button.
Best Graphics Cards for Laptops and Desktops in 2020
As we have come a long way in the journey of Graphics Card, now the time has come to know about some of the best graphics cards available in the market. Let's see some of them.
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti: NVIDIA’s latest release of this graphics card has brought a revolution in the field of gaming. Eventually, it has become a supreme gaming GPU due to its powerful NVIDIA Turing™ GPU architecture, boosted technologies, and 11GB of next-gen, ultra-fast GDDR6 memory. It is the most powerful and expensive graphics card to date.
Get the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti link.
- AMD Radeon RX 5700: AMD’s latest release is 10% faster than GeForce RTX 2060 Super, on average. It is also among the best gaming GPU due to its amazing RDNA core mainly focused on games, and 8GB of next-gen with faster GDDR6 memory. AMD generated this graphics card to actually compete with Nvidia's graphics cards, not only on the basis of cost but with its features too.
Get the AMD Radeon RX 5700 link.
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super: With 8GB GDDR6 memory, 14 GT/s of Memory Clock along with the 1605 MHz Base Clock and 448GB/s of Memory Bandwidth, this graphics card is really impressive for 4k gaming. It is mainly the better version of the previous GTX 1080 Ti and very close to the RTX 2080 Super but provides this performance including all the Turing features in comparatively very less amount. It is available on the stores like the official GeForce store, amazon, etc, and is highly recommended for 4k gaming.
Get the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super Here.
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super: Nvidia's GTX 1650 Super is provisionally the best value graphics card in the market today. Ultimately, it becomes the best-value GPU around today due to its award-winning NVIDIA Turing™ architecture and ultra-fast GDDR6 memory. It is a supercharger for most of the popular games today.
Get the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super link.
- Asus ROG XG Station 2: This external graphics card is used to upgrade laptops graphics which is not only huge in its size but also bigger in its cost. You can enjoy VR games without sacrificing the notebook's portability. With this, you may experience gaming performance with quality rather than the heavier dedicated gaming laptops or desktops.
Get the Asus ROG XG Station 2 link.
- Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box: This is also an external graphics card, which is used for graphics-intensive and VR-ready games having Embedded Geforce GTX 1070 in it. Because of its portable size, it is easy to carry anywhere. It supports Quick Charge (QC 3.0) and Power Delivery (PD 3.0) along with 3x USB 3.0 for peripheral devices.
Get the Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box link.
In this article, we saw what the graphics card is and why we need to use or upgrade it.
We also dealt with Integrated and Discrete (also called Dedicated) graphics cards and decided which one to be used based on the requirements. Now we also know how to choose the appropriate graphics card for our devices based on different criteria, before upgrading it.
In the above topics, we have also seen the two ways of upgrading graphics card drivers:
- By using Windows Updates.
- By using the Device manager manually.
At last, we went through some of the best Graphics cards available in the market for upgrading graphics on both laptops or desktops. Some of them are stand-alone graphics cards while the others are external ones used for upgrading graphics card on laptop.
If you guys have any confusion or query regarding the information I shared, feel free to ask in the comment section below!