Info Laptop upgrades: CPU and GPU usually cannot be upgraded or replaced

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Win 10 Master
I have frequently seen questions about "How can I upgrade the CPU in my laptop" or "What graphics card should I get with my laptop so I can upgrade it later?" In most cases, these upgrades cannot be done.

o Almost all notebooks do not have "graphics cards" the way a desktop machine has. They either use the onboard graphics on the CPU and passed through the chipset, or have a graphics chip attached to the motherboard.

o In the case of onboard graphics for Intel, your Device Manager will show something like "Intel(R) 915GM/GMS, 910GML Express Chip Set." This is integrated into the CPU and the motherboard's chipset, does not exist as a physically separate object, and can't be changed.

o In the case of a separate graphics chip, the motherboard is highly customized for this particular chip. It may be compatible with no other chip, or a small number of chips in the same family.

o There is one other case, known as MXM, which I will discuss later.


o Whether or not the CPU and / or GPU chip can be replaced depends on two things. First, in many cases they are soldered to the motherboard and cannot be removed. Second, if they are socketed, only a small number of chips will be compatible with the motherboard, and you probably won't be able to substitute a chip with higher power consumption; the motherboard may not be able to provide it.

o Socketed machines tend to be both more expensive and uncommon. Anyone who can provide a link to examples, especially not-expensive ones, please PM me so that I can update this.

o Motherboards are highly customized for the particular machine. Its case, its power supply, the intended CPU and, if present, GPU, the display. Unlike a desktop motherboard, you cannot simply pull out the motherboard and drop in a new one. There will be some limited interchangeability within similar models from the same maker.


o The exception mentioned above is the MXM, or Mobile PCI Express module. If a notebook machine supports an MXM card, you can use an MXM graphics card. In this case, the machine will actually have a separate graphics card, not the configurations that I described above. See .

As above, if you can provide a link to an example please PM me. Here is one:,4580.html


As far as other components go.

o The hard drive / SSD is usually simple to replace, but this will depend on the machine.
o The memory is relatively easy to replace, but laptops do not take regular desktop memory. Their are more compatibility issues with laptop memory than with desktop memory. I personally stick to memory I got through the manufacturer.
o Screen replacement. This is a contentious topic. I will say that it's possible, it's quite difficult, and you have to find one of the very few screens that will be compatible with your machine.


Note that technically a soldered-on chip can be replaced with one compatible with the same motherboard, either to replace a failed one or upgrade within a small range. However, this requires very expensive soldering equipment and much experience, and may be more expensive than replacement. Most repair shops will choose to put in a complete replacement motherboard.

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