How to Install an External Graphics Card for a Laptop

Written by r.l. cultrona
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How to Install an External Graphics Card for a Laptop
The external video card has opened up video options for laptops. (computer monitor with padlock image by patrimonio designs from

In the past, if you wanted to update your graphics capability, you had to open your computer and install a new video card. While this was a rather simple process for PC users, laptop users were out of luck due to how their computers are constructed. As technology has progressed, an external video card became available. This type of card plugs right into one of the ports on the laptop to temporarily boost your graphics while keeping your existing graphics card intact.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Laptop with CD-ROM drive or Internet capability
  • External video card

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  1. 1

    Turn the computer on. Allow it to boot up completely.

  2. 2

    Open the disc drive of the computer. Place any disc that came with the external video card into the drive and close the door. Follow the prompts to install the video card drivers onto your hard drive.

  3. 3

    Open your web browser if your computer doesn't have a CD-ROM drive. Go to the appropriate website (the URL is nearly always located in the manual of your video card). Download any drivers for your video card, and follow any instructions to install them on your machine.

  4. 4

    Plug in the video card using one of the ports on the computer. Most video cards will use a USB port, but some of them may need different inputs.

  5. 5

    Wait for the computer to acknowledge that the new video card has been installed. Follow the on-screen prompts to display your graphics using the video card.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the external graphics card to play video games that feature heavy 3D imaging or advanced graphics. You may also want to use the upgraded card if you are using two monitors to get better performance
  • If you don't have the right port to attach your video card, you will be unable to use it. Make sure you can connect it to your laptop before you purchase it.

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