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Default Graphics card for a laptop

January 21st, 2013, 22:18
Hello. I have a laptop that's a few years old but still functions pretty well, and I'd like to upgrade the graphics card in order to play some newer games. However, I have no idea where to even start. I know there are a million different cards I can choose from. What I'd like to do is keep the price under $100 yet still get strong performance for my bucks. Is it possible to spend between $50-100 to get a nice laptop graphics card? Any suggestions?

It's absolutely got to be able to play Elder Scrolls Online. That's about the only requirement I have.
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January 21st, 2013, 22:45
What model is it? Almost zero laptops can be upgraded in that way, usually only huge bulky desktop replacement models.
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January 21st, 2013, 22:47
The laptop? It's a Toshiba Satellite.

Shit, I know nothing about video cards and upgrading laptops. Are you saying I'm pretty much stuck with what I got then? Very bad news if so. I was hoping to use this laptop to do some gaming with.
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January 21st, 2013, 23:02
Yes, in the Toshiba Satellite the graphics card is permanently affixed to the motherboard.

The only way to upgrade is to buy a new laptop. I used to game on my old Toshiba Satellite back around the year 2009, and it could run games like Fallout 3, DA:O and Oblivion at low resolution and low settings.
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January 21st, 2013, 23:04
I'm pretty sure you'll be able to play TES online on any machine - it's in their interest to get as much ppl as they can.
Me however won't come near that game. I expect a game that should be called BUGS ONLINE. And in this case there will be no modders to fix it.

As of gfx card, it depends on other things already inside your laptop, you can't buy just anything. As Chocula said, it's pretty hard to find a better one that'd fit in your model whichever it is. Chocula, you sure it's permafixed in Toshiba laptops? One reason more never to buy them myself…

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January 21st, 2013, 23:05
Well, thanks for the help. I suppose I'll just consider upgrading my laptop entirely or hoping I can still play it on this one.
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January 21st, 2013, 23:07
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Chocula, you sure it's permafixed in Toshiba laptops? One reason more never to buy them myself…
100% certain. The only kinds of laptops with MXM connectors where you can upgrade the graphics card are bulky desktop replacements like Sager/Clevo, Alienware, etc.

I tend to buy a new laptop about every three or four years or so and sell my old one.

The one I have my eye on now is the Samsung Series 7 Chronos H, coming out in the next few months with Haswell i7 quad core, 1920x1080 glossy display, AMD 8870m graphics card, no optical disc drive and it is super thin and portable (0.82" thick).

Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
Well, thanks for the help. I suppose I'll just consider upgrading my laptop entirely or hoping I can still play it on this one.
In case you decide to buy a new (or used) laptop, here is a good chart showing the ranking of all the laptop GPUs: http://www.pc-erfahrung.de/grafikkar…-notebook.html

My current laptop has the card ranked number 47 on that list and it runs most games just fine at 1080p, so any card ranked 47 or higher will be OK for gaming at 1080p, and there are plenty of laptops under $1,000 that will do it. If possible within your budget, try to find a laptop with 1920x1080 display, i7 quad core, Nvidia 650m, 660m, AMD 7730m, or better.

If you don't mind gaming at lower resolution, such as 1366x768 or 1280x720, which is the resolution for games on Xbox and PS3, then you can find some laptops that are even cheaper.
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January 22nd, 2013, 00:35
If I may suggest it might be better to go for classical desktop PC.You get more bang for buck in performance+easier and cheaper upgrade but what is also important you will have big screen for multiple well organized quickbars and big keyboard+and fast mouse.Last 2 might not seem very relevant but in PvP it can mean difference between wining and loosing(and somewhat less in PvE).Anyway I see you are more interested in laptop but still take this in consideration.
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January 22nd, 2013, 12:31
Originally Posted by Nameless one View Post
If I may suggest it might be better to go for classical desktop PC.You get more bang for buck in performance+easier and cheaper upgrade but what is also important you will have big screen for multiple well organized quickbars and big keyboard+and fast mouse.Last 2 might not seem very relevant but in PvP it can mean difference between wining and loosing(and somewhat less in PvE).Anyway I see you are more interested in laptop but still take this in consideration.
+1

Nothing beats playing on a larger monitor with a keyboard and mouse that are geared towards gaming. I find it far more immersive than trying to game on a laptop. Unless mobility is a requirement, I definitely recommend a desktop setup.
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January 22nd, 2013, 12:40
Definitely agree.

If you want to take PC gaming seriously and you want the combination of the most comfortable, most immersive, cheapest and overall best experience - you want a desktop with a large screen and a good mouse/keyboard solution.
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January 22nd, 2013, 12:45
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Definitely agree.

If you want to take PC gaming seriously and you want the combination of the most comfortable, most immersive, cheapest and overall best experience - you want a desktop with a large screen and a good mouse/keyboard solution.
What does "taking it seriously" have to do with whether you play on desktop or laptop? Most people I know already need to use a laptop of some kind on a daily basis for work or school and there are plenty of mid-range laptops available that will run most games at 1080p without costing an arm and a leg. And you can still use a mouse, you don't need to game with the touchpad.
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January 22nd, 2013, 12:55
Originally Posted by CountChocula View Post
What does "taking it seriously" have to do with whether you play on desktop or laptop? Most people I know already need to use a laptop of some kind on a daily basis for work or school and there are plenty of mid-range laptops available that will run most games at 1080p without costing an arm and a leg. And you can still use a mouse, you don't need to game with the touchpad.
It means maximising your enjoyment and getting all you can from PC gaming. Wasn't that obvious? Guess not.

It's a recommendation - not a decree from God.
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January 22nd, 2013, 14:40
As a decree from Harold the mutant. I've been gaming on laptops for a while and I've never had trouble. The only problem I've ever had has been the heat, which can be resolved by having a cooling pad.

According to my other thread for a laptop, which I won't be buying for a while now, a GT650 or 660 are good enough to run most games today at high resolutions on medium-high settings…
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January 22nd, 2013, 16:00
As one who is in charge of keeping his wife's drivers up to date, listen to me; don't ever buy a Toshiba if you want to game. They don't update video drivers and use crappy Intel graphics. I have seen so many games that won't work with it and to be fair some that work great. If you want to stick with a laptop make sure you get one with Nvidia graphics as those get upgraded.Or Ati graphics.

To be sure, I agree that desktop gaming is the best bet. You can get a great deal on a barebones online and add any card and ram to it you want. And upgrade it as you like.
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January 22nd, 2013, 16:44
Some Toshiba's (like mine) have nVidia GPUs, so I'm happy with mine
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January 22nd, 2013, 20:42
Thanks for proving my point. If they have upgradable Nvidia graphics, then they are ok. Most of those crappy Satelites had the shitty Intel. Usually you will pay 700.00 and up for a laptop with Nvidia or Amd cards in them making them a bit more expensive but you won't be playing a guessing game every time you make a game purchase on whether the stuff will play.

Fluent, if you are stuck with the laptop for a while, usually getting a demo first can help you tell if the game will be playable on your rig. Usually.
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January 22nd, 2013, 20:58
Originally Posted by redman5427 View Post
Thanks for proving my point. If they have upgradable Nvidia graphics, then they are ok. Most of those crappy Satelites had the shitty Intel. Usually you will pay 700.00 and up for a laptop with Nvidia or Amd cards in them making them a bit more expensive but you won't be playing a guessing game every time you make a game purchase on whether the stuff will play.
The HD3000 and earlier versions of integrated graphics are crap, but I'd say the Intel HD4000 is actually on par with or better than some of the lower end discrete cards. It can run most recent games OK at around 1366x768 or 1280x720, provided you are using a quad core CPU and you have sufficient RAM. (integrated cards use part of your system RAM for VRAM, so the more the better, and the speed of the RAM makes a difference)

For the next generation Haswell intel integrated graphics (launching around May or June I believe), there will be three SKUs, the GT1 (for netbooks and ULV CPUs), GT2 (for dual core) and GT3 (for quad core ). From what I've seen so far, it looks like the GT3 will be able to handle most games at 1080p.

Haswell GT3 running Dirt 3 @ 1080p vs Nvidia 650m

Haswell GT3 running Skyrim @1080p, High
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January 22nd, 2013, 22:42
You are correct that the 4000 numbers are not that bad and actually fairly close to lower end desktop card(550-650) The next generation sound great but will you always be able to upgrade drivers? Always a given with a Nvida but with Intel, I don't know. I realize the need for laptops and people are always looking for one system to do it all be it tablet , or a laptop but I still give the nod to desktop solutions.
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