Windows – Can I upgrade the laptop’s video RAM

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According to Device Manager, my HP ProBook 6550b laptop is equipped with a ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4300/4500 Series video card. CPU-Z says that it holds 512MB VRAM. Sometimes I do some video editing on it with Adobe Premiere Elements 10 or play Guild Wars 2. The former is a little laggy even with Aero disabled and the latter only runs smoothly on low quality. I already tried updating my drivers to no avail.

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I was wondering if I could expand my VRAM and if it would make sense to do so. I have an empty PCI Express slot, but I don't know if it's any use. I don't have a desktop and I don't want one because I don't need to have the best graphics performance. I just want those graphically intensive programs to not run like they're constantly being choked.

Best Answer

I don't think you will be able to upgrade the GPU (graphics chip) on your laptop. The only laptops where it is even vaguely practical to upgrade the GPU are some top of the range models that use the MXM standard (which includes HP Elitebooks but not ProBooks). The vast majority of notebooks have the GPU soldered to the main board.

On some systems you can supplement the dedicated graphics RAM with some system RAM using 'shared memory', but it will not be as fast as dedicated video memory and the feature is more common with Nvidia chipsets. If your laptop does have this option then you may be able to activate it in the BIOS, but be careful with the settings you change.

The empty PCI Express slot you mentioned is probably a mini PCIe normally used for WiFi adapters.

I am not surprised that you cannot run Guild Wars 2 properly because you are close to the minimum system requirements.

I would suggest you try to find out more information about the exact hardware you have, and then post your Windows Experience Index scores so that we can determine if your system is performing as well as it should.

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