|8.(i) Can I upgrade the Video card in my Laptop?
Well, whether you can upgrade, and what too depends on the model... so I will trudge though the repeat offendors one by one again:
>>Inspiron 1150/ 700m/ 600m; Latitude D600/ X300<<
Unfortunately these models do not have upgradeable video cards. The i1150, 700m and X300 all have an integrated Intel extreme graphics chip that shares system memory, attached to the motherboard, and no hope of an upgrade in that respect.
Although the MR9000 in the 600m has it's own dedicated memory and seems to be a separate card, it is in fact attached to the motherboard! It is more powerful than intergrated graphics chipsets but had to be done this way to keep the size down, so unfortunatly no upgrades witout a new motherboard. Never mind, I always thought that for a laptop of that size having the MR9000 was a great deal.
The Inspiron 5160 is a funny machine. It has a very powerful Pentium 4 based CPU, and plenty of potential but is somewhat limited because of it's video options. Yes, the video card can be upgraded with a fair amount of ease, however the options to upgrade to are none too appealing I think you can agree. The two best cards available in a compatible form factor are the 64MB ATI Moblity Radeon 9000 and the 64MB nVIDIA GeForceFX Go5200. Both give approximately the same performance with the MR9000 pulling ahead a little, but the FX5200 offers some DX9 features whereas the MR9000 is a DX8.1 based card.
Note: You cannot upgrade to the MR9600, MR9700, MR9800 or any other video card as seen in the other models! Those two I pointed out are the only decent upgrade options available in the correct form factor.
In any case, replacing/ upgrading the card is a relatively simple process, simply follow the instructions which can be found at the Dell support site following:
>>Inspiron 8600; Latitude D800; Precision M60<<
These models are what was the 'flagship' chassis for well over a year (some would argue still is). Thus there are 4 models here that have virtually identical capabilities (the i8500 used a different motherboard & chipset, but same video form), and that means that there are more cards available to upgrade to. For gamers the two top choices are the 128MB nVIDIA GeForceFX Go5650 and the 128MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 Pro Turbo, both of which are great (the FX5650 holds ascendency in OpenGL, the MR9600 does in DX9).
For those that use CAD based programs and need those features there are also two fairly powerful cards available for upgrade, being the 128MB nVIDIA QuadroFX Go700 GL and the 128MB nVIDIA QuadroFX Go1000 GL.
Note: You cannot upgrade to the MR9700 or MR9800 as seen in the i9100 and XPS! These cards are in totally different form factors and thus will not fit, let alone work. So you are limited to the cards as offered in these models, the best of which I have indicated above
Upgrading these cards is very simple also, all that needs be done is remove the hinge cover, lift the keyboard, and then you have direct access to remove and add the video card. For instructions I can direct you to two places, firstly is the service manual at Dell, and secondly is a fantastic guide at Bay Wolf's site, so take your pick.
>>Inspiron 9100/ iXPS<<
I know the answer to the question you are all wanting to know, can I upgrade my i9100/ XPS with the 256MB MR9800 recently released? We all know that the XPS has these upgrades as a feature but what about the i9100 in particular? Well the short answer: Yes. Although the Inspiron XPS has supported Upgrades as a major selling point, this does not mean that the i9100 owners miss out. Although the upgrade is not supported (A Dell tech will not come out to upgrade your video as is available with the Inspiron XPS), you can still use the same cards as the XPS as the i9100 uses exactly the same form factor. However, you would have to order the card from Dell spare parts, which can be a hassle, and install it yourself.
As of the moment, there are three possible cards that will work in the i9100/ XPS. These are the 64MB and 128MB versions of the MR9700, and the newly released 256MB MR9800. These video cards as used in the i9100 and XPS are very easy to upgrade yourself, simply refer to the instructions in place at Dell which can be found through the following link.