How to connect an external video card to a laptop


Modern games cannot be called modest in terms of system resource requirements. However, many people want to entertain themselves with a detailed image on the big screen. But the problem is that the available graphics adapter is not capable of providing sufficient performance. There is an idea to connect an external video card to a laptop. Depending on the model, this can be done in different ways.

Features Overview

It is impossible to connect a computer graphics card to an average laptop without additional equipment. But some models of mobile devices make it quite easy to do. They immediately have connectors to perform such a task.

  1. express card. Such a connector at the bottom (or at the end) of the laptop was present in models produced before 2012. The data transfer rate is up to 5 gigabits. Through this interface, you can connect a video card to a laptop. But it must be a specialized device. First, it is difficult to find it on sale. Second, a laptop with an ExpressCard interface is likely to have an underpowered CPU. This does not immediately imply the launch of modern demanding games. However, it is possible to ensure that the image is displayed on the big screen in this way.
    express card
  2. miniPCIe. Some devices provide for connecting an external video card to a laptop. It is placed in a special block that is inserted into the optical drive bay. In addition, through the miniPCIe interface of the motherboard, leading the cables outside the case, you can connect a video card from a PC to a laptop.

The most user-friendly way to date involves using the current state of the art ThunderBolt port. The proposed data transfer rate allows you to connect a video card to a laptop, which has really great capabilities.

Docking stations

The docking station is special boxinto which the external video card is inserted. Inside:

  • well fixed PCI-Express interface;
  • power unit;
  • forced ventilation system;
  • data processing unit and interfacing with a laptop via the ThunderBolt port.

The minimum amount of effort is required from the user. It is enough to place the video card from the computer into the docking station, secure it, close the unit and connect it to the network and laptop. All necessary drivers and interface programs are provided by the manufacturer.

Dock station

Problem one: docking stations are quite expensive. Price tags start at around $450 and can go up to several thousand.

Using USB

Connecting a video card to a laptop via USB has recently been considered irrational. Today, there are many ready-made solutions on sale, but they cannot provide resolutions higher than FullHD 1920×1080 and are intended only for displaying images on a large screen.

With the advent of the USB 3.0 interface, data transfer speeds have become sufficient for serious tasks. Today you can connect a video card from a computer to a laptop through the riser.


The set of equipment includes:

  • interface board, riser;
  • USB 3.0 interface block placed in the miniPCIe slot;
  • power adapter from SATA to 4 pin molex.

To connect a video card to a laptop through a riser, you will have to open the case and sacrifice some of the functionality. The fact is that risers and adapters, with which you can connect a video card from a PC to a laptop, require miniPCIe. This interface is found on most motherboards. But Wi-Fi or Bluetooth is already connected in it (they can be performed as a single module).

video card

To connect a video card with a riser or adapter, you have to open the case, losing Wi-Fi pull the cables out of the laptop. But avid gamers make such sacrifices. The least effort is applied when using the riser. The number of cables is minimal, the external card can be powered from the internal power supply of the mobile device.

On a note! Some models offer 2 miniPCIe motherboard interfaces, which immediately saves the owner from many problems.

Using an adapter

You can connect a computer video card to a laptop using special EXP GDC adapters.


The process takes place not only by connecting to the miniPCIe interface, but also via HDMI.

  1. The mobile station is disconnected from the adapter, the battery is pulled out of it.
  2. The back cover is removed.
  3. A Wi-Fi module is pulled out of the miniPCIe port, and the corresponding EXP GDC cable is installed in its place.
  4. Another EXP GDC cable is connected to the HDMI port.
  5. A video card is installed in the adapter interface and connected with an appropriate power adapter.
  6. If a power supply is offered with the adapter, it is connected according to the instructions. If it is not there, a power supply from a PC is used, connected through adapters. To turn on the PSU in this case, you need to provide a separate button.

Laptop and monitor

The laptop can be neatly assembled.

Advice! In order not to break the wires, it is worth making notches in the back cover. They will allow you to carefully install the part in place.

When the mobile device is turned on, the card is detected automatically and after installing the drivers it is ready for use. However, some models require BIOS settings. Here you need to activate the UMA Graphics option.

As a conclusion

In the simplest case, to connect an external video card, the user only needs to install the adapter in the docking station, connect the ThunderBolt power and data cables. But this method is difficult for the wallet. Cheaper solutions will inevitably require disassembly of the mobile device case. However, you can solve the connection problem without special skills. The main thing is to work carefully, following the manufacturer’s instructions for the riser or EXP GDC adapter.

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