Generally, it is considered that it is almost impossible to upgrade the laptop’s graphics card. Even if you find a way, it may take you too much time and effort to be worth it.
Also, if you decide to do it, you will most probably have to order the GPU from an online shop, which can be unreliable. And, even if you manage to install it correctly and it works properly at first, there is a small chance that it will blow up after several weeks of use.
However, if you still want to take the risk of upgrading your graphics card, then the Canadian laptop seller Eurocom may have a solution for you. Several years ago, they started offering upgrade kids to their consumers, so let us see if it actually works.
Manage your expectations
First of all, if you believe that by swapping out the graphics card, you will be able to convert your thin laptop into a gaming beast, then I have got some bad news for you. That is unlikely to happen.
Majority of upgrades offered by Eurocom target big gaming laptops that are on the verge of not being portable. This is because the majority of the upgrades offered by the company is designed for the big laptops manufactured by Clevo. It is the most common manufacturer, although it is not the only one.
For the purposes of this experiment, we will be using the Eurocom P150EM, more commonly known as the Clevo 150EM. Before you actually go on with the physical upgrade, there are a few things that you should check off your list.
The first thing you need to do is check whether the company actually sells the graphics processing unit that is compatible with your laptop. In addition to the Alienware units, you want them to also support Clevo units.
Once you have found the GPU that is appropriate for your laptop, it is important to read the fine print. It may say that you need a certain level BIOS on your laptop, and you might also need a power brick that is on a certain level too.
If your laptop has all of these features, then it is time to uninstall the Nvidia drivers. Next, shut down the laptop, unplug it from the power source and pull out the battery. Eurocom warns its customers and says that you should take ESD precautions and wear a grounding strap when you do this. After you have removed the screws, you can slide off the bottom cover of the laptop. You will see one more door that covers a 2.5-inch drive. You should have full access to CPU and GPU by just opening the main hatch.
Removing the heat pipes
The next step is removing three screws on the GPU core from the heat pipe. This will give you access to the GPU. There are three more pipes on the voltage regulators on the RAM.
In case you don’t know what heat pipes are, they are cooling mechanisms that blow cool air and expel heat. In total, you have to remove seven screws, and once all of them have been removed from the heat pipes, you will see paper tabs attached to the pipes; go ahead and gently pull them off.
Don’t be alarmed if it seems that the pipes are stuck to the GPU. This may be happening because of the melted thermal paste. There’s a seal of the thermal paste that may be broken if you gently rock the pipes back-and-forth, but be careful not to overdo it on you can damage them.
Once both of the heat pipes have been moved, you should have access to the MXM module. You have to also remove the two hex-shaped nuts. To do this, you can either use a crescent wrench, a pair of pliers, a box wrench, or a flat-head screwdriver. When you can see that the nuts are loose, you can take them out using your fingers.
The module should now come out of the slot if you gently rock it up at an angle. It is almost like a big RAM in the way it slips in and out of the slot. The unit kit may include a mobile PCI Express module, or MXM module, two heat pipes and screws, and offsets for your GPU. Even if most of the offsets and screws look the same, you might want to use new ones just to be on the safe side.
The process of installing the new 980 M card
It is similar to installing RAM. You just have to take your connector and slide it partway into the slot and slightly push it to ensure that it is seated. After you have done this, you can insert the two hex nuts that you removed previously and tighten them with your flat head screwdriver just a little bit, to prevent them from backing off.
Next, you need to install the heat pipes that were previously moved. Be careful not to make a typical rookie mistake of leaving the protective plastic cover on thermal paste. Typically the graphics upgrade kit which you will receive from Eurocom will come with the thermal pad already applied to the heat pipe all you need to do is remove the plastic covering.
Be very careful when installing the heat pipe. The core of the GPU is directly exposed to maximize the cooling effect, so if you Pressed down a bit too hard and chip a bit of the edge, it will be destroyed. In order to avoid damaging the core, the screws that are used for the heat spreader are quite small. You must proceed with extreme caution at this stage.
Once you have installed everything, you can put the bottom cover back on the laptop. Next, install the battery you removed and plug it into the power source, allow it to power up. If you did everything correctly, your laptop should be able to power up without a problem and boot into Windows.