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Windows 7: Can I upgrade my laptop's hardware?: For gaming purposes

27 Jun 2015   #1
ACMDogfight1997

Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
 
 
Can I upgrade my laptop's hardware?: For gaming purposes

When I got my HP Envy Dv7-7223cl laptop from Walmart, I had for one simple purpose: To play today's hottest games. That was two years ago and now times have changed since then. On my Steam account (which is the same name on this site if you wanna add me ), the newest game on my wishlist is Grand Theft Auto 5. I have played a lot on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4 and now it's time to play it on the PC. Only problem though, apparently my graphics card is not powerful enough.

I have looked at the minimum requirements and the only two requirements that my system doesn't meet is the processor and the graphics driver. Everything else is good enough even for recommended requirements. The minimum requirements for the processor is an AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core Processor at 2.5 GHz. My processor is an AMD A8-4500M Quad-Core Processor at 1.9 GHz. Although mine is also a quad-core processor, it does not have the required power at minimum requirements for GTA 5.

The minimum requirements for the graphics driver is the AMD HD 4870 driver which runs 1GB of memory. My graphics drivers is the AMD Radeon HD 7640G driver which runs 512 MB of memory. So it's obvious this isn't going to be enough.

Now what can I do about this? Well I have two options, either I buy a new PC which isn't likely gonna happen, or I update the hardware on my laptop. Well I know it is possible to change the hardware on a PC, but I have some questions.

1.) Is this possible for a factory-built PC?

2.) Will Windows recognize my laptop as a different one and must reinstall?

For all I know, the only changes I made to my laptop since I first got it was downgrading from Windows 8 (which my laptop only comes with) to Windows 7 because who doesn't love it and there's a local-PC shop that I see often and as a result can reduce the price for anything for being often visitors. Also, I will be upgrading to Windows 10 when it comes out on Monday the 29th but I can wait afterwards so you don't have to rush yourselves. I expect good news, buh-bye!

EDIT: I forgot, here is a list of games that I play on this laptop and how well they run:

Good framerate, even at max settings:

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.
Battlestations Pacific
Half-Life 2

Good framrate, but on approximately medium settings:

War Thunder
Ace Combat Assualt Horizon Enhanced Edition
World of Tanks
Kerbal Space Program

Good or decent framrate, but on minimum settings:

Planetside 2
Men of War: Assault Squad 2
Grand Theft Auto IV


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Jun 2015   #2
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

Laptops are not meant for gaming.

About the only thing you can do is add memory
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jun 2015   #3
LMiller7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Laptops are not very upgrade friendly. Video is almost always built into the motherboard and not upgradeable. Even when possible the options will be limited and expensive. It map be possible to upgrade the CPU but determining what is compatible can be difficult. Your computer model may have been sold with other CPUs but you can't assume they are compatible with your specific computer. It is rarely cost effective. Usually the only cost effective upgrades are hard drive and memory.

The design priorities of laptops (small size and low power consumption) make them incompatible with the requirements of high level gaming. The so called gaming laptops are expensive compromises that do not compare with a good desktop.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Jun 2015   #4
ACMDogfight1997

Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
 
 

Well I understand that laptops aren't meant for gaming at all. Unfortunately, that phrase was never in my head back when I got this thing. It was recommended by a Walmart employee who had one of his own and said that it was good for gaming thanks to its quad-core processor. I stuck to laptops because I can bring them anywhere I go while on vacation or someplace outside of the house where I can stay for a while. I guess replacing that with a desktop with a tablet could replace the experience but that's likely not coming soon.

Also, if adding memory can improve performance, does that mean the downsides of low-level processors and graphics adapters could be erased?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jun 2015   #5
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

No. But you can always try the game on lower settings.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jun 2015   #6
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ACMDogfight1997 View Post
Well I understand that laptops aren't meant for gaming at all. Unfortunately, that phrase was never in my head back when I got this thing. It was recommended by a Walmart employee who had one of his own and said that it was good for gaming thanks to its quad-core processor. I stuck to laptops because I can bring them anywhere I go while on vacation or someplace outside of the house where I can stay for a while. I guess replacing that with a desktop with a tablet could replace the experience but that's likely not coming soon.

Also, if adding memory can improve performance, does that mean the downsides of low-level processors and graphics adapters could be erased?
No, it does not mean that, particularly since you are sitting at 8 GB RAM now.

You may be locked in because you sank all that money in a laptop, but there's not much you can do about it that is even remotely cost-effective.

The only advantage of a laptop is the portability.

You have to decide if portability is more important to you than gaming performance. If yes, you buy a new laptop. If no, you buy a new upgradable desktop and get off the laptop train. Or decide that gaming is not a high priority--which gamers aren't likely to do.

Portability and excellent gaming performance in the same machine is an expensive proposition that might be tolerable if laptops were upgradable. But they are very limited in that respect, so you have to repeatedly re-purchase all of it, rather than piece-by-piece.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jun 2015   #7
LMiller7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

A basic principle of upgrading hardware is that you must upgrade the component that is the bottleneck for the aspect of performance that is most important to you. Unfortunately people often guess about that component or upgrade that which is the most convenient. The results are often disappointing. Upgrading RAM will do little unless you have a shortage, and with 8 GB that is unlikely.

Modern gaming requires high performance video and that is a particular weakness in laptops. All else being equal the faster an electronic component operates (necessary for high performance) the more power it will consume and the more heat it will generate. Those are the laws of physics. High power consumption is a serious problem in a device designed to operate on batteries. Heat is difficult to dissipate in the confined space of a laptop and as a result many run hot. These problems can only be dealt with by compromising the design priorities or considerably raising the cost. Neither alternative is acceptable to most buyers. Thus video performance in laptops must be limited.

The bottom line is that laptops are not game machines although they can be used as such if your expectations are not too high. Unfortunately retail salesman are often unaware of the issues or don't mention them to get the sale.

Desktop units are not subject to the severe design constraints inherent in laptops and the problems are much easier and cheaper to solve.

Edit: Note that it is not just video performance that is effected. All aspects of performance are influenced.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jun 2015   #8
ACMDogfight1997

Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
 
 

Well I appreciate all your responses. The reason why I posted this is because I have concerns on whether how my laptop would run GTA 5 even at minimum settings and see what I can do about it. Although your responses suggest that the possibilities are limited because of use of a laptop, my reaction is that I'll just wait and see. When the game comes on sale, I might buy it and by that time I'll have Windows 10 on my laptop. I've heard that Windows 8 is a more performance oriented OS compared to Windows 7 so hopefully Windows 10 should be even more gaming friendly and may be a change from using Windows 7 or even 8. Who knows?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jun 2015   #9
ACMDogfight1997

Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ACMDogfight1997 View Post
Also, I will be upgrading to Windows 10 when it comes out on Monday the 29th
Whoops, I'm a dummy. It comes out on July the 29th, not June the 29th. I've got to stop messing up the dates for July on June. Did the same thing for the New Horizons Pluto flyby. Disappointing, but I'll wait.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2015   #10
ACMDogfight1997

Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
 
 

Well I've just found an option! Yesterday, I have just discovered that laptops can run on external GPUs. I've researched on what types of external GPUs are out there and I found out that it varies.

Some external graphics cards are just plain desktop GPUs that you plug in to your laptop via an express card slot which mine lacks. However, there are ways to convert Express Card to other slot formats via adapters.

Other external GPUs are prebuilt coverings with GPUs inside of them with ports on the outside. Some of these are meant to be used on specific laptops so I am wondering on what other types of external GPUs are out there.

I've read that external GPUs are a cheap and easy solution to help give portable devices the ability to play today's high-end games on even the oldest and most non-gaming oriented devices. Here are some sources I've found:

External Video Card Guide
External GPU for laptops. Supercharge your graphics. - Hardware Hangout - Neowin Forums
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP_8EYQ-2RA

If you have any important information that I should know, please let me do so.
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