10-07-2008 04:20 PM
Hello, I am purchasing a laptop that uses shared graphics memory. I know that shared memory isn't as effective as dedicated memory, so I thought I could switch the graphics card out later. But I don't know for sure if the card it comes with is integrated; are shared cards always integrated?
Also, if shared memory graphics cards take memory from the computer's RAM, then would I be able to eliminate any performance slowdowns from the sharing by installing a large amount of RAM to my computer?
10-07-2008 06:47 PM
10-16-2008 09:41 AM
As a designer and occasional gamer, I've often wanted to "switch the graphics card" on my older laptop. Most notebooks have video and sound chips which are integrated into the motherboard to save space, among other reasons. This limits my laptop's ability to handle constantly escalating hardware demands of newer games or other graphically-intense software. I might opt for a new computer rather than upgrade the motherboard. Your intuition was correct - upgrading my laptop from the default 512 MB RAM to 2 GB RAM made my laptop dexterous with several programs. Alas, this did not help with 3-D rendered games. I knew better, but I futilely tried to install Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth.
You see, these mobile graphics processors are less powerful than expansion graphics cards used in some desktops because notebooks are optimized for low power consumption. This coincides with what you correctly termed "shared memory." My laptop draws from the main RAM to render graphics, whereas an upgraded graphics card in a desktop may have its own dedicated RAM. Graphically speaking, laptops have improved since I got mine a few years ago; some models now include upgraded graphics processors as well as dedicated Video RAM. These models often list this under the prominent features.
Keep asking questions, Camilo101! You may private message me about your laptop if you need precise help on this topic.