Modder Upgrades Laptop Graphics Card Externally

There are some amazing tricks people pull off with hardware modifications, but one I didn’t expect to see was anyone adding an external PCI-e Video Card to their Laptop.

Board member Cyclone, over at [H]ard|Forum (The community part of [H]ard|OCP) developed a way to add an external ATI 5850 to his aging Lenovo T410 Thinkpad using some inexpensive parts. The video card connects to the system using a PCIe bridge card, an external PCI slot, external monitor and power supply.

Using the PE4H he was able to get the laptop to recognize the external solution and push the image to a connected external monitor. Cyclone mentions that the solution itself is not portable due to the need for an external power supply and inability to drive the signal to the laptop’s on-board LCD.

The video signal is also markedly slower than it would be installed on a main bus since it’s using a x1 or x2 speed rather than the normal x4/8/16 of onboard PCI-e connections.

This really is an interesting experiment. Maybe paving the way for commercial external solutions one day?

You can read the whole story at the forum and find links to the hardware mentioned.

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3 Comments on Modder Upgrades Laptop Graphics Card Externally


On August 21, 2010 at 6:36 am

Huh, that’s pretty cool. Laptops always suffer when it comes to newer hardware and the need to upgrade. You can upgrade either the HDD or RAM! That’s great, what if the processor is utter crap? What’s that, buy a new model? Dammit all…


On August 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm

check out this:

they produce external GPU bus boxes x16


On August 31, 2010 at 9:49 am

this has been in discussion for a long time and still is over at

This also works with audio cards as well as ive personally tested it so its not just video card pretty much any pci express card will work. Some laptop are not as easy as plug an play though you can see further information here.