Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is it possible to hook up an external graphics card to our Dell Inspiron 1420 Vista laptop? The video card is messed up, and I know you can't replace the internal video cards for laptops since they are integrated. The warranty is past and it just seems like a waste of a laptop... There is no docking station...

share|improve this question
Thanks guys. I'm going to buy this:… – yuudachi Sep 22 '10 at 9:05
so, did it work? I know I'm late (4 years late) but I have a laptop with your same faulty graphics card, and I am considering a similar solution. – Blaine Mar 9 '15 at 10:36
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes - you should be able to find something if you have usb or expresscard slots.

Asus was going to release an expresscard grapics device that was supposed to bring 3d performance, etc eg. it is no longer manufactured but you might be able to find one.

If its just a display output you want then maybe something like this would do:

share|improve this answer
+1 for easy simple suggestion - see comment on AndrejaKo's answer. – Shinrai Sep 21 '10 at 22:26
Thanks for the link. I just want it to display! This seems like a good product. So I should be able to hook it up to a basic, simple monitor? – yuudachi Sep 22 '10 at 8:46
I have not used this myself. I imagine you will find similar products in your local computer or electronics store. According to the review this one in particular has a dvi connector - DVI is probably considered basic these days? I imagine one thing with this is you probably need at least a partially working video card to be able to boot the laptop and install drivers before you can use it. – Adam Butler Sep 22 '10 at 13:48

First, make sure that you do have integrated graphics card. Some laptops have discrete graphics cards which can be can be changed.

You won't be able to find a good external graphics card for a laptop. There are USB cards, but they usually are only good enough for driving a display. There are some ExpressCard graphics cards like XG Station, but they are more or less experimental and from what I've heard problematic.

I've seen ExpressCard->PCI-E 1x adapters like something form here, but they are very expensive and it would probably be cheaper to repair old laptop or buy new one then to purchase such adapter.

share|improve this answer
Laptops with discrete graphics can almost never be changed - just because it's a discrete chip doesn't mean it isn't soldered into place! Also, we use those PCI-e -> ExpressCard adapters. They are not only expensive but EXTREMELY touchy to get to work - only certain cards with with certain onboard controllers, and only with certain ExpressCard controllers, and only with certain RAM configurations...basically it's a nightmare. Buy a new laptop. – Shinrai Sep 21 '10 at 21:58
@Shinrai When I said discrete, I was thinking about MXM. – AndrejaKo Sep 21 '10 at 22:12
Oh, gotcha. That's an important clarification - and the reason I said 'almost never'. MXM isn't widely adopted, sadly. – Shinrai Sep 21 '10 at 22:22
Also, I should add the other answer is very correct - if you just want a monitor and don't care about video performance use a USB->DVI adapter. Installing it might be problematic though. :/ – Shinrai Sep 21 '10 at 22:26
The display actually works, its just eternally stuck on a cramped split screen though. Will that make it easier to install? – yuudachi Sep 22 '10 at 8:52

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.