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I have an HP Pavilion DV2701TX special edition laptop. It has Nvidia 8400M GS graphics card embedded into the motherboard. There is a problem with the graphics card, it just dies out after use of a year or two. So, it died the second time now. Now, I am thinking of having alternate options rather than getting my motherboard replaced at a service center, which is pretty costly.

Are there any good options?

The laptop has an external PCI-Express card (/54) slot. I am not sure if I can use this slot for an external graphics card. Even if I am able to use it, will it work right from boot as my internal graphics card is just dead?

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Not directly - there's express card -> pci-e adaptors I think, and some people have reported using these on a laptop. forum.notebookreview.com/e-gpu-external-graphics-discussion/… maybe about 90 dollars for the adaptor + a GPU. Not sure if it'll work with a borked main graphics card. –  Journeyman Geek Nov 24 '12 at 13:52
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