10 Replies Latest reply: Jun 24, 2012 7:16 PM by jradams
gtmars Level 1 (0 points)

Hello Community,


I've researched this community, and found some relevant posts to the following question. However, the answers I found weren't completely satisfying. So, I'm posting my own on the subject to help me and others.


I have the following:


• MacBook Pro 17" (Late 2011, MacBookPro8,3) 2.5 ghz Quad Core i7/512 SSD/8 GB RAM

• Graphics Card: AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 1 GB VRAM and Intel HD 3000 Graphics


I know desktop models can be upgraded, but I can not afford the one I need at the moment. I am aware that many Apple laptop graphics cards can not be upgraded. Can this particular AMD Radeon graphics card be replaced and upgraded?


If it can be replaced and upgraded, any suggestions on the best graphics card available? AMD has some nice upgrades.


The card is nice, fast, and I'm not unhappy with it, but I run graphics and multimedia applications, and could benefit from the newer cards available.


I appreciate your input community.




MacBook Pro (17-inch Late 2011), Mac OS X (10.7.2), 2.5 Quad Core i7/512 SSD/8 GB RAM
  • steve359 Level 6 (13,362 points)

    MBP can upgrade HD and memory only.

  • gtmars Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the reply steve, but can you be a little more specific as to why the card can not be upgraded? Is it because it simply can not? Or is there some other reason why it can not be upgraded?




  • steve359 Level 6 (13,362 points)

    MBP are tightly-packed units.  Graphics cards have had *just enough* space milled out of the aluminum block, and the OSX has the correct hardware device drivers dir that graphics card.  Thr card is soldered onto the logicboard and only major surgery will get to where the card is attached.


    I have managed Linux systems in PC-hardware tower systems, and the biggest hurdle for me to run high-res graphics reliably is to find the correct device drivers.  Apple solves that problem by choosing a graphics card that they know for a fact the have the device driver for.

  • Shootist007 Level 6 (16,660 points)

    About the only time you can upgrade a video card in a notebook is if that model notebook came with a better video card then what you ordered. At a later date if that better video card become available on the used market you could by one and replace the original as it was made to fit in the same model.


    But it is almost impossible to buy one from the original manufacturer. Especial during the current production run of that model.


    In your case the model you bought has the best video card available in the new line of MBPs. So there is no better card that would fit in your system. Whether the new models that will be coming out later this year will use a better video card and whether it would physical fit in your model is unknow.


    But all of what I wrote above doesn't really matter as with all Macbook Pros the video card and CPU is Soldered to the logic board and can not be replaced. If either fails the complete logic board needs to be replaced.

    The only things that can be easily replaced by the user in a Apple Macbook Pro is the RAM, hard drive and DVD drive.

    All other parts Apple does not sell to the general public.


    So your only option is if the newer models have a better video card is to sell your present system and buy the new model.

  • gtmars Level 1 (0 points)

    Shootist007 and steve359,


    Both of you have been very very helpful in furthering my understanding of how a graphics card is configured in the current generation of Apple laptops. This has helped me, and I hope this thorough explanation helps other laptop owners.


    I know that my laptop is configured with the best graphics card Apple has to offer. Why I configured it that way. As stated, I'm not completely unhappy with the current card. It is quick, reliable, and renders well. I just want to know what my options are- if any.


    Interesting point you make about IF Apple upgrades the video card in future releases, of which I'm sure will happen, of the possibility of upgrading if the engineering specs are the same and if it could fit my model. If this does happen, I'm wondering if Apple technicians from a service standpoint would be willing to offer such a swop out for graphic cards. Particularly if current owners desire to upgrade. I'd be interested if the option and offer presented itself.   Hmmmmmm....


    Thanks again,


  • eww Level 9 (52,980 points)

    The only way to upgrade the GPU in any MBP is to replace the entire logic board with one that contains a better GPU. It is effectively impossible to desolder the chip from the board (there is no card) and solder a new one on.

  • Shootist007 Level 6 (16,660 points)

    Yeah what he ^ Said.

  • gtmars Level 1 (0 points)

    ..and I continue to learn. Great replies. Again, thanks to everyone that contributed.


    Continue to post anything technically interesting, related to the graphics cards, that could benefit us owners.


    Love the new MacBook Pros btw. Great computer and especially the ability to use it in my office and on the road.

  • TheAnimaster Level 1 (0 points)

    Well I wouldn't say it's entirely futile to replace the graphics card (or graphics chip). If you happen to have very nimble and steady hands, you can try it yourself -- provided you're familiar with surface-mount soldering: http://daycounter.com/Articles/Solder-Surface-Mount-Parts.phtml.


    Although don't be surprised if you mess it up completely... It's something only experienced technicians should undertake.

  • jradams Level 1 (0 points)

    the Nvidia driver card is soldered in?