Can I Increase Onboard Graphics Memory?

Owusu Clement wants to know if he can increase his PC's video RAM. The problem: He's using his motherboard's onboard graphics, not a separate card.

Chances are your onboard graphics can't be improved--at least if you're going to stick with onboard graphics. Video built into the motherboard is fine for email, business apps, and even (if you're patient) occasional video editing. But for serious gaming or heavy video chores, you really need a separate graphics card.

But you just might be able to improve your situation a bit. Some computers with onboard graphics--not all, by any means--allow you to set aside some of the main memory for improved video. Of course, you'll have less RAM available for other uses, but you can always upgrade that.

To find out if your PC has this ability, check the documentation or call the manufacturer. Or just go into your hardware settings and look for an appropriate option. I can't tell you exactly how to get to your hardware settings (sometimes called BIOS settings or CMOS settings). When you boot your PC, one of the first messages on your screen should say something like "Press key for settings." Press whatever key it tells you to press, then hunt the menus for an appropriate option.

And if the option isn't there?

If you're using a desktop computer, consider buying a new card. Check PC World's reviews for recommendations.

Laptop users (and I'm one of them) are probably out of luck. A lack of update options is one of the costs of portability.

Add your comments to this article below. If you have other tech questions, email them to me at answer@pcworld.com, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum.

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