How to choose and install the right graphics card?

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theant4

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Nov 23, 2010
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I'm hoping to start playing the Mass Effect games, but in order to play I'm going to need a better graphics card for my laptop (at least for the second game). There are a couple things I'm wondering:

1) If you have the graphics card, is it possible to install it yourself, or do you have to have it done by a professional?

2) When I used CanYouRunIt? it suggested a specific graphics card, but how do I know whether that card will fit with my laptop?

3) Is CanYouRunIt? even accurate? I had it suggested to me (I think in another thread on this very site) but someone else has told me that it's "considered a joke among hardware enthusiasts because of how innacurate it is."

My current graphics card is an ATI Radeon 3100. CanYouRunIt? suggested a NVIDIA GeForce 6800 or greater, or an ATI Radeon X1600 Pro or greater. However, although it says I need a higher graphics card, it says the one I have has enough video RAM, hardware T&L, and high enough versions of both Pixel Shader and Vertex Shader (honestly I don't really know what those mean but I don't get why those get green checkmarks but it still says I should use a different card).

Hopefully that's enough info to get you started. Let me know if there are any other specs that I need to provide.
 
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