How to install a graphics card

So, you've chosen your shiny new card, and it now lies waiting within its box. How do you actually go about installing a graphics card? Here is a complete guide to graphics card installation.

You will require:-
  • A screwdriver
  • An anti-static wristband (optional)
  • Software drivers for your new card - should come on a DVD with the card, or you may wish to download the latest drivers from the internet
Step 0 - If you are upgrading from an ATI graphics card to another ATI card or an Nvidia graphics card to another Nvidia card you can skip this step. If you're switching manufacturer though, you'll first need to remove your old graphics card drivers. This will avoid all kinds of conflicts later on - Nvidia and ATI drivers do not play nice together!

Step 1 - Having removed your old drivers if necessary, shut your PC down, and unplug all cables from the back. Put your case on a desk or similar work area where you have easy access.

Step 2 - Remove the side from case to allow access to the internal components. This will probably require you to unscrew a couple of screws that hold the sides of the case on - many cases have two large thumb screws to make this operation easier.

Installing a graphics card: unscrewing the case
Unscrewing the side of the case

Installing a graphics card: removing the side of the case
Removing the side of the case

Step 3 - If you are replacing an old graphics card, identify it within the case. Wear an anti-static wristband or touch the metal side of the case to prevent build up of static electricity that may damage sensitive electronic components. Move or unplug any cables obstructing access, and any screws that may connect the backplate of the card to the case. Unplug any power cables attached to the card. Lift the blue lever at the top right of the socket (Highlighted in the picture below) to release the graphics card, and gently but firmly pull it out of the motherboard.

Unscrewing the backplate of the card from the case

Installing a graphics card: removing the power cables
Removing the power cables

Lift the blue lever (circled) to remove the graphics card

Step 4 - Holding it by the edges, orientate your new graphics card to slot into the PCIe slot and push it in firmly, making sure the backplate lines up with the end of your PC case. Screw the backplate into the case. Consult your manual or examine the card to determine how many PCIe power cables are required - one is the norm but many high-end cards require two. Plug in the required number of cables.

Plugging the PCIe power cable in - it will only fit in the correct orientation

Step 5 - Replace and cables you may have unplugged to allow access and replace side of case. Screw in case screws.

Step 6 - Return your PC to its original position and plug all cables back in. Boot the PC up and install your new drivers, if switching between ATI and Nvidia.

Step 7 - Congratulations, you have installed your new graphics card!


kimberly said...

When I bought my computer I did not know about the graphics card, however I saw a blog like this in a webside and it contained information, how to use and how install the graphic card. Similar to this, I think costa rica investment opportunities introduce great ideas how you can do the best investment. This is very interesting!!!

Anmol said...

Hi. Thank for sharing this information but I want to know more about Nvidia graphics cards
so please send me information.
thank you ..

talha said...

Thank for sharing the procedure of installing a g-card with the help of pictures made it more easy.

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mahasiswa teladan said...

hi..Im student from Informatics engineering, this article is very informative, thanks for sharing :)

lynnsmiths said...

Does this apply to the latest graphic cards out today? Is it possible to turn my school laptop into a gaming laptop?

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