So you find that awesome new game for the PC. Or you want to render Video faster. Or you just want to have the latest and greatest hardware for your PC. Whatever the reason the day comes when you want to upgrade your video card. This is my basic how to install a video card tutorial on how to do just that!
Do Your Research!
What do you need to install a video card now days? Well you need to make sure your computer is compatible with the video card you wish to install. So do your research before you buy. Not only will it save you time, but could save you money too! Also make sure understand the requirements needed for the video card to run in your system. Today’s higher end video cards draw a lot of power requiring large power supplies of at least 750w or higher! Failure to do your research could result in your computer not booting up, running incorrectly, or possibly doing irreparable damage to it! Use the checklist below to help you determine what type of computer you have and what video card you can toss into it.
- Type of Processor:
- Type of Motherboard:
- Type of Expansion Slots:
- Type of Power Supply:
- Type of Case:
For me this is important that I keep the price down around $200.00. Why? Well I’m not rich! That and for around $200.00 you can find an excellent video card that should last you for a few years at least.
OK all you really need is an anti-static strap and a Phillips Head screwdriver. Of course this all depends on the type of computer and case you have. I know some older Dell’s are worse than Chinese Finger Puzzles. While if you use a case like the one from Antec? It’s as simple as 3 screws on the back and the panel slides off.
Make sure the computer is Turned Off and Unplugged. After unplugging the Computer hold down the Power Button for a few seconds to discharge any electricity that might still be left in the system. And please make sure you are grounded properly. This means don’t be wearing your gym socks on shag carpeting shuffling around. It would be suggested that you work on top of a rubber mat, but barring that – just wear your rubber soled shoes and try not to pet your cat while working on it.
Tip: Touch the Chassis (Case) before touching any internal part. This usually discharges any electricity. If your in a really dry environment with low humidity? You’ll want to do this often.
So you have your research done and you have your video card picked out? Great! Lets get started! Make sure you do the above step and you have your tool ready.
- Take off the side panel of your computer. For me this was 3 screws on the back panel and it slid right off.
- Removed the screws holding the old Video Card in place. For me since I had an older Nvidia GTX 260? This was two screws.
- Unplug the power from the video card. These are two 6-pin connections going to two separate 12v rails to power this card.
- For this particular configuration there is a tab that I can just barely reach which I then push down on. This allows me to gently pull the video card from the PCI Express slot on the motherboard. I’m careful to pull it straight up and not hit anything else on the computer.
- You can see the difference between the two video cards. The old GTX 260 is about an inch longer than the new video card I purchased the Nvidia GTX 560i. It will still take the same two 6-pin connections so I don’t need to worry about re-configuring them. So now we just reverse the order.
- Carefully line up the video card in the same slot the old one came out of. Then pop it into place once it is lined up correctly.
- Take the screws and screw them back into the slot to hold the Video Card in place.
- Re-insert the 6-Pin connectors into place.
- Double check your work to make sure you didn’t accidentally unplug anything and that the card is in there correctly.
- Replace the side panel to your computer case.
- Hook everything back up. (Power, Video, Sound, Other Peripherals like USB Printers etc..)
- Power it on.
- Do you see your BIOS and Windows Start Up Logo? Great!
And your done! Um… wait not quite yet.
Unless you replaced the old card with exactly the same one? You’ll need to update the video drivers for your computer. I highly suggest you go out to the manufacturer’s website and get the latest and greatest drives from them instead of what came with the disk.
The other issue you “might” have? You’ll need to make sure you remove the old drivers completely off of the computer. 9 times out of 10? It isn’t an issue. For me this time I was hit with the 10th time and I had to fully wipe ALL traces of the old driver in order to get the new card to work correctly. There are some tools online that do this for you. Of if you know how to go through your Windows system files and the Registry you can do it yourself (lol). Again though this is ONLY if you run into major video driver issues.
OK – now you can enjoy! Play the new games, render your videos faster, pwn those n00bs!
I hope you enjoyed this simple how-to guide. I meant to have it up by *ahem* last February but things went a little sideways lol. If you have any questions or run into issues please feel free to leave me a comment below!