How to Install a Graphics Card - TDR - National Repair Center
Installing a new graphics card can give any machine a boost, particularly if you have been relying on on-board graphics. There is a lot of jargon associated with graphics cards, so you should do a little research before purchasing. The most important thing to note is the interface, which is the slot which your card itself sits in. Older machines may have PCI or AGP slots, whereas newer machines more commonly use PCI-E or AGP slots. To see which your machine uses, consult your motherboard manual or look up its specification on the manufacturers website.
Once you have your graphics card, the first thing to do is uninstall your current graphics drivers. Although this may not be an essential step, it will help keep things tidy and avoid any conflicts, so it is worth doing. To uninstall the drivers, click Start – Settings – Control Panel – System – Hardware tab – Device Manager. Expand the ‘Display Adapter’ tree and you should see a graphics card listed. Right click on the card name and select properties. Finally, go to the Driver tab and select Uninstall.
Next, shut down your machine and switch it off at the wall. Remove the case and locate your current graphics card, if you have one. The graphics card is typically found in the uppermost brown slot (AGP or even PCI-E) located above a series of white slots (PCI slots). Older machines may have a PCI graphics card, hence will be located in one of the PCI slots, though these are becoming more uncommon. To remove your current card, remove the screw holding the silver backing plate in place. An anti static wristband is useful here, though simply touching a metal part of the case will be sufficient to avoid static build up. You should now be able to carefully slide the card out of its slot, taking care not to touch any of the other components.
Next, take your new card out of it’s anti static bag and place it in the same slot. You may need to apply a little force to get it to sit in properly, though if the motherboard begins to bow excessively, ensure you have the connector lined up with the slot correctly. You may also need to pull a plastic catch up to hold the card in place. Next, replace the screw to the backing plate and check that the card is seated firmly. Some newer cards require their own power source, and if this is the case you will need to insert a power cable into the appropriate slot. This will be outlined in your new cards manual, and it is always advisable to quickly flick through and look for any additional steps.
Replace the sides of your case and boot your machine up. Windows should detect your new card, though it may be a good idea not to install a driver when prompted. Instead, click cancel and your machine should finish booting to the desktop albeit at a default resolution. Insert the CD that came with your card and set the drivers up from here, as there may be additional features and utilities that came with your card. Once this has completed, you will be prompted to restart your machine. After you have done this, you should be able to change the resolution and color depth of your desktop by right clicking on desktop, selecting properties, going to the Settings tab and using the slider to select the most appropriate resolution.
It may also be worth going to the graphics card manufacturers website and searching for any driver updates. Newer drivers will get the best performance out of your card, fix bugs in prior releases and may even add new features.