Have you ever been playing a game and the grass looks like the leftovers from a playdough date? Well, worry no more, upgrading the graphics card in your computer could do just the trick. I've been there, and I'm about to tell you how to upgrade your graphics card in five steps to make this experience smooth and painless!
Step 1: Picking Out a Card
Picking a Graphics Card is pretty simple yet tricky. Do some research on what kind of card you would need for the needs of the computer. Look at things like model, memory, and clock speeds for features to name a few.
Keep in mind these few things when picking out a final card
1. Make sure the card is compatible with the case and have the proper slots for the card. Most cards run off of PCI x16 or x8 slots.
2. Check to see if there is enough room in the case for the card. Average ATX cases should have no issue fitting your card, but make sure you check.
3. Double check the power supply to make sure you have enough power to run the card. Some card will not need any external power while other require a PCI-expresses connector or two shown above.
Step 2: Preperation
Now for some preparation.
1. Make sure all cables are disconnected
2. Remove the cover from the case. Most commonly there will either be screws on the back of the case, check the case if it requires a different way.
3. Using an Anti-Wrist strap is recommended. An alternative could be touching the case or some metal every now and then to remove static build-up. A static discharge could cause damage to computer components.
Step 3: Removing Old Graphics Card
In case your machine already has a card in place, we will need to remove it.
If the computer is using onboard graphics currently, skip this step.
1. Locate the card and remove any screws that could be holding the card in place. These are normally located in the back with the rest of slots. Like previously mentioned, most cards use PCI x16 slots.
2. Push down the tension clip on the PCI x16 slot to release the pressure and pull the card out. Failure to relieve tension could cause damage to the board.
You have removed the old card!
Step 4: Installing the Graphics Card
Above is a video included to install the graphics card
1. Locate the requires slot to install the card and make sure enough lots are open for the card.
2. Hold the card by the fan, to avoid touch electronic components on the card.
3. Insert the card into the slot with a firm grip until you hear the tension clip.
4. Plug in any power connectors if necessary
5. Replace the screws used to remove the previous card, or the screws to remove the slot covers, they are the same screws
6. Reconnect all cables and start the computer
Another common practice is to try and place the GPU as close to the CPU as possible to ensure speed, though this may not always be the case. Make sure to check your motherboard owners guide to see slot speeds.
Step 5: Installing Drivers
The card won't work right out of the box because the required drivers are not installed. There are two ways to do this. Either use the disc in the box or go to the manufactures website and download the drivers from there. I recommend going to the website. This ensures you are using the most recent drivers. Those on the disc can be outdated depending on when you bought the card. Go through the download process and restart the computer and the card is ready to be used!