How to Install a New Video Card

Installing a new video card is a great way to boost the performance of your computer. Newer video cards have more memory and features which allow your applications and games to run smoother and faster. Upgrading a video card is not that difficult. It can be done by anyone who is not afraid to get inside their computer. Here are a few steps to help you safely install a new video card.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • PC owner's manual
  • Video card
  • Driver CD
  • Anti-static wrist strap

Instructions

    • 1

      Purchase a new video card. Consult your owner's manual to determine the type of video card you currently have installed. For example, in order to use an AGP video card you must have an AGP slot on your motherboard. As a guide, determine what graphic requirements your programs and games have, then buy a video card with at least that much memory.

    • 2

      Uninstall your existing video card and drivers. In Windows, right click the "My Computer" icon on your desktop then click "Properties" then "Device Manager" and then "Display Adapters." Select the entry for your current video card then click the "Remove" button. After the card has been uninstalled, shut down your computer.

    • 3

      Open the case. Refer to the user's manual if necessary to determine how to open your particular PC case. Remove any metal rings, watches or bracelets you may be wearing. Unplug the computer from the electrical outlet, then touch the metal casing to eliminate any static charge. You can also use an anti-static wrist strap, but this is not necessary.

    • 4

      Remove the old video card. Unplug your monitor cable from the old video card. Remove the card by unscrewing the screw that secures it, then carefully pull it out of the slot.

    • 5

      Install the new video card. Gently insert the new video card into the slot making sure the notches are aligned. Sometimes it requires a bit of force, but be careful not to push too hard. Replace the screw that holds the card in place. Replace the cover, plug your monitor cable into the new video card, then plug the computer back into the electrical outlet.

    • 6

      Install the drivers. Restart the computer and Windows will prompt you for the new drivers. Insert the driver CD that came with the video card and allow Windows to install them. Once installed, restart your computer.

    • 7

      Configure the video card. After your computer restarts, right click on your desktop and select "Properties" to set up your resolution and color depth. If the video card does not work properly, repeat Step 5 to make sure it's seated in the slot. Also, make sure your monitor cable is securely fastened to the video card.

Tips & Warnings

  • When you handle a video card, try not to touch the gold or silver contacts which can damage the card. Also, be careful not to hit or jar the card or its components.
  • If your PC will not recognize the new video card it may be defective. Keep your receipt in the event it has to be returned. Also, you may need to download additional drivers from the video card manufacturer if the card is not displaying properly.
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