Getting a new graphics card is like Christmas for any PC gamer. It means you will no longer have to experience stuttering and slowdowns, and you will finally be able to game at gloriously high resolutions with knife-edge sharp visuals.
Although a shiny new graphics card looks amazing, its best use is being plugged into the PC, and that is what we’re here to talk about.
Luckily, next to the RAM upgrade, the GPU upgrade is probably the easiest one that you can do by yourself. Although, like anything inside your computer, you need to be careful with removing your old graphics card and installing the new one. But, fear not, we’re here to guide you through this process.
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Step 0 – Things To Consider Before Actually Buying The Card
You might be under the impression that your PC doesn’t need any prerequisites for a new graphics card, and although that’s mostly true, there is one important thing to keep in mind. You should be well aware of what PSU you have, as well as what power connector cables that come with it.
Depending on the power connector cables that come with the PSU, you might have to use adapters, so research before you buy. A good thing to keep in mind when checking out new graphics cards is that its power usage should in the 40-50% range of your PSU’s total capability.
One thing that is extremely often glossed over is the importance of checking whether you have room in your case for your new graphics card. It is very likely that your new GPU will be a different size from your current one, and with some top-notch graphics cards out there being the dimensions of a medium-sized cat, it’s possible that your case won’t be able to hold it.
And that’s a whole other headache. If this is the case, you may have to get a new case (no pun intended) which only leads to more work, as you will essentially have to re-build your entire PC.
Step 1 – Before Turning Off Your PC
If you’ve bought a new card that’s from a different manufacturer than the card you already own, you need to fully, and properly, remove all of the drivers from your PC prior to installing the new graphics card.
The next logical step would be to uninstall all the drivers through the Control Panel, but there are some things burrowed deep in the registry and such. Therefore, it’s best if you install the program called Display Driver Uninstaller and run it in Safe Mode. It’s free and easy to use software and it will simplify the process significantly.
Although recommended, this step isn’t necessary if you’re upgrading your graphics card with one from the same manufacturer, but it’s a must if you’re switching from Nvidia to AMD or the other way around.
Step 2 – Discharge Static
This is a small, but significant step that can save you a lot of trouble if things go awry. The obvious thing you’ve probably already done is unplug all of the cables from the back (and the front) of your PC.
After that, turn off the power supply and discharge the static by pressing the power button and you should be set.
Although the chances of your new GPU getting fried are slim, it’s still important to discharge static just to be cautious.
Step 3 – Remove The Old Graphics Card
The first thing to do here is to remove the power connectors. When you do that, unscrew the screws that are holding the GPU to the backplate. Then what remains is to push down the retaining clip on the PCIe socket and gently lift your old card.
Of course, you don’t have to be gentle, but you never know when your old graphics card might come in handy.
Step 4 – Insert The New Graphics Card
This step is essentially the previous step but in reverse, but you still need to be careful.
When putting down the card, there shouldn’t be much resistance, but if there is, check if there are some cables in the way or anything similar that can physically stop you from inserting the card. When you have made sure that the card is all the way down, make sure that the retaining lid or the security lock is properly in place by flicking it back up.
After the new card is firmly in its designed PCIe slot, insert the power cable. The connector only goes one way, so if you’re having difficulties, you might want to try it the other way. Once the cable is in place, make sure that it’s not interfering with the GPU’s fan(s).
All that is left now is to screw back in the screws you unscrewed moments ago. Since the process is pretty simple and you’ve done it already, let’s move on to the next step.
Step 5 – Reconnect The Cables And Boot Up Your Computer
Everything that’s left now is to boot and bask in the glory of your new graphics card, and enjoy that wonderful 60 FPS experience.
But wait, why is the resolution so messed up?
The last step in this process is installing proper drivers.
A lot of the modern graphics cards will come with their own auto-installing drivers, but you will still want to check your manufacturer’s website to make sure you have the latest version of those drivers.
And there you have it. After you’ve installed the proper drivers, it’s game time.