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How to Install a Computer Graphics Card

Video games have taken it to the next level, but has your computer? Get graphics so good you'll feel like you're there with these simple steps.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Uninstall old software Uninstall the old graphics card's software by going to the "Add or Remove Programs" menu in Windows XP or the "Programs and Features" menu in Vista. Highlight the card's drivers and click "Uninstall." Follow the on-screen instructions, and when asked if you want to restart, click "No" and shut down the computer.
  • Step 2: Unplug power and monitor Unplug the computer and remove the power cord from the tower. The monitor plugs directly in to the graphics card so make a note of where the monitor is plugged in to the computer. Then, disconnect the monitor from the tower.
  • Step 3: Remove casing Remove the screws that hold the computer's side cover in place, and slide the cover off.
  • TIP: Wear an antistatic bracelet connected to a metal part of the PC to prevent static-electricity damage to any component.
  • Step 4: Remove old card Take the old graphics card out by removing the screw that attaches it to the back plate, and depressing the plastic tab that holds it in place. Remove the card form the slot.
  • TIP: If the new card requires a power source, connect the PCIe power source leads to the card's sockets before plugging the card into the motherboard.
  • Step 5: Install new card Install the new card. Some motherboards have two graphics card slots: Use the one the old card occupied. Line up the card's gold contacts with the slot, and push it firmly into place. Then use one or two screws to fasten it to the back plate.
  • Step 6: Put it back together Replace the side cover; then connect the power cord and monitor to the computer.
  • Step 7: Power up Plug the computer in and turn it on. Insert the software CD and follow the on-screen instructions to install the drivers for the new graphics card. Now enjoy the eye-popping graphics!
  • FACT: Did you know? ENIAC, an early computer, could complete 5,000 addition problems per second. Modern computers clock in at more than 21 billion operations a second.

You Will Need

  • A Phillips-head screwdriver
  • A PC with a PCIe x16 graphics card port
  • A new graphics card with a PCIe x16 system interface
  • Installation CD
  • An antistatic bracelet (optional)

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