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How to Install an Graphics Card

These days, the graphics card market is dominated entirely by two manufacturers. These are ATI (AMD) and nVidia. Graphics cards are like small computers in themselves, with their own memory and processing units. They are dedicated entirely to rendering 3D scenes such as those in video games. Upgrading your graphics card will provide an enormous performance increase in video games and any other form of 3D rendering, far more so than a processor or memory upgrade. Fortunately, installing a graphics card is a quick and easy job, and since both nVidia and AMD frequently release updated drivers, problems should be minimal.

Step 1
Download the latest drivers for your operating system from nVidia or AMD's official website. Generally, it is preferable to download nVidia or AMD's own drivers since they are more frequently updated than those of the card assembler.

Step 2
Uninstall the drivers for your existing graphics card whether it is an on-board or a dedicated card. Click the "Uninstall a Program" link in the control panel. Your existing drivers will be called something along the lines of "nVidia Graphics Driver," "Intel Graphics Drivers" or "ATI Catalyst Drivers," depending on the manufacturer of the chip.

Step 3
Turn off your computer and remove the power cable along with any other cables. Place the computer on its side on a firm and stable surface. Make sure you have plenty of light to work by. Remove the side panel or the case cover.

Step 4
Skip this step if you have an on-board graphics card. Locate the existing graphics card and remove the screw from the metal L-bracket connecting it to the back of the case. Lift the card out of the socket.

Step 5
Skip this step if you do not have an on-board graphics card. Enter the BIOS as soon as you start the computer up. You can normally enter the BIOS by pressing the "Del" key or "F2." You will need to find the setting to turn off the on-board VGA. Every BIOS is different, so you may need to refer to the manual if you cannot find the right setting.

Step 6
Remove the new graphics card from its antistatic bag and push it gently into the PCI-Express socket. Attach the screw to the L-bracket at the back of the card.

Step 7
Modern graphics cards require a lot of power to run. Because of this, you will need to connect a 6- or 8-pin internal PCI Express power cable from the power supply unit to the port provided on the graphics card. Don't worry about installing the wrong cable or installing it incorrectly since the design makes this impossible.

Step 8
Put the side panel or case cover back and plug all of the cables back in.

Step 9
Start up your computer and log into Windows. Start the driver installation file that you downloaded earlier. Follow the on-screen prompts to install the drivers and restart the computer when the installation is complete. Your new graphics card should now be ready to use!


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