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Installing a new Graphics Card

Author: Simon Harman

Aim: To install a new graphics card to a motherboard that does not have one.

Requirements:
- Graphics Card
- Mother board
- PSU with a spare PCI cable (If you need it)
- All essential computer components
- Phillips Head Screwdriver

COMPATABLILIY REQUIRMENTS (Warning TECHNICAL Bit!):

Before installing your new Graphics card, check its specifications. Make sure your motherboard has an available slot your graphics card requires. As a general rule, it will usually take a PCI-e expansion (type of slot), however, APG is acceptable, if your motherboard has it. The motherboard specifications may also say x16 somewhere nearby PCI-e or APG, also on the list of the graphics card's specifications. (x16 is a type of bus configuration, which is pretty much standard on all modern motherboards and graphics cards) If the motherboard has an available expansion, continue. If not, well, you can't use the graphics card on the motherboard!

(NOTE: Other Names for PCI-e include PCI Express, PCI-E, PCIE, PCIe, PCI or Workstation Graphics, they will all fit into a PCI-e expansion)

Howto:

  1. Unplug your computer and hold the power button for about 15 seconds, this is a good way to clear any static that may have built up in your system.

    Open the case of your computer. Take of the left side panel (left from the front), Inside you will probably see your motherboard, PSU, and any wires present. Do not touch anything inside.

  2. In the bottom left hand corner, there should be a some horizontal strips, usually made of white plastic, or brown plastic if you are installing a APG card (colors can vary), mounted on the motherboard. Written next to them, it will say PCI or APG or whatever. When Choosing a PCI slot, make sure you know which slot is x16, as most motherboards have 3 different settings, one for each slot. x16, or the dominant card, should be placed in the x16 slot, which is most likely the uppermost strip. It should say on the motherboard itself. Read the motherboard manual if you cannot determine which slot runs at x16. In line with these strips on the back panel of the case there should be expansion brackets, pieces of metal covering the back case. Remove the exposition bracket that lines up with your PCI or APC slot by taking a screwdriver t a screw that is on the inside of the case right next to the bracket. Simply unscrew the screw and pull it out. Keep the screw.
  3. Now you can take your graphics card out of any packaging it may be in, and pick it up by the corners, being careful not to touch any circuitry on it. Make sure the metal part at the back is facing the back panel of the case, and carefully slot the graphics card into the PCI or APG slot. Without forcing it in, make sure it is fully pushed in. Once this is done, screw in the screw that came with the expansion bracket in the same place it came from. If everything is done right, everything should fit snugly and the screw should go in without much trouble.
  4. Some Cards, particularly mid-high range cards have PCI connectors, most likely a 6 pin. If your new graphics card came with a wire (or a cluster of them), locate the slot it fits into on the graphics card. The other end will end up connected to the PSU, or a wire that is already connected to it. If no such things came with the card, and the manual does not say you have to plug any additional things in, skip this step.
  5. Seal up the case and plug the computer back in. Turn it on, and install any driver software the card came with, usually on CD. If it didn't come with any software, it should automatically install.
  6. Enjoy!

NOTE: This Tutorial is a general guide on installing a graphics cards. Before installing any graphics card, ALWAYS read the manual provided by the manufacturer. I take no responsibility for any damage to computer components or software.

Simon Harman

2011

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