It is no secret that graphics cards have become incredibly powerful over the past two decades.
You can look at the graphics capability of these cards, and you cannot stop wondering. At the same time, graphics cards have also become more compact and easier to install. So, you do not have to be a hardware expert to install a graphics card on your computer.
On that note, we should add that it has become easier to build a PC from scratch. Nevertheless, it does not mean you should overlook the process of installing a graphics card on your PC, especially when you need ideal performance and speed.
Here is the interesting thing, by the way. Installing a graphics card begins earlier than opening up the PC case for the actual installation process.
In other words, you have to consider a few factors, such as picking the right GPU for your computer and processing necessary driver installation. Then, of course, you will have to test your GPU before you can conclude the installation. In addition, you may have a few doubts about how to go about the steps for GPU installation.
We have answered most of your questions in the following guide, thus providing a more straightforward solution to install a graphics card on any PC.
Choosing the Correct GPU
If you want the best performance from your PC, you should consider a few factors while choosing the correct GPU. As you may know, you can spend anywhere between $100 and $10000 on a GPU.
However, you might not need the $10000 one unless you handle over-the-top graphics-intensive tasks. So, once you have decided the intensity of graphics power, you can also pick the right price bracket. After these, you have to ensure the following things.
The first point of consideration must be the design and size. Unfortunately, not all graphics cards are made to work with all motherboards and PC cases out there. For instance, some fully-fledged graphics cards may not work well with micro-ATX motherboards or compact PC cases. Therefore, you have to verify whether the desired GPU can be installed on your PC. This step will make sure that the GPU can be safely accommodated inside the computer case.
The PSU on your PC must provide the appropriate amount of power to the GPU. Otherwise, you may bear the risk of having a non-function or under-performing graphics card. So, you need to make sure that the PSU and the GPU are compatible. You have to keep in mind that most professional-focused GPUs require power in addition to the PCI Express slots. You can confirm these details and understand the recommended voltage for the CPU from the manufacturer’s official website.
Once you have confirmed that the graphics card will work with your PSU, you have to verify its level of compatibility with the motherboard and the CPU. You can understand whether the motherboard supports your card by comparing the model number of both devices. However, you may need some sort of expert help while choosing a suitable CPU-GPU combination. Regardless of how you go about it, we recommend getting a CPU-GPU combo that is tested. Otherwise, you may face issues.
With these three major checks, you can confirm whether you have the correct GPU for the computer. Once you have done that, you can quickly move to the next step.
Inserting the Graphics Card
The steps you need to follow for inserting the graphics card into your motherboard are simple.
However, as we said, it is impossible to cover all the steps specific to different PC cases and graphics cards. Therefore, we can list only the general steps for inserting a modern GPU into a modern PC. They are as follows.
First, you have to remove the existing graphics card from the motherboard, if any. Then, you will have to disconnect the power cables before you unlock the PCI Express slot.The next step is getting rid of the PCI Express backplates from the system. After this, you can eject the GPU from the said PCIe slot. Depending on the model of the existing GPU and the motherboard, you may have to apply a bit more pressure to release the card from the board. Once you are done with this part, you can clean the PCI Express slot for the new card.
In this step, you can unbox the new graphics card and take it out completely. As you can guess, we will be installing the graphics card using the PCI Express slot. Therefore, once you have ensured the PCIe backplates for the card, you can insert the GPU into the PCIe slot and push it downward. You can listen to a click sound when the card is installed correctly. Once you hear the click sound — or confirm that the card has been installed —, you can lock the clipping mechanism on the PCIe slot. As long as you have chosen a compatible card, this process should go like clockwork.
Now that you have connected the GPU to the motherboard, you can set up the power cables. As we said, most GPUs require additional power from the PSU. However, the graphics card package will be coming with the necessary tools. You can connect it to the suitable cables from the PSU. We suggest that you look things up on the official website to confirm these things. You can find all details about power connectors from the user manual as well.
Using these three steps, you can insert the graphics card properly. In most cases, you do not even need extra screws or screwdrivers. Once you have inserted the graphics card and sorted out power connectors, we can move to the next part.
Once you have installed the graphics card, you have to take care of some necessary installation processes. It may vary according to the graphics card and the motherboard of the computer.
However, it primarily deals with driver software installation. Once again, we cannot provide you with the specific steps for this process. On the other hand, the best thing you can do is visit the manufacturer’s support material.
In most cases, you would have bought the GPU from NVIDIA. So, you can visit NVIDIA’s official site, where you can download the driver software specific to your model.
Make sure that you install the drivers on the Windows OS properly. Only then will be the PC able to communicate with the GPU. Even without the driver, the GPU may run, but you cannot leverage the graphics performance.
The wrong drivers can mess up the gaming performance as well. Therefore, you must not skip this step when installing the GPU drivers.
By the way, you may have to remove the existing GPU driver from your PC before this step. Fortunately, though, you can find many dedicated software solutions for this need. So, you can get one of them and stay ready.
Once you have set this part up, we can move to the test.
Testing Your GPU
In this part, you have to confirm that the GPU is working as it should. As it happens, there are two layers to testing your GPU.
First, you can confirm that the GPU is working if it powers on properly. Most GPUs come with some sort of lights and fans. If you see these components are working, it means the GPU is as well. You can also check if you can see something on the screen. If the GPU is not working, the display will stay blank.
The second step is testing the performance of the GPU. To do this, you can play some of your favorite games on the run of some benchmark software. You can confirm the performance of the GPU based on the FPS and graphics quality of the gaming experience. Again, a benchmark test would give you an objective understanding of the same numbers.
If you are building the PC for the best results, we recommend checking out both options.
As long as you have followed the issues mentioned above, you do not have to worry about further problems. You should be able to play games as you had imagined.
Should I Pay Someone More Experienced Than Me?
As we said in the introduction, graphics cards have become easier to install and use. Therefore, you do not have to pay an experienced person to install the GPU for you.
In fact, you can find step-by-step tutorials for installing almost every GPU model out there. Likewise, you can download the accurate drivers from official sources without any issues.
However, if you do not want to handle these aspects, you can consider hiring a professional. The significant advantage is that the professional will take care of almost every aspect, including driver installation.
And the experience also means they can optimize your computer for the best possible performance. If you are willing to pay for these benefits, we think you should.
We believe this guide helped you get a jump-start on installing a graphics card.
While you must not overlook the process, there is nothing scary here. For one, you have a ton of material to refer to. It makes you feel a little better, doesn’t it?
Martha Davis is a computer hardware specialist who works extensively in designing and manufacturing hardware devices, researching advanced computer technology. She built GadgetGangster.com as a platform to share her insight on computers and PC assembly with the web. Currently, she is carrying out her research on Robotics and Computer Vision and working privately to deliver services. Martha makes sure that readers of GadgetGangster.com master the basics of setting up computer components like motherboard, CPUs, and GPUs through the informative articles that she writes.