Removing the graphics card from your PC sounds easy enough, but it can be a lot harder when you get down to it. You needn’t worry, though, especially if you know how to do it right.
However, if you don’t know how to correctly remove the graphics card from the PCIe slot, that could prove a problem.
When you are not sure how to do it but try to remove the graphics card anyway, you could end up facing a lot of issues or damaging your PC.
So, here’s a comprehensive guide on removing the graphics card from your PC for all the rookies.
Why Remove The Graphics Card?
You may want to remove the graphics card from your PC for several reasons.
It could be for installing a new card or cleaning the GPU. Perhaps, you may even want to downgrade your card to save on your electricity bills as it may be consuming power.
So, there are many such reasons for removing the graphics card. That said, why don’t we get started with the process of removing the graphics card from your PC?
How To Remove the Graphics Card from Your PC?
Before you pull the card out, make sure that you know what to dismantle the parts.
Don’t pull random wires or cables that you can find, as it could ruin your PC. If you can’t do it or don’t know how to, you may as well go through these five steps that will help you to get your card out of your PC in no time.
Uninstall All The GPU Drivers
You may want to uninstall the GPU drivers to install a new card or downgrade to an old one.
However, if you are cleaning the GPU and have no intentions of upgrading or downgrading, you can skip this step. In any case, you can uninstall the GPU drivers using dedicated software programs such as DDU (Display Driver Uninstaller).
These programs work towards the smooth uninstallation of graphics drivers. So, by running them, you can remove old GPU drivers that may cause errors when installing a new graphics card.
Make Sure To Turn Off Your PC
Now that you have uninstalled the GPU drivers, your PC should be running on stock graphics drivers.
What you must do next is shut down your PC and turn off the power supply so that you can start removing the GPU.
Unplug All The Wires
Once your PC has shut down and you have completely turned it off by cutting the power supply, you can begin with the process of removing the graphics card by unplugging all the wires.
When removing the wires and cables, make sure that you place your PC on a clean surface such as a table.
Before you get down to removing the wires, make sure that you are wearing gloves to protect yourself from shocks and other such electrical hazards. Also, if possible, use appropriate tools to unplug the wires and remove the screws.
Unplug all the wires, including those going into the monitor and the main plug.
Remove The Side Panel
After unplugging all the wires, place your PC on a dust-free surface. You could also put your PC on the floor.
To remove the graphics card from the PCIe slot, you must first remove the side panel by unscrewing it.
Hold the panel firmly and remove all the screws by hand or using a suitable screwdriver.
Remove The Graphics Card
After removing the side panel, you should find your graphics card in the PCIe slot. You can now proceed to unplug the GPU from its slot. Pull out all the cables connected to the side of the PCIe slot by gently tugging them.
Locate and remove other things connected to the slot, such as water-cooling hoses and GPU mounting blocks.
Be careful here, and be sure to research the parts included with your specific GPU model. There may be more parts to remove depending on the model.
Next, unscrew the GPU mountings using a screwdriver. Most GPUs have two mounting screws that you can remove with the help of a screwdriver.
The PCIe expansion slot comes with a set of clips. So, once you unscrew the mounting, hold on to the GPU and release the clips. Note that the clips may vary depending on the motherboard. Some boards have clips that hook onto the slot.
All you need to do to remove such clips is to unhook them from their slots.
Similarly, you may need to apply pressure constantly and hold on to the clips as you pull the GPU out for some other boards. When doing this, ensure that you undo the clips entirely so that the GPU and motherboard don’t suffer any damage.
After you unhook the clips from their respective slots, pull the GPU out of the PCIe slot slowly and carefully by grabbing it by its cooling housing.
How To Store A Graphics Card?
So, now that you have successfully removed the GPU from your PC, you must store it carefully. You should keep the graphics card in a clean place.
For this, you can use anti-static bags or boxes, cardboard boxes, or even plastic bags or boxes.
Anti-Static Bags And Boxes
Anti-static bags or boxes are one of the best ways to store a graphics card since they protect it from damage caused due to static electricity. It would help if you got such bags or boxes when you buy the graphics card.
However, if you don’t have them, you can always get them separately as well.
You could also get an anti-static bubble wrap bag to store your graphics card, as these bags provide more enhanced protection than regular anti-static bags.
Besides anti-static bags, you could also store your graphics card in plain cardboard boxes without any problems.
Cardboard can also protect your graphics card from damage due to static electricity.
You could also provide the card present inside the cardboard box with some padding for additional protection. However, ensure that you don’t use plastic for your padding as the material attracts static electricity.
Instead, you could use paper pads as they are not only safe, but you could also have a small enclosure made of paper and cardboard inside the box to protect the card from moving around.
Plastic Boxes And Bags
Although you shouldn’t use plastic boxes or bags to store your graphics card, lay a piece of cardboard or paper on the top and bottom if you must do so.
The paper or cardboard helps protect the card from damages caused due to static currents and prevents it from moving inside the box or bag.
Zip Lock Bags
Ideally, it would help if you didn’t zip lock bags to store graphics cards since they too are made of plastic and are not anti-static. However, they can protect the card by keeping the dust away, and so, it could probably be worth the risk.
Besides this, you can also store your graphics card in a plastic box without any paper, although you might risk damaging it because of the static electricity.
However, in most cases, it would be ideal for storing them in a cardboard or paper box by providing some additional cushion to prevent damage caused due to static electricity and to prevent the movement of the card inside the box.
How To Remove A Stuck GPU?
Sometimes, when you try to remove the graphics card from the PCIe slot, it so happens that you can’t get it out, and it is stuck. In such cases, you can remove the card by following these steps:
Remove the screws present near the I/O of the GPU using a screwdriver.
Push the tabs down using your fingers until the GPU is unlocked.
Pull the card out gently.
If the card is stuck, it could likely be because it doesn’t fit inside your PCIe slot. In that case, adjust your GPU’s I/O with that of your PCIe slot until you can safely pull the card out.
Push the card inwards until the PCIe retention tab pops out
Push the tab downward up to 45 degrees to force the GPU out of its socket.
After that, wiggle the GPU out of its slot or socket.
There’s no doubt that removing the GPU from your PC is not an easy task. It would help if you had a lot of preparation before pulling it out of the PCIe slot.
However, if you can follow the methods that you can find in this guide, you should remove the graphics card safely without damaging the motherboard or other parts housed inside the PC’s enclosure.
So, when you remove a graphics card, make sure that you do it safely without damaging your PC or yourself.
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.