If you are a PC gamer or someone who does work on the computer, then you have probably invested in a quality graphics card.
With that said, many users need to learn how to upgrade their hardware to improve performance. This article offers some helpful tips and tricks to upgrade your graphics card.
How to Upgrade Your Graphics Card
Graphics cards can be upgraded in a few simple steps, and the process is generally easy. Just make sure to back up any important files first! You’ll need some basic hardware and software tools:
- Locate your graphics card and power supply. Your graphics card will likely be near your power supply or PC case.
- Remove the graphics card from its bracket or housing. You may need to use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the card in place.
- Inspect the card for damage or wear, and replace any defective or worn-out parts if necessary. Make sure to reconnect all wires connected to the card before removing them from the bracket or housing.
- Install the new graphics card into the bracket or housing, replacing any screws removed in step 2. Reattach the power supply if it was disconnected during step 3.
- Reconnect all wires connected to the old graphics card, then plug in the power supply. Test your computer by opening a few common applications (such as Chrome or Firefox) and watching them load quickly onscreen. If everything looks good, you’re ready to start upgrading your graphics!
Common Problems with Upgrading a Graphics Card
If you’re just upgrading your graphics card, keep these common problems in mind:
- Your computer might need to be compatible. Ensure your computer has a valid graphics card and driver installed before upgrading.
- You might void your warranty. Some manufacturers require a qualifying hardware or software upgrade to begin the warranty process.
- You might damage your computer. Be careful when removing the old graphics card and installing the new one. Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions carefully to avoid damaging your computer.
What Do I Need to Upgrade My Graphics Card?
Upgrading your graphics card is one of the most common upgrades on your computer. There are a few things you need to take into account before upgrading, though:
Your computer’s motherboard may need more room for a new graphics card.
You can check if your motherboard supports a new graphics card by opening up its BIOS (basic input/output system) and looking for an option that says “Graphics Support.” If your motherboard doesn’t have this feature, you may need to upgrade to a model that does.
You’ll also need a power supply and PCI Express expansion slots available. Most modern graphics cards require between 6 and 8 watts of power, so ensure you have an appropriate power supply and enough free PCI Express slots.
Once you’ve all the necessary ingredients, upgrading your graphics card is fairly simple. Here are some tips:
- Disconnect any other devices from your computer’s port panel—your old graphics card might not be able to handle the additional load.
- Remove your old graphics card from your computer—be careful not to lose any screws or other pieces!
- Place the new graphics card in position on the motherboard using the correct screws and connectors—again, be careful not to lose anything! Once it’s in place, reconnect all other devices and screw them back in place.
- Turn on your computer and test the new graphics card by playing a game or viewing a high-definition video.
How to Install a New Graphics Card
If your computer is a few years old, it likely uses one or more integrated graphics processors, typically less powerful than dedicated graphics cards.
Integrated graphics processors are found in many budget machines and some gaming laptops. You can purchase a dedicated graphics card to improve performance if your computer doesn’t have an integrated graphics processor.
Remove the existing card from the computer and uninstall the drivers to install a new graphics card. If you’re using Windows 7 or 8, search for “graphics” in the Start menu and select “Change Graphics Adapter.”
On older versions of Windows, open Control Panel > System and Security > Hardware Tab > Display adapter properties.
Locate the installed driver for the card and uninstall it. Install the new driver from the manufacturer’s website or download it from Windows Update. Restart the computer to apply the changes.
Now you’ll need to determine which type of graphics adapter you have. You can find this information in your computer’s system BIOS or on its motherboard documentation (if available).
Most modern computers have an AGP (advanced graphics port) or PCI (peripheral component interconnect) slot, both of which support dedicated graphic cards.
Benefits of Upgrading Your Graphics Card
Graphics cards are an essential part of any PC. They allow your computer to display images and videos in stunning detail, making games and movies look even better. While a basic graphics card will do the job, upgrading to a more powerful model can significantly boost performance.
Here are five benefits of upgrading your graphics card:
1. Improved Graphics Performance: A more powerful graphics card will allow you to run your favorite games and applications with increased graphical fidelity and speed. Many users report finding their computers running much faster after upgrading their graphics cards.
2. Increased Gaming Performance: Upgrading to a more powerful graphics card can give you an advantage when playing video games. For example, consider the Nvidia GTX 1060 or 1070, which offer exceptional performance for gaming on high-definition displays.
3. Enhanced Image Display Quality: Increasing the power of your graphics card also allows you to see images (even photos) with greater clarity and detail. This is especially important if you frequently work with photos or videos – a higher-power graphics card will make them look sharper and richer than ever.
4. Reduced Computer Operating Costs: A powerful graphics card can also save you money on your computer’s operating costs – especially if it’s used primarily for entertainment purposes rather than office work.
In addition, upgraded graphic cards often come bundled with new software that offers additional features and enhancements for gamers and photo enthusiasts.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of graphics card should I upgrade to?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best graphics card for your specific needs will vary depending on your system configuration and preferences. However, some general tips may help include upgrading if you’re experiencing decreased performance or choppiness in games or needing additional power to handle high-resolution displays or virtual reality (VR) applications.
How do I know if my graphics card is outdated?
Updating your graphics card may only sometimes be necessary, but it’s always a good idea to check to ensure that your hardware is up to date. You can do this using a software utility like GeForce Experience (GEFORCE) or Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition (RSAE). If you still need to install both utilities, you can find them online at the respective websites of both NVIDIA and AMD. Alternatively, you can use a hardware diagnostic tool like MSI Afterburner.
Can I upgrade my graphics card while my system is operating?
Yes, you can upgrade your graphics card while your system is running—provided the new card has PCIe 3.0 connectors and enough power available from your PSU (power supply unit). However, it’s important to note that doing so may cause instability or other issues with your system, so it’s recommended that you only perform this procedure under limited conditions and with the help of a qualified technician.
Upgrading your graphics card can be a great way to improve the performance of your computer. By doing this, you can speed up the loading time of websites and increase the overall graphical fidelity of your games.
In addition, by upgrading to a better graphics card, you can run more demanding applications without experiencing any difficulty or crashing. If you’re interested in upgrading your graphics card, read our guide on how to do so and find the perfect upgrade for your needs.