Installing a new Video Card

Now it’s time to turn off your computer and do some brain surgery. Don’t worry, you don’t need a doctor to do this. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how easy this is.

Removing the old card

Shut down your PC, then take the cover off the case. Since you’ll be working with electronic circuit boards, please exercise caution by grounding yourself properly. Either leave the power cable plugged into the back of your PC, plug the power cord into a grounded power strip, turn the power strip off, and touch an unpainted part of the metal frame of the computer case, or use a wrist-strap connected to a ground.

Now you need to locate and identify your video card because you don’t want to get sued for malpractice for removing the wrong card. An easy way to identify it is by following the cable that comes from the monitor and see which card it plugs into. That’s your video card. Or, if you already unplugged the monitor, compare the plug from the monitor cable to the connectors on the back. There is only one possible fit which is in the video card.

Another way to identify it is by process of elimination. Check what cables are plugged into the back of your PC. You should be able to quickly rule out the sound card (it has several 3.5mm – or 1/8″ for all you non-metric heathens – round jacks), and the modem (it has two phone jacks in the back). That leaves usually only the video card.

If you have a newer system, you can also identify the card by the slot on the motherboard it’s inserted into. All newer systems have a special slot for the video card called AGP, or Accelerated Graphics Port. It distinguishes itself by being farther back from the edge of the motherboard than any other expansion slot and by being the only slot with that particular color, often a shade of brown.

Get a Philips head screwdriver and remove the screw holding the card in place. Unplug the monitor cable in case you haven’t done it yet. Now pull the old video card out of its slot by gently pulling up while rocking the card back and froth lengthwise a few times. It should come out pretty easily.

Insert the new card

Now you can finally remove the new card from the shiny big box. Take it out of its anti-static sleeve and try to be careful. If at all possible, avoid touching any chips on the board and hold it by the silver metal strip and/or the edge of the circuit board where you don’t touch any conductors. The sweat on your hands can cause corrosion over time which you want to avoid.

Position the new card over the appropriate slot. The orientation should be self-explanatory since you saw how the old card was inserted before you removed it and since there is only one way to insert the card properly. When you insert the card, don’t push down too hard because you don’t want to make another trip to the computer store to replace a cracked motherboard – unless of course you have an older motherboard and need an excuse to upgrade. Rather push down gently and rock the card back and forth lengthwise, not sideways, until one ends starts to slide in. The rest will follow easily. (Does this make you horny?)

Replace the screw to fasten the card in place, put the cover back on the case, plug it all back in and fire it up. Now all that’s left is installing the driver and configuring the settings.


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