Upgrading a video card is not difficult. The most difficult part about upgrading your video card is figuring out which one to get and, more importantly, which one will work on your computer. The video card needs to be able to connect to the motherboard. If it can’t, the video card won’t work and you run the risk of having hardware damage. Therefore, determine what kind of motherboard you have and then research which types of video cards you can get.
The video card sockets are PCI, AGP, PCI-E and PCI-E2. If you know what kind you already have, you can narrow down even more on the type of card you can get. For example, if your motherboard can handle PCI-E and PCI-E2 and you already have a PCI-E card, you know that you are limited to those two brands. It allows you to forget AGP because your motherboard can’t handle it.
With your newly purchased video card, log on to your Windows. Before you can put the new video card in, you need to have the old software uninstalled and remove the old one. To do this, go to the Start Menu and right click on Computer or My Computer depending on what version of Windows you’re using. Then click on properties. Once there, click on either Hardware if you’re using XP or just Device Manager. On Vista, they’ve removed the Hardware tab and it goes right to device manager. If you’re on XP, hit Hardware and then hit device manager.
Once there, click display adapter, right click on the video card that you have and click uninstall. Once this is done, that video card is now uninstalled from the computer. Turn the computer off, unplug it and open it up. Locate your video card and carefully remove it. If there is a tab holding it in place, use your index finger to move it out of the way and then pull the video card out. Put it into a safe anti-static bag.
Take your new video card and slide it into that spot where the old one was. Make sure it snaps into place. If you hear it click or snap, you’re good. Close the computer back up, make sure all the screws are in the right place–especially on the video card if there is one–and then plug the computer back in.
Turn it on. When the computer beeps about a change in the hardware, hit the F# button–different computers will give different ones–and follow the prompts. Put the CD in that came with the video card and install it. The computer will restart and you’ll be set to use the new video card. Having a new, updated video card allows users to play more graphically intense computer games.