For gaming PCs, no component is more important than the graphics card. If you’ve just purchased a new dedicated graphics card, you’re probably eager to install it into your system and get all of the big performance gains it will add.
In this quick guide, we’ll walk you through how to install a graphics card into your system, as well as provide you with a few important factors to consider to help the process go as smoothly as possible.
It’s a fairly easy process. Here’s how to do it:
How To Install A Graphics Card
Installing a graphics card is fairly straightforward, but there are a few steps involved. All you will need is a Phillips screwdriver, your graphics card, and your PC.
Also, it’s important to note that, for brand new PC builds, installing your graphics cards is one of the last steps. So make sure you’ve added the necessary components before you try and drop in your graphics card. (Check out our step-by-step guide if you’re unsure of whether or not it’s time to add your graphics card.)
With that being said, if you’re ready to install your graphics card, here are steps to do so:
- Make sure your PC is powered off and everything is unplugged.
- With your case open, locate the uppermost PCIe slot on your motherboard.
- Take your graphics card and hold it over the PCIe slot (but don’t push it in).
- Look to the left of the graphics card and make note of the PCI slot covers on your case that your graphics card lines up with.
- Bring your graphics card back out of the case and set it aside.
- Take the appropriate PCI slot covers out (you either have to break them off by gently twisting, or unscrew a top panel that holds them in place).
- Once the slot covers are free, you can insert your graphics card into the PCIe slot. But, before you do so, make sure there are no cables in the way of the PCIe slot that will get pinched when you install your graphics card.
- Lower your graphics card down into the PCIe slot. Once lined up over the PCIe slot, press it down until it clicks into place.
- Your graphics card should have a steel bracket that is now resting on top of the back panel of the case and there should be screw holes on both the bracket and the case that now line up. Use the provided screws and screw the graphics card onto that panel.
- If there was a top plate that held the slot covers in place, screw that back in.
- Once your graphics card is in installed, grab the PCIe power cable from your power supply and plug it into your graphics card (ideally, the PCIe power cable should be routed behind your motherboard tray.)
Plug Your Monitor Into Your Graphics Card
Once you’ve completed the installation and you’ve plugged everything back into your PC, you’ll also want to connect your monitor to your graphics card.
Make sure that when you’re plugging your monitor into your computer, that you plug it into one of the ports on the graphics card and NOT one of the ports on your motherboard.
Connecting your monitor to your motherboard (instead of to your graphics card) is one of the most common PC building mistakes.
If you plug in your monitor into your motherboard instead of your dedicated graphics card, your computer will still turn on, but it likely will have a black screen and you won’t be able to do anything.
In rare cases, if you plug your monitor into your motherboard your computer and screen will turn on normally and you’ll think everything is fine, but you’ll be using the much weaker integrated graphics that comes on your processor.
Updating Drivers & Testing Your New Graphics Card
Now that your new graphics card is installed it’s a good idea to make sure its running properly.
Once your computer is booted up, the first thing you’ll want to do is update the card’s drivers.
If you have an NVIDIA GPU, you can download and install NVIDIA GeForce experience and use that program to update your drivers.
Also Read: How to Update NVIDIA Drivers
For AMD GPUs, you can download and install AMD’s Radeon Software and use that program to update your drivers.