Wednesday, October 19, 2011

No More Video

Q: "How do you replace a computer's video card on a desktop computer?" - J

A: When working on any electronics, be very careful about static discharge. It is best to work on a hard surface and handle the cards and other components by their edges. Do not directly touch the components, and do touch the metal case frequently to keep any charge difference to a minimum. 

Replacing the card is usually pretty simple. First disconnect all the cables from the computer including the power cable. Now you can open the case of the computer. There are usually two screws on the back that hold one side on. Take these out and the side of the case will slip backwards to release. The video card is usually held in with one safety screw that you will need to remove. This is on the metal plate at the back of the card where it has the output ports. Some video cards have power supply cables plugged into them that need to be disconnected. Now you can remove the card. There is usually a release on the slot for the card that needs to be bent out of the way as you pull up on the card to take it out.

When replacing the card, make sure everything lines up and press the card in the slot. This should not require much pressure. Once the card is in place do not forget the screw or the power supply cable. After everything is back together and hooked up, you can power on your computer to test it out. Most video cards come with either a driver disk or a web address to download the drivers. This will need to be done for the card to work properly. I usually suggest downloading the drivers no matter what so you know you have the most up to date versions as the DVD may be out of date.

The most difficult part of replacing a video card is finding the correct replacement. You want to make sure you are getting one to fit the slot type on the motherboard. The most common are AGP, PCI Express(x16) and PCI Express 2.0 (x16). 

 AGP is very old and most computers do not use this anymore. PCI Express has two versions with the 2.0 being faster. If you have a slot rated for that, then you can use both regular PCI Express or PCI Express 2.0 cards and it will adjust. You can run a 2.0 card in the earlier slot but it will run slower and can cause issues. Some cards are longer than others and some take up two slot spaces for the fans. You will need to make sure you have clearance for a card before you buy it. Last, make sure your power supply can handle the card. Some cards did not use an extra connector from the power supply for card power while others do. You need to be sure your power supply can handle the card you are purchasing.

Email me if you need help!

1 comment:

  1. I actually replaced/added a video card to a six year old computer just so I could output HDMI, to display what...? Powerpoint! LOL! Really, the motherboard will give you all the things you need to match up to make sure it will work.