How to install a computer video card

Updated: 01/24/2018 by Computer Hope

Buying tips and help

PCIe Video CardTip: Many modern CPUs include on-board graphics, making a discrete GPU unnecessary. However, discrete graphics cards frequently offer higher performance, which may be desirable for gaming, 3D modeling, or video editing applications.

Before getting started

  1. Write down important information from the top or bottom of the card such as the Model Number, Serial Number, and specifications.
  2. Ensure you are familiar with ESD and its potential dangers.
  3. When physically installing the video card, ensure the computer is powered down and unplugged.
  4. Finally, verify that the computer has an available AGP slot or PCI slot for the video card. If you are planning on taking out your previous video card to install the new video card ensure that the slot will be compatible with your video card. Some computer cases have a proprietary AGP slot causing only certain video cards to be compatible with the computer.

Set Jumpers

While today virtually all video cards are configured or setup through either software or through Plug-and-Play, if your video card has jumpers, verify that the jumpers are properly set. The jumpers determine the IRQ resource settings.

Install into Expansion slot

Today, video cards are capable of connecting into a PCI, AGP, or PCIe expansion slot. Locate an available slot in the computer and gently push the card into the slot until it snaps into place. Once the card is in the slot, place a screw into the top of the card to hold the card into position.

BIOS or CMOS setup

Once the video card has been successfully installed into the computer, place the case back onto the computer and connect the power cable to the computer.

If your computer has an on-board video card, determine if the video card can be disabled through CMOS Setup.

Software setup

After the card has been installed, your video card should have come with software drivers for your operating system on a CD. Install these drivers and any needed software for the video card.

If the video card did not include drivers or the drivers appear not to work, download the latest video card drivers from the video card manufacturer's website.


Additional information