How to install a graphics card on your PC


Installing a new graphics card (GPU) is the most effective upgrade you can make to improve the overall gaming performance of a PC. 2021 hasn’t been particularly favorable for PC enthusiasts due to the current global chip shortage. It is always extremely difficult to get your hands on the best graphics cards on the market. If you’ve managed to get one for your build and are wondering how to implement it, then we’re here to help. In this beginners guide, we’ll walk you through the steps and teach you how to install a graphics card.

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  • Graphics card dimensions: It is important to check the dimensions of the GPU of your choice. This is an essential step to check if the GPU will fit into your PC case. All PC cases on the market specify the maximum length of GPUs it can accommodate inside the chassis. It is never a good idea to force your GPU inside the case which is not large enough for the unit. If you don’t have the luxury of buying a new GPU, given the current situation, we recommend buying a new PC case. You can check out our collection of the best PC cases to find some good options.
  • Required power: It’s also a good idea to check if your power supply unit (PSU) can handle the power consumption of the GPU. This is usually the GPU that demands the most power inside a system, so you may need to upgrade it. We have a few recommendations in our collection of the best power units you can buy.
  • Necessary tools : You will need a screwdriver to install the graphics card on your PC.

How to install a graphics card: step by step guide

  • The first thing to do is locate the PCIe slot on the motherboard to install the graphics card. If you are upgrading an existing PC, shut down the PC, remove all connections, open the case, and remove the existing GPU to free up the PCIe slot. This is also when you will make sure that the clip on the side of the slot is released.

A reinforced PCIe slot on the Aorus Pro Z690 motherboard

  • Many motherboards have multiple PCIe ports, but only one of them is usually a full-size slot with all lanes dedicated to the expansion card. Some motherboards, like the one we’re using here for this demonstration, also have hardened slots. You don’t need hardened slots unless you’re dealing with a massive GPU like, say, an RTX 3090 or some variant of it from a third-party vendor. You should also get by with a normal slot.
  • Before starting the GPU installation, you need to remove the expansion slot cover from the PC case to make room for the GPU. These expansion slots on the PC case can be horizontal or vertical.

An RTX 2080 Super being installed on a motherboard

  • You start the installation by placing the GPU over the PCIe slot. Once you have aligned the cutouts on the card and the port, press down on the GPU to slide the connector into the slot.
  • Once the graphics card is properly seated, you will notice that the GPU socket also aligns the expansion slot perfectly with the chassis. This is when you will need a screwdriver to screw the GPU back bracket onto the case in order to fully secure the graphics card in place.

A screwdriver used to secure a GPU in a PC case

  • Finally, you need to connect the required power cables to the graphics card to provide power. These cables are supplied with the GPU itself. Alternatively, you can also buy custom cables in different colors or even RGB lights.

PCIe slot slots on an RTX 2080 Super GPU

How to Install the Graphics Card: Final Thoughts

Well that concludes the installation of the graphics card. If you’ve followed each step, your graphics card should work without any issues. Once you’ve got everything in place and you’re ready to go, you’ll need to download the latest drivers for your GPU. These drivers ensure that your operating system can communicate properly with the GPU. AMD and Nvidia both have different drivers for their graphics cards. You can check out our dedicated collection of the best AMD graphics cards and the best Nvidia graphics cards to buy in 2021, if you are particularly interested in a brand’s available options. As always, you can also join our XDA IT Forums to discuss your build or get more product recommendations.


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