How-To Upgrade Your Video Graphics Card

Upgrading your video graphics card may look like a daunting task if you do not know much about computers. The truth is anyone can upgrade their video graphics card easily. This guide is designed to help you upgrade your video graphics card easily and hassle-free.
Step 1 – Determining which cards are compatible
There are two types of video graphics cards for computers: PCI (personal computer interconnect) cards and AGP (accelerated graphics port) cards. Most computers come with slots for both PCI and AGP cards. In order for you to determine which type of slots you have available on your computer you will have to remove the case. PCI cards are usually white in color and are longer. There is usually a bank of PCI slots and your current graphics card may be installed there already. The AGP slot is smaller and is usually brown in color. The AGP slot is usually closer to the back of your PC. If you have both types of slots, you can choose to buy either type of card.

Step 2 – Buying a card to fit your needs
There are many video graphics cards for different needs. If you are a gamer, you will typically want to purchase an AGP card, as these are faster than the PCI cards. AGP cards come with three dimensional capabilities and enhance your gaming abilities. If you just want a card for a computer for school or office work, you can purchase either type of card as long as your computer has the slots available.
Once you determine the type of card you wish to purchase, you will need to decide how much RAM you want the card to have. Typically, you will want to purchase a card that has at a minimum of 256 megabytes of RAM. The more megabytes the video card has, the better it runs.

Step 3 – Uninstalling your current graphics card
Before you can install your brand new video graphics card, you must uninstall your current video graphics card. Some computers have a built-in video graphics card. If your computer has a built-in video graphics card, all you need to do is disable it. You can do this by going to the control panel and selecting system information. Once you have pulled up the system information, look for a tab labeled “device manager.” Scroll down the device manager until you see “display adapters.” Click on display adapters and your video graphics card should be listed. Right-click on the video graphics card and select uninstall. This is as far as you need to go with this type of graphics card since it is mounted right on the motherboard.
If you have a video graphics card which is installed into a PCI or AGP slot, you will have to take a different approach to uninstalling the video graphics card. You will first need to go to the control panel and select system information and click on “device manager.” Once you have entered the device manager, click on “display adapters” and your current graphics card should be listed. Right-click on your current video graphics card and click “uninstall.” Once you have uninstalled your video graphics card, shutdown your computer and carefully remove the casing to your computer. You must ensure you are not wearing any jewelry and always make sure you are grounded. You can ground yourself by either wearing an anti-static wristband or attaching it to your computer, or place one hand on our power supply, provided you have removed all power from the supply. Carefully remove your video graphics card from your computer.

Step 4 – Installing your new video graphics card
To install your new video graphics card, you will want to remain grounded. If you are not grounded, you can transfer static electricity from your body to the computer, thus frying the components. You will need to identify to which slot you are going to install your new video graphics card. Once you identify the AGP or PCI slot for your card, gently slide the card in until it clicks and is firmly in place. Finish installing your video graphics card by screwing it in place to the metal plate on the outside of your computer.

Step 5 – Ensuring the video graphics card is working
To ensure your new video graphics card is working, you will first need to enter your computer’s setup. This is generally done during your computer’s booting. During the boot-up, you will see instructions at the bottom of the screen telling you how to enter the setup. Once you enter the computer’s setup, you will need to change the video graphics card settings from PCI to AGP, if you switched the type of video graphics card. You may also need to change the amount of RAM your video graphics card is using. This can be done in the setup screen as well. Once you have these two activities completed, exit setup and proceed to booting up windows.
Once you are in windows, you will need to install the drivers for your video graphics card, if you did not update them prior to installing the new video graphics card. Once your drivers are updated and installed, your video graphics card should be working at its optimal potential.
Congratulations, you have just upgraded your video graphics card!