If you have a desktop PC, you can change the video card to a new one. The reason for replacing a video card could be, for example, buying a new monitor or buying a new game, which will be easier to play with a more powerful video card. Even the simple failure of a graphics card can be a reason to change the video card in your PC.
Which video card to choose?
When you need to change the video card in your PC, you will soon find that there are different graphics cards for sale and their prices vary greatly. From a few tens to many hundreds of euros. Taking a look at what you really need in terms of a video card for your PC is therefore not an unnecessary luxury.
Technically speaking, the graphics card processes the computer operations to be displayed on the screen. It is very important that this happens as quickly as possible and with the best possible quality.
After all, images are an important part of your communication with your computer. See something on the screen and react with keystrokes, mouse movements and clicks with the mouse or with a game controller. Also, the computer starts working with the commands and data you just entered.
When you use your computer to write an email or report, for example, you can imagine that viewing the letters you type on the screen will not be very demanding on the performance of your PC and graphics card. A cheap PC video card will do just fine here.
This changes when using graphically complicated and highly detailed games where new images have to be built and displayed at breakneck speed. Many PC games nowadays look like movies. Really nice, but they require a lot of processor processing power.
These games also require high performance. Because the game environment is constantly changing and many games require you as a player to react very quickly. An avid gamer spends at least 400 euros or more on a video card.
How to choose a video card?
As mentioned, there are many video cards to choose from. And that doesn't make it easy to make the right choice sometimes. However, if you pay attention to the following points when choosing a video card, replacing the video card in your PC will certainly be much easier.
- Everything you need to know to choose a video card
1. Nvidia and AMD (ATI) are the main players. Their video cards are made by many hardware manufacturers. But the main component always remains the graphics processor. The never-ending battle between the two main players makes it nearly impossible to say who offers the fastest graphics processor today.
2. If you work with a computer screen up to a resolution of 1680 X 1050, a graphics card with 1 GB of memory is sufficient. For displays using a resolution of up to 1920 X 1080 (Full HD), a video card with 2GB of memory is usually sufficient. More than 2GB of memory for a video card is only required if you have a 2K or 4K monitor. You can easily see what resolution your screen is using:
- Right click on the desktop.
- A context menu will now appear. Click the Display Settings option in the context menu.
You can then immediately see what screen resolution your monitor is using.
3. The amount of memory on a graphics card says nothing about the speed of the graphics card. The speed of the video card is determined solely by the processor used and the speed of the memory used on the graphics card.
4. When using your computer for standard purposes such as: sending email, surfing the Internet, word processing, and creating spreadsheets, you usually need an inexpensive video card.
5. If you enjoy playing games from time to time and like to edit photos and videos on your PC, then it is wise to upgrade your computer's graphics card with what is called a mid-range PC video card. You usually spend between 150 and 200 euros for such a card.
6. If you are a gamer, you really can't help but get a high-end PC video card. However, it starts at 400 euros and more.
7. Make sure you buy a graphics card that has a suitable connector for your monitor. Examples of connections are: DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort.
8. Check what kind of slot the graphics card plugs into your PC motherboard with. With most modern PCs this is PCI-Express x16. You can check if this also applies to your PC via:
- The booklet supplied with the PC motherboard.
- The website of the manufacturer of the PC motherboard.
- The PC manufacturer's website.
- The free downloadable system information tool Speccy.
9. However, be very careful before deciding to upgrade your video card to a high-end video card. The latest cards are always the most expensive. But once they've been on the market for a while, prices usually drop significantly.
Looking carefully and reading reviews on various hardware websites can sometimes give you the necessary edge. All the more so because there are video cards on the market that are actually mid-range cards, but which work so well that a high-end video card could become an unnecessary luxury.
If you not only want to change the video card in your PC, but also want to upgrade it, good preparation for purchasing a video card can often prove invaluable.
And not just to buy the most suitable video card. Because especially the most powerful graphics cards require a lot of computer power. The PC must be able to power the video card separately through its power connection.
In that case, you will not only have to replace the video card, but also change the power supply of your PC.
How to replace video card in your PC in just 4 steps
The correct procedure to replace the video card in the PC is as follows:
- How to mount a video card in the PC
1) How to uninstall video card driver to replace
Of course, you can't perform this step if the current video card in your PC is broken. However, if your current graphics card is still working, this step is recommended for a smooth installation of the new card. How to remove the current graphics card driver:
- Turn on your PC and right-click the Start button.
- In the menu that opens, click on the Device Manager item.
- Your current graphics card will be shown in the Video Cards category. Right-click the graphics card in Device Manager and select Uninstall from the pop-up menu that opens.
- Turn off your PC once the uninstall is complete.
2) How to remove old video card from PC
Disconnect the PC from the power supply, then disconnect all devices such as: mouse, monitor, keyboard, printer and so on. When disconnecting USB devices, be sure to remember which device is connected to which USB port. This will help prevent potential problems with USB devices when they are reconnected later.
Place the PC on the table and remove the side plate. You will now see the inside of the PC. The graphics card is usually screwed to the computer housing at the top with a Phillips screw. But it could also be locked by a plastic clamp that holds all expansion cards.
Static electricity can destroy computer components. And so they can also break if you touch them while you are electrically charged. The best way to avoid this is to wear a wrist strap and attach it to the computer case when handling computer components.
An alternative is to always lean against the edge of the case with bare wrists while working on the PC. And in any case, always wear shoes with rubber soles.
Always detach the upper part of the video card from the computer case first. Then remove the graphics card from the slot on the motherboard. Sometimes there is a small lock on the back on the motherboard. If so, you must first press the latch down or to the side before you can remove the graphics card from the slot.
3) Install the new graphics card
Installation of the new graphics card is performed in the reverse order of removal. However, always have the installation instructions for your new graphics card handy. So don't forget anything and install the new card correctly.
Then close the computer case and replace the PC. Then connect only the monitor, mouse and keyboard and connect the power cable. After verifying that your PC is working properly with the new video card, you can connect the rest of the peripherals.
4) Now the video card driver will be installed
Once you turn on your PC, the image may not look the way you used to. This is because when you turn on your PC for the first time, Windows doesn't have the official driver for your new video card.
However, once the PC has fully booted up, Windows will automatically recognize the new graphics card in most cases. Windows will then automatically search for and install a suitable driver for the new graphics card.
Most of the time it won't be the most recent driver Windows will install. However, this problem can be solved quickly by manually updating the video card driver.
How to update video card driver
Earlier in this article, you learned that Nvidia and AMD are the two main suppliers of graphics card processors. This makes it much easier to find the right driver.
- How to update video card drivers in Windows
A driver is a program that provides communication between a computer device or component and the operating system that the PC is equipped with. In most cases, a PC comes with Windows as its operating system.
Windows 10 recognizes many computer components and peripherals on its own and can usually find and install the correct driver. And in most cases, the driver selected by Windows will do just fine. All the more so because Windows 10 also updates drivers independently when needed.
An exception to this, however, is often the video card. Especially if you like to play the latest games, the driver selected and installed by Windows is often insufficient. We can solve this problem quite easily by downloading and installing the latest driver for our graphics card ourselves.
To find the right graphics card driver, we first need to know exactly which graphics card is in our PC. Or rather, what processor is the graphics card equipped with. You can do this very easily with the Windows dxdiag utility. This is done as follows:
- Open Search via the Search button in the taskbar.
- Type the query: dxdiag.
- Click the dxdiag entry in the search results.
- Dxdiag, the DirectX Diagnostic Tool will now open. Click the Monitor tab.
In the Monitor tab you can read exactly which graphics card your PC is equipped with and which driver version is installed and from what date this driver is available. All important data that can come in handy when problems with a driver are more difficult to solve.
However, it usually happens that with as new a driver as possible, 95% of the problems can be solved. Finding, downloading and installing the latest graphics card driver is done as follows:
- For example, we will download and install the latest driver for an NVIDIA GeForce graphics card. Downloading and installing a driver for an AMD graphics card is similar.
- Open the nvidia.com website
- Click on the GeForce category.
- On the GeForce page, click the Driver option in the menu.
- On the GeForce drivers page, you can choose to automatically or manually select the correct driver.
- Choose manual. Because then you can download exactly what you need. To manually select the driver, use the graphics card data from dxdiag.
- After entering your graphics card data, you will be shown an overview of the drivers available for your graphics card. Click on the latest driver list to start the download.
- Access the Downloads folder on your PC via File Explorer and double-click the file you just downloaded.
- This starts the installer for the new driver. Follow the installation wizard carefully to install the new driver.
The display may blink a few times while installing the new driver. Nothing to worry about, as this is only part of the installation process. Then the installation process will complete itself and the new graphics card driver will be installed on your PC.
- Guide and tips to overclock your video card and improve game performance
Changing and replacing the PC video card yourself is not very difficult. I recommend that you choose the appropriate video card and read this tutorial at least once before you start changing your video card on your PC.