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PCI Express Video Card Installation

The first step in any computer repair is to make sure the PC is turned off and unplugged. Press the power button a couple times to discharge any residual electricity in the components. Gather the proper tools to complete the job. This job only requires a Phillips head screwdriver to open the side panel on the case.

Unscrew the screw that connects the side panel and remove it. Find the installation slot for the expansion card. The video card we are using will plug into the PCI Express slot on the motherboard. Make sure to use the correct slot, there will be a few that are available. Most current video cards will use the PCI Express x16 slot, older cards may fit into the AGP or other slots on the motherboard. There are small thin plates that protect the back of the case from dust and debris, and we must remove the one where the card will fit. Depending on the case, most are held in with another Phillips head screw. Remove the metal plate to allow for proper fit. Make sure to touch the metal components of the case to discharge any static electricity, or use an anti-static wrist band or anti-static mat.  Carefully line up the slots on the card with the corresponding slots on the motherboard. Watch for any cables and wires, tucking them out of the way where needed. Gently press the card down into the slots until it clicks into place. Be very careful, don’t force anything! If something seems tight, or doesn’t fit, remove the card and begin again. Some high end video cards will have a separate connector for power from the power supply, but this card does not. After the card is snapped into place, replace the screw that held the metal plate and use it to secure the new card.

If the card doesn’t seem to be seated properly, try to remove it and begin again. Most PCI Express slots have a small retaining clip to help hold the card in place. If you need to remove the card, it will need to be bent out of the way before you will be able to take it out.

Replace the side panel and secure with the screw that you removed earlier. Reconnect the monitor cable into the proper connection on the new card you just installed. It may be in a different place than where the monitor was connected before the installation of the new card. Make sure to use the connection on the new card, or you won’t see any video! Depending on the card and OS, you may need to install the drivers for the new card for it to work properly. The card may have come with an installation CD for the drivers, or you can check the manufacturer’s website.


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