Install graphics card 2023: GPU installation simply explained

Modern graphics cards transmit the image signal either via HDMI or DisplayPort. Some still have an outdated DVI output. Before buying a graphics card, check whether your monitor offers one of the connections.

You will find tested screens of various sizes and resolutions in the large monitor purchase guide. If you haven’t decided on one yet, take a look at the graphics card comparison test: Here you can find suitable image makers for small and large budgets.

The current top models are the RTX 4090 from Zotac and the RTX 4080 from the same manufacturer.

Before you start, make sure you have a work surface with enough space and good lighting. The following steps are easier to carry out on a desktop than cramped and dark under the lectern.

First, remove all cables from the computer, then open the cover on the prepared work surface. If you want to install a graphics card, you have to clarify whether there is enough space for it.

Take a close look, especially if you own a pre-built PC, because things are rather cramped there. An RTX 3080 Ti (like Zotac’s) is not only extremely expensive, at 31.8×13.2×6 centimeters it also doesn’t fit in every computer. Make sure your case is labeled full or at least mid-tower. This is especially true for even larger models like Zotac’s RTX 4090. Zotac’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is only about half the size (17.35×11.13×3.53 centimeters) and fits into almost any case.

It is also important to take a look at the power pack: many inexpensive desktop PCs do not have enough power and the necessary connections for the separate power supply of the image maker are missing. The power supply must provide sufficient power – PCs with a strong imager need a lot of power.

As a rule, there is a recommendation from the manufacturer on the graphics card box. When it comes to power supplies, not only the raw power counts but also the range of power cables.

A 6-pin and an 8-pin connector are mandatory for many gaming graphics cards, more powerful models such as the RTX 4090 even require several 8-pin connectors.

As soon as the two questions “space” and “power supply” have been clarified, you can start. At least almost: If there is a graphics card in the computer, loosen the fastening screw on the side if necessary, then press down the retaining clip and carefully pull out the circuit board.

Install graphics card: Insert new model

If there is no separate graphics card, you will usually find the corresponding elongated slot directly below the processor. Look for the lettering “PCI Express x16” (Peripheral Component Interconnect) or look in the manual for the mainboard (motherboard).

After gentle pressure, the new graphics card sits firmly in the slot. Fix it with a screw on the side. Powerful models like the ones in the comparison test require quite a lot of power from the power supply. So don’t forget to power the imager via 6- and 8-pin connectors; otherwise the mainboard beeps.

Install graphics card: Install drivers

A note for everyone who is switching from an old AMD graphics card to a new Nvidia model or vice versa: For a clean installation, completely uninstall the previous driver from the PC.

This works reliably with a free tool called “Display Driver Uninstaller” (DDU) – these instructions describe step by step how to use it to remove your graphics card driver. Reinstalling the driver is similar for AMD and Nvidia.

Both manufacturers offer express and custom installation. The former is practical when you need to be quick: Additional programs such as “Nvidia GeForce Experience” or the AMD assistant for problem reports are automatically included on the hard drive.

The custom approach is for advanced users who know what software they need.

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Hello, I'm the author and creator of I've got over 12 years of expertise in the field. In my time, I've tested and looked over hundreds of graphics cards to build custom PCs. I am confident that my experience and experience will assist you to pick the best card that matches your requirements and budget.

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