How to install a new graphics card


Few upgrades add as much punch to your PC as installing a new graphics card. It can transform your PC from a system that chokes on lightweight games into a monster that churns through even the most visually punishing titles with ease.

But you need to get that new hardware up and running before you’re able to bask in enhanced graphics glory. Here’s how to upgrade your existing computer with a new graphics card, from basic buying considerations to step-by-step installation instructions.

Graphics card buying considerations

Simply deciding which graphics card you want is a complex and nuanced discussion, as both AMD and Nvidia offer choices for virtually every budget, from sub-$200 options all the way up to the ferocious $1,500 GeForce RTX 3090.

In general, you want the graphics card that offers the most bang for your buck, though you’ll also want to consider a card’s noise, heat, and power consumption. While graphics card recommendations are outside the scope of this article, PCWorld’s massive graphics card buying guide can help you make an informed decision no matter how much money you have to spend.

Next make sure your computer has the proper hardware to support your new card.

psu pcworld 1 of 1 Thomas Ryan

You’re going to need a decent power supply if you want to get your game on.

The most common problem that people run into is an inadequate power supply: Either it can’t supply enough wattage, or it doesn’t have enough available PCI-E power connectors. As a rule of thumb, your power supply should at least meet the power supply requirements recommended by its manufacturer. For example if you purchased the aforementioned GeForce GTX 3090—a video card that draws 350 watts—you should have a power supply that meets the 750W minimum suggested by Nvidia, along with a pair of 8-pin power connectors.

Further reading: How to pick the best PC power supply

To find out how much wattage your power supply pumps out, open your case and look for the standard identification sticker all power supplies have, which lists their basic info. While you’re there you can also identify how many 6-pin and 8-pin PCI-E connectors are available. 

6900 xt 10 Brad Chacos/IDG

AMD’s Radeon RX 6900 XT.

Finally, is there enough room inside of your case to fit your new graphics card? Some high-end graphics card can be over a foot long, and two or even three expansion slots wide. You can find the physical dimensions for a graphics on its product page or on the manufacturer’s website.



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