How to install graphics card (GPU) in your PC.
- Install Graphics Card in PC Build: A Step-by-Step Guide (2023)
- Things to remember before installing GPUs
- Gather the necessary tools
- Check the compatibility of the power supply
- Does your PC case have enough space?
- Install other PC components beforehand
- How to install graphics card (GPU) in your PC
- How to remove the graphics card from your PC
- Frequent questions
- Installing a graphics card in your computer
If the processor (CPU) is the brain, you could say that the graphics card (GPU) is the heart of your PC build. GPUs are specifically designed to excel at demanding graphics tasks like high-end gaming or 3D rendering. Without a dedicated GPU, your PC automatically falls back to using the integrated GPU on the CPU, and it’s not as powerful. So if you’ve bought a new graphics card and finding it overwhelming to open your PC case and install the GPU, we’re here to help. Whether you’re upgrading the graphics card in your system or building a new PC, in this guide we’ll walk you through how to install a dedicated graphics card on your motherboard.
Install Graphics Card in PC Build: A Step-by-Step Guide (2023)
We’ll help you perfectly align your graphics card to avoid the risk of damaging your motherboard’s expansion slot. This is a step by step guide on how to install a GPU on your motherboard. If you’re upgrading your existing PC with a new graphics card, we’ve even added a section to teach you how to remove the graphics card from your motherboard. With that said, let’s first look at the prerequisites:
Things to remember before installing GPUs
Gather the necessary tools
While this may seem like an obvious requirement to install your graphics card, remember to gather and organize the various tools you’ll need for this installation. Here, you will need a Philips Head screwdriver. Also, your PC case comes with screws that are specifically used to install PCIe devices such as graphics card. Therefore, remember to gather them as well before proceeding.
Make sure your workplace is clean and grounded before working on PC components. We recommend using an antistatic wrist strap, which will prevent electrostatic damage.
Check the compatibility of the power supply
Remember to check if you have the correct number of power connectors on your PSU to connect your graphics card. These are labeled ‘PCI-E’. Choosing the right power supply is an important step when upgrading your GPU. The power supply you have has a maximum power rating, which determines the type of graphics card you can install.
you need to use a power supply calculator and enter the details of your system components, including the graphics card you are installing in your PC. When you’re done, the tool will tell you the power reading that the various system components are drawing from your power supply. Then make sure you have a solid 20-30% overhead over the calculated rating, which is an optimal way to run your system.
Does your PC case have enough space?
The graphics card you are going to install may have a large footprint, such as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Founder’s Edition. Please confirm the dimensions of your GPU and how many expansion slots you need to install it in your case. Even if your case supports a massive GPU, some optimizations may be required to ensure that your GPU is not limited by the cooling settings.
Install other PC components beforehand
We hope that you have already installed the motherboard in your PC case and other components, such as the power supply. If you haven’t, read our dedicated guides linked above. We’ve even explained how to easily install the CPU on your motherboard and apply the thermal paste before installing the CPU cooler on your PC build.
How to install graphics card (GPU) in your PC
1. Start by laying your PC case horizontally and locate the PCIe x16 slot with the highest bandwidth on your motherboard. This is usually the top slot on the motherboard. Consult your motherboard manual for help understanding the various PCIe expansion slots on your board, and therefore finish the PCIe slot to install your dedicated graphics card.
2. Next, you need to remove the PCIe expansion slot cover from your PC case. By default, a new PC case covers the expansion slots, and you can selectively remove the ones you want to use. You can usually separate them by pulling or pushing them out. But your PC case might have a special way of removing them. Certain PC cases also feature a modular bracket for vertical GPU installation. On our PC case, we had to unscrew the PCIe expansion slot covers.
Remember to remove any expansion slot covers required for GPU installation. In our case, the ASUS Strix GeForce RTX 3070 Ti requires three slots, so we removed the covers accordingly.
3. Then open the PCIe x16 slot on your motherboard. You can do this by pushing the clip out to release it, making it ready for graphics card installation. The way to do this may differ from board to board, so check your motherboard manual if necessary. On the Asus Z790-E Strix, pressing a button releases the PCI-e x16 expansion slot instead of a clip next to the slot.
4. Next, place the graphics card over the connector and align the gold contacts of the PCIe x16 connector on the GPU against the slot on the motherboard. You should also make sure that the top side of the graphics card I/O bracket lines up with the PCI-e expansion slots in your case.
Note: These all need to line up perfectly before inserting the graphics card into the motherboard slot. Otherwise, you risk damaging your motherboard’s PCIe x16 slot and the graphics card connector as well. Please take some time with this step and look at the rendering below to understand what the orientation of the GPU needs to look like before it is lowered into the slot.
5. Now gradually lower the graphics card into the slot. You should note that the gold PCIe connector on your graphics card aligns perfectly with the slot. Then, once perfectly aligned, push the graphics card into the slot firmly with both palms into the PCIe x16 slot. You’ll hear a click, which is the PCIe slot clip back to its previous state, locking the graphics card in place.
6. Next, make sure that you are still holding the graphics card firmly. You have to protect it from sagging (also known as sagging). This happens when the GPU is heavy. Under certain conditions, the GPU crash can even break the PCI-e x16 slot cover. Therefore, you must hold the GPU firmly after placing it in the slot. Then, line up the necessary screws in the PCIe expansion slots on the case and proceed to screw them in, making sure your GPU stays in place.
7. Now it’s time to plug in the power connectors required by your graphics card. You need to retrace the various wires coming out of your power supply. Find the PCIe power cable that connects to the graphics cards. Then you need to plug in the necessary 8-pin or 6-pin power connectors on the GPU. But before that, make sure that the orientation is correct. You have to look at the ‘squares’ and ’rounded squares’ on the graphics card. Also, there is a small raised section where the power connector clips into. These visual cues will help you perfectly line up the power connectors before plugging them in.
8. Well now you have successfully installed the GPU on your PC. But there are a few things left to do. If your GPU seems to be sinking, you can install a GPU anti-sink bracket to prevent it from doing so.
How to remove the graphics card from your PC
Before proceeding to remove the graphics card from your PC, it’s a good idea to run the Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU) by visiting this link. This utility completely removes existing driver files and settings. Also, when you plug a new graphics card into your PC, you will need to install the drivers for it.
1. First, you need to remove the screws that hold the graphics card to the case. These are located near the PCIe expansion slot bracket. Also, remember to unplug the power connectors and any video cables, such as the DisplayPort or HDMI cable, that are still plugged in.
2. Next, you need to push out the clip from the PCIe slot on the motherboard. This will open the PCIe slot and free up your graphics card.
3. Now you can just slowly remove your existing graphics card. Lift it vertically and make small adjustments to get it out of your PC case effectively.
4. Good job! You have successfully uninstalled the graphics card from your motherboard. You can now return to the beginning of this guide to install your new GPU.
Is it normal for a graphics card to sag? What happens if your GPU goes under?
Some sagging of the graphics card is normal. But if it’s a heavy graphics card, it might sag even with the screws installed. This is a sign of too much flab. When your GPU sags, its weight causes it to “sag” due to gravity. If the size of your graphics card is really big, it’s definitely a great idea to invest in an anti-buckle mount as well.
How to install graphics card drivers?
To use your graphics card (GPU), you will need to download drivers for it. Intel, Nvidia, and AMD all have their respective websites, where they host the latest graphics drivers. You can easily search your graphics card model and download driver software. Windows Update also installs drivers automatically, but it’s best to get the drivers from your video card brand’s website.
Which brand of graphics card is better? Intel Arc, AMD Radeon or NVIDIA GeForce RTX?
Different graphics cards have their own advantages. The user must choose the GPU based on their performance expectations. Other factors, such as streaming features, also have an impact on the overall experience. Read a detailed comparison between the Nvidia RTX 4090 and the next-gen RTX 3090 Ti.
Installing a graphics card in your computer
So as you can see, installing a graphics card on your PC is a simple process. By following the steps in this guide, you will be able to upgrade or install a new GPU on your PC with ease. Upgrading the GPU will allow you to experience a faster 3D editing workflow and better gaming performance. With that being said, if you have any questions or run into any issues during the installation process, please let us know in the comment section and we will help you out.
This is all you need to know about installing a graphics card in your PC. After following the steps above, you will have successfully installed the GPU on your system. We also show you how to uninstall the GPU, in case you’re upgrading to your existing PC build. You’ll be able to edit faster or game better with your new graphics card. With the new RTX graphics cards, users get the real-time ray tracing feature. This includes realistic reflections and other major visual fidelity improvements. Another new feature on RTX GPUs is NVIDIA DLSS, where users get an innovative AI-based anti-aliasing technique and marginally better frame rates. Also, check out Intel’s new entry into the dedicated GPU market with the Arc line here. If you have any doubts or face any issues during the installation process, please let us know in the comments below.