How to upgrade your graphics card
If you’ve started using your PC to play more games lately, you’re not alone. More and more gamers are rediscovering the fact that one of the best games consoles around is also the oldest: the PC.
Windows PC games sales are rising at an extraordinary rate, and looking at the quality of titles on offer it’s not surprising. PlanetSide 2, Guild Wars 2 and Diablo III are just a few of the exceptional PC-only games out now or arriving soon, and it’s still the place to go for Facebook games and other social gaming.
The only drawback of PC gaming is that you may occasionally need to upgrade the internal hardware in order to play the latest games at full speed. And the best way to improve your PC’s performance is to invest in a new graphics card.
Where to begin
It isn’t too expensive, something like a Radeon HD6850 would do the job nicely. You can opt for a more expensive, faster card, but you may need to upgrade other parts of your system (like the power supply) in order to use it.
Once you’ve got your new card, you’ll need to install it.
1. Simply turn off your PC and remove the power cable from the back, then open up the left-hand side of the case (as you look at the front). This is usually done by removing two screws at the back of the case.
2. Now you’ll need to remove the old card. Unplug your monitor cable and look inside the case. It should be fitted into a long plastic port known as a ‘PCIE-E Slot’, and held in place by a screw at the back. Remove the screw, and look for a catch at the other end of the PCI-E slot which locks the graphics card down. Push this and pull out the card – it should simply slide straight out.
3. Fitting the new card is the reverse of this process. Push it into place firmly, but without using too much force, and the security catch should drop straight into place. Now lock it down using the screw you saved from before.
4. You may also need to attach a power cable to the back of the graphics card. If your power supply doesn’t have the right fitting don’t worry – in the box the graphics card came in you should find a suitable adaptor.
5. Reattach the power cable and monitor, and turn your PC on. The first time you boot, your desktop will probably look too large and badly rendered. To counter this you’ll need the CD that came with the graphics card, which contains the ‘drivers’ – a software program that tells Windows how to operate the new card.
6. Slot this into your DVD drive and follow the on-screen instructions. When you reboot, everything should be working as normal.
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- Everything you need to know about Intel Ivy Bridge