Install graphics card 2023: GPU installation simply explained

If the old image maker is too weak, a new one is needed. Current hit games like “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” mutate into stuttering games without a strong graphics card. It’s a good thing that graphics cards are available again after the mining crisis – in particular the now somewhat older models from AMD (RX 6000) and Nvidia (RTX 3000) are currently cheaper than ever. Have you already struck? Then the installation of the new graphics card is pending. Installation is easy with these COMPUTER BILD instructions.

The best graphics cards

GeForce RTX 4090 Trinity




Zotac

GeForce RTX 4080 Trinity


Zotac

GeForce RTX 3080 Ti SUPRIM X 12GB GDDR6X


MSI

GeForce RTX 3080 Ti SUPRIM X 12GB GDDR6X

Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO 16GB GDDR6


MSI

Radeon RX 6900 XT Red Devil 16GB GDDR6


powercolor

GeForce RTX 3090 SUPRIM X 24GB GDDR6X


MSI

GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Gaming AMP Holo 12GB GDDR6X


Zotac

GeForce RTX 3080 AMP Holo


Zotac

GeForce RTX 3080 AMP Holo

Radeon RX6800 Nitro+


sapphires

GeForce RTX 3070 Ti AMP Holo


Zotac

GeForce RTX 3070 Ti AMP Holo

Complete list: The best graphics cards

The right graphics card

Install graphics card: connections

When buying a graphics card, pay attention to the connections to the monitor.

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 Some still have an outdated DVI output.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.

Install graphics card: The preparation

Install graphics card: size

Does the new graphics card fit into the PC case? You must clarify this question in advance.

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.

The right power supply

Install graphics card: power supply

The PC power supply must provide enough power, otherwise the computer will not work.

It is also important to take a look at the power pack: many cheap 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

Guide: Install graphics card with a screwdriver

The graphics card can be attached to the PC with a screwdriver (Phillips).

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” (Pperipheral Ccomponent Interconnect) or refer to the mainboard (motherboard) manual. 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

Install graphics card: Nvidia driver

Many graphics settings can be made thanks to the clear Nvidia software.

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.
Install graphics card: AMD driver

AMD offers well-designed software: making it easy to choose your settings for different games.

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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