Last time we spoke about upgrading your RAM, this time we shall upgrade your graphics card. As far as improvements to an old PC go upgrading your graphics card is one of the most obvious and most cost effective ways to achieve more performance.
Lets get started. How do you choose a graphics card? First determine whether your computer uses a PCI Express interface or the older AGP variety. PCI Express is white while AGP is brown.
Once you know the interface then it is onto who makes them. Well there are two types of graphics card producers – nVidia and ATI. Both do similar graphics cards and the difference in price is marginal . My advice is to set a budget, take a look at their products and then choose which card offers the performance you are looking for. Here at ComTech we use www.novotech.co.uk to source the majority of our products and graphics cards are no exception.
Before you install your new shiny graphics card you will need to uninstall the software for your existing card, and in most cases remove the existing card from inside the case. On a windows machine use the Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs (XP) or Control Panel>Programs and Features (Windows 7 / Vista). On a linux machine use the package manager which came with your distribution or the uninstall instructions which came with the source code.
Next we have to physically install the card. First thing is to unplug the computers power cable. Then you need to discharge your static electricity by either wearing an anti static wristband or by touching a piece of metal prior to touching ANYTHING inside the case. Failure to do so could result in damage to components inside the case. Open up the case locate the grapphics card and switch it for your new one.
All that is left is to install the drivers. The graphics card should come with windows drivers on a CD. Just insert it and follow the instructions. On a linux system you will probably have to go to the venders website and download the drivers as source code. This brings me to a good point. To get the most out of your graphics card you should go to your venders website (www.ati.amd.com for ATI amd www.nvidia.co.uk for Nvidia) look for the support or download section of the site and follow the links to the latest software for your card. Then you just download and install.
About the Author
Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more. Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.
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