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December 24, 2007

Upgrading Your Graphics Card

A new graphics card is one of the most upgradeable features for PCs and can significantly boost gaming performance.

Most newer computer motherboards come with an AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) slot on the board, even if they have graphics integrated on the motherboard itself. This allows you to upgrade. In most cases the AGP card will override the integrated motherboard graphics. But in some cases, you'll need to go into the BIOS Setup and disable it.

You'll need the following:

Non-magnetic screwdriver (for opening your case)

Your graphics card installation manual

Anti-static wrist strap

New graphics card drivers

Windows Installation CD (Possibly)

Your computer manual (Possibly)

First, uninstall the current drivers for your graphics and set the display to standard VGA.

Next, turn off everything plugged into the PC. Disconnect the current video cable, and touch an unpainted surface of the case to ground yourself while the PC's power cord is still plugged in. This grounds you via the ground in the plug.

Once you remove the case's side panel, locate the brown slot at the back of the case. Normally this is above several white slots. This brown slot is the AGP.

Remove the current card, if necessary.

Line up the teeth of the card with the AGP slot and press firmly into place. If it doesn't go in easily, then you do not have it properly aligned.

Some newer cards also plug into the power supply. So you will need a free power supply dongle in this instance or you can use the Y adaptor included with this type of card.

That's it. Now we'll have to install the drivers for the card. You may need the Windows installation CD, so have it handy. You will also need the CD or floppy that came with the graphics card.

Turn on the PC. The new hardware wizard should run immediately. You will follow the onscreen instructions, rebooting when necessary. Windows will then ask for the drivers. Put the CD into the drive and navigate to the folder for your Operating System. Click NEXT.

If all goes fine, you might want to tweak the display settings by either going to the Control Panel or by right-clicking on the Desktop and selecting Properties. You can change the resolution to a setting your monitor can handle. In most cases this will be 800X600 @16-bit colors or 1024X768.

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