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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » How Do You Replace a Computer's Video Card? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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hoodrat
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Veteran user
Southern California
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I need to buy a new video card for my computer. The one I currently have is an ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series card, and it's on its last legs. I have not been happy with this ATI card. My other older computer has an NVIDIA card, and it continues to work fine to this day. I'd like to get an NVIDIA card for my newer computer. What would you recommend? The specs on my newer computer (3 years old) are:

8.00 GB RAM
Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q9650 @ 3.00 GHz
64-bit Operating System (Vista, which I hate).

Was also thinking of getting rid of Vista and going with Windows 7. Not sure how to go about changing operating systems. Do you simply delete the old one (Vista) that's on the hard drive and then install the new one? Should this be done before or after the new video card is installed?

Thanks!
Salguod Nairb
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Room 101
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Buy an IMac.
We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness...
Josh the Superfluous
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Inner circle
The man of
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You could get a Mini Mac if your monitor is still good.
What do you want in a site? "Honesty, integrity and decency." -Mike Doogan
"I hate it, I hate my ironic lovechild. I didn't even have anything to do with it" Josh #2
ed rhodes
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Rhode Island
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I think you should address these issues to real computer people.
"All the world's a stage, but the play is badly cast!" - Oscar Wilde
Dave Scribner
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Lake Hopatcong, NJ
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Hoodrat, can't help you with replacing the video card but you are supposed to be able to change from Vista to windows 7 with much trouble. As a Vista owner, you can download the upgrade but I'm always afraid I'll screw something up. I think taking it to a professional is the best thing to do.
Where the magic begins
Jim Sparx
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Far Out, Texas
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If you wait till next year Windows 8 will be coming out. You can buy Win 7 now and just install over the Vista, does it automatically. Video cards just slip in and out. There are plenty of tutorials with pictures. Google "change video card instructions." A very simple task. You have more than enough RAM I would keep what you have if you don't have money to buy new.. Consider the costs of a new video card and the price of a new computer. You can take the Ram out of the old if it is a new 64 bit and place it in the new one if it has the space for additional RAM
If you have the bucks get a MAC, I have a Mac laptop. Computers are cheap these days, I usually get a new one every year and keep the previous or give it to a kid in school.
Josh the Superfluous
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Quote:
On 2012-06-02 16:40, ed rhodes wrote:
I think you should address these issues to real computer people.


As opposed to people who've been using Apple products since the late 70's, and never had such such problems?
What do you want in a site? "Honesty, integrity and decency." -Mike Doogan
"I hate it, I hate my ironic lovechild. I didn't even have anything to do with it" Josh #2
Cliffg37
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Long Beach, CA
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Disconnect the computer from the plug to the wall socket
If you live in a place where youoften get a shock touching a doorknob, ground yourself out by touching a wall-connected metal pipe.
Open the computer
Did you unplug the computer?
Remove the old video card
Place in the new one in the same slot.
Reconnect all the wires.

If the new card comes with a software DVD use that for the install
If it does not, windows should recorgnize it automatically by "plug and play"

I have done this personally more than once. The first time seems like a big deal. It is not that hard to do.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
MobilityBundle
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Las Vegas/Boston
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Also, be aware that some video cards might not work on all motherboards. The situation isn't super-fragmented, but if your motherboard is old you might not be able to use a newer video card.

Otherwise, yeah, it's as simple as Cliff said: ground yourself, power down, open case, disconnect wires (and really, there's probably only one wire, running to the power supply), remove old, insert new, and reconnect power. Then install drivers. I guess all I can add to that is make sure you keep track of annoyingly-small screws to your case (if any).

If you're really anxious, there are probably videos on youtube.
tommy
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Eternal Order
Devil’s Island
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Draw a picture on art paper, crush it to a crystal and stuff it in an hole.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
MagicSanta
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Northern Nevada
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Replacing video cards is easy, even I could do it. you can download the new op system.
rockwall
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Your ATI Radeon video card is probably a PCI Express 2.0 card. PCI Express 2.0 is the port that your card plugs into. You will want to get a new video card that is also PCI Express 2.0 as this may be the only format supported by your motherboard. (If you know your motherboard, you can also look it up and see what formats it supports.)

Once you've got your card, it is easy to change. Unplug everything from your computer. Lay it on it's side and open it up. Ground yourself or touch something metal to remove any static electricity. Unplug the old card and plug in the new card. Close it back up and plug it all back in and when it boots up, it will probably ask you for the install DVD to install the new cards drivers.

As far as upgrading to Windows 7.0. I have been told that it is best to re-install the operating system completely from VISTA to Windows 7.0 and not just perform an update because VISTA will leave too much legacy junk on the system and cause problems. I don't know if that is accurate but I have found that it is sometimes best to re-install the operating system completely just to clean things up. Be aware that you will need to re-install all software that you want to use although as long as you don't format any of your harddrives, you shouldn't lose any data.

Good luck!
landmark
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within a triangle
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And of course, backup first!
EsnRedshirt
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Newark, CA
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I tried to upgrade my video card earlier this year. Turns out the newer, top of the line video cards require their own power connection and a second slot in the case for the fans. My computer, a rebuilt Dell, had neither available. Luckily I double-checked the specs, then my case, before I opened the box.

I'd advise you to do the same; hardware requirements don't just include the CPU speed and memory anymore.
Self-proclaimed Jack-of-all-trades and google expert*.

* = Take any advice from this person with a grain of salt.
ed rhodes
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Rhode Island
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Quote:
On 2012-06-03 08:16, Josh the Superfluous wrote:
Quote:
On 2012-06-02 16:40, ed rhodes wrote:
I think you should address these issues to real computer people.


As opposed to people who've been using Apple products since the late 70's, and never had such such problems?


I have nothing against Apple. I just felt he didn't need a entire overhaul as a solution.
...and, Apple users never need to upgrade their video cards?
"All the world's a stage, but the play is badly cast!" - Oscar Wilde
Jeff J.
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Connecticut
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I've been building custom computers since the mid 90's. First, you don't have a bad processor, although it's getting a bit outdated. The video card you have probably cost quite a bit, but can be easily replaced with a card for a fraction of the price you paid. You don't have to do any backups or anything. Just unplug the power supply and switch them out.

As far as Vista, it's not as terrible as some portray it, but it has it's flaws. Windows 7 fixes a lot of them. You don't need to wait for Windows 8 unless you have a tablet computer.

Don't spend too much on a new video card. Anything much more than $100 is going to give you diminishing returns unless you plan on using it in a future PC. You're much better off increasing the memory. It used to be that 4GB was more than enough. Now, 8 GB is a good minimum.
ClintonMagus
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Southwestern Southeast
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Quote:
On 2012-06-11 04:17, ed rhodes wrote:
...and, Apple users never need to upgrade their video cards?


Not so much a matter of "never need to" as "can't". With a Mac, it's not nearly as simple as taking the cover off, replacing a part, and putting the cover back on.
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
rockwall
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8gb may be a good minimum but make sure you're using 64bit windows or anything more than 4gb will be ignored.
rockwall
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Quote:
On 2012-06-11 15:27, ClintonMagus wrote:
Quote:
On 2012-06-11 04:17, ed rhodes wrote:
...and, Apple users never need to upgrade their video cards?


Not so much a matter of "never need to" as "can't". With a Mac, it's not nearly as simple as taking the cover off, replacing a part, and putting the cover back on.


High end graphics cards are mainly needed for the latest games and since the Mac can't play them, you really don't ever really need to update your graphics card!
Jeff J.
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Connecticut
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Quote:
On 2012-06-11 17:46, rockwall wrote:
8gb may be a good minimum but make sure you're using 64bit windows or anything more than 4gb will be ignored.


Good point. I forgot to mention that.
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