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Guide | Physical Installation Procedures ]
Video Card Physical Installation Procedure
This procedure describes how to install a video
card into the motherboard. This is a very easy procedure, especially with newer video
cards. I cover the installation of PCI, VLB, and ISA cards here (specific instructions on
AGP cards will follow once I have used AGP personally; my initial impressions are that
they would be installed quite similarly to PCI cards). This procedure deals only with the
physical installation of the card.
- Difficulty Level: 1-2 (Very low to Low). VLB video cards can be more
difficult than the others to install due to the large size of the connector.
- Risk Factor: 2 (Low).
- Hardware Required: Screwdriver and possibly one screw if it isn't
already in the case.
- Software Required: None.
- Time to Perform: 5 to 10 minutes.
- Preparation / Warnings:
- If you have not already done so, please read the section on general
installation and assembly tips.
- You may want to check out this section on video system
interfaces or this one on system bus
types, if you need some help with understanding AGP, PCI, VLB and ISA, or figuring out
what type of card you have.
- If the card is being inserted as part of a new system build, I assume you have already
planned out where you want the card to go. You may want to look at the System Layout Planning Procedure, which will provide you
with tips on choosing an expansion slot.
- The system case should be open before you begin. For instructions on opening the case,
refer to this procedure.
- Do not use excessive force to insert the video card into its expansion slot. Be patient,
especially with the very long connector on VLB cards.
- If the motherboard is flexing excessively when you try to insert the card, it may not be
physically supported properly. You may find some ideas for improving this situation by
examining this procedure on motherboard installation.
- Identify Expansion Slot: Find an open expansion slot of the
correct type for the video card. You will want to choose a slot if possible that is far
away from other cards and other hardware inside the box.
- Remove Metal Insert: Using a screwdriver, unscrew the metal insert in the case
that corresponds to the expansion slot you are using. It may help to take the video card
and align it to the slot. This will help you to visualize which slot goes with which
system case insert (since PCI cards are opposite from ISA ones, this isn't always totally
obvious.) Some cases may have simple punch-outs instead of screwed-in inserts; if yours
does then remove the insert by pushing it out and/or flexing it back and forth until it
- Insert Card: Align the pins of the video card's connector to the
slot. Make sure the metal insert that goes to the back of the case is also aligned
correctly. Then apply firm pressure to seat the card into the slot. You may need to rock
the card back and forth to get it to go in. VESA local bus cards are the hardest to insert
because their connector is so long--be patient and work slowly. Do not force the card
in or press it to the point where the motherboard is flexing significantly. If you
need to, support the motherboard manually with one hand while you push with the other.
- Secure Card: Screw the video card into place using the screw you
removed from the insert blank formerly in the case. You may need to supply a screw if your
case is one of the el-cheapo ones that doesn't come with screws for the expansion slots.
- Double-Check Installation: Ensure that the card is securely in its
slot. The card may move from side to side slightly when wiggled but should not be loose.
Make sure that the card is not interfering with anything else in the case. Make sure that
the card is inserted far enough into the expansion slot.
and Disassembly Procedures
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