Stand alone video cards deliver better graphics than onboard video.
A 3-D video card is an image processing computer card that plugs into the motherboard of the computer. Not all computers have standalone video cards; instead, they are integrated into the motherboard. Even if the computer’s video processor is built into the motherboard, you can install a card. Standalone cards usually offer better graphics processing and video memory for gaming and other complex graphics. Video cards are specific to either AGP or PCI express slots.
1. Purchase a 3-D video card. This card should be compatible with your motherboard. You will need to know whether your computer has an AGP or PCI express video card slot. This will make a difference in the video card you purchase. You computer’s manual will identify which slots are available on your motherboard. If you have both slots, the PCI express slot is the more powerful of the two slots.
2. Shut down your computer and disconnect all cords from the back of the computer. Switch the power supply to the off position.
3. Unscrew the back of the computer to release the case. There should be screws around the outside border of the back of the case. Slide the case off the computer. Lay the case down so that the motherboard is closest to the table. Put on the anti-static bracelet, following its instructions.
4. Locate the AGP or PCI express slot. These slots are located above the regular PCI slots. They are usually a longer than a regular PCI slot. Hold your card up to the opening if you are not sure that it is the correct slot. There may be a think metal panel directly next to the slot on the back of the computer. Snap this metal piece out to create an opening for the ports of the card.
5. Insert the card into the AGP or PCI express slot. The card should snap into place. The case will either have a clasp, clamp or place to screw the card into place so that the slot lines up with an opening on the back of the computer. Secure the card in the slot with the mechanism.
6. Connect the video card to the power supply. A corresponding cable with four holes will be hanging from the power supply. Plug the video card cord into this plug. In most powerful video cards, a power cord will extend from the card. It may be used to power a fan on the card.
7. Close the case by sliding it back on to the computer and screwing in all of the screws you originally unscrewed. Reconnect all of the cables to the back of the computer, but plug the monitor cable into the new video card that you installed. Flip on the power switch on the back of the power supply. Turn on the computer with the main power button.
8. Install the video drivers with the software that came with the card. Insert the CD into the disc drive and allow it to auto run. Follow the prompts to install the video card drivers. Restart your computer for the settings to take effect.