How to install a video card | AGP and PCI Express

install video card
If want to upgrade your existing video card or you are installing one into a new system, this guide will take you through step-by-step from start to finish.

We cover the removal and installation of both AGP and PCI Express video cards along with photos to guide you through the process.

To install your video card you will need:

  • Compatible AGP or PCI Express video card.
  • Cross-point screwdriver suitable for your PC case.
  • Fixing screw (usually comes with the case or if upgrading use old screw).
  • Anti-static wrist-strap (if available).
note: Disconnect the power and remove your PC's cover, see our guide.

Removing the old video card or blank


If you are upgrading your current video card then you will have to remove the old one first, whether the existing video card is AGP or PCI Express the steps are basically the same.

To take the old card out locate and remove the fixing screw by turning it anti-clockwise, for an example see fig 1.1. Once you have removed the fixing screw put it to one side.

Some video card slots will have a plastic clip that holds the base of the card in place, see fig 1.2 for an example. If it is present then gently pull the clip back away from the card to release it.

Now gently lift the card out of the slot. They can be stubborn but if you gently lift one end at a time it will come out (treat it like a loose tooth).

Once removed place it to one side.

If it is a new case then locate the blank (piece of metal) that is located where the video card will sit. Undo the fixing screw, remove the blank and put the screw somewhere close-to-hand.

Installing a PCI Express video card

Locating the PCI Express slot
In fig 1.6 to the right we have pictured both the slot on the motherboard as well as the video card. The colour of your slot may differ from that shown in our diagram.

Installing the card
Note the alignment keys and notches (labelled A and B in our diagram), these are used to ensure correct installation. Also, notice the holding clip (C) this is used to secure the card in position.

Pull the holding clip back to its open position. Hold the video card by the edges and line up the notches with the keys, then gently push the card into the slot until it is seated evenly.

Now move onto finishing the installation below.

Installing an AGP video card

Locating the AGP slot
We have provided an example of an AGP slot in fig 1.3, your AGP slot may differ slightly.

Notice the alignment key that we have pointed out, this is used to align the video card with the AGP slot to ensure correct installation.

In fig 1.4 you can see an example of an AGP video card and we have pointed out the alignment notch.

Installing the AGP card into the slot
Next take the video card and line it up with the slot, paying careful attention to the alignment notch. When it is aligned correctly press gently but firmly until the card is seated fully into the slot (see fig 1.5).

Now see the section on finishing the installation below.

Finishing the installation

When you are happy that the card is firmly in place insert the fixing screw (fig 1.6) and tighten it by turning it clockwise. Also, check to make sure you haven't loosened anything during installation.

When you reboot your machine Windows (or other OS) should find the card automatically. Although most modern operating systems have hundreds of drivers preinstalled, it may ask you to insert the disk/cd that came with your video card. If it does then insert the CD and follow the on-screen instructions to install the video card driver.

If your machine makes a series of beeps when you turn it back on then the video card may be inserted incorrectly, turn the machine off and once again ensure the card is fully inserted into the slot. Click here for a guide to the beep codes.

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