You must have a video card installed in order to complete this tutorial so that you can see the output from your new PC once you turn it on. Installing a video card (or any expansion card for that matter) is incredibly straight-forward and easy.
- Find an expansion slot ideal for your video card. You can consult the bottom right image for a look at the three types of video card slot types: ISA, PCI or AGP. Most video cards in use today are using the AGP slot, which uses the topmost slot (usually brown) on your motherboard. Other cards use the PCI bus, which most motherboards have several of and the slots are usually white. The very old video cards use the larger ISA bus, but it is unlikely you will be using this type of video card unless you are building a PC out of incredibly outdated hardware.
- Remove the case insert that corresponds to the slot on the motherboard. This is usually done by unscrewing, but some cases have punch out inserts. If unclear, what we are referring to by “insert” is the small plate which covers up the rear slots on your case which your expansion cards will emerge from.
- Insert the video card in the slot. You might need to rock the card in, inserting one end first, then rocking the rest of the pins into place. The old ISA cards may be tougher because of their length. You might not be able to rock them. Most of you, though, will not be dealing with ISA video cards anymore. When pushing down, make sure the motherboard does not flex. If the board tends to bend, it may be necessary to place one hand underneath the board to hold it up. Also, in some cases, you may have a problem with the leading edge of the video card’s metal plate hitting the case behind the motherboard. The result is that it keeps you from being able to push the card in all the way. I’ve tried all sorts of weird crap to fix this problem, including taking pliers to the card and actually bending it. Sometimes, you can grab a flat-head screwdriver and pry the hole wider that the card’s lip protrudes into. But, in most cases, just playing with it for a bit will do the trick. It might also be worth noting here that AGP video cards are typically installed “upside down”, meaning the circuitry side of the video card will face down. ISA and PCI cards are usually installed “right side up”.
- With the video card inserted into the correct slot, it will probably sit there with no support at all. It is still, though, necessary to tighten it in using a screw. The card’s metal plate will have a notch for a screw and it will line up with a screwhole on the side of the expansion hole on the rear of the case. Just insert a screw into that hole and tighten it.
- Double-check your work. Make sure the card is securely in place and, if your video card has a cooling fan on it, make sure no ribbon cables or power leads are getting into the fan blades.