How to Install a New Sound Card in Your Dell Desktop PC

By Editorial Team

Updated December 13, 2019

Installing a new sound card in your Dell desktop PC is a relatively easy upgrade with a high return on investment in improved sound. Whether you need to replace a failing sound card or simply want to upgrade to better sound, you can save a lot of money if you're willing to get under the hood of your computer.

Installing a New Sound Card

Disable the integrated sound card in the System BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) if necessary.

Power down and unplug your computer. Disconnect cables to peripherals.

Open the case of your PC. Consult your user manual for specific instructions on opening the case.

Locate an empty PCI card slot on the system board.

Discharge any static electricity by touching something metal before working inside the computer.

Unscrew the metal screw holding the slot face plate in place. You may have to work it back and forth to break the small metal piece holding it in place. Save the face plate in case you need to reinstall it at a later date. Hold on to the screw.

Attach any required cables to your sound card before installing. These include cables that connect to the CD player and/or power supply. Not all sound cards will require connections.

Align the sound card with the PCI slot and the opening in the rear of your computer.

Press the card firmly downward into the PCI slot. Be sure to press straight down and do not wiggle the card from side to side.)

Secure the sound card in place using the screw you removed from the face plate.

Close up the case.

Reattach the power cord and peripherals, and power up your computer. Windows should recognize your new hardware and ask if you want to locate software for it.

Follow the sound-card installation instructions for installing drivers and software for your new sound card.

Removing an Existing Sound Card

Locate the old sound card on your system board.

Remove the screw holding the card in place.

Lift the card straight up. If it doesn't come out easily, rock it gently end to end to pull one side up first, then align it and pull straight up.


If your computer has an integrated sound card, disable that sound card in the System BIOS before beginning.


Take precautions to discharge static electricity before working with your sound card or inside your computer. An easy way to discharge electricity before working inside your computer chassis is to touch a metal part of your computer. Alternatively, you can wear an ESD wristband that is attached to a metal ground.

Items you will need

  • Sound card

  • Dell desktop PC