How to Upgrade your Video Card

by braniac

The hardest part about upgrading a video card is knowing which video card style you need to buy. I will walk you through the process of determining exactly what you need.

Determine the video socket type on your mother board. There are... PCI, AGP, PCI-E and now PCI-E2 Look at the photo comparison and write down the type of card you have. If you have PCI or PCI-E, you are set. You can jump to step 5.

If you have AGP, sit down and take a deep breath. Let it out. ok here we go. You must determine which version of AGP you have. Over the many years of AGP, card-makers improved the technology and also changed the socket of AGP along the way.

In the year 1999-2000, the agp style was brand new and was known as 1X. In 2002, the upgrade began and they came at a crazy rate. the only people in a jam are those who own 1X machines and there is hope for you. I have found at least 2 cards that work with 1X machines. I will share those card names in step 5. There are 3 main types. 1x, 2X-4X, 4X-8X many card makers will overlap many versions but some will only support a handful of speeds.

The best place to start is with the card connector appearance or your documentation from the computer maker. Since documentation can be hard to find, lets look at the video card's edge connector. The AGP standard uses notches in the card's edge to force the user to use the right card. Most of the time, this will be all you need, but there are times when you just need to know what your computer will support. (depending on what the video card maker lists as supported AGP speeds.)

The biggest (but not the only) difference between the AGP style is the voltage available to the video card. Some motherboards actually offer more than one voltage and can handle more card types. Luckily there are some card makers who offer video cards that can accept more than one voltage level and they auto adjust as needed. Very few cards will list 1X as a feature. Most will say 2x-8x or 4x-8x. So to sum up.. If you have a 1X card, look at the Matrox Millenium G450 16MB AGP Connect3D Radeon 9250se I have these 2 cards and they are both 1X-4x. Or just use a PCI Card if needed. If you have a computer with 4x-8x ability, you can pick most any new card.

Ok so we have purchased a new video card. Lets do the install process. This can be trickier that you might imagine. We want to replace the old video drivers with new ones but we are using the old ones. Here's the best process to use.

Right-click "My computer" > pick Properties > Hardware > Device Manager.

Click display adapter and right-click your video card, Pick UNINSTALL.

shut your computer down.

Remove the power cord

Open the case

Locate the card with your video connection on it

Remove the screw or plastic clip that holds the card in place.

Using your index finger to pull back the plastic clip at the back of the card-slot (if your PC has such a tab) as you pull the card straight out of the card-slot. Note: PCI-E and some agp cards have a retaining clip at the back of the card slot. Its very clear to see if you have one.

Once the card is removed you can easily insert the new card. Make sure the card snaps deep into place.

Put everything back together. Put the screw or plastic clip back on close the case put the power cord back on connect a PC monitor turn ON the PC and watch the screen. If all has gone well, you will see video on your screen.

If your computer beeps and puts up a note about a change, press F# to continue, please follow the prompts.

Insert the CD that came with your video card and install the driver.


  • check Visit the web site for your card maker and download the most up to date driver.


  • close Always remove the power plug before opening your PC.
  • close If you don't feel sure of yourself, ask a friend for help before you start.

Items you will need