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Features

- PC Buyer's Guide for Entry-Level Gaming -- February 2012
- PC Buyer's Guide for Gaming Enthusiasts -- January 2012
- PC Buyer's Guide for Entry-Level Gaming -- January 2012
- Build Your Own Gaming PC Guide -- Nov. 2011
- PC Buyer's Guide for Gaming Enthusiasts, August, 2011

Buyer's Guides

- PC Buyer's Guide for Entry-Level Gaming -- January 2012
- Build Your Own Gaming PC Guide -- Nov. 2011
- February High-end Gaming PC Buyer's Guide
- November Value Gaming PC Buyer's Guide
- September Extreme Gaming PC Buyer's Guide

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  • Adding a new 3D card to an existing system can yield one of the best paybacks of any computer upgrade. Not only will a newer, faster 3D video card enhance your business and gaming performance, but it may also add in important features such as FSAA, T&L, and DVD-acceleration. The same is true when choosing a 3D card for your home-built system, as the choice of video card can be one of the main determinants of overall system speed and available feature set.

    Whether upgrading, or building a PC from the ground up, adding a video card is one of the easiest PC hardware installations. The entire process involves only a single peripheral and the physical work is certainly not a demanding task. Still, a certain procedure needs to be followed to properly install a video card, and even given its relative simplicity, there are still a few pitfalls that you will want to avoid. This Video Card Installation Guide will break the process down into a few easy to follow steps, and offers both helpful tips as well as noting things to watch out for.

    This guide also assumes that the user has done adequate research in allocating the proper video card for the installation and that the interface specifications and requirements of the video card (AGP, PCI) match the PC.

    AGP and PCI Video Cards

    In order to perform a video card upgrade, you will require certain tools, hardware and software. By properly organizing the installation beforehand, there will be no need to hunt through piles of driver CDs later on and possibly risk the install taking much longer than anticipated. Here is the list of items that should be gathered before commencing with the video card install. Some are required for the installation, while others should definitely be within arm's reach just in case.

    Required:

    Video Card
    Video Card Driver Disk
    Video Card Installation Manual
    Phillips Screwdriver
    Container for Screws

    May be Needed:

    Windows (or other OS) CD
    Monitor INF CD or disk

    The first step in preparing your PC for the new video card should be to download the newest drivers, and if necessary, the newest video BIOS as well. With any hardware installation, it is best to assume the worst case scenario, and to get all necessary files before adding in the video card.

    When upgrading, the next step is to change your video card driver from your current 3D card to the Standard PCI VGA driver found in Windows. This is a requirement for an older operating system (OS) like Win 95, but merely a precaution for the newer Win 98 and ME. The enhanced auto-detect features of the newer operating systems usually allow new video cards to be added and removed quite easily.





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