How to change the video card on a PC and which model is compatible

Guide to replacing your PC video card to improve graphics performance by checking compatibility with your motherboard

New video card Like all technological things, they age with the passage of time and it is not certain that the super gaming computer built 4 or 5 years ago is still suitable for new video games.

If we want to keep the computer to play all types of video games we will have to proceed to changing the video card, so as to give new power to the PC to be able to handle modern graphics engines. To do this there are some steps to follow, which are not particularly difficult even for those with no experience.

READ ALSO: Optimal configurations for NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards

How much is it worth changing the video card?

The video card is one of the components that “ages” the fastest, so we will have to think about replacing the one previously installed on the PC every 2 or 3 yearsespecially if we are avid gamers or often buy new games.

If we play games occasionally or use the video card for video-editing or other purposes, we may also consider a replacement every 5 yearsbut this is an extreme case: the video card risks becoming too obsolete even for the new versions of Windows and for the hardware acceleration offered by browsers and video players, so it is always advisable to plan a change within the recommended times.

Which video card should we choose?

Although there are many video cards on the market, almost all of them are based on the same graphics processor. The most modern cards have large VRAM memory and an optimized cooling system, so that they can even work without the need to operate the fans (thanks to the large heat sinks positioned on the card).

Wanting to summarize as much as possible, the series to take into consideration for gaming are:

  • NVIDIA serie RTX
  • NVIDIA GTX series
  • AMD Radeon RX

By focusing on video cards that feature these acronyms we will be sure of purchasing modern cards and able to handle (more or less) all gamesalso based on the resolution we are going to use (and this also depends on the type of monitor we intend to use for the purpose).

To find out all the features to take into consideration for a new video card, we refer you to reading our in-depth analysis on how to choose the video card for your PC graphics.

2) Motherboard and power supply compatibility

Even before seeing the new video card models, we need to check if our motherboard and the power supply included in the computer are compatible with it, or we risk finding ourselves with a non-functioning card or sudden blocks (due to an inadequate supply of electricity). The program we recommend using to check your motherboard is Speccyavailable free for Windows.

Once installed on the computer to be updated, let’s go to the Motherboard menu and check for the presence of a slot PCI-E x16, with all the relevant information; for modern video cards you need the version PCI-E x16 3.0 or better yet the PCI-E x16 4.0.

If your motherboard does not have this type of slot or is available in a version that is too old, your PC probably cannot be updated with new video cards. In this case we will have to be careful choose the parts of the new computer to assemble.

For the power supply, however, we will necessarily have to turn off the PC, remove the power socket and remove the side panel of the case, so as to be able to check the power value (expressed in Watts) directly on the power supply label.

If we don’t find a label or we don’t know how many Watts the power supply delivers, we recommend replacing it with one of at least 550W, as seen in the guide which power supply to choose for the PC and how many Watts are required.

3) Video cards of the moment

After these important premises, we have another article where we describe the best video cards for PC and we put here a summary updated to this moment.

  • ASUS ROG Strix NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090
  • Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX 7900 XTX Vapor-X AMD 24 GB GDDR6

If we are looking for mid-range video cards, the best are:

  • Gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 GAMING OC
  • Sapphire Pure AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT
  • ASUS Dual NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 OC Edition

Those who want to save money can consider one of the following economical video cards:

  • maxsun Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB GDDR5
  • ASUS Dual NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 V2 OC Edition
  • ASUS Dual AMD Radeon RX 6600 V2

We choose the model that best suits our needs, also choosing the one based on the budget.

4) How to replace the video card

In this last chapter we will show you how to physically change the new video card, so you can continue playing without problems. First of all, get a set of screwdrivers of various sizes, as it may be necessary to unscrew some anchor screws.

After having obtained everything necessary, we turn off the computer, remove the power socket and remove the side panel of the case, using our hands (just turn the screws on the edge of the panel).

We will have like this access inside the case, with the video card in the central part; to remove the old card we remove any additional power cable present immediately in front of us, therefore unscrew the anchoring screw present on the back of the video card, which holds the card securely.

After removing this screw, we pull the old card upwards until it comes away from the PCI-Express slot; we don’t have to force or push, just gently pull it upwards. Now that we removed the old cardlet’s get the new video card, remove any sort of seal or protective sticker (they can be anywhere, better check carefully!) then let’s place it in place of the old one, in the PCI-Express x16 slot.

After positioning, tighten the screw securing the video card to the case, reconnect the additional power cable (or the two additional power cables, in the case of particularly powerful video cards) and reposition the case panel and the power socket . At the next reboot the card will notify us of the presence of new hardware and Windows will start with the installation of the new driver.

If the card is not recognized or the PC starts with a resolution that is too low, we can install the new video driver as seen in our guide on how download and install updated NVIDIA and AMD drivers.


Changing video cards is no walk in the park, even if it may seem simple at first! We will have to Check the compatibility of your motherboard and power supplychoose the right model and, only then, proceed with the change of card (that is really simple and within everyone’s reach).

If we are looking for a way to overclock the video card and its components, we recommend you read our article at the best GPU (video card) overclocking programs.

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