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How to Install an Add-in Card (Page 1/4)

Written By: Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy
Posted: July 9, 2001


As much as everyone loves a plain old PC, an add-in card makes the PC that much better. Whether it's a TV card, sound card, video card, or mass storage controller (like a SCSI card), the real 'oohs and ahhs' of PC enjoyment come from the extras. I'm not saying that a CPU is insignificant or even less important than a sound card. But let's say you were stuck in a room wih a PC for 3 days straight. Imagine how crappy it would be if the PC didn't have a sound card. Who cares if it's a 1.7 GHz P4 with a gig of ram? No sound = No fun!

Now that I've gained control of myself, I'd like to walk you through the process of installing an add-in card to your PC. It's not a complex task by any means, but some people have a hard time doing such things or believe it's much too hard for them to do by themself. Trust me folks, it's easy.

If you're very impatient and don't care about safety precautions that could save your card's life, head here for the installation process. Otherwise, keep reading.

In This Article...

Since this is Tweak3D and we try to optimize everything we do, the installation process will even be optimized as best it can. To make things simple, we'll go through the installation process of several cards to ensure you've got the process down. In this order, we'll go over:

- General installation procedure for add-in cards
- Specifics on installing an AGP or PCI video card
- Tools
- Safety precautions
- Installing the drivers for the card

We'll also set on a few tips such as cooling, overclocking, and more safety warnings than you can shake a stick at. Are you ready? Okay, then let's begin.

Make a Checklist

Er... before we begin you really should make a checklist to ensure that you hit all the basics (and not-so basics) of the add-in card installation process. Here's a quick list of questions you need to answer "Yes" to before you begin work on the PC:
  • Will the product work with your PC and/or OS?
  • Do you have the drivers ready?
  • Is the product in good shape (no burned up parts or broken pieces)?
  • Is there sufficient room in the desired expansion slot (e.g. PCI)?
  • Do you have the required tools? (see page 2)
  • Do you have a clean space that's large enough to work on the PC?
Once you can answer "Yes" to all of these, move onto the next page, so we can cover tools and then begin the installation process.

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