There are a multitude of reasons why you may wish to get rid of your present graphics card from your computer system. Perhaps you would want to upgrade to a more powerful GPU, or perhaps your current GPU is malfunctioning and you would like to replace it with a new one. Consider cleaning your GPU because it has been installed for a long period of time, or downgrading because you are no longer required to use all of the power currently installed in your PC and would like to lower your electrical bills while earning a little extra money by selling the better GPU you currently have.
We will explain the process of removing a graphics card from your computer in order to create room for a new or spare GPU, or if you just want to give your computer a thorough cleaning.
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10 Steps To Remove A Graphics Card (GPU)
1. Remove Existing GPU Drivers With Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU)
If you are merely cleaning or replacing your GPU, you may skip this step since you will be utilizing the same drivers. Before we do anything physical to our PC, we need to prepare it (software-wise) for a new GPU. Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU) is an application that uninstalls old GPU drivers from your computer. With this tool, you can verify that the installation of a new GPU driver is seamless and error-free. This is particularly relevant if you are switching GPU brands or upgrading or lowering your present GPU. To obtain DDU, go to Guru3D’s download page. In case you missed them, the application itself contains instructions on how to use it. So simply follow those steps and your PC will thank you for an easy driver swap.
2. Shut Down Your Pc
If your computer is already turned off, you may skip this step. You may now shut down your PC to officially begin the breakdown phase of this tutorial, now that your PC is running on its operating system’s very own display drivers and your PC is virtually rid of any old third-party GPU drivers following the obligatory reboot from the DDU application.
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3. Unplug Your PC’s Wires And Prep Your Workstation
It’s time to get a little physical now. Now that your PC is switched off, you may detach its cables from their sockets and prepare it for disassembly. Bring your PC to a clean, clutter-free space, such as your own workbench or a table large enough to hold the PC tower. You may also set up your workstation on the floor, but only if you don’t have any other options. Just make sure your floor is clean and dust-free, and that you have a mat that can serve as a work surface. It is usually a good idea to keep your tools and supplies organized so that you don’t end up losing anything important to your PC, such as screws for the casing or the GPU housing itself.
4. Remember To Ground Yourself Before Starting Work
You should always ground yourself while working on your computer’s internals to prevent shorting out any components due to the static build-up that happens when you drag anything over the floor or table. To ground yourself, just touch any metal item on your PC casing. Touch your power supply’s casing, but you may also touch your PC’s case.
Grounding yourself before touching anything inside your PC (particularly if you move around a lot) will save you a lot of hassles in the long run! If you’re worried about forgetting this step, you may wear an anti-static bracelet, which has a ground wire connected. Wrap it around your wrist or ankle and attach it to the computer’s power supply housing. This keeps you grounded and prevents your body from producing static electricity.
5. Remove Your Pc’s Side Panel
Now that you’re set, you may begin disassembling your PC, beginning with the side panel. To open the PC, just remove the screws securing the side panel to the case and gently place it to the side. Depending on your situation, it may merely have thumb screws that can be loosened with your hands, or it may contain a real screw that requires a tool.
6. Unplug The PCI Express (PCIe / PCI-E) Cables
After exposing the GPU, disconnect the PCI Express (PCIe / PCI-E) wires from it. These wires are normally located on the GPU’s side. Gently pull them out of their places. Remember not to pull on the plastic connection cables to avoid damaging the wires. If you need extra support, you may grab your GPU’s cooling fans or backplate. Water-cooling hoses and GPU mounting brackets are specialty items that aren’t generally included in a standard PC construction.
7. Unscrew The GPU From The PC Case
Next, remove the GPU’s mounting screws from the casing. These screws are located at the rear of the chassis on the PCIe expansion holes. You’ll need a screwdriver for this, so have one on hand. GPUs are often kept in place on the casing by two mounting screws since the GPU occupies two of the expansion holes for its interface.
8. Release The PCIe Expansion Slot Clips Holding The GPU
Next, unclip the PCIe expansion slot clamps attaching the GPU to your motherboard. These clips are frequently located around the GPU’s pins. How to undo these clips varies by the motherboard. Some motherboards include clips that snap back into place, while others need you to constantly push the clips while pulling the GPU out. To prevent destroying your GPU or motherboard, remove the clamps fully.
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9. Pull Out The GPU
After unfastening or holding the clips, remove the GPU out of the PCIe expansion slot. Grab the GPU by the cooling housing and pull straight. Avoid grabbing the GPU’s PCB to avoid corroding it with oil and moisture. Congratulations! Your PCIe expansion slot is now free after removing the GPU.
10. Store The GPU In An Anti-Static Bag
If you are cleaning your GPU you may skip this step. After removing the GPU, you may store it and decide what to do with it later. Protect it with an anti-static bag. If you have the original box for your GPU, you may reuse the anti-static bag and the box to keep it.
While removing a GPU may seem straightforward, it requires careful planning to ensure safety and efficiency. Always follow these procedures to prevent damaging your GPU or other components of your PC and incurring unexpected costs. Now that you’ve removed your GPU, why not read our articles on the best graphics cards for gaming? We also have an article on the finest low-profile graphics cards for downgrading or rebuilding.