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Everything You Need to Know About Upgrading Your Old Graphics Card

Upgrading your computer is an exciting prospect. But it’s also a complicated one.

With graphics cards suffering a price hike from crypto-currency mining, things are even more complex right now. Knowing how to shop for a new card is an art in itself.

If you’re determined to ditch your old graphics card, here’s everything you’ll need to know about upgrading.

When to Upgrade

It’s not only a matter of “what" but also “when".

You might find yourself tempted to splash out on a new graphics card the moment your performance starts to dip. But before you forge ahead, there are a few things to consider.

First, make sure you know what you’re running in there. A computer is the sum of its parts. Upgrading your card won’t achieve much if the rest of your machine holds you back.

You might also want to consider ringing some additional life out of your current card. Many people are reluctant to overclock a card for fear of reducing its lifespan. But if your card is already on the way out, why not overlock to enjoy some increased performance for a few extra months?

What Do You Need?

You wouldn’t buy a sports car for your daily commute, so think about whether you need to do the equivalent with your graphics card.

All kinds of people use a computer, from digital artists to musicians to gamers. And each user will have their own performance needs.

These needs can vary even in a particular niche. Take gamers, for example. A gamer who wants to play the latest AAA titles needs a beefier GPU than someone who prefers quirky indie games.

And if you are a gamer, are you a patient one? If you wait for games to come down in price and release all their DLC, you’re probably playing one or two years behind the tech. That’s a few hundred dollars you could save on a GPU.

If you’re not too concerned with making your machine a graphical powerhouse, then you can make huge savings by aiming for a mid-range card instead of a higher end one.


Unlike CPUs, GPUs don’t encounter much in the way of physical incompatibility.

Graphics cards use the standard PCI Express slot, so you’re unlikely to need a motherboard upgrade before you can install it. After spending a few hundred dollars on your card alone, that’s a mercy.

The main caveat to this is that your GPU won’t achieve much if the rest of your components are lacking. You’ll need to do a full analysis of your PC before you buy anything. Find out whether you’re likely to encounter any bottlenecks.

It might also be time for a new power supply if your current one can’t take the strain.

Hardware compatibility aside, you will have to consider the physical space you have available. In a large case this is rarely a problem, but if your case is small you could end up with a card that won’t physically fit. Always pay attention to the card’s dimensions.

You’ll also need to think about your card’s heat management. It might seem like a tactical victory to fit a large card in a small case, but you’re likely to face heat issues if you do. In borderline situations, consider tweaking the layout of your case fans for maximum effect.

Price Range

One of the biggest limiting factors for anyone buying a new graphics card is the price.

This has become even more apparent in a post-cryptocurrency world. GPUs are the tool of choice for crypto miners as they mine more efficiently than a CPU. But the added market demand has blown up the prices even on the second-hand market.

There’s also a huge difference between top-end GPUs and those in the middle of the range. That’s why we recommend buying for the tasks you’ll be doing, rather than going all-in on an upper tier card for the sake of it.

If you want cutting-edge technology that will last you many years, you’ll have to go for a higher-end card. However, there is a matter of diminishing returns. At the highest end, you could find yourself laying down a few hundred dollars more for a few drops of extra performance.

Keep a close eye on review sites to find the right balance between cost and features.


Once you’ve figured out which card to go for, it’s time to get that beast in play.

Lucky for you, a GPU is one of the easier components to replace in your computer. But there are a few things you should handle first.

Fire up your machine and clear out your old graphics drivers. This isn’t a required step, but a fresh install will reduce any compatibility issues when the new card goes in. That way, you’ll get the best possible performance from the start. If any issues do occur, you’ll know they’re not the fault of your previous install.

When you’re ready to install your card, open up your case and swap the cards out. If you’ve done your research, this step shouldn’t be a problem. Now’s also a good opportunity to unclog some of your fans and give your computer a general clean.

With that done, you can install your new graphics drivers, along with any accompanying management software.

Run a good stress-test for your system. This will flag up any manufacturing issues, and also tell you if any of your components are letting you down. A sudden shutdown, for instance, could be a sign that your power supply isn’t up to the job.

But if everything goes right, you should have a new graphics card that will last for years to come.

Upgrading Your Old Graphics Card

With these tips in mind, you should know the basics you’ll need for upgrading your old graphics card. With just a little extra research, you’ll find the right upgrade for you.

Looking to expand your computing knowledge? Be sure to follow our blog.

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Community Computer Services
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OriMaster 261
OriMaster 261
18:27 08 Jan 20
Very nice and helpful people, love the store atmosphere, and fair prices.... Overall a very pleasant experience!read more
Tracy cook
Tracy cook
00:29 03 Jan 20
So far, it hasn't been that great. I took a laptop in almost 2 weeks ago and... haven't heard back from them. When I went in to drop it off, it was like they were getting ready to go out of business. The young guy who took my laptop said he would call me and hasn't yet. I know that we have had 2 weeks of holidays, but other businesses are open again. He made sure he got my $45 first though. I'm surprised by all of this, because I've gotten great service when the father was there. In this guy's response, he says that he can't get a hold of me. What he fails to mention is that he wrote my number down wrong and didn't check his caller ID from when I called last Monday or when I left a message the week before. I left a message last week and he never called me back then either. When he did finally found my number, he chewed me out for everything. He never confirmed anything about the computer, yet acts like he did. So my number is not out of service, but I will not be a customer of theirs more
23:48 22 Oct 19
I went with a problem on my tablet and that is not something they are very... comfortable with but for computers that are used you should check it outread more
Carol Lyle
Carol Lyle
16:43 13 May 19
Am new to the area having problems with tower computer at the time. Was... advised to seek a locally owned business doing computer repair. I did and chose Community Computer Services in Alexandria, Ky. 41001. Did diagnostics as I was thinking problem with hard drive. Wasn't which was great price wise. Was able to clear out all viruses and malware. Saved my pictures and other personal folders and reloaded to computer. Also installed free virus and malware programs. Runs fast!! Also they gave me a week to use to see if incurred any problems. I did not!!! While taking care of tower computer explained how slow my laptop was. So brought it in. Was going to do diagnostics see what problem was. He told me it would be like a new computer. Advised me to use chrome. He saved my files and reloaded them so where I didn't lose anything. Also downloaded the free virus protection and malware. The laptop is brand new to me. It is fantastic!!!! So fast it has to wait on me. I would recommend anyone having computer problems to see Community Computer Services immediately. Very reasonable, courteous and explained things to me where I could understand. Excellent more
Sara housypart
Sara housypart
18:44 03 Apr 19
We took our mac into their store. It was running terrible. They were able to... make it run like it was new. I was surprised on how affordable it was. We will be going there from now on for all of our computer more
Steven Noble
Steven Noble
21:07 01 Apr 19
They did a great job fixing our laptops. We will be using them from now on.
Ryan Moore
Ryan Moore
23:45 31 Mar 19
We have used Community Computer Services for many years now. They do a great... job! The pricing is great as well. If you need a laptop or desktop repaired in Northern Kentucky, then these are your more
Piles Chevrolet
Piles Chevrolet
15:36 20 Feb 19
This is a great place to have your computer or laptop repaired. They are fast,... honest and stand behind their work. I wouldn't go any place else. I recommend everyone to use this company. They give you pricing right up front. D. Hensleyread more
Joe Geiman
Joe Geiman
03:30 25 Aug 18
Always had a great experience dealing with these guys. My computer is running... faster than it ever has after being repaired there. Would recommend them to more
Penelope Kolb
Penelope Kolb
15:03 22 Aug 18
Community Computer Services provides a great services at affordable prices.... Over the past 5 years I have had to replace lap top hardware and treat viruses. Every time the knowledgeable team at Community Computer Services has provided fast diagnostics with a menu of solutions for me to choose from. I highly recommend keeping your technology out of a landfill and going strong with the support of Community Computer more
B Bailey
B Bailey
01:20 22 Aug 18
I have received great service from these guys on more than one occasion. The... prices are excellent as well. They have taken very good care of me over the years. Thanks!read more
Daryl Mullins
Daryl Mullins
04:08 28 Jul 18
My computer quit working just as my wife was in the middle of using it for... Vacation Bible School last night. She was panicking. I began to look online and saw Community Computers near where I live. I checked the reviews and it had a great rating. I called this morning and explained my situation. I was told to bring my laptop in and he would see what he could do. When I took it in I also shared with him another issue I had been experiencing, my wireless connection was not working . He said he would really try to find out the issue so we would have it for Bible School. About 2 1/2 hours later he called to give the good news that the problem was just a bad cord. When picking it up he also told me he gave it a good checking over and tried to repair my non wireless connection for over an hour. He then told me instead of trying to go into the laptop to change a chip which could be costly, he sent me to Staples for a solution of a $30.00 wireless adapter. I was very impressed with my experience Community Computers. I would encourage anyone who has computer issues to check them out. You will not be disappointed. Also, the price I paid was very more
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