How you know graphics card is compatible with your PC
Installing a new graphics card on a PC is a simple priority until you encounter socket or connector incompatibilities. This is the hardest part, ensuring that your new card is compatible with your computer.
Many PCs have integrated graphics settings, so that their performance depends on the motherboard chip built into the CPU. At other times, it is a dedicated graphics card, which connects to an expansion slot on the motherboard itself.
As a general rule, you can determine which type of card a PC uses based on the location of the port used to connect the monitor. If it’s located between a motherboard port like USB and Ethernet, then it’s all about integrated graphics.
It is possible to guess what graphics card your computer has and other components such as the CPU, RAM or hard drive.
If, on the other hand, the connection port is separate from the others and there is more than one connector, such as a pair of DVI, HDMI or DisplayPort outputs, it is probably a dedicated graphics card.
Whatever the type, you will need an expansion slot called PCI Express, and another associated to the power of the same that is obtained from the power supply of the computer.
Either way, acquiring a graphics card can give your PC more performance in the graphics area, freeing the CPU from tedious tasks and allowing you to run larger games.
How to tell if a graphics card is compatible: locate the PCI Express slot
In most PC computers you can find various types of expansion slots on the motherboard. Typically they will all be PCI Express, but a graphics card will need a 16x PCI Express slot.
There are three versions of this type of slot, which are backward compatible, so a modern PCI Express 3.0 graphics card will work on a motherboard with a PCI Express 16x 2.0 slot.
The motherboard in the image has two PCI Express X16 slots. For the graphics card it is more common to use the one above, but if you have two units in parallel in Nvidia SLI mode or AMD Crossfire, you will need both slots.
Before investing in a pair of these types of cards, check which standard your computer’s motherboard supports, as their price is not cheap at all. We also explain.
How to know if a graphics card is compatible: length and height
The most powerful graphics cards have a high amount of ventilation system to keep them cool, making them larger. The fan sits atop the GPU, sometimes leaving an unusable slot.
Also, you have to measure the distance of another component from the backplane to prevent another card from blocking. Some graphics have their own chairs on the trailing edge for forcing lengths of 30 or 40 mm instead of being on the side.
If you are not sure about the dimensions of a card, ask the manufacturer, seller or forums to try to get the information by asking someone who already has it and who can confirm it before purchasing it. .
How to tell if a graphics card is compatible: power requirements
Even if you have a PCI Express 16x slot and plenty of space, you will still need plenty of power for most graphics cards. Your power supply is likely to have PCI-E type power connectors, with cables bundled together and tied together.