Removing your graphics card can free up a lot of room in your computer tower, especially if you have one of the huge modern ones. Taking it out of the case slowly and carefully can help prevent issues with the card since it can be damaged during the process.
Another consideration is what your purpose is for removing the GPU. Sometimes, you might also have to do some software removal to prepare for a new card.
Why Should I Remove My GPU?
There are a few reasons why a person might want to take the GPU out of their computer. Your purpose for removing it might determine exactly how you go about it.
- If you’re making way for a new graphics card, you may want to remove the GPU, all cables, and the software entirely. You will need the space for whatever card you’re using to replace it.
- For troubleshooting, you might just want to remove it from its place in the case but leave it plugged in. You’ll need the card to get power still for many troubleshooting steps, and it doesn’t have to be connected to the case to work. However, removing the cables before taking the GPU out of the case is still advised.
- If you’re just going to clean the card, you can remove it from the case and remove the cords. However, you can leave the power cord and the motherboard connector plugged in in that case.
Consider your reasons for removing the GPU as you follow the steps. You don’t want to change the order, but you also should only do the steps you need to perform to get it out of the tower.
How to Remove Graphics Card
Depending on your purposes, you need to remove the physical card, the cables, and any related software.
Removing the card from the tower
Taking a few steps to ensure your safety and the safety of your computer before you start is essential for success.
- Power down your PC completely. Wait a few minutes before proceeding.
- Unplug the computer. Turn off the switch on the PSU if you have one. Generally, you want to unplug everything from the rear of your tower before you remove any of the internal parts.
- Remove the side of your computer tower on the right side to access the GPU. Some cases have sides you can slide off without removing screws. Others require you to remove screws or press buttons to unlock them.
- Remove the cables from the GPU. Depending on the model, you may need to press down on the cable to get it to release properly.
- Find the screws connecting the GPU to the computer case. Remove them. You may need to use a screwdriver, depending on the model of your card. Set the screws somewhere nearby, so it’s easy to find them when you reinstall the card.
- Look for a level or slot you can press or pull to release the GPU from the PCI slot on your motherboard. Once you push or pull this, you should be able to slide the card out completely.
There are a few other things to think about as well when it comes time to remove the physical graphics card.
- Sometimes you may need to remove other computer components to access the GPU. It all depends on how your case is set up. If it’s too difficult to reach the card without removing other parts, then take the time to pull them out first.
- If you’re using a cooler on the GPU, you might need to remove that from the card or the computer to remove the GPU. It all depends on what type and model of cooler you have.
- Consider getting an anti-static wrist strap to wear when working on your computer. Doing so could help you evade potential damage to your GPU and other parts.
How to remove the GPU cables
Once you’ve removed the cables from the GPU, they’re still connected to other parts of your computer. There’s nothing wrong with leaving them plugged in if you plan to reinstall the same card. If you’re going to put another card in the computer, the cables should be removed to make space for the new ones.
- Make sure your computer is turned off, and the PSU is switched off as well. The tower itself should be unplugged.
- Find where the cables connect. Depending on your model and setup, you may have a few connecting to various other parts.
- Press down on the end of the cable and slide it from the port.
- Look for additional cables. Some GPUs have multiple power cables. If yours is one, remove that as well. Depending on the GPU model, there may also be a cable plugged directly into the PCI slot.
Set the cables to the side and store them with the GPU if you plan to keep them. Not all GPUs require the same cables, and it’s easier to keep them together.
Removing the GPU software
You can remove all the software from your computer to make room for your new GPU and its software. It’s possible that the software may conflict with the more recent programs designed for whatever GPU is replacing the original.
- Press the Windows key.
- Type Add or Remove and click the Add or Remove Programs settings options.
- Search for a program related to your GPU. For example, you may have installed MSI Afterburner and saved profiles designed for it.
- Click Uninstall.
- Click Yes.
- Follow the prompts to remove the program. Depending on your programs, a window may pop up with steps you need to take to finish the uninstallation.
- Restart your computer after removing all the programs.
Now you should have a clean slate for anything you want to install.
Tips and Suggestions
One problem you may run into is that not every computer has a dedicated GPU. Some have integrated graphics, which means the motherboard has a graphics card module that lets it handle the graphics.
These can’t be removed because they are part of the motherboard. You will have to remove the motherboard to remove the integrated graphics card.
If you will store your GPU, get an anti-static bag to keep it in. This can help protect it from damage while it’s in storage and ensure you can use it again when the time comes.
Always check with your PC manufacturer before removing a part if it’s still under warranty. Sometimes removing a component might void any warranty in place.