How to plug in a graphics card into a PC safely (for the PC)

So I’ve just received a computer and the graphics card wasn’t installed. I’m dying to use it but I don’t want static to mess it up.

How do I install it safely?

Do you need to know all the details of how to do this, or are you just worried about static? If you’re just worried about static, keep the computer plugged into the wall (a grounded wall outlet) the entire time. Each time you touch the metal case, any static on your body will be discharged.

ETA, the computer would, of course, be off the entire time though.

Do it on a table or other sturdy non-carpeted surface.

Open the case and ground yourself by touching the metal on the case.

Avoid touching contacts on the card. Sit the card firmly, but do not apply too much pressure. Place the screw on the back plate to secure and that’s it. You’re done.

I’ve not vetted its advice, but something like this: http://www.build-gaming-computers.com/installing-a-graphics-card.html may be of use?

I’m only worried about static.

I’ll be gtting an anti-static wristband soon, I just attach this to a non-painted metal part, right?
A very basic question about the power supply switch: The “O” and the “I” mean what, respectively? I’ve never noticed which meant on or off.

Think of it not as O and I, but 1 and 0. When it’s 1, it’s on, when it’s 0, it’s off.

If you’re just plugging in one card, and won’t be doing any other computer work, you can follow Kinthalis advice above. There’s nothing magical about the strap, except that it keeps you continuously grounded - useful if you’re spending an hour putting in all the components & buildind a PC from scratch, but not necessary if you’re just doing a single card.

I read that most of the static is built up when the card is taken out of the plastic housing it’s shipped in, is that true? How do I protect against that?
Yeah, I know I’m being overly cautious but I really want to avoid messing it up. Thanks for everyone’s advice so far.

I wouldn’t worry so much- I’ve been building PCs and swapping components for nearly 20 years, and I’ve basically followed Kinthalis’ advice. Never lost anything so far.

(plus, if it does crap out when you power it up, it’ll be almost impossible for anyone save a lab to tell whether you did it or whether it was a power-on failure, which are pretty common)

Well, fuck me. THe graphics car is installed. I close the case, turn the power supply on by putting the switch on the “I”. I press the power button and nothing happens, not a sound. What could cause that?

Not plugged in.

But seriously, put your ear close to the power supply while it’s in the I or ON position and report back whether you can hear a faint clicking sound from inside of it.

Is the clicking sound supposed to be constant or does it only happen once when I switch it on?

Never mind. Plugged in computers really are superior to non-plugged in computers.

I hadn’t pushed it far enough. Not my brightest today.

O = open
| = closed

You need to set it to O

EDIT: oops, Nevermind had that backwards :slight_smile: you were right.

I think the fears of damaging components with static electricity are overblown. That’s not to say it can’t happen, but I’ve intentionally tried to fry old cards with static electricity and I’ve never been successful.

No, you are right. It’s just that open means the circuit is open, which means the system is OFF.

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Did you remember to plug the power cable from the PSU into the graphics card? Most graphic cards will still work without the power cable, but will then stall if you’re trying to do anything graphic-intensive (playing a game, etc). Also, it’s very important to check the temperatures on the card. They can get very hot very quickly if there’s a fan failure. This happened to me and I had to buy a slot fan for it.

Yes, I plugged it into the PSU. It’s the 6 pin plug, right?
How do I check the temp of the card?

Yeah, 6pin PCIe (or 8pin on high-end cards).

Basically all modern cards have a temperature probe included that’ll report the temperature to its control panel application. You can also use a program like CPUID or Speedfan. The easiest way is probably this: Does your screen look like this or this or, especially, this?

If not, don’t worry about it.