Are you thinking of changing your graphics card ? Well, we have made an entry to collect tips and tricks on buying and installing this PC component. The dedicated GPU is a valuable piece of equipment, so the concern about getting things right is understandable.
Buying a graphics card carries a considerable expense, a concern that also carries over to its subsequent installation. Many of us have taken the newly purchased GPU as if it were gold, with exceptional care and extraordinary care. If you are thinking of changing it, do not make rookie mistakes and follow our advice.
Index of contents
- Buying guide to change your graphics card
- From what point do we start and what do we look for?
- Graphics card shortage: buy or wait
- Resolution and FPS, what is the goal?
- What long-term return do we hope to get?
- Power supply, watch out!
- Tricks to change your graphics card
- Uninstall before installing
- Handle the box horizontally
- More skill than force: use the PCIe button and screws
- Beware of cables and GPU fans
- Install graphics card drivers
Buying guide to change your graphics card
First of all, we will address some interesting keys to know what graphics card we need and take into account how the market is. We know that current circumstances are not inclined to buy a graphics card, but we also give some review.
Anyway, if you have only entered for questions related to the purchase of a GPU, I recommend 2 very interesting entries for it:
- NVIDIA GTX vs RTX .
- The most powerful graphics card for every budget.
From what point do we start and what do we look for?
Sometimes we forget that the graphics card market has changed a lot in the last 10 years, why do I say this? The prices that we saw in the NVIDIA Pascal (GTX 1000) have nothing to do with Turing (RTX 2000) and Ampere ( RTX 3000 ); the same goes for Navi and Polaris on AMD Radeon.
In short, now graphics cards are more expensive, so if you have a GTX 1070 or a GTX 1080 and you want one of the same current range, you will have to go to the RTX 3070 or 3080. At the time, the GTX 1070 started from about $ 375 , while now the RTX 3070 starts from about € 499 “official”.
By this I mean that you do not have the old vision of the graphics card market: now the price is higher, but the performance is much higher as well. And it is that the needs of then, are not those of now: 4K was not played, nor was there Ray Tracing .
So, I emphasize it so that you are not surprised because the reality is what it is, not to mention that mining and scarcity have “loaded” the market.
The budget is key to buying a graphics card because it will prevent us from going crazy among a thousand custom models. With the budget we will have defined what we can spend and the range in which we are looking, which helps us to rule out many models.
Based on official prices , the “standard” budgets would be the following:
- 180-250 euros: low range.
- 250-500 euros: mid-range.
- 500-1000 euros: high-end.
- More than 1000 euros: top of the range.
The prices that we see in the low range will be for “humble” models, such as the GTX 1650 or 1660 , being able to put the RX 5500 XT and RX 5600 , but they are already discontinued. In theory, we will see the future RTX 3050 and RX 6600 in this range.
Uploaded to the mid-range , we find a super disputed market:
- RTX 3060.
- RX 6600 XT.
- RX 6700.
- RTX 3060 Ti.
- RX 6700 XT.
The high-end range is one of the most interesting due to the value for money it offers, with the occasional “top-of-the-range” model being highly questionable. The models that we find are the following:
- RTX 3070.
- RX 6800.
- RTX 3070 Ti.
- RX 6800 XT
- RTX 3080.
At the top of the range , we find 3 models mainly:
- RX 6900 XT.
- RTX 3080 Ti.
- RTX 3090.
Graphics card shortage: buy or wait
This is one of the big problems with buying a graphics card today: the shortage of graphics cards . It is a phenomenon that causes 2 main effects on the market:
- Minimal stock.
- Very high unit price.
As there is not enough supply to satisfy the demand for the product, the price of the product rises a lot. The problem is that “has not gone up significantly” but the price premium compared to the PVP recommended starting is of 53% . To give you an idea, the prices in the right column are those that we find in the market.
|Official price||53% surcharge|
|RTX 3060||€ 335||€ 512.6|
|RTX 3060 Ti||€ 400||€ 612|
|RX 6700 XT||€ 489||748.2|
|RTX 3070||€ 519||€ 794.07|
|RX 6800||€ 599||€ 916.47|
|RTX 3070 Ti||€ 619||€ 947.07|
|RTX 3080||€ 699||1069.47|
Personally, I recommend waiting because throughout 2021 the price is going to drop a lot. One of the causes of this shortage is the low production capacity that Samsung and TSMC have , something that will improve by the end of 2021 because a drop in the demand for laptops is expected.
Resolution and FPS, what is the goal?
If you have fixed resolution and FPS needs, we recommend that you consult the tutorials that we linked at the beginning because we thoroughly address this issue.
Roughly, we can summarize the answer as follows:
- 1080p at 60 FPS: RTX 3060, RTX 3060 Ti or RX 6700 XT.
- With RT: RTX 3060 or 3060 Ti.
- 1080p at 144 FPS: RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070 or RX 6800.
- With RT: RTX 3060 Ti.
- 1440p at 60 FPS: RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070 or RX 6700 XT.
- With RT: RTX 3060 Ti.
- 1440p at 144 FPS: RTX 3080 or RX 6800 XT.
- With RT: RTX 3080 or 3080 Ti.
- 2140p at 60 FPS: RX 6800 XT, RTX 3080, RTX 3080 Ti, RX 6900 XT, or RTX 3090.
- With RT: RTX 3080, 3080 Ti or RTX 3090.
What long-term return do we hope to get?
With the passage of time the performance declines and it is not easy to endure 144 FPS in 1440p , for example. It is true that many AMD Radeon will be optimized in Ray Tracing with FidelityFX Super Resolution , but in 5 years they will not give the 60 FPS or 144 FPS that they do in other scenarios.
Do you want a GPU that keeps 60 FPS in 1080p and 1440p for 3-5 years? We recommend investing more to spend less in the morning. If we buy an RTX 3060 Ti it will give us a very good performance, but it may fall short as soon as the new generation NVIDIA Hopper or RDNA 3 comes out , for example.
And I’m not saying this because there are better GPUs, but changing a graphics card has its pros and cons because every technological product suffers from obsolescence. Then, the graphic demands that will be in 5 years will be much greater.
Power supply, watch out!
Finally, emphasize the importance of the power supply when changing a graphics card because the last generations consume more energy . As a recommendation, go to the GPU datasheet and you will see that the manufacturer (NVIDIA or AMD) announce a recommended PSU (“power supply” in English) for the model.
As we have seen, the powers suggested by the manufacturer range between 550W and 750W , so keep that in mind if you buy an RTX 3000 or RX 6000 .
Tricks to change your graphics card
With the purchased GPU, we proceed to change the graphics card of our PC for the new one, so we explain step by step what may be useful for its installation.
Uninstall before installing
First of all, uninstall the drivers of the old graphics card so that, when we install the new one, the PC is clean of software. To do this, you can do it through the famous Windows Control Panel, through Settings or using third-party programs.
Handle the box horizontally
Once everything is uninstalled, turn off the PC, disconnect all cables from the tower and place the PC on a table , horizontally, to work safely and comfortably. Not only will it be easier to remove the graphics card that we are going to replace, but installing the new one will be a piece of cake.
More skill than force: use the PCIe button and screws
Now is the time to remove the old GPU, and do it as follows:
- Check that the video outputs ( HDMI / DisplayPort cables) are disconnected .
- Unscrewthe screw fixing the PCIe bay.
- Disconnect the PCIe cablesfrom the GPU.
- Use the button on the PCI-Express slotwhere the GPU is connected to be able to remove it without damaging the slot.
- If it doesn’t come easy, with one hand you press the button and with the other hand you pull the GPU towards you from side to side. Do not use force.
Beware of cables and GPU fans
We will finish changing the graphics card by doing the same process (but in reverse) with the new one :
- We insert it into the slotuntil we see that it is well attached and secure.
- Make sure that the support of the PCIe bay of the box matches the screw of the GPU. Then screw it.
- Once attached, plug in the PCIe cables and stand the case upright. We want the cables to be well away from the GPU fans so that the blades do not collide with the cables.
- Cables rarely break because blades collide with them, but rather the reverse: blades can be damaged.
Install graphics card drivers
It only remains to plug everything in again, log in and install the drivers for your graphics card . Just go to the NVIDIA or AMD web pages, where you will have to look for your model. You will download a file, execute it and begin the installation.
We hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions, comment below and we will answer you shortly.