How to Install a Graphics Card in a Dell Dimension 5150

Written by b. steele
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How to Install a Graphics Card in a Dell Dimension 5150
Disconnect all cables, especially the power cable, before opening the case. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

If you've been running your Dell with integrated video, installing a PC graphics card will greatly improve your PC's performance all around, not simply its video rendering ability. PCs with on-board video share system memory with the CPU, and this sharing hinders PC performance. However, modern graphics cards remove this hindrance because they contain their own on-board graphics processing units and memory. Anyone looking to improve PC performance can install a dedicated video card as an upgrade. The case design of the Dell Dimension 5150 makes it fairly easy to access, remove and replace add-on cards; you don't even need a screwdriver.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Phillips screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Shut down the computer and unplug all cables.

  2. 2

    Press and hold the power button for a few seconds to discharge any lingering electricity from the system.

  3. 3

    Slide the latch at the top of the case backward to release the right side panel. Carefully remove the panel from the hinges at the bottom of the case.

  4. 4

    Lay the computer on its side on a hard, flat surface.

  5. 5

    Attach the anti-static wrist strap to either wrist and attach the grounding clip to an unpainted metal surface on the computer case.

  6. 6

    Push the tab on the underside of the card retention door to release it.

  7. 7

    Remove the existing graphics card (if applicable) by pulling it straight out of its slot. For added leverage, you may find it helpful to push up slightly on the metal clip to loosen it a bit, but do not pull the card all the way out at an angle. If you're not replacing an existing card, simply remove one of the metal I/O panel blanks in front of the appropriate PCI or PCI Express slot.

  8. 8

    Insert the card into the appropriate slot by pressing the card straight down with even pressure until it snaps into place. Make sure you align the card properly in the slot before pressing down.

  9. 9

    Close the card retention door and replace the side panel.

  10. 10

    Plug all cables back in and power on the computer.

  11. 11

    Insert the driver CD and follow the prompts to install the video driver. If the set-up program doesn't launch automatically, open "Computer," right-click on your optical drive and click "Explore." Double-click on "Setup.exe."

  12. 12

    Reboot the computer.

Tips and warnings

  • If you encounter display problems even after installing the driver and rebooting, go into Device Manager, disable the integrated video and reboot. If the problem persists, install the latest driver offered on the card manufacturer's website and restart the computer afterward.
  • Remember that PC components are easily destroyed by the slightest amount of static electricity. If you work in your PC without an anti-static wrist band or mat, discharge yourself on a metal surface, such as a doorknob, before working in your PC, and periodically touch the power supply unit to keep yourself discharged.

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