How to Upgrade Video Card in Dell Dimension 5100

By Billy Kirk

  • Overview

    Replacing a video card is not as daunting a process as it sounds to the uninitiated, so long as a few rules are followed and your new hardware is treated carefully and like the expensive piece of complex computer equipment it is. If you are looking to run more modern games or photography applications, buying and installing a new video card for your Dell Dimension 5100 is a must.
    • Step 1

      Acquire a replacement video card. You will want something that provides a significant boost in your graphical power and that will allow for more efficient running of photography programs, games and other heavily graphic-based applications. Your Dell Dimension 5100 comes standard with only a 32MB video card, which will not provide what you need to play any graphic intensive games. Purchasing a video card that has several times that amount of graphical memory is highly recommended.
    • Step 2

      Remove your existing video card drivers so as to avoid any problems. You can perform this task by going to the My Computer area in Windows, and then navigating to the Device Manager. Clicking on the Display Adapters tab will allow you to find your video card and remove it.

    • Step 3

      Remove all power to your computer before proceeding further. Unhook your Dell from any power outlets or surge protectors.
    • Step 4

      Remove your previous video card. You will have to access your computer case to do this. Flip the Dell so that the cover is facing towards you. Locate the cover release button, which should be near the top. Release the latch and pull off the cover. Then, pop out the old video card. This can be done by using a small screwdriver and removing the screws that hold the card in place. Locating the old video card should not be a problem, as it should be branded (more than likely near the fan) with the logo/name of the manufacturing company of the card, whether that be nVidia, ATI, or another. Additionally, each video card will possess a heatsink/fan that will likely appear to be a small fan. For an idea of the structure of a video card, check the resources section below.
    • Step 5

      Place your screws in a small plastic bag for safe keeping. You will need these again, and they will be small and easily misplaced. This will help you from losing them.
    • Step 6

      Unpackage your new video card and place it into the slot vacated by the old card. Match everything up correctly, then screw your screws back in. Pop the cover back into position.
    • Step 7

      Power the computer back on and use the CD included with your new video card to install the fresh drivers. Windows will automatically detect the CD and run matters accordingly. Make sure the driver installation process is completed before attempting another operation.
    • Step 8

      Restart your Dell. Enter the Properties setting of Windows and configure your video card to a manner which suits you.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Ingredients:
    • New video card
    • Screwdriver
    • Plastic bag
    • Driver installation CD
    • Warning:
    • Work slowly and handle your video card and the inside of your computer case with care. These are expensive and complex components you are dealing with.

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