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Adding or Replacing an Expansion Card (Video Card, Sound Card, etc...) in HP and Compaq Desktop PCs

This document pertains only to HP desktop computers with the following computer case:

Before you begin

  • Turn off the computer, disconnect all cables, and transfer the computer to a clear, flat, stable work surface over a non-carpeted floor.
  • HP strongly recommends the use of an anti-static wrist strap and a conductive foam pad when working on the computer.
WARNING: The edges of metal panels can cut skin. Be careful not to slide skin along any interior metal edge of the computer.
CAUTION: This product contains components that can be damaged by electrostatic discharge (ESD). To reduce the chance of ESD damage, work over a noncarpeted floor, use a static dissipative work surface (such as a conductive foam pad), and wear an ESD wrist strap connected to a grounded surface.

Video overview

View the following video before using the steps in this document.

Step 1: Preparing the computer

Before starting, if you are adding an expansion card that will replace a function that comes from the motherboard (video, sound, network), disable the on-board function and select the correct BIOS setting in BIOS Setup before attempting to install the new card. Do so as follows:

Step 1. Turn on the computer and immediately begin pressing the F1 key repeatedly until a BIOS Setup screen appears.
If your computer came with Windows Vista, press F10 instead of F1.
Step 2. Press the Right arrow key to select the Advanced page.
Step 3. Find and select the setting that matches the type of card you are installing. Examples of what to select for an award BIOS (the BIOS on your computer may be different):
  • Video: Primary Video Adapter

  • Audio: Audio Codec

  • Network: Onboard LAN

Figure 1: On-board Video example

Step 4. Press enter to open a list of options for the selected function.
Step 5. Select the option that best applies to the expansion card that you will be installing. Examples of what to select:
  • Video: AGP, PCI or PCI-E depending on the type of video card you are installing.

  • Audio: Select disabled if you are installing an audio card. This disables on-board audio, helps prevent conflicts, and saves resources for your new card.

  • Network: Select disabled if you are installing an network card. This disables on-board LAN, helps prevent conflicts, and saves resources for your new card.

1 - PCI-E (x16) card
2 - AGP card
3 - PCI card
Step 6. Once you have made your selection by pressing the Enter key, press F10 to Save the settings and exit.
Step 7. Let the computer open into the operating system (Windows). Once Windows fully loads, shut down the computer from the Start menu.

Step 2: Removing the retaining bracket and/or an expansion card

Use the steps in this section to remove the retaining bracket from the computer. The bracket needs to be removed before an expansion card can be installed. You can also use this section to remove an existing card

WARNING: Make sure the computer is disconnected from power before starting.
Step 1. Disconnect the power cable and then press and release the power button.
Step 2. Remove the right side panel from the computer chassis.
If you need assistance, refer to the HP support document Opening the PC Case .
The cards are located just below the power supply.
Step 3. Remove the retaining bracket to the left of the expansion cards by following steps 3 and 4.
Step 4. Detach the screw securing the bracket to the rear of the computer.
Step 5. Move the bracket to the left to remove.
If you do not need to remove an exisiting card and you have an slot available to install the new expansion card, skip to the next section Step 3: Installing an expansion card .
Step 6. Detach any connectors from each card to other system components. Ensure that you can remember the connection locations. If necessary, attach small labels to the cables and connectors to help reconnect later.
Step 7. If removing a graphics card, find and release its retaining latch.
Step 8. Pull the edges of the expansion card to release it from the expansion slot.

Step 3: Installing an expansion card

Use the steps in this section to install a new expansion card.

Some expansion card slots might be covered by break-away slot covers.
Step 1. If you are installing an expansion card into a bay that is covered, use a screwdriver to punch out the metal slot cover, being careful to not bend the chassis.
Step 2. Seat the card into the slot until it is secure.
Step 3. Hook the expansion card cover bracket...
...over the two corresponding slots on the computer.
Step 4. Slide the bracket into place.
Step 5. Reattach the expansion bracket screw.
Step 6. Replace the side panel, reconnect the cables, and turn on the computer.
If you assistance, please refer to the HP support document Opening the PC Case .

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