How to Build a Computer – Installing Expansion Cards

Installing the expansion cards is normally the final part of building a computer. These days, with mainboards having onboard sound, network and other features, normally the only expansion cards people really need are so they can access a wireless network or perhaps watch TV on their PC.

With so many niche purposes computers serve, it’s probably inevitable that you’ll need to install an expansion card some time. Whether it’s to give your USB2.0 computer the ability to support USB3.0 or to turn your computer into a CCTV control center, there are many different expansion cards available that can power-up your PC even further.

Luckily, installing such an expansion card is really quite easy. When installing any type of expansion card, it’s always best to hold the card by the metal shield at the front.  That way you can minimize the chances of ESD damaging the hardware.

Normally, all expansion cards come in two flavors: the first is the card which has a very long connector at the bottom, and the second is obviously the one that has a short connector at the bottom.

Don’t worry, because they both install in exactly the same fashion, and in fact ever since the first AT type mainboards (over a decade ago) all expansion cards have been installed in the same way.

It couldn’t be easier to install an expansion card! For the best results, it’s recommended that you try to make sure that your graphics card and CPU has as much free space around it as possible. That basically means install your expansion cards as far away from the graphics card as you can in order to promote good airflow and to ensure that the hot air from the GPU isn’t putting thermal stress on other components.

To install:

Simply unscrew or remove the dust shield that’s covering the slot where the card will go – if it simply needs unscrewed, then unscrew the top and lift the cover out. If it’s the type that needs bent to release it, make sure you push from the inside of the case out, because if you bend it in (towards the mainboard) you can cause damage.

Once the dust shield is free, installing a PCI-express card is exactly the same as installing the Graphics card. Simply slot the card in to place without applying any major pressure, and when everything is lined up start at the back and push gently until the card is firmly seated.

When you’re done, secure the metal shield with a screw.

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