Do you need to remove the GPU from your PC to replace or repair it? You’ve come to the right place! Join me as I explain how to remove a GPU from your PC in this step-by-step guide.
The graphics card of a PC enables it to process highly demanding graphics programs like video games or graphics designing software. Most PCs come with built-in graphics cards embedded within the motherboard.
However, when you build the best high-spec PC yourself, you include a GPU expansion card that connects to the motherboard via the PCIe x16 slot.
Unlike the embedded GPU, you can remove the PCIe GPU anytime, following some safety precautions and technical processes.
Continue reading to explore the most straightforward guide on removing a GPU from the motherboard. After thoroughly reviewing this article, you can unmount the GPU from the PC motherboard even if you’re not a computer engineer.
When Do You Need to Remove a GPU?
There could be multiple reasons to uninstall the physical GPU from a PC. A few of these are as mentioned below:
- Replacing a faulty GPU with a new one
- Unmount, clean, and remount a GPU to resolve PC issues like Windows blue screen errors, latency during gaming, Windows crashing, etc.
- Uninstall the GPU to check GPU health physically
- Unmount the GPU to work on other hardware parts of the motherboard
How to Remove a GPU: The Requirements
Before you go to unmount the GPU from the PC motherboard, you must learn which one the GPU is of a PC. Here’s how you can find out:
- GPU is a bulky removable component of the PC
- It consists of a circuit board or breadboard, a heat sink, and a cooling fan
- All the above components are attached to the circuit board
- It’s always connected to the longest or largest PCIe slot on your PC
- The GPU card will also contain various display connectivity ports like VGA, HDMI, DVI, etc.
- It’s usually at the lower half of the motherboard
It’s pretty simple! Now that you’ve located the GPU of your PC let’s find below what you need to remove a GPU from its motherboard:
- A screwdriver that fits the screw used to fasten the GPU to the PC chassis or cabinet
- An anti-static band
The anti-static band is optional. If you have one, wear it around your wrist and then connect the other end (the alligator clip) to a metal surface, unpainted part of the PC case, etc.
You can still proceed with the process if you don’t have an anti-static band. However, you’ll need to touch metal surfaces to ground yourself frequently. It’ll cause the static electric charge to conduct to other conductive metal surfaces.
The idea is to remove all static electric charges from your body and the PC parts so that you don’t damage the electronic components of the PC.
How to Remove a GPU: The Preparations
You need to perform the followings tasks before the PC chassis is ready for the removal of the GPU:
- Shut down the PC.
- Disconnect the main power cord from the back of the PC chassis.
- Also, remove other cables like HDMI, mouse, keyboard, etc.
- When the cabinet’s front side is in front of you, lay down the PC chassis on a flat surface on its right side cover. In some PCs, this side doesn’t have any removable cover.
- Now, open the cover on the left side. It could be the only removable cover of the PC chassis.
- You should now see the motherboard to which RAM, CPU, GPU, SSD, etc., are connected.
How to Remove a GPU: The Real Thing
If you’ve appropriately followed the above instructions so far, the PC case is now ready for you to remove the graphics card by following these steps:
How Do You Remove a GPU?
- Unscrew one or two screws that fit the GPU to the PC cabinet. Keep the screws for later use.
- Since you’ve virtually laid down the PC cabinet on a flat surface, there’s no chance of the GPU coming out.
- If you’re removing the GPU when the PC chassis is standing, then you must hold the GPU with one hand when unscrewing its screws that stick its display connector panel to the case.
- Unplug any power connectors of advanced GPUs that draw additional power from the power supply unit (PSU).
- GPU power connectors are either 4-pin, 6-pin, or 8-pin ATX connectors. They look smaller than the main ATX power connector, which has 24 pins.
- Delicately pull the PCIe stabilizer lock or lever outside or downwards to unlock the GPU.
- Now, pull out the GPU slowly.
- You may need to wiggle the GPU card slowly to unmount it from the PCIe slot.
- Don’t touch any electronic component of the GPU with your finger or palm. Hold the card by its heat sink or other forms of cover.
How to Remove a GPU: Precautions
- Don’t attempt to remove a GPU of a laptop computer, as these devices don’t come with removable GPUs.
- After disconnecting all sorts of power sources from the PC cabinet, perform the whole process.
- Properly ground yourself and touch highly conductive surfaces every few minutes during the whole process to nullify the negative impact of static electric charge.
- A PC case interior could be a maze of cables and hardware components. Delicately push all cables out of the GPUs way. Ensure you don’t disconnect cables from the motherboard other than the GPU.
- Don’t put too much pressure on the motherboard when wiggling the GPU card to pull it out. Such excessive force can cause fine damage to the motherboard and make it non-functional.
- Don’t unscrew any screws of the GPU other than one or two that fasten the GPU’s Full Height Bracket to the PC cabinet.
How to Remove a GPU: FAQs
Can You Just Pull Out a GPU?
You can’t just pull out the GPU from the PCIe x16 slot of the motherboard. You need to follow a technical process before removing the GPU.
For example, you must follow this workflow:
- Power of the PC
- Unplug all cables to and from the PC chassis
- Open up the PC case
- Unscrew the GPU Full Height Bracket from the back of the PC chassis
- Unplug all power sources to the GPU, if any
- Pull out the GPU from the PCIe slot carefully
Is Removing a GPU Hard?
Removing the GPU from the motherboard isn’t a complex task. You need to follow the instructions mentioned above in this article.
Is Laptop GPU Removable?
Almost all laptops come with an embedded GPU. Such GPUs are much smaller and don’t fit in a PCIe x16 slot. Hence, you can’t remove GPU from a laptop. You must contact the manufacturer for technical support for any GPU-related issues in your laptop.
Can a GPU Break a Motherboard?
A GPU can break the motherboard circuit board during installation. The motherboard may crack if you force it beyond a certain level of pressure during installation. Therefore, you must handle the process delicately when installing or removing a GPU.
How to Remove a GPU: Final Words
Following the above instructions in this “how to remove a graphics card” guide, you can successfully unmount a GPU from the PC chassis.
Also, follow the precautions mentioned to keep yourself and the PC safe from any electrical damage.
If you know any secret tricks or tips on removing a GPU, don’t forget to mention those in the comment box below.
You might also be interested in learning how to build the best themed PC or VR-capable PC for your budget.
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