737-20869: How to Install a Discrete PCI Graphics Card in a System with Onboard Graphics

Article Number: 737-20869

This article provides steps to installing a discrete PCI graphics card in a system with onboard graphics.


When installing a PCI graphics card in a system with onboard graphics, the system must be configured correctly to prevent potential conflicts between the two devices.  To achieve this, the following steps must be performed:


  • The video setting in the system BIOS must be changed to PCI
  • The onboard graphics must be disabled in the Windows® Device Manager


Once the system has been configured, follow these next steps:


  • Install the PCI graphics card and connect the display device cable
  • Install the graphics driver


Note: If these instructions cannot be performed with confidence, please contact a certified technician for assistance.

How to Change the Video Setting to PCI in the System BIOS

The video setting in the system BIOS needs to be changed to PCI.  Depending on the BIOS vendor, the video setting option in the BIOS may be listed for example as ‘Primary Display Adapter’ or ‘First Initial Display’.  Once this option is set to PCI, save the BIOS and restart the system.  For instructions on how to enter and navigate the system BIOS, please refer to the system manual.  

How to Disable the Onboard Graphics in the Windows Device Manager

After making the required change in the system BIOS, the onboard graphics must be disabled in the Windows Device Manager to prepare the system for the installation of the graphics card. To proceed please follow the steps below:

For Windows Vista® & Windows 7 systems

  1. Click on the Start Orb
  2. Type “Device Manager” in the search
  3. Click on the “Device Manager” listed under “Control Panel”

For Windows XP systems

  1. Right-click on “My Computer”
  2. Select “Properties”
  3. Click on the “Hardware Tab”
  4. Click on “Device Manager”

In the Device Manager, locate “Display Adapters” and click the “+” beside it, then right-click on the onboard graphics device and select “Disable”. When prompted to restart the system, click “No”.  Next proceed with a system shutdown. 
















How to Install the PCI Graphics Card and Connect the Display Device Cable

We recommend using an antistatic wrist strap that is connected to a grounded object before handling system components to discharge static electricity from the body.

  • Turn off all attached devices and disconnect all cables from the back of the system (power cord, audio/display cables, etc.)
  • Remove the case cover.  System builders have specific methods on removing the case cover.   Please refer to the manual for instructions.
  • Align the graphics card with a free PCI expansion slot, and press down firmly until the hardware is securely in place.
  • Locate and screw/clip the graphics card onto the case mounting bracket. 
  • Attach the case cover and connect the display device to the newly installed graphics card.
  • Reconnect all other cables that were disconnected previously.

Note: If the system fails to boot, turn off the system and install the graphics card into another PCI slot. Should the problem persist, check with the system/motherboard manufacturer for an updated system BIOS to resolve the compatibility issue. 

How to Install the Graphics Drivers

Once the system has booted up, the “Found New Hardware Wizard” dialog box will appear on the screen. Cancel out of the Wizard and install the graphics drivers using the installation CD.


Applicable Products:
This article applies to the following configuration(s):


  • ATI Radeon™ HD Series PCI Versions
  • ATI Radeon Series PCI Versions
  • ATI FireMV™ Series PCI Versions

Operating Systems  

  • Windows 7 64-bit Edition
  • Windows 7 32-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista 32-bit Edition
  • Windows XP 64-bit Edition
  • Windows XP 32-bit Edition
  • Windows XP Media Center Edition