GPU Video card update/upgrade H3LL !           
                    This is what GAMERS do, upgrade for "FPS" frames per second more... (or on engineering work stations or video editing grand scale)  

You are here because, you have replaced or added a new GPU card or just plan to do this... and not mess up, sure.
GPU means Graphics processor unit (a chip or a card or hidden deep in your CORE(tm) processor. Intel HD GPU 'that Intel inside"
No bitcoin mining here, go away please.
We will cover these failure modes (not doing  windows fails, that is easy get the correct driver)
  • The card must fit and not hit anything inside the PC,  most card go to the top slot1 X16 slot, many makers of PCs do not allow any other slot for GPU cards. (RTM read your PCs manual)
  • Not enough power to run the GPU at all  , so the PSU must be upgraded to higher wattage spec.
  • or the old PSU has no Aux power cable to run any over 75watt  GPU card.  15 watt cards are not like 300watt cards, at all. The PSU needs to be ATX version 2.3 or higher.
  • The PCI-e slot fails to allow 75watts power.
  • UEFI fails. (new cards can in fact fail on vast legacy PCs.) if you Google this?, the hits are endless.
  • Do not buy a card with full height for a low  profile PC (PCI-e cards) Some better cards have both brackets in the box new,for both full and low profile PCs,  79mm tall cards are low profile.
  • When you  buy a new card a DirectX 12 card is best. (for sure gaming)
  • The longer list of failures is here.(and install steps too and problems as they happen)
 The details and simple math for power, are covered below:

How to do a  power budget for your new card and if you need a new PSU.
The faster the PC or GPU or CPU (all 3) the more current it uses, and   it  does burn  power. (some PC's can burn over 500watts at full load, gaming PC or a powerful Video  Rendering workstation)
All that power is in the form of HEAT expelled from the rear of most PC's. (disktops, here, not laptops as most have no such thing as a graphic card to upgrade)
How ever most PC's are limited to 95watts CPU and 75watts GPU, or or both way less, using modern small feature  sized chip manufacturing 14nm or at intel now heading fast to 5nm (five nano meters!)
Some older PC's need special old PSU, that has 25amps on the 3&5vdc fails and very few PSU have this feature (seen here)

There are 2 ways to do the power budget (watts) max.  one is to read specs and add them up, and way #2 is to an A.C Ammeter. (and measure it before adding the new card)

   The PC has many power eating devices, in electroncs this is wattage also know as power = V times A , volts times amps is power, or called VA power.
The PSU must handle all that power or the PC will crash.
The CPU and GPU chips all use  losts of power, (less today) but many high performance PCs use 95watt CPU and a GPU from  15watts to 300watts, just 1 card (PCI-express x15 video card(GPU)
The total power is the SUMMATION  of all loads in the PC, the mobo(slang for motherboard) just it alone can be 25watts, no CPU , no RAM. The chip set and other chips on the board use power even the DDR RAM.
Let me show how I did this the safe and easy way, (not guessing ) but you can put in 700watt PSU and in most cases that will work, (no magic just guess high)  No shame in guessing, so do it.

   The modern   PSU is 90% efficient, so if at 200watts, only 10% loss (0.1) times 200watts is 20watts lost. (no matter what PSU you have, the maker has specs on that to read, but rail limits and efficiencies)
So a 200w PSU at full load sucks 220watts from the WALL AC jack. OK, is this clear and simple , I do hope so...
Many PCs cheap have a stock PSU (means OEM new original parts) a 200 or 230watt PSU, or 290w.
The 200w version is a gutless wonder and is the first thing to change out. (in almost every case)
They use  this PSU for one simple reason it is cheap. Next is myth busting.
The PSU 500watts does not use 500watts if the load is 200watts, so end that lie and the green shame lies now.
See my GTX power hogs page from hell here.
If you do not want to buy a new PSU  avoid all GTX cards on the above linked page, that is it's purpose this page.

    The steps I take are easy, and really simple, and I believe it measuring things not taking other folks word  or using a spec sheet for the 10 version of card, totally different than yours (and unknown by you this fact)

I use a simple Amp meter (AC amperes) on the AC line as seen below.
I take 2 readings one at IDLE and  one with CPU/GPU under full load using free Bench Mark program utilities, (PASSMARK and FURMARK)
With those 2 free programs I can overload the CPU and the GPU chips easy and see power used under all conditions.

Here are some simple tests and simple math (even grade school addition math works here , ok?)

I connect my Ammeter and it shows 0.2amps on the hot line (using the GPU inside my intel i5-4xxx gen 4 processor and rated at 84watts)  ( max was 0.3 amps doing extensive load testing) <<< before modifcations.
0.2a x 120v =  24watts, my  PC only uses 24watts of power total doing nothing at all ,just Windows 10 64bit at idle, before all modifications.. 
I then run PASSmark CPU mark and see 100watt.  (all metered) again PC unmodified.
Try to know the 10 processor option that work in you PC, all use different power levels in WATTS.
Other things to consider and add wattage to the budget:
30watts per HDD ( times the  number  of drives added) I have 3, so 90watts for my HDD set. (to add)
That SSD uses only 2watts so can be skipped.
To take this next step you may have upgrade the PSU next,  if yours is weak or marginal and below 300watt PSU, do that now.
I next add the new  GTX650 card (125w TDP rated)to top slot 1, x16 lanes, (with the AUX power jack wired directly to the PSU Atx12V CABLES.
My GTX650 draws 0.4amps at w10-64bit idle desktop and that is 48watts then I load it up with Furmark the current goes fast to 1.6amps (192watts at full tilt loads)
If you upgraded to  a high powered USB-c PCI card to fast charge a cell phone, add 60 to 100 watts more. (the wiki shows this)
As you can see the power is about 1/2 PC power and 1/2 GTX.
This fact and measurements, tells  me I need a 300watt PSU minimum. (so I popped in a 500watt, I keep  spare PSU  in my closet shelf , just in case one blows up)

If your GPU card has no AUX jacks then your card is not one listed on my  HOGs page linked above and only uses 75watts off the PCI express slot #1 (top)
Aux is my name for ATX12v (v.2.3 up cable set) some HOG cards suck near or at  300watts all by itself.
If the 6 or 8 pin AUX is missing you have  a max 75watt card. (or way less, some are 15 watt only) SEE THE WIKI.

That set of AUX jacks yell,  over 75watts needed for sure.

The correct PSU plugs are here.

the video card can use any of these but never that EPS  8pin, ok.  Atx12v is mostly for CPU VRM's plugged in to all modern motherboards MOBO.

This next drawing shows what many GPU card makers use  for power feeds and jacks (it is no law just guide lines) {keep in mind , that 6pins is really 3, only 3 pins are 12vdc)
Each molex pin is rated at 13amps but skip this.... (but the wire is the limit here  as is the PSU rail limits per wire set) See how OCP over current protection works,  using 1 rail to make 3 rails(virtaul)
Some PSU have 3 ATX12v jacks and each are 20 amp limted.(20x3=60amps)
A typical Rail uses a very very small ohm resistor (0.1) to measure current this resistor is called a shunt and the electronics measures the current via voltage present across the shunt (differentially) and at 0.1ohms trips at 2vdc (acoss it)
Some nasty cheap or old PSU have no OCP  at all and can in fact catch wire if shorted (seen it many a time, too many)
The actual wire is rated: (16awg, the spec real is 9amps 6wire bundle 18" and 7amps 18awg) more than that it burns up.
 (keep in mind noise is the limit not heat here the current rises to much per wire and the voltage drops(sags) and the noise this causes is to much for many computers)
Clearly the limit below is 75 divided by 2  yellow wires (above missing pin) is 37.5watts divided by 12v is 3.125amps limited,
or this:
The 150watt  jack is 3 wires yellow and computes to 50w  each wire or 4.2 amps per wire.
The PSU will feed this set of 3 pins with  20amps (ATX spec max, 240watts is the rail limit  but  on 750watt PSU to see a prime example of that at 60 amps! with 3 jacks ,20amps each)
Now way will 60amps run down any 1 jack and not cause a fire shorted to ground, and is limted to 20amps with OCP. The safe limits are fire code and the fact of wire gauge and NEMA /NEC rules same.
The cards using 75w or less have no AUX jack seen on the top of table below. (these comments are just my opinion)
Most PSU makers do NOT have full specifications , leaving out vast details, like what is the protection on all rail pins. (dang me)

Next is PSU jacks seen on all modern PSU  , but forget  floppy and no more 4 pin DVD/HDD PATA RELIC IDE power plugs.
The first 4 plugs below are PRIME now. ATX SPEC.

LAST IS MY METER. (NOTHING TELLS THE TRUTH BETTER THAN A REAL METER... (No hype, no errors, no rumors , no wild forum opinions , no lame consensus and the like)
Amps times volts (120vac) is watts (VA) this is all you need, and using at least a 500watt PSU to start makes doing all at one GO, vastly more easy.
Then if you must use a low power less watts PSU (why, I've not 1 clue) do so. (using your factual power budget as you guide) Good luck to you !

The trick here is only the hot wire (live) can be measured, do not use the clamp around 2 wires or the current will cancel to zero.
This is real current flow. A Kill-a-watt meter can do the same thing, and report actual Watts , a $10 tool.
With old meters the line must be broken (cut) to measure current, but not this tools induction clamp device using faradays laws to measure current , measuring a magnetic field.
This clamp actually forms an air core transformer. (then computes that (AC output ) to amps)
The best meter is 10AMP full scale if you can find it, or can resolve 0.1amps changes. (we do the idle power , the run PASSMARK then FURMARK to see max power used)

Do not bother with COST, it is tierd cost everwhere in the USA , from 5cents to 25cents a KW/HR or worse time of day. (or far worse swimming pool rates as seen in CALIF)
All we need is A (Amp = Amperes)  and 1.0 amps is 120watts (1a x 120v = 120watts (VA) This tool is like $15

KILL-O_WATT   the "A" is Amperes live, this is best.

The hit list off all things you can do wrong in any GPU upgrade.  2003 PC's to now,  if a virgin new PC with new GPU skip all mentions of Windows (there is none yet)
Just know that PCs made before 2012 (w8) year can be a PAIN.  (try to know that using just the chip name does not tell anyone what you have like R7-240 this)
There are 3 states to be in here: Virgin PC, Old PC with no GPU card, and old PC with no GPU card (beside NEW PCs that just install easy)
  1. The new card must fit and not hit , THINGS (hit RAM, hit fan casings, hit front panel connectors, hit SATA cable jacks, hit the HDD cage) Measure you case and buying carefully is best. (measure once ,cut twice?)
  2. if first time using  any PCIe video card, in the X16 slot , first remove the video driver, in device manager, then reboot and set the BIOS Video page to  1:Auto, 2:PCI-e GPU 3: CORE HD iGPU. (pick #2)
  3. In the main BIOS again, turn on , enable OPROM extensions. (turn off secureboot and use CSM mode to set up the card) The first goal is getting BIOS to like the card, and screens work in BIOS.
  4. If the PC has windows, installed, say w10-64bit , and was setup to secure boot, before, now is the time to switch back to secureboot so windows can run. (if was on , before the upgrade)
  5. The BIOS pitfall are (TPM on, CSM on or off, Secureboot, safeboot and fast boot and OPROM and last Video (set to PCI card not iGPU) iGPU means on mobo CPU chip or inside the CPU, CORE Processors.
    Exit BIOS and save on exit (picked)
  6. Then install the new GPU card  in even with no HDD present to be super safe., (plug the HDD back in only after happy New CARD works  in BIOS .
  7. If found on this side of the GPU CARD the AUX connector , it must be connected to the PSU or the card will fail.
  8. Do not attempt to plug that new card in any old  relic PCI slot (relic pre 2003 non express slot) or  AGP slot or ISA slot (Jurassic era)
  9. Be real sure the Video cable is moved to the new card, jack and do not use 2 video cables now, just 1 for now. (if the card has 3 video ports there one may be primary for BIOS setup, RTM)
  10. If you get BIOS black screens any of the things stated here can be wrong.
  11. You failed to see the x16 lost is limited to 35watts max, oops. (as seen below on this old DELL PC.
  12. The top PCI-express slot #1 is the correct slot not any others, (your mobo manual tells you that, so RTM)
  13. Using more than 75watts on any PCI-e slot is not allowed. (and is why the AUX jacks are on the card, look at the new card carefully, or read is install manual?)
  14. Some GPU's draw  300 watts all by itself and overloads the guteless cheap 200watt PSU, so only  black screen) Try 550watts. or more.  (or buy a GTX1050 that needs only 75watts.
  15. When setting up a new card and using BIOS do not have 2 monitors attached, and do try all of up to 4 ports on the card, to get BIOS working (DVI-I , DVI-D, HDMI, DP)  the green one is best choice.
  16. Using UEFI Secure_BOOT in main BIOS  forces the mobo to reject all GPU cards that are not UEFI certified, so turn it off.   If you have no problems in BIOS , then no worry here.
  17. High profile GPU cards never fit any lowprofile PC , but the reverse is not true, in fact some makers  sellers sell cards with two J-brackets and can do both.
  18. A good card , not too expensive and can do AAA gaming is here MSI GeForce GTX 1050
  19. Some GPU cards fail if made in 2012, year.  Some even work better on Lecacy PCs as seen here.
Factoid's#1 ( the spec. dreams and facts) 
PCI-express x16 versions are all backwards compatible , so as long as a card is pci-express x16 compliant .  (but  power = watts are always suspects in the GPU world of REALITY)
It will work in any slot supporting any pci-express version ... and it works the other way round too, so a v1.1 compliant motherboard with a first generation pci-express x16 slot will run any pci-express x16 graphics card
But sometimes dreams are broken for sure back in 2003, with buggy version1 boards (cards)of any kind.
No lie some board makers tell you our board only does v2 up. (and that  means it's NOT X16 compliant  !) (that is 2003 history now, but some folks like using 16+ year old mobo'?)
Most card makers could care less about pre 2012 year made PC legacy support (too much work to do , I guess)  for sure they ended these nice cards.

PCI-SIG stated at v2 this:"PCIe 2.0 motherboard slots are fully with PCIe v1.x cards. PCIe 2.0 cards are also generally backward compatible with PCIe 1.x motherboards, using the available bandwidth of PCI Express 1.1. Overall, graphic cards or motherboards designed for v2.0 will work with the other being v1.1 or v1.0a" (seen here) 2007 facts. and UP.

The Ugly Ducklings we own:
Last is this very odd duck power limit  horror , not 75watt as it should be but 25/35watts.  (that means while gaming it BSOD'S at full speed, not running a silly windows desktop or typing in NotePad, but gaming at full tilt)
"However, the speed is the same as PCI Express 2.0.
The increase in power from the slot breaks backward compatibility between PCI Express 2.1 cards and some older motherboards with 1.0/1.0a.
M motherboards with PCI Express 1.1 connectors are provided with a BIOS update by their manufacturers , to support backward compatibility of cards with PCIe 2.1. "
 (Some old BIOS  MOBO does not like seeing new cards added, and is a  BUG long long ago...)

The early boards (mobo) were limited in power then (not 75watts like now) this limit can be BIOS Plug and play limits (bugs) or copper limits, weak traces on the power pins as seen below)
Best in my opinion avoid SFF or uSFF PCs, get the full size PC so EVERY THING FITS.
Small form factor:
Here is a Dell SFF 960, slot , with wrong PCIe limit, cica 2008 and is not spec. at 25/35watts limited (so that means any 75watt spec card can crash due to power to the slot is limited, (means weak PCB traces for power! )
960 optiplex SFF, next time buy the MT version (form factor) with far better  spec.75w
This will fail only if you are gaming, not reading email , not using NotePad.
Learn to read the spec on you mobo, first, dig in and read, then learn if it really is PCI-Express X16 complaint as the above is NOT.
Buy a DELL 3020 for cheap $50 used, and is far better DELL PC. (even better are T3610, T5610,on up) I like Dell Precision towers. A T3610 can be had for $150 (sans OS)

That 35watts means GPU cards, as most all other PCE-e card on earth never ever go that high. (see the Nvidia GPU card wiki it is clear as day what cards have less than 35watts, TDP. for sure)

The wiki as shows.
8-pin (left) and 6-pin (right) power connectors used on PCI Express cards

All sizes of 4 and 8 PCI Express cards are allowed a maximum power consumption of 25 W.
 All 1 cards are initially 10 W; full-height cards may configure themselves as 'high-power' to reach 25 W, while half-height 1 cards are fixed at 10 W.
All sizes of 16 cards are initially 25 W; like 1 cards, half-height cards are limited to this number while full-height cards may increase their power after configuration.
They can use up to 75 W (3.3 V3 A + 12 V5.5 A), though the specification demands that the higher-power configuration be used for graphics cards only, while cards of other purposes are to remain at 25 W.[12][13]

Optional connectors add a 75 W (6-pin) or 150 W (8-pin) power for up to 300 W total (275 W + 1150 W).
Some cards are using two 8-pin AUX jack connectors,  and these methods were added to the last versions of ATX spec;.but will cost you big money to buy it and read it.
This configuration would allow 375 W total (175 W + 2150 W) and was standardized by PCI-SIG with the PCI Express 4.0 standard.
The 8-pin PCI Express connector could be mistaken with the EPS12V connector,(if you do that BOOM it blows UP) which is mainly used for powering SMP and multi-core systems ,servers.

Then there are PCs and mobo that are not truly complaint to this.  (power compliance and data communications compliance are the same thing, the power limits can be wrong or ignored by the maker)
  • PCI Express x16 Graphics 150 W-ATX Specification—Published in October 2004, this standard defines a six-pin (2x3) auxiliary power connector capable of delivering an additional 75 W to a graphics card directly from the power supply, for a total of 150 W to the card.
  • PCI Express 225 W/300 W High Power Card Electromechanical Specification—Published in March 2008, this standard defines an eight-pin (2x4) auxiliary power connector capable of supplying an additional 150 W of power, for a total of either 225 watts (75+150) or 300 watts (75+150+75) of available power.
 Related is that fact that PSU spec, now deletes the 20amp rule on 12vdc rails and now rails are up to 138 amps, 1600watts.  (the pulled that rabbit out  of a hat, and tell you the wires are now VW1, fire proof and safe to catch fire)
My guess is my new DSP PSU has OCP set a tad over 46amps (12vdcRail1) sorry not testing that today. (not me)

  • Heat problems?,  the best GPU card sends all hot air outside the case, using a vented GPU "J"-bracket to do that. (hint: not inside the case)
  • If the room the PC is in (or closet) is at 95F temp or higher you will fail.
  • If the case fans can not keep the inside of the PC cool this too will fail.

UEFI hell: (assumes the current old GPU card works great but not then card, or assumes a 2010 or older card works and not the new card)

The card makers tell you that UEFI is not the cause of brand new video cards put into a 10 year old PC, and is a lie.
The Proof is simple before W8 (October 26, 2012) this date or the cards target date for UEFI, we newer had  problems with dead cards booting in to BIOS screens. (unless the card was bad or mobo bad)
The truth is that many old PCs do not like the UEFI +GOP VBIOS on your card, or in the case of OEM PCs, like Dell, HP, or Lenovo or Acer ,the makers BIOS flat block you non OEM card.
There are lots of card makers with there own VBIOS ( and card features) MSI, Sapphire,XFX, ASUS, Gigabyte, ATI/AMD, Dell, Club3d, Diamond-mm, PowerColor and more, for sure..
Today you will find lots of PCs not too old that fail on many cards, (AMD R7-350, R9 380, R9 FURY, RX460 and Nvidia too ) RX cards is what came after R9, Rx means R10. (best I can tell and they fail too)
The other big problem too is there are many cards made at 2012 transistion that have defective GOB code (Vbios firmware bugs)
Cures: (just flipping bits) (new card inserted and screens are dead, all BIOS screens dead.)
  • Upgrading or even downgrading the PC motherboard BIOS can help. (mostly upgrading) yes,  a daunting task and we do feel that pain)
  • In BIOS, turn on "legacy mode" or turn off CSM or Turn on CSM mode. (look deep in BIOS for things related to SECURITY and flip those bits) (using working old video card , ok? or use HD mode below)
  • In BIOS make sure OPROM mode is enabled and VIDEO page seet to ( PCI only, not HD-onboard, or AUTO yes)
  • If see TPM enabled turn it off. (disabled)
  • If you see any thing at all that looks like "secureboot , safeboot , fastboot) turn it off. but for sure secureboot needs to be off, so VBIOS can run.
  • Both DELL and HP both show many posts on their forum showing any GPU card newer than AUG 2012 will fail on legacy PC by them. HP DC7700 is one. (and endless DELL pages stating R series all fail, on legacy PCs)
  • This is why some top card makers made the below transistion cards in 2012. (W8 introduction cards)
The word R series above is really incorrect to say, better is 2012 or newer cards R5 , R7 and R9 and all RX (X means 10) will fail on many pre 2012 made PCs. (It think this is more clear)
You can install the GPU card with NO HDD/SDD or DVD drives connected, and get BIOS working first, this always first things first that. 
Boy Scout 101:(always have on hand a very old PCIe $5 legacy GPU card to prove the PC works. oK?  Like Nvidia GT200 series.  (dirt cheap) GT240? GT310 super cheap and lots used sold. (HD3450 at $3,  in lots $1 each)

This whole section here can be called MAIN MOBO BIOS at war with GPU VBIOS, UEFI+GOP. This can be a real big pain.

If all this is confusing? why not just buy a fully compliant Motherboard from ASUS (z270prime) or MSI or Gigabyte,  and end using old OEM mobo that do not meet UEIF spec,'s, (YES COSTLY)
Lots of folks with old card pulled , boots right to the new card but BIOS screens are dead. (big hint there on how to cheat ) but if the MOBO BIOS is not in AUTO mode, and stuck at iGPU only mode, correct this with cheap card $3.
Here is a PC that does work upgraded old year 2007 XPS 720 + new GTX1070
Dispite claims this fails, here is The Dell Optiplex 790 (age 2011 ) and mine is retired,  but even it upgrades to GTX1050. (here){but there are limits, for one VGA mode dead)

TRANSITION CARDS were made ! (then sadly ended)  2012 year (approx)
The cards makers are even made called transistional card for new Windows 8 release. (and some even have a switch. Seen below.  (but SADLY they stopped making these great cards , now)
The below old photo's shows what you can buy used that will work on old Legacy PC's, but are not sold new now. (that sucks swap gas)  (legacy can mean a 2011 PC or older,or has no UEFI support at all.)
MSI , XFX and Sapphire made cards like this.


version 4;  5-1-2019 ,  (this used to be simple, not now. thinks to UEFI BS)