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Switching from AMD to Nvidia: How to Do It (The Right Way)

Thinking about (or actively working on) switching your GPU from AMD to Nvidia?

In the past, switching from an AMD GPU to Nvidia was much more of an annoying task. Now, it’s a very straightforward process that shouldn’t take longer than 10 or 20 minutes. Nvidia’s support software makes the whole process especially easy.

We’ll run through the simple steps to get your computer fully converted, software and hardware included. We’ll also cover some quick troubleshooting tips in case you run into any minor issues.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Cleaning the Slate

First off, we are going to get Display Driver Uninstaller. This piece of software is a driver removal utility that will completely wipe your PC of any AMD drivers and whatever other packages might be installed.

Display Driver Uninstaller Screenshot
Screenshot of Display Driver Uninstaller

While you can uninstall the drivers manually, sometimes there is a failed process here and there and even if you leave behind just a few small packages from a different driver, things can end up going haywire. Rather than do this manually then, we can leave everything up to the Display Driver Uninstaller.

While this program generally works just fine on its own, sometimes it can cause issues as any computer program is prone to do. Because of this, we are going to set a system restore point before we do anything.

In order to do this, we go to the taskbar and type in “Create a Restore Point”. From here, go to System Protection and then click System Properties. Then click Create and type a description for the restore point. Once you’ve done this, select Create and click OK.

This gives us a failsafe just in case anything goes wrong during the uninstallation of your drivers.

Next, we are going to Boot the computer into Safe Mode.

To do this, go to Settings and press the Windows key and I on your keyboard. The alternative from here is to go to the Start button and select Settings. Then go to Update and Security and then to Recovery. You will now see Advanced Startup, from here, select Restart now.

Once you’ve restarted, select Troubleshoot and then Advanced Options. Once in this menu, go to Startup Settings and then Restart. This should restart your PC.

After it comes back on, you will select option 4 or press F4 to start the PC in Safe Mode. Now we’re ready to move on.

Now that we are in Safe Mode, run the Display Driver Uninstaller and choose the option for Clean and Shutdown. After you select this option, let the program run and wait for the computer to turn off.

Step 2: Physically Replacing the GPU

Physical Installation of Nvidia GPU
Hadrian / Shutterstock

Next, unplug your computer from the wall. This is a necessary step because from here, we are going to be opening up the PC and it is extremely unsafe to take apart electronic equipment that is already plugged in.

We also need to unplug the display cords that are plugged into the monitor from your AMD graphics card.

Now, we will be removing the covering on the tower case. All computers are different, but this is usually a pretty simple process. Whether the case cover is glass or plastic, it should be relatively easy to open.

From here, we need to locate the graphics card. If you have never seen it before, the easiest way to locate it is by looking at where the display port is on the outside of your tower and then you can easily trace that to the location of the graphics card within the PC.

Once you’ve located your GPU, carefully unplug all of the connections on the graphics card. You should have a screwdriver by you at this point and you can use it to unscrew any potential PCI screws. These are important so keep them somewhere nearby. After any screws are out, you can remove the GPU from your computer.

Take the new GPU and place it in the exact same spot the previous one was. Reconnect the new power connections and put the PCI screws back in place and then close up the case. Remember to reconnect your cables to the monitor as well.

Step 3: Installing Your New NVIDIA Drivers

After you’ve done all this, it is time to install the Nvidia drivers. We strongly recommend downloading the Nvidia GeForce Experience app now that you’re running an Nvidia card.

Nvidia GeForce Experience App Screenshot
Screenshot of the Nvidia GeForce Experience app

The GeForce Experience app will handle all of your driver updates, GPU settings, and even individual settings for each individual video game you have installed on your PC.

There are also features included within the app for things like streaming, integrating with an Nvidia Shield, optimization, overlays, screenshot capability, VR integration, etc.

It’s a no-brainer to use the GeForce app, but if for some reason opt not to, you can also find drivers for your Nvidia products on the Nvidia website’s driver page.

Troubleshooting Issues with Installation

Although the process of switching from AMD to Nvidia is not all that complicated and should be done within 5-10 minutes, certain issues can arise.

One issue lies within using the Display Driver Uninstaller. On occasion, you can find yourself unable to completely get rid of all the files from the previous drivers. This can end up causing some issues going forward, so if you find this happening, use a program called a registry cleaner to clean out everything that is related to AMD.

The DDU installer should do the job, but it doesn’t hurt to run both programs to make sure nothing else is left over to cause you issues.

Another issue that may arise here is Windows ability to install hardware drivers for you. When this happens, the system takes over for you and installs whatever drivers it thinks you are in need of. Because of this, it might not recognize that you have changed graphics drivers initially and could reinstall the drivers you just spent time making sure you didn’t have anymore.

To remedy this potential problem, we need to turn off Windows’ ability to install hardware drivers.

To do this, go to the Start Menu and type in “change device installation settings”. Click on that to start it up and bring up the option of two choices. The first option, “Yes, Do this automatically” is not what we want. Instead select the second option.

Once this is expanded, you will see “Install driver software from Windows Update if it is not found on my computer” and then “Never install driver software from Windows Update”. Enable the option for “Never install driver software from Windows Update” and then click “Save Changes”.

From here on out, windows will never automatically install drivers for you, leaving everything that gets installed driver wise up to you from now on.

Once you finish installing Nvidia’s software, you can elect to turn this option back on without risk, though we’ve always found it safer to install drivers ourselves as some are faultier than others. It’s often tough to see which drivers are causing issues when you aren’t in charge of installing them.

Final Thoughts

It’s always a temptation of PC users to switch graphics cards and while the process used to be a bit more complicated affair, several programs now exist to help us streamline this process and thankfully makes it a much more manageable experience.

You shouldn’t need more than 10 minutes in most situations to complete the steps above. Just be sure to be careful when removing and reattaching cables and computer parts as you need to remember these are electrically powered and there is always some risk in handling them.

As long you follow the instructions above, you should be able to switch your cards without issue and without damage done to the cards!

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