Ok, I've been playing PC games for years, but I'm a complete novice when it comes to upgrading, altering, fixing, and generally maintaining PC hardware - my PC was just thrown together on the Dell website with minimal thought on my part. But that was three years ago, and my GTX 460 is out of date; recent games such as Tomb Raider and BioShock Infinite have struggled, and I had to turn down a lot of graphics settings to get Far Cry 3 to run well.
My Dell PC has an good i7 processor and 8GB of RAM, so most of my hardware is fine for my needs, so that emboldened me to splash on a GTX 770. And now I kind of don't know what to do next.
I've been told that in the modern age we live in, installing and maintaining PC components has never been easier. But, as a novice, that doesn't stop me from feeling a great deal of anxiety and trepidation, especially when I can't find easy answer to what seem like major questions.
I guess what I want to know first and foremost is whether or not it's a good idea to try bolting this thing into my case (which might not work, considering it's on the small side - if so, I can afford to buy a new one), plugging it in, and seeing what happens. I know that the card will only work properly if it has an adequate power supply and if it's compatible with my motherboard, but is there a way to know whether or not it's going to work without just plugging it in?
- Any advice on finding out whether the card is compatible with my motherboard? And if it isn't, how easy is it to replace the motherboard?
- What does power supply actually mean? Is it just how much power the cable is allowing into the PC? How can I check my power supply levels? If it's too low or too high, how can I go about remedying this?
- Am I likely to kill myself by trying to remove my current graphics card and install the new one? I'm obviously not going to try it if the PC has been plugged in and powered on recently, but are special precautions wise?
- Am I in over my head here? Should I just go to a PC shop and see if they can find this shit out for me?
I've searched online for answers to all these questions and more, but all the answers I found were either not specific enough (general advice, rather than applicable to the card and the PC) or too technical. I just want a relatively simple way of finding out what I need to know, and once I'm comfortable with that, then I'll try installing this bad boy.
All help and advice is much appreciated. I feel like a lot of people are dabbling in PC building/upgrading for the first time, and there are a lot of people out there who are so experienced in this field that they can provide a lot of help, support, and comfort for those who are trying it for the first time.