Biggest PC Building Mistakes From The Community

GPU Mistakes

Next we move on to the biggest mistakes involving graphics cards, or graphics accelerators if you know your ancient hardware terminology. To start us off, our community manager Joe is back, showing us how not to use compressed air.

“Never air dust your computer while it is running. Seems like an obvious thing, sure. But being tied to your computer, reliant on that connection, it can be tough to bring yourself to turn it off for something as simple as regular maintenance. Thinking, well, I'd like to keep Netflix up and running while I perform this dumb chore, it might not dawn on you to turn the thing off. Lesson learned the hard way.Those little red pipe sticks you plug into the end of the canned air? Sometimes they shoot off of the nozzle at high velocity. Sometimes they shoot into the spinning fans of your running graphics card, if you happen to try dusting while your machine is on. Sometimes you panic after realizing you've harpooned your very expensive graphics card. Sometimes.”

Our next user, “stuartturner34,” ran into a problem when a new graphics card wouldn’t fit inside the case. Although this is a common problem, the solution is what makes it worth reading. Who needs a bigger case when you own a saw?

“I had an Acer Aspire AX1470d that wasn't running as well as I wanted to in games, so I decided to pick up a new low-profile GTX 750 from Galaxy to throw in there. I figured 'It's a low-profile case, so a low-profile video card should work just fine!' When I actually tried to put the thing in, I realized I'd have to pull everything out of the case, put the 750 in, and then put everything back in the case at once- only to find out that the clearance on top of the case wouldn't fit the card. So, I called up my cousin and took a jig-saw to the top of the case so I could fit it.TL;DR I sawed the top of my case out to fit a GTX 750.”

Flashing the BIOS on a graphics card can lead to some beautiful results. Typically this means better performance and overclocking, or perhaps new features, but for “alth0triplemadang” it created “art.” I guess it is better to stay positive.

“My own biggest mistake of GPUs:Flashing crappy BIOS update from TechPowerup website for my GAINWARD 9600GT. After flashing the BIOS, now i get a beautiful pattern, lines, and dots with lots of colours! (maybe, i call this as art)Well... I enjoyed for watching that "art" for 5+ hours while thinking how to fix this! Thanks TechPowerup! you gave me an amazingly destructible "art" for my poor 9600GT! cheers all i love you tech power UP”

This story from “jeffler383” reminds us that 56K modems are nothing but trouble, but not for the reasons you'd think.

“I had a Gateway FX6800 tower that I replaced the HD4850 that came with it with a GTX 460, but because of the 56k modem card in the middle lane (????) it wouldn't fit in the top PCIE slot, so I installed it in the bottom one. It was literally sitting on the floor of the case, and without even thinking about it I fired it up and started borderlands to much improved performance. I was on the phone with one of my buddies telling him how much better this card was when my entire computer shut down. Upon opening the case I was treated to a furnace of hot air and deduced the card had overheated because it had literally no way to draw in air. Once I regained my sanity I quickly discarded the modem card, mounted the 460 in the top lane and fired it back up again. Luckily nothing was damaged and my brother still games on that computer to this day. “

Many of us have wished we could upgrade the graphics inside of our laptops. Most of us don’t buy a graphics card bigger than the computer before realizing we can’t. It’s nice to dream though. Hopefully “roberthop1980’s” friend was the forgiving type.

“First fail. Just barely out of HS. Buddy wants to run new game on his laptop (Homeworld 2 I think.) When he goes to install keeps telling him his graphics aren't good enough. Still a newbie enough that I just tell him to upgrade his graphics card even though he can't because it's a laptop. Comes back from Best Buy about an hour later with a box almost as big as his laptop. Quickly realize that you can't install new video card and return. Friend gave me hell for this for a while.”

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

MORE: Desktop GPU Performance Hierarchy Table

MORE: All Graphics Content

Michael Justin Allen Sexton is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware component news, specializing in CPUs and motherboards.