I know what you’re waiting for. It’s been a long day. Co-workers are finishing up their work, cleaning the sweat from their keyboard and tidying up that cubicle for the day that awaits them tomorrow. You? You’re waiting until everyone leaves. Because, once they do, you can SWAP OUT THAT GPU, BABY!
And not just any old GPU, a new NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 – 288 Tensor cores, 36 RT cores, and 8 gigabitties of GPU Memory. We’ll be replacing a P4000 in a Lenovo ThinkStation, a ThinkStation P520 to be exact, a mid-range workstation that’s VR-ready and able to take on all the complex modeling, rendering, and animation tasks you can throw at it. We’ll be making it even better though with a new Quadro RTX GPU/graphics card.
We’ve got it boiled down into 10 basic steps you can finish up in all of about 10 minutes. So, let’s get started.
But, Before You Start!
Update! (Highly recommended) As noted by the venerable Al Dean in the comments, before you power down and begin your GPU swapping shenanigans, it is highly recommended that you uninstall the dang display driver for your old GPU. Yeah, yeah, there are all sorts of, “You don’t have to uninstall, but…” arguments. Suffice it to say, just uninstall it quickly for that shiny, clean GPU install feeling. Al recommends DDU. Done? Now, let’s get started.
- Phillips-head, right-angle screwdriver
1. Remove the Cover from the Desktop Tower
Depending on the workstation you have, you may need various power tools or only your hands to remove the cover. Lenovo has made it easy to access the desktop internals with a quick flip-out latch handle that makes it super simple to pop right off.
2. Release the PCIe Card Latch
Again, very simple. Gently lift/pull and rotate the latch outward toward the rear of the computer.
3. Disconnect the Installed GPU Connector
Pressing the tab at the top of the connector, pull gently to remove the connector from the installed GPU.
4. Disengage the PCIe Card Retaining Latch
This is the small latch at the back of the computer where the GPU attaches to the motherboard. Gently flip the latch toward the front of the computer. It doesn’t move much, but you’ll now be able to…
5. Open the Front Fan Assembly Latch
Ah, thought it was time to remove the card? Well first, flip the switch (with the little red arrowhead) on the front fan assembly, down toward the bottom of the computer. Now you can…
6. Remove the GPU from the Computer
This is a two-hand job. Grip each end of the graphics card with your fingers. It works better to wiggle it out of the slot than trying to pull straight out. Gently lil’ wiggle it until it’s out of the slot. Then remove it from the tower.
Note: Your old card may be attached with a screw on the backside of the computer. If so, the right-angle phillips-head screwdriver will come in handy here.
7. Swap the Card Retainer
Remove the three screws from the old graphics card and put it on the your new Quadro RTX card. NVIDIA cards have the same attach points so it goes very quick. If the screws are a little tight on the old graphics card, use the right-angle screwdriver to break loose.
8. Install the New Quadro RTX GPU
What we’ve all been waiting for. In reverse of removing the old card, gently slide in the retainer and position the card evenly over the PCIe slot. Give it a firm press into the slot. The card retainer should close once it’s completely in. If not, close it and you’re done.
9. Close the Front Fan Assembly Latch
Now you’re just working backward, reversing the steps you did early to remove the card. Find that latch at the bottom of the front fan assembly and flip the sucker back up to lock the retainer in place.
10. Attach the GPU Connector
Don’t miss this step! Grab the connector you removed from the old GPU, line it up with the attachment on the back of the GPU and gently slide it until the tab on top of the connector snaps onto the GPU.
And you’re done! Oh, you might want to put the cover back on. That would have made 11 steps though, which would just have been weird. The same process as taking it off but in reverse… you’ll figure it out.
Like this? Let us know in the comments! And if you have another process you would like to see broken down like this, let us know as well!