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I recently bought a GTX680 and will be upgrading from my old GTX460 soon. I was wondering what steps to take to do this safely.

I'm using the "Nvidia Experience" program which automatically updates to the latest drivers (among other things), so I'm wondering whether I can just switch cards, start Nvidia Experience and it'll download the correct drivers for my new card? Or should I completely uninstall all drivers and everything Nvidia-related before switching cards?

I've read that uninstalling drivers before switching is often recommended, but since they're both fairly new Nvidia cards I'd like to know what you think.


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3 Answers 3

I always:

  1. Uninstall the current driver.
  2. Reboot to safe mode.
  3. Run something like Guru3D's Driver Sweeper to automatically remove any old files related to the old card.
  4. Shut down the computer.
  5. Remove the old card.
  6. Install the new card and install the latest version of the drivers.

Is this overkill? Sure, but I've never had any issues at all following these steps - might take a couple extra minutes, but worth the avoidance of a possible headache.

Realistically, the driver download for both of those cards is the same file, you could probably just physically install the new card and be off to the races. However, this is not something I personally would do. =P

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Wow two good answers with completely different opinions. I tend to lean towards your side but I think I'll do something in between. –  powerbuoy Jun 27 '13 at 1:55

The nvidia driver is the 'same' across those generations of video cards - or even older ones back until the 8000 series. I'd suggest simply swapping the cards and seeing if everything worked properly. If you have any issues, you can always go into safe mode.

In addition, newer versions of windows ( at least 7 and 8 do, but this might include vista) very happily will run dissimilar video cards with different drivers as video outputs. Its extremely unlikely you will have any driver conflicts, or any problems at all.

If you were switching from nvidia to AMD or vice versa, then uninstalling pre-switching would be useful.

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+1, the newer universal driver suites that both NVidia and AMD are currently using makes the practive of GPU upgrades within their own models easy. –  AthomSfere Jun 27 '13 at 1:39
I'm not massively familiar with AMD systems - I know they use the 'catalyst' driver, but not sure how far back driver compatibility goes with them –  Journeyman Geek Jun 27 '13 at 1:54
This sounds realistic, but I get somewhat paranoid after having spent >€300. It couldn't hurt to uninstall the previous drivers before, or? –  powerbuoy Jun 27 '13 at 2:00
I wish there was some official information on this on nvidia.com. –  powerbuoy Jun 27 '13 at 2:04
@powerbuoy I've upgraded nVidia graphics cards many times (295 -> 580 -> 680). This answer is correct. Just turn the computer off, remove the old card, add the new card, turn the computer on. You do not need to uninstall the driver, because you will be reinstalling the exact same driver again. –  Darth Android Jun 27 '13 at 3:14

Remove old GPU, add new GPU.

Or, just add the new GPU along side the old one and swap your cables.

Perhaps there's greater saftey in simplicity?

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