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Six Signs Your Graphics Card Might Be Dying - PCMech
Ever since I purchased my new computer, I tend to be a little paranoid about my hardware. I’m constantly monitoring everything for signs of failure, remaining vigilant even when there’s realistically no reason to be. One of the areas where I’m most worried about seeing signs of failure is in my graphics card; it wasn’t exactly a cheap purchase, after all. I’ve made myself intimately familiar with all the signs that my card might be running out of time.
Today, I’m going to share them with you. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll be able to catch a failing card before you’re left without a computer.
You’re Seeing Way Too Much Stutter
Excessive stuttering when playing games, watching movies or streaming video could be the sign of a faulty graphics card, but it shouldn’t be used to diagnose the problem on its own. This stuttering could easily be the result of a whole host of other problems, including but not limited to bad RAM, a failing hard drive, corrupt software, a malware infestation, or even a low-quality monitor. Check your card if you notice excessive and unusual stuttering, but don’t immediately assume your card needs to be replaced because of it.
Artifacts Are Everywhere
Visual artifacts (see here for an extreme example) are a far better indication that something’s going wrong with your graphics card. That said, these can often be the result of heat issues, either from excessive overclocking or a build-up of dust. Dust out your computer, check your voltage, and see if the problem persists. If it does, then it’s probably time to start shopping around for a new card.
Your Textures Look Odd
As with visual artifacts, bad textures can also be an indication that your card is on its last legs. Again, don’t simply assume your card is failing if you start to run into texture problems. It could easily be a bug with your drivers, corrupt textures with your game installation or a compatibility issue with your card. Do a bit of searching online and see if anyone’s run into similar problems, and try reinstalling the game in which you encountered the weird textures while you’re at it. With any luck, you’re just dealing with a software problem, rather than a hardware problem.
You’re Experiencing Consistent Crashes/Blue-screens
Now things are getting a touch more severe. If your system consistently crashes or blue-screens whenever you start to push your graphics card (by playing a graphically intense game, for example), then there’s a good chance your card is a dud (or that it will be soon). This is particularly true if you get crashes involving a significant degree of visual artifacts (but no blue screen). I was running into this issue with certain games; it turns out it was because the fan on my old graphics card was busted and it was overheating as a result. The card still worked fine, but the fan needed to be replaced.
The Fan’s Way Louder Than It Should Be
If the fan on your graphics card sounds more like a jet turbine, that may be because the graphics card’s temperature has reached a nearly critical state. While this isn’t a sign that your card is dying on its own, running the graphics card at a higher-than-recommended operating temperature can easily lead to permanent damage. As with the artifacting issue, try dusting your graphics card off. If the sound is no longer present after you’ve gotten rid of any excess dust, then your card’s not dying. If the fan still goes nuts, then you’re probably going to be replacing your card.
It Fails The Graphics Card Stability Test
Last, but certainly not least, try downloading and running a Furmark benchmark. If your card manages to get through the process without overloading, then it’s probably just fine. Do note that running any sort of intensive process such as this could well accelerate whatever graphics card problems you’re having and cause your card to fail; although it would have failed eventually on its own, that might mean some of you will want to avoid this step.