Sacred Reviews is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more ›
Graphics is the most critical component in any computer. It allows the PC to render images and videos faster, thus improving gaming, applications, etc. GPU also determines how sharp or fuzzy the screen will look. Most of the malfunctions on a graphics card can be easily fixed by a user. But do you know how to troubleshoot GPU? If yes, that’s great, and if you are a beginner gamer, you should know about this.
All you need is to follow some GPU troubleshooting steps, and your laptop or will be running as well as new in no time. But sometimes, graphics cards can be tricky to fix. However, there are plenty of warning signs that will let you know when your video card is about to die, giving you ample time for a suitable replacement.
Unfortunately, troubleshooting graphics card errors can be a daunting task. But, We’ll show you how to troubleshoot common issues of the graphics card and what the possible causes could be in this article.
How To Tell If Your Graphics Card Is Dying
Like other computer components, GPU displays the signs or symptoms that they are about to fail way before it happens. If you can catch these signs in time, then you might be able to repair your graphics card and keep it from failing. But if not, then you will end up spending a huge amount of money on buying a new one.
Here are some common indications or warning signs of video card failures:
Following are 14 warning signs or indications that your graphics card might be dying.
Random GPU Stutter
GPU stuttering is a sign that the graphics card is trying to recover from a crash or hang. Usually, if you wait for some time, your PC will fail to recover, thus crashing. The screen will display an error message, and the moment this happens, unplugging your GPU will help solve the problem. Then, replace all other components inside your computer with new ones to rule out possible causes of crashes.
If you notice frequent crashes on your laptop, then there’s a high possibility that it might be due to a faulty GPU. You can check for loose connections between the power supply unit (PSU) and motherboard, but most cases are caused by failing GPUs. On desktop PCs, failing PSU can also cause random crashes, so make sure you check if the cables are properly connected.
Freezing can be a sign that your GPU is dying. If this occurs while playing games or watching videos, it’s probably caused by overheating the card. Try cleaning cooler fans and make sure no blockages are causing excess heat.
You should also monitor temperature using monitoring software such as MSI Afterburner to ensure everything runs smoothly and within the safe range. Most freezing problems of the graphics card on desktop PCs occur due to insufficient power supply, so make sure you have enough wattage rating for your PC configuration and components inside it.
Low FPS or Frame Drops
If your laptop has low frames per second (FPS) in games, then there’s a high possibility that your graphics card is faulty. It can also result in poor performance of the computer. There are various reasons why this can happen. Both GPU and CPU on your computer might be the problem; one is insufficient to render images and video.
If you have a laptop, make sure you don’t set it at maximum settings because most of the time cheapest laptops fail to deliver high FPS even at medium settings. Increasing the performance of your graphics card in desktop computers is another option, or replacing it with a new one if nothing works out.
Black or Blank Laptop Screen
If your laptop’s screen goes blank after a power cut, then there’s a high possibility that you have a bad or failing GPU. Also, if you notice black screens on boot up, then it could be due to hardware error which may require reinstallation of the video card or operating system.
Related: How to Fix Stuttering in Games
Graphics Card Overheating
Overheating is one of the most common causes of damage to your graphics card so make sure you keep your PC clean, especially its internal components. Use compressed air or a vacuum cleaner to regularly remove dirt and dust from fan vents and heat sinks to prevent overheating problems with your GPU.
If your laptop is overheating, turn it off and give some time for the heat to dissipate before using it again. Also, always avoid placing your PC near materials that can block airflows, such as stacks of books or other items.
PC Crashes When Playing Games
If your computer crashes while playing a game, even at HD settings, you may have a faulty GPU that will need replacement. Try replacing components one by one if it still won’t work after checking memory sticks, CPU, and power supply units (PSUs). A failing PSU on desktop PCs can cause this problem, so check if all cables are connected properly between the motherboard and PSUs.
Full Screen Flashing
Flashing full screen or just parts of it can be due to faulty GPU. It can also result in screen freezes or shutdowns because the graphics card cannot render images, videos, and games at the desired frame rates.
To solve this problem, try cleaning fans inside your computer and monitor temperatures using monitoring software such as MSI Afterburner for desktop PCs and Sapphire Trixx for laptop computers. If it’s still not working, then you need to replace your card since it has failed.
Suppose only small parts of your screen start blinking. In that case, the affected area may be attributed to overheating the memory unit, especially during gameplay or while running video files. It can also indicate issues with the motherboard, such as a loose connection between the graphics chip on the board and main chipsets. Finally, it can also be a result of a faulty PSU or graphics card.
If your screens start flickering, turn down the screen brightness and contrast to avoid overloading GPU due to high stress and strain in the unit. Black spots on screens indicate possible overheating problems with your graphics card, which may require replacement of the same.
Flashes for Seconds Before Shutting Down
Some people report that their systems shut down by themselves after one or two minutes of playing certain games or watching videos, even at low settings. It could be an indication that something is wrong with your system’s power supply unit (PSU). You may have overclocked capabilities upped too much, resulting in high power consumption, which might be a risk to the power supply unit and thus creating issues with GPU.
Loud Fan Sounds
If you hear loud fan sounds from inside your computer, it could indicate dust buildup on fans and heat sink or faulty fan to blame. Use compressed air or a vacuum cleaner to regularly remove dirt and dust from fans vents to prevent overheating problems with your GPU, which may result in permanent damage.
Animation Slowing Down
When graphics cards start dying, the speed of animations slows down, and it becomes difficult to maintain a smooth gameplay. It is another sign that your graphics card has started failing, which will require a replacement. It happens because the video card can no longer process graphics fast enough to keep up with its demands.
Sometimes when you try to update drivers or rolling back to previous versions, your GPU crashes. It indicates that there might be faults in the driver and thus needs replacement of faulty hardware.
So above are some reasons that can cause issues with your graphics card. Now let’s see how we can troubleshoot GPU problems.
How to Troubleshoot GPU or Video Card Problems
Did you know that finding out what’s wrong with your video card and diagnosing a problem is usually like playing detective? You have to eliminate all the suspects until only one option remains.
Finding out what’s wrong can be incredibly difficult, but the results will usually reward you. If you can’t find what’s wrong with your video card, don’t worry because we will share some steps below to help you diagnose your GPU problems.
Update the Motherboard Chipset Drivers
Your motherboard contains a chip or chipset that allows your computer to communicate with the rest of the computer. The motherboard uses software drivers (known as “chipset drivers”) to connect all components and the CPU, GPU, monitor, and hard drive. Most motherboard chipsets are specific to the brand of motherboard.
So, for example, if you bought a computer from HP and have an Intel chipset, HP will be the only place you can download drivers for your video card directly from. The same applies to any other motherboards, such as Asus or Dell or Sony Vaio, etc.
Updating chipset drivers are usually really important because most motherboard manufacturers release new drivers regularly to keep your computer updated with the latest technologies available.
Update Your Display Drivers
A video card driver is a piece of software that enables your computer to work with the video card. You can think of drivers as translations between hardware and software. Display drivers translate what you see on the screen to code the graphics card can read and what code to send up to your monitor or TV, so it displays properly.
Most video cards come with the display driver pre-installed by default, but sometimes you might need an updated display driver for specific applications. For example, if you bought a game from Steam, they may require an updated version of your display driver before you can run it properly.
Disable Your Sound System
Most people may not realize that games are using up their sound cards when they’re crashing. Sometimes it’s the game, and sometimes it is just your computer being temperamental.
They might think that video cards crash when playing games because they do most of the time, but this isn’t always so. When you play a game, one thing changes: how your computer is handling audio. It can be tough to tell which problem will go away with tweaking hardware or software settings on either end until trial-and-error starts working out for you.
The best thing to try here is disabling your sound card in the device manager and seeing if your game or program will run fine then. If it does, you know that audio is causing the problem, and you can start looking at what caused the issue elsewhere.
Try Disabling Your Graphics Card
It is the best way to see if the video card itself is causing problems when starting up the computer. The simplest way to do this is to pull out your graphics card and start-up. Then, if you start getting blue screens with error codes, you know that’s where something went wrong, and you can replace it.
If not, try checking for loose connections between components in your computer case. Even after taking every possible precaution, sometimes hardware fails unexpectedly. It could have been gradual and unnoticed or immediate to make sure the memory chips aren’t damaged as they are smaller than most people realize with delicate contacts on them.
Slow Down Your AGP Port
AGP stands for accelerated graphics port. The graphics card uses this port to send information between the computer and the card. By default, it runs at 66MHz (66 million times a second). To gpu improve performance, you can slow it down to 33MHz by going into your BIOS, then change the AGP speed setting.
If AGP already says so on your motherboard manual or in the BIOS, note what it reads now. Then, when you restart your computer, check to ensure that all of the settings are still where they should be.
Underclock Your Video Card
Running video cards at their maximum speed can cause them to become unstable sometimes. Most of the time, setting the card to run at a slower speed can remedy this issue. Be sure to find the clock settings for your graphics card.
It should not be labeled this way, but you should edit this setting and reboot your computer. If you are overclocking the video card, try reducing the amount of voltage supplied to it (you’ll have to do some research) or disable that function entirely.
Do Physical Checks
When you are facing a graphics card troubleshoot issue, one of the best ways is to open your machine and check GPU. Most of the time, GPU doesn’t work because of software issues, but checking it physically will help you find out the main reason. In addition, you will have a better idea of whether the hardware or software is causing the trouble.
Sometimes removing and then inserting the video card again solves the problem. For example, if you use an AGP card, remove the power supply and then reinsert it on its slot. Check if everything is properly connected and there are no loose or broken traces in your computer case.
If a new graphics card doesn’t solve your problem, sometimes the motherboard can be faulty. Try swapping motherboards with another similar one to see if this resolves your problems. Never overlook this solution because the motherboard may become faulty from time to time for several reasons that can be noticed only when used by other components.
Test Your Cpu and Ram
Most people don’t know that Flakey CPU and RAM can also cause a video card to malfunction. If your PC runs slow or misbehaves, you should check these components first. Testing RAM and CPU can solve any kind of computer problem. If you find out that they are indeed faulty, replace them with new ones to see if this resolves the issue.
Remove Computer Dust
It is common for a lot of dust to collect inside your computer’s components, especially in the fan. It would be best if you cleaned this regularly because it can cause your computer to overheat and damage any components that are exposed to heat.
Cleaning your computer does not have to be difficult or expensive. A can of compressed air will do the job. It’s best to remove all peripheral devices first, getting them out of your way and making cleaning easier.
Run a GPU-Z
GPU-Z can inform you of any hardware problems with your graphics card if there are any. For example, integrated graphics adapters have been known to overheat, causing them to fail nearly instantly after installation due to inadequate cooling systems; easily caught using this information provided on GPU-Z. It isn’t something you would normally think about with most desktop computers.
Still, laptops aren’t made as sturdy as desktops, and they don’t support dedicated video cards either, so installing a high-end graphics card in this environment can cause the laptop to overheat.
GPU-Z shows you everything you’ll need to know about your video card right on its main window, including the type of memory it uses, clock speed, driver version, and even temperature information, so if anything is going wrong with your GPU, then this tool will help diagnose what’s causing the issue before too much damage has been done.
If all the methods mentioned above do not work, maybe it’s time to buy a new graphic card. Because there is nothing left you can do, this means that there is something wrong with your GPU, and you need to give it a rest and buy a new one. Let’s answer some questions that most people ask, like:
How to Test Graphics Card by Using Software
As mentioned above, you can use GPU-Z to see whether there is any problem with your graphics card. It is a very easy-to-use tool, and it’s completely free as well to test your graphics card.
Why Is My GPU Performance Low
If the performance of your GPU is low, there can be several reasons for this issue. Unfortunately, there is no proper answer to this question without knowing the information about your computer.
It can be that you don’t have enough power to supply for GPU or it’s old and need to be replaced with the new one, but in most cases, there is nothing wrong with the GPU chip itself, and this problem can be solved very easy by changing settings in Windows operating system.
Further you can find out how to boost gpu performance.
How Many Years Do Graphic Cards Last
Most of the GPUs last for at least 3 to 4 years; further, we already have discussed this in our previous post in detail that you can check if you want to.
Find out How Long Do Graphic Cards Last
How Do I Check If My Video Card Is Faulty
In most cases, you will check very easily if your GPU is faulty or not. However, if you have noticed that your graphics card starts to fail on some games like sims 4, PUBG, or whatever game you are playing, then this means that there is something wrong with your video card because no one can play a game without a working graphic card.
There is nothing left you can do if something wrong with your video card. If it is working properly, you can use some methods we have mentioned above to test GPU.
Before buying a new graphics card, you should do hardware testing to ensure that your computer needs to be updated and not the graphics card.
Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to update every year as new GPUs are coming every year, so it’s up to you what kind of rig you want or gaming needs.