Testing Video Cards

If your system is experiencing any display issues such as artifacts on the screen, no display, etc, you might want to test your video card to see if there are any issues with it. This guide will help you test your card accordingly and determine if it needs to be replaced.

Software

Because video driver is an easy resolution, you should always attempt to do that first. You first remove the driver cleanly (follow our guide here on how to do that) http://avadirect.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=2063then you re-install the new driver you downloaded.

For Nvidia cards you can obtain the drivers at the following link:

http://www.geforce.com/drivers

You can either use the auto detect tool, if you run into any problems, use the manual search and look for the series of your card (e.g GTX 680). If you’re looking for beta drivers or older drivers to try and remedy compatibility issues, those are located in the bottom section labeled Beta/Legacy Driver Search

For AMD Cards, you can find the drivers here:

http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/Pages/index.aspx

Just like nVidia, AMD also has an automatic driver search utility located on the right hand side on that page. If you run into issues using that, please try the manual method by using the drop down lists and finding the correct model of your card. For example, if you have an AMD HD6950, you would select Desktop Graphics in step 1, Radeon HD Series in step 2, HD6xxx series in step 3 and finally your operating system in step 4.

Driver related problems should then go away. If you continue having issues, it’s best to begin testing the video card itself and find out if it’s faulty.

Testing Hardware

You can stress test the video card with any of the following programs:

-          Furmark ( http://www.ozone3d.net/benchmarks/fur/ )

-          MSI Afterburner & Kombustor( http://event.msi.com/vga/afterburner/download.htm)

-          Unigine Heaven ( http://unigine.com/products/heaven/download/ )

-          Other software of your choice

Most of the programs will have temperature monitoring as well as other statistics about your card. Further instructions on how to use each software are located on their respective pages.

What you want to make sure is that your card isn’t doing any of the following:

1) Reaching high temperatures ( over 80C)

2) Crashing the system during testing

3 Displaying strange artifacts on the screen

4) Causing display driver to crash

If any of these items are occurring, you may have a defective video card. Unfortunately, because of the way GPU’s are built, there’s not much troubleshooting a consumer can do at home.

If the card is overheating, then it may help to blow out the fans with a can of compressed air. Sometimes card may be overheating because of rather old or inadequate thermal compound. It’s not suggested to replace the thermal compound yourself, since you may damage the card and void your warranty. However, it is suggested as a last resort resolution before assuming that the card is indeed defective and applying for replacements.

All other signs of trouble such as artifacts, crashes and others are 100% indicators of bad hardware. There’s not much you can do here but contact the manufacturer and apply for an RMA of the video card.

In some cases, there are other parts that could affect proper operation of the GPU. For example, most high end graphics cards nowadays use 1 or 2 PSU connections to provide adequate power to the video card. If your power supply is malfunctioning in any way, it may not be giving the video card enough power to do the work under load, thus causing system crashes.

Also, certain cards come overclocked from the factory. While this is a great benefit and is already backed up by the manufacturer’s warranty, it can often lead to instability because not all cards are tested as much as an average user might put them through. Some customers have reported success after manually downclocking the card’s settings back to original (reference) values. This can be accomplished using MSI Afterburner or EVGA Precision tools. Keep in mind that this step is for advanced users only. You should not attempt to overclock or downclock your card using software unless you possess adequate skills to do so. Setting improper settings could lead to card failure and cause your warranty to be void.

If you’ve accomplished all the testing and have found that the video card is defective, contact your PC Builder or the manufacturer to setup an RMA and replace the card. Always keep logs of any testing you may do and be as descriptive as possible to make sure the issue is resolved correctly.

 

*Disclaimer: AVADirect and its Staff are not responsible for any damage to software/hardware, loss of data or personal injury by following our How-To guides. These guides are provided only as an aid to help you troubleshoot system problems. If you do not feel comfortable performing these steps its always best to send in your system to a local repair shop or contact an appropriate technical support line for additional assistance.