How do I check if my graphics card has failed?

A graphics card, also referred to as a video card or a graphics processing unit (GPU), is an expansion card that processes graphical data and calculations to output visuals on a computer monitor. It is an essential component of any PC gaming build, and it powers everything from the high-end graphics you see in modern shooter games to the lightest of web browsing applications.

Unfortunately, graphics cards can easily fail due to a variety of issues, such as overheating, driver issues, poor power supply, and age. Thankfully, there are several ways to check if your graphics card has failed in order to diagnose the problem before replacing any components.

1. Check Your Screen for Visual Artifacts

When you start to notice strange patterns on the screen when you’re playing a game or using a graphics-intensive program, it’s likely that your graphics card has failed. Visible graphics artifacts are usually caused by a damaged GPU, broken traces on the circuit board, or faulty memory chips on the card itself. To confirm the issue, try running one of the benchmark tests from 3DMark or Furmark. If you observe any visual artifacts even during the benchmark tests, then it could be a sign that the graphics card has failed.

2. Check for Lines or Discoloration on the Screen

Another symptom of a failing graphics card is seeing lines or discoloration on the screen. This is usually a sign of worn-out connections or a faulty GPU. Try updating your graphics card’s drivers to the latest version and then running a 3D Mark benchmark test again to see if the lines have disappeared. If the lines still appear, then it’s likely that your graphics card has failed.

3. Monitor the Temperature of the Graphics Card

Graphics cards use a lot of power and generate a lot of heat, so it’s important to keep track of its temperature. If your graphics card is running too hot, it is likely that your cooling system is not up to the task. The ideal temperature for a GPU is between 65 and 75 degrees Celsius, so anything much higher than this could be a sign that the card is failing or that the cooling system is inadequate. Use software such as MSI Afterburner or HWMonitor to monitor the temperature and look out for any thermal throttling issues which could be causing your graphics card to fail.

4. Check for Error Messages

Another way to determine if your graphics card has failed is to monitor the error messages being generated. Graphics cards generate errors when something goes wrong, such as a driver conflict or a faulty power supply. Pay attention to any error messages you see and try to resolve them before replacing any parts.

5. Run a GPU Stress Test

To further test your graphics card’s performance, try running a GPU stress test such as Furmark or Heaven Benchmark. This will push your GPU to its limits and show whether it is able to handle the load. If the test results in crashes or blue screens, then it is likely that your graphics card has failed.

In conclusion, checking if your graphics card has failed is an important part of diagnosing and repairing any issues with a PC. By keeping an eye out for visual artifacts, lines or discoloration on your screen, monitoring the temperature, looking out for error messages, and running a GPU stress test, you can be confident that your graphics card is performing as expected.