The purpose of this article is to help you understand if your graphics card (GPU) is dying. It will discuss troubleshooting tips to identify issues and resolve problems relating to the graphics card (GPU). Graphics cards are usually the most expensive component in a computer, especially high end or new graphics cards. That’s why it’s so sad to see one fail. But just because your PC is having issues, you shouldn’t jump to conclusions that your GPU is having difficulties. There could be a number of problems that result in poor performance, stuttering, glitching, flickering, and crashing. See this post for troubleshooting poor performance and stuttering specifically in gaming.
Is my GPU Dying? – Common Symptoms
Graphics cards rarely fail. Most often, there is an underlying issue. Sometimes issues can be resolved fairly quickly. Others require an in-depth study. One thing you should always do is ask yourself “what changed recently that might have caused this?” If there hasn’t been any change, then it may be a number of things such as wear and tear, driver updates, or a failing power supply. By following the tips below, you can quickly assess where problems are and how to fix them.
Step 1: Check for Driver Updates
This should be a no-brainer. Game updates and driver updates do not always sync. When one gets updated, it can lead to non-compatibility issues. If the issue you are experiencing occurs just after a driver update, you may have to roll it back. On the other hand, if you have outdated drivers, that may also be causing issues. In that case, you will need to update your driver. Common symptoms of driver issues include screen flickering and artifacting. Artifacting occurs when some field of vision on the screen becomes distorted or discolored.
Step 2: Power Cycle Your Monitor
You can also try checking to see if the issue is with the monitor itself. If you power-cycle your monitor and the problem goes away, then it is likely the monitor and not the graphics card.
Step 3: Use Different Cables
You could try using different cables. A cable problem would likely result in the screen going black and no signal getting from your graphics card to the monitor. Another thing you can try is to take out your graphics card and plug your monitor directly into the HDMI, VGA, or DisplayPort on your motherboard. Your graphics card is likely broken if your monitor works on the motherboard port but not the graphics card.
Step 4: Use GSYNC or V-SYNC to Fix Screen Tearing
Screen tearing can be one thing that makes it seem like a graphics card is dying. Screen tearing is illustrated below. It makes the image on your monitor split and become mis-aligned.
Essentially, screen tearing occurs when your graphics card and monitor are not aligned. An example of this might be that the graphics card is only delivering 60 frames per second, but the monitor is refreshing at 75 frames per second (75Hz). This is not due to the graphics card failing, but rather just not being aligned with your monitor. NVIDIA and AMD both made technologies to deal with this. For NVIDIA cards, see GSYNC. For AMD graphics cards, see V-Sync. Each of these tools can be used to fix screen tearing.
Step 5: Fixing Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)
If you are getting the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), there are a few reasons as to why that might be happening. This could be the result of a bad driver, overheating, or component malfunction. If you recently installed a new driver, then roll it back. If you think it might be overheating, it may be worth it to stress test it with an application like FurMark or other GPU benchmarking tool. GPU temperatures should not exceed 90 degrees Celsius (~190F).
It may also be a result of a bad power supply. A bad power supply can result in a crash or blue screen if it is not able to provide enough power to PC components. This is a common problem, especially when new components are added to an existing PC without considering power draw on the PSU.
Step 6: Are you Daisy Chaining Your Graphics Card?
Daisy chaining power is a common problem for graphics cards and power supplies. It simply means that the power supply has one cable that is split and can deliver power to more than one component. This can result in insufficient power delivery to power-needy components like a graphics card. Graphics cards should not be daisy chained.
Step 7: Check Overclocking
Graphics cards that are overclocked may be drawing too much power from the power supply if it was not considered when overclocking was done. Check to make sure that overclocking is not the issue.