A graphics card is an essential component of a computer system, especially when it comes to heavy tasks like video gaming and 3D work where integrated graphics just simply don’t suffice.
Most modern graphics cards possess the ability to render millions of pixels, thereby showing the best possible product on the screen.
However, as is the case with any other piece of hardware in your PC, a graphics card has a certain life span which, on average, is 5 years. After this time, or sometimes even before that, it starts to exhibit certain symptoms that indicate that it is dying.
In our guide below, we will get your up to speed with all of these potential symptoms and how you can diagnose them.
A Faulty Graphics Card – Signs to Look Out For!
Loud Fan Noise
Similar to your PC or a laptop that has a fan for cooling the moving parts, a graphics card also possesses a fan that keeps the extra heat from accumulating inside the graphics card.
There is a standard, bearable noise that comes from this fan if it is in the right condition. However, if the noise coming from the fan feels extra loud to your ears, then the odds are that your graphics card is overheating.
Overheating of graphics card is harmful so your first instinct should be to close all the tasks on your computer, turn it off and clean your graphics card.
After doing so, if the problem persists, then it indicates that there is some internal problem in your graphics card.
This infamous blue screen has been experienced by the majority of laptop and desktop users at one point or the other. It is the indication of issues with several hardware components, like random access memory (RAM), hard drives, and graphics card.
To verify that the occurrence of a blue screen is due to your presumably faulty graphics card, try doing some graphics-intensive tasks such as playing video games or watching movies, etc.
If the blue screen continues to pop up on your screen, then it hints that your graphics card is wearing out.
Sometimes, when you are playing a video game or watching a video, you may come across very unusual and rather funny colors on your screen. These colors might disappear if you reboot, but they will continue to appear from time to time.
These colors are screen glitches and their persistence is a clear suggestion that your graphics card is failing.
The Appearance of Artifacts on the Screen
Just like screen glitches, these odd artifacts tend to appear before you while you are using on your PC. Again, although restarting your PC might get you rid of these artifacts, this is only a short-term solution.
The appearance of these artifacts can be due to any of the following: overheating, overclocking, dust build-up, and faulty graphics.
To eliminate all other possibilities, turn off your computer, give it some rest while you clean its components and then, turn it back on.
If the problem continues, then it is most likely an indication that your graphics card is dying.
Computer screen freezing or stuttering is what probably all the PC users come across at one point. Apart from a faulty graphics card, a virus, a failing hard drive, and a troubled RAM are also amongst the causes of this.
Your first probable action after encountering screen stuttering would be to turn off your computer and give it some time to cool but as you will find out, the problem won’t go away.
Remember that if your screen freezes with a warning sign mentioning anything other than malware, RAM, or a hard drive, then there is a decent chance that your graphics card is the culprit.
Sometimes, while you are busy using your PC, your screen automatically goes off. It usually gets back on after a few seconds with a message saying that your graphics card/video card crashed, and it had to restart.
This is different from the whole PC crash like in the case of a Blue Screen, but it is still very annoying.
On some occasions, your complete can go completely black, showing no visuals at all!
Now, this could either be due to your faulty graphics card or your monitor. To find out which one of these is the culprit, you will need to rely on your PC’s integrated graphics or your other graphics card (if you have one).
If the monitor works just fine with the other graphics card, then you know which component to blame.
Diagnose Your Graphics Card
The conditions mentioned above are some of the most common telltale signs of a dying graphics card. However, these signs do not confirm anything. For all you know, there could be a problem with another component of your PC.
Below, you will find some of the ways following which you can know, for sure, whether your graphics card is faulty or not.
Application Programming Interface (API) is the means of communication between an application and your Graphics Card’ Driver. There are three different APIs which the contemporary GPUs use: DirectX, OpenGL, and Vulkan.
These APIs have an array of versions that support different combinations of a graphics card, driver, and operating system.
This means that if you are encountering trouble in only specific applications, say video games, simply swap your API and the video game might just run fine.
Change the Drivers’ Version
If you are continuously coming across graphics rendering issues while playing video games, then it is probably because your GPU’s driver is outdated.
Update your driver by searching it up on your vendor’s website.
However, if you have recently upgraded your driver and you can’t get rid of the problem, then, try shifting back to the older version of the driver by going to your vendor’s drive archive.
As contradictory as it may sound, this may solve your problem.
Complete Driver Uninstallation
If you are someone who continuously likes to try out different vendors of graphics cards, then this might be the solution to your problem.
So, what happens is that, when you move from one brand to the other, say from Nvidia to AMD, the Nvidia official uninstaller will leave the traces of its driver behind.
So, to tackle this problem, you will need to download and install Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU) and run it before you change your graphics card.
Once you have uninstalled the previous GPU’s driver completely using DDU, turn off your PC, insert your new graphics card and fire your PC up. Now, install the new display drivers and they will be installed correctly if all goes well.
Make Sure It’s Properly Positioned
Similar to other parts of a computer, a graphics card does not work efficiently until it is seated correctly into its designated spot.
So, ensure that it is fitted properly into its PCI slots and screwed in tight. Also, if there are any power connectors, properly clip them into the unit.
Check the Video Cable
If the cable that connects your PC to your graphics card is twisted along the way, then it may not be correctly connected, causing your graphics card to produce unusual display effects.
So, ensure that the video cable is properly fitted from both ends. If you still get visual bugs, try replacing your video cable with a new one.
If you have applied all of our troubleshooting methods and you are still experiencing any of the symptoms of a faulty graphics card mentioned in this guide, then, unfortunately, your graphics card is on its way out.
In that case, if your budget is a bit tight and your work is mainly light such as reading emails, watching videos, etc., the integrated graphics will get the job done.
However, if high-end gaming is your thing, then you should consider buying a new, better graphics card.