Anyone that has seen a video card fail knows the feeling . . . you’re in the middle of updating a document and on a tight deadline or you’re searching online and all of a sudden, the image on your computer screen becomes distorted. It is an unpleasant experience, but it happens often. This flash or distortion is usually a sign of a failing video card. Not sure what your video card is or how to tell if it’s failing? Here’s what to look for.
What is a Video Card?
A video card is also commonly known as a graphics card, display card, graphics adapter or display adapter. This is a printed circuit board which sends out images to a display, your monitor, for example.
Signs that your video card is failing
- Screen Glitches usually happen when the video card is busy with an application, such as when we watch a movie or play a game. During screen glitches, you will see weird shapes or colors which appear randomly. Most of the time, you can get rid of this by restarting the game or application. However, if the video card is failing, most likely, this symptom will come back soon.
- Stuttering is typically noticeable when playing a game. It’s basically a high drop in frame rate. Keep in mind that stuttering can be caused by a lot of things such as other hardware components or software based sources. We can only suggest that the stuttering could be caused by the video card when we observe other signs of malfunction.
- Artifacts are similar to screen glitches. They are weird shapes which appear randomly covering part or the whole screen. Artifacts can occur when playing a game, watching a video, or when working on any task that is relying heavily on graphics. A restart of the game, video or program may temporarily make it go away, but this is a sign of a failing video card, so most likely the artifact will appear again.
- Fan speed is a common sign of video card issues. It doesn’t necessarily mean that if you have high fan speed, your video card is responsible. However, if you see some of the other signs mentioned above, then you can be pretty sure that the video card will need to be repaired or replaced. If you notice high fan speed even when the computer is in idle mode, then it means that something is overheating.
When a video card is overheating, it may be just a case of dust. If that’s not the case, then it may be a sign of malfunction. There are many applications which can monitor the temperature of your video card. Manufacturers have implemented protection systems to avoid damage when the video card is overheating by lowering its performance until it shuts down. However, it’s best to take action before it leads to more severe damage.
Troubleshooting Video Card Problems
In most cases, the main cause is probably something like faulty cables, software issues and even the monitor. Before we jump to the conclusion that the video card has gone bad, we should test other cables, another monitor and other games or applications to rule out other causes.
Unlike other computer components, when a video card is malfunctioning, the signs are pretty obvious. Sometimes we can save it by taking action as soon as the first sign appears. Furthermore, the best way to avoid this is to perform the occasional maintenance such as removing dust and making sure the computer is not corrupted by a virus. Call Geeks on Site for easy, remote assistance with diagnosing your computer’s issue.