How to Test a Video Card
A video card, also known as a graphics card or video adapter, connects to a computer's motherboard and produces images on the monitor. Video cards range in power and ability; some can render 3-D graphics, some allow for a dual-monitor setup, etc. Computer game players might purchase high-quality graphics cards to boost game display. Like all computer components, video cards can malfunction. Testing your graphics card using a number of techniques is important to find the source of the problem. Use these steps to troubleshoot video card problems.
Measure your video card's performance and stability.
- Search for a free graphics performance testing website using a search engine.
- Perform a benchmark test. The results of this test show GPU, or graphics processing unit, performance.
- Do a stability test. This test will raise your GPU's temperature considerably to see how it performs under such conditions. This temperature change mimics the state of the video card when in heavy use.
Create a system restore point.
- Choose "Start" > "All Programs" > "Accessories" > "System Tools" > "System Restore." Select "Create restore point" and hit "Next."
- Describe the restore point in the box provided and choose "Create." A restore point allows you to go back and restore your computer to a state before you began making changes. It is basically a large "undo" button.
Update your chipset drivers.
- Figure out what kind of chipset you have and visit the manufacturer's website to search for driver updates. Download and run the file to update the chipset. An updated chipset can stabilize a video card as well as other motherboard components.
Download the latest display driver.
- Remove your old driver by going to "Add/Remove Programs" and selecting the driver.
- Install your new driver by following the installation setup provided to you from the download. A new driver should fix any bugs from your previous driver.
Slow the AGP port.
- Test the stability of the AGP port, which connects your video card to the motherboard, by modifying the speed multiplier and fast writes. Lower the multiplier to 4X instead of 8X and see if there is a change to your video card's performance. Disable fast writes as well.
Install a fan to blow on your computer.
- Reduce overheating the video card by directing a fan at your computer. Play a game with high graphics with the fan keeping the computer case and inner components cool to test your video card for overheating.
Physically remove and replace the video card.
- Open your computer and disconnect the video card from the motherboard.
- Study the video card for dust or out of place parts. Remove dust with canned air.
- Replace the video card and reboot your computer.
Perform a RAM test.
- Run MemTest86 to rule out your computer's memory as an issue affecting your video card. If you are able to do this without problem, the RAM is probably not faulty.
Check your power supply.
- Purchase a high-quality power supply product. Video cards can be damaged if the power supply allows too few or too many volts to the machine. If the power supply is not the issue, then simply return the product.
QuestionIs there any way to test without having to use the display screen?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
QuestionIs XYZ card good for gaming?Top AnswererResearch the card and take professional opinions (off of unbiased sites) to see if the card is good. Look for other's opinions. Understand how graphics cards work and what certain words mean, and then use that knowledge to compare cards and see what's good for you.Thanks!
- Sound issues are often confused with video card issues when a user is having problems while playing computer games. Disable your sound while playing the game and see if you still have problems. If not, the sound hardware is the culprit.
- Do not handle the inner components of a computer or the graphics card without wearing an anti-static wristband or some other form of anti-static gear. If you do not have anything of the sort, practice proper static electricity discharging methods.
Things You'll Need
Anti-static wrist strap
Sources and Citations
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Video: Video Card Stability Test Software by Britec
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