For gamers, multimedia enthusiasts, graphic designers and many more, a video card is an essential tool for pushing your computer to a new level of graphics rendering. But your graphics card can present some issues that may frustrate you especially if you are a new user.
When your graphics card starts to have problems, there will be signs and symptoms, some of the most common symptoms include :
When your graphics card misbehaves, it can cause your computer to crash, and the crash can happen in different ways. It can show a blue screen or the laptop can freeze up without showing a blue screen (also called a lockup), it can restart randomly and power off by itself. The crash may not be because of the graphics card, but when you enable memory dumps, and they point to the graphics card driver, you can be sure that it is causing the crash.
When you turn on your computer or boot up any software that makes use of 3D graphics, you may hear funny sounds within the computer. This is usually a sign that one of the systems fans is having issues and if the fan is on the graphics card, then you know something is wrong with the card.
There may be strange visuals on your computer screen; this may be a sign that something is wrong with the graphics card. This happens because the computer draws onto the monitor with the graphics card. Colors on the screen will look bizarre, and the three-dimensional models will stretch, and the screen will be covered in weird visuals.
It is possible that you won’t get visual signs when the graphics card starts to act up, it may just stop working and refuse to display anything on the screen. You may need to use integrated graphics or some cheap graphics card to check if the problem is with the monitor or the graphics card. If the throwaway card works with the monitor, then the problem is most likely with the graphics card.
It may happen that while you are using your computer, the screen goes blank and when it comes back on, a message saying the video driver crash and was restarted will appear on the screen. It won’t crash the whole computer, but it can be frustrating when it occurs.
How to fix it
Whenever you get these symptoms, you may want to change your graphics card, but you don’t always have to result to that. There are a few things you can do to fix the card instead of condemning it.
Switch the drivers
The drivers on most graphics cards are not reliable, and if they are old or dated, they can give you problems especially when playing games. However, if the card is outdated, a new driver may not be the ideal solution as it can cause even more problems. But it is possible to have a recent driver and graphics card, and your computer still crashes.
If your graphics card needs an update, then you should update it, but if you have updated the card or driver in recent times, then you should install an older driver through the supplier’s driver archive or roll back the driver to an earlier period.
Check that it is seated correctly
Always ensure that the graphics card is seated correctly in the PCI slot if it is not then it won’t work correctly. If you need extra power plugs to operate it, make sure the power plug is firmly plugged into the source. If you do not do this, the card may come up with errors, so make sure the card is correctly placed in the slot, and the power connectors are correctly screwed in the source.
Make sure it is not overheating
It is possible for the graphics card to have issues with overheating, this commonly occurs after rendering the 3D graphics for, and you see that the fan on the graphics card gets loud during rendering. If you are experiencing this issue, check the temperature of the card and make sure it is not overheating.
If it turns out that the card is overheating, removing the graphics card and clean dust from it with compressed air. If you can, open the card and replace the thermal paste in it, however, you should only try this if you have some experience with it. Alternately, you can get a tool to regulate the graphical output and the fan on the card.
Check the cable
The cable that connects your card to your computer can present issues and cause bizarre visual images to appear on the monitor. If you notice any strange visual effects, then check that the cable is correctly plugged on either side and if the cable is bad, then you should replace it.
Watch the monitor
When you notice these strange visual effects, the problem may not lie with your graphics card but with your monitor instead. If you try any of the solutions above and they don’t work, you should try to replace your monitor or the graphics card, and if the problems cease, then you know that whichever one you replaced was the cause.
Switch the card
The graphics card may be outdated and needs to be changed. If you try any of the fixes above and nothing happens, you can buy an integrated card or a cheap Graphics card and use it with your computer, if it works and the problems stop then it’s time to replace your card.