How to know if a graphics card is bad

Written by james b. jones
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How to know if a graphics card is bad
(graphic card image by from

Video cards are not immortal. In fact, for those who play a lot of video games or watch a ton of movies, the video card may be the single most replaced piece of hardware inside their machine. If you think your video card is going back, there are several signs to look out for that can tell you whether or not your video card is on its last legs.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Play a graphics-heavy computer game. This can be simulated by running a 3D Benchmark program on your machine. This is designed to test to see your computer's maximum graphical capabilities. If your computer freezes or shuts down during the benchmarking, your video card likely has an overheating problem caused by a faulty fan.

  2. 2

    Watch videos. Videos tax a separate part of many video cards than video games do. Just because a game may work correctly doesn't mean a DVD will be able to play back without frequent freezing due to the video card's inability to process the video data.

  3. 3

    Check your screen. If you are seeing distorted colours or images, your video card may be on its last legs.

  4. 4

    Physically check the card. Clean it of any dust and ensure any cooling fans on it work properly. Also make sure that any heatsinks on the device are securely connected to the board.

Tips and warnings

  • Always clean dust before assuming your card is on its deathbed. Dust is often times the reason for any hardware malfunction in your machine.

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