How to test video card ram

Written by casey labine
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How to test video card ram
Video cards are one of the most important components of computers. (video card image by TEA from Fotolia.com)

The RAM on a video card, like regular system RAM, can fail in a variety of ways. If your screen is filled with artefacts or your system is prone to locking up during graphics-intensive activities like playing video games, bad video RAM may be the cause. Unfortunately, video RAM wasn't historically as easy to test as ordinary RAM. With the help of a 2008 program by Cherkes Mihail called "Video Memory Stress Test," however, anyone can now verify the integrity of their video RAM.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Microsoft Windows with DirectX 7.0 or later
  • Video Memory Stress Test

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Download "Video Memory Stress Test" (see Resources) to a location of your choice. Its filename will be vmt.zip.

  2. 2

    Right-click the vmt.zip archive and select "Extract All." This will open the Windows Unzip Wizard. Click the "OK" button to extract the files to the same location as vmt.zip.

  3. 3

    Double-click vmt.exe to open the "Video Memory Stress Test" application.

  4. 4

    Set "Test type" to "DirectX," "Device" to the video card you want to test, and "Test set" to "Full."

  5. 5

    Make sure the "Log errors," "File log" and "Ignore colours bit mask" options are all checked.

  6. 6

    Click "Start," then leave your computer alone while the video RAM is tested. A full test will likely take several hours, though how long exactly depends on how much RAM the video card has.

  7. 7

    View the error log when the test is finished to find out what kind of shape your video RAM is in. If the test finds errors and you've noticed artefacts or system instability, you should immediately check to see whether your video card is still under warranty, which typically lasts two to three years after purchase. If it is, at this point the manufacturer will allow you to return the video card for a replacement.

Tips and warnings

  • For the best results, test your video RAM immediately after loading Windows, preferably with no other programs running.

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