How to Check If GPU Is Working Properly: A Step-by-Step Guide to Testing Your Graphics Card

Charles Nelson
By Charles Nelson 13 Min Read
13 Min Read
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So, graphics cards are like the magic behind all the cool games you play! They help make your games look awesome and run smoothly. It’s super important to make sure they’re working right, especially when you’re gaming.

Making sure your graphics card, or GPU, is working well means you’ll have less trouble when you’re gaming. It’s like making sure your bike is in good shape before you go for a ride!

We can do some easy peasy tests to see if your GPU is doing its job. Plus, there are some simple check-ups and cleaning stuff you can do to make sure it keeps working great.

Oh, and I’m thinking you’ve got the right GPU drivers (those are like its little helpers!), and they’re all up to date. If they’re not, you gotta download the new ones or update the ones you have before doing anything else.

How to Make Sure Your GPU is Happy and Healthy!

Firstly, we need to start with hardware checks; it’s like making sure there are no loose screws before turning it on. It helps avoid any damage to the GPU. Once we know it’s all good on the outside, we’ll run some tests, especially when it’s working hard, to make sure it’s stable and happy.

Next, there are some super handy tools built into Windows that can help us check the GPU. They’re quick and simple, and they’ll let you know if your graphics card is in tip-top shape!

Checking Your Computer’s Graphics Card Hardware

I like to start by checking out the hardware. We need to see if anything can potentially harm it more. Keeping it cool is super important, so we have to make sure all the parts that cool the GPU are working right.

To do this, we’ve got to look at a few things:

1. Are the Cooling Fans Working Right?

If the fan isn’t working right, your GPU won’t be either. This is true for all GPUs. Take out the graphics card and give it a good look. Make sure the cooler assembly is clean, meaning no dust is hanging around the heatsink and fan area. This lets air flow easily where it needs to go.

Give the fan a light flick with your finger, and if it stops quickly, that’s not good. And if the fan wobbles when you apply a bit of pressure on the blades, it means the fan bearings are worn out.

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2. Is the Thermal Paste Fresh?

If your card is more than a year old or you don’t know its history, you might want to replace the thermal paste on the GPU. This helps you make sure the card can work its best in all tests.

After checking all the hardware and making sure everything’s working, you can test it while the GPU is operational. Once everything’s back together and the computer’s on, listen for the fans. They should be quiet and spinning just right to cool the heatsink surface.

3.How Keeping it Cool Affects Performance

If your GPU gets too hot, it might not work as well. You might notice it when the frame rate or frames per second (FPS) are affected. When a game has to show more details or when the GPU can’t keep up with the game’s resolution or detail settings, you might see a lag or choppiness.

So, be careful and easygoing when you’re adjusting settings or choosing a game for testing. After sorting out any cooling issues, you’ll probably see an improvement in frames per second.

Things to Remember when Testing Your Graphics Card

When you’re testing your graphics card (or GPU), there are a few things you should double-check to make sure everything is set.

  • Is the Card Secure? Make sure the card is snug in its slot. It should be in the right PCI-E slot – your motherboard’s manual can tell you which one it is.
  • Are You Using the Right Card? Check if your monitor’s cable is plugged into the right port on the card you’re testing.
  • Turn Off Overclocking: Make sure any overclocking is turned off – this includes in your computer’s BIOS and any software.
  • Update Drivers: Your GPU drivers should be up-to-date, and the 3D settings should be at their default. You can update drivers from the manufacturer’s website or through the Device Manager on your computer.
  • Secure the Power Plugs: Press on the power cables to make sure they are plugged in securely to the card.
  • Check the Heatsink and Fans: The heatsink should be secure, and the fans should be working and not blocked by anything.

Once you’ve checked off all these things, you’re ready to test! And remember, the resolution settings in your tests (and your games) can change performance.

How to Test Your Graphics Card

Load tests stress out the GPU while you check that the pictures on your monitor are stable and don’t have any weird stuff.

  • Download MSI Afterburner: First, download MSI Afterburner and set it up using a fan curve – this means making sure the fans speed up properly when they should.
  • Run the Furmark GPU Stress Test: Next, run the Furmark GPU Stress Test – it’s a tough one, and it’s good you checked your hardware first to avoid overheating!

To do a stress test with Furmark, you click ‘GPU Stress Test’, then press ‘Go’ in the next window. You should hear the fans on your GPU get louder as the test starts because they’re working harder to cool it down.

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If everything goes well with your test, the next step is to see how hot your GPU gets when it’s working hard. This tells you if it’s being cooled down enough!

Running stress tests while you monitor the temperature

So, it’s super important that the GPU stays cool when it’s working hard. When you’re running the Furmark test, you can press the GPU-Z and GPU Shark buttons to open some extra panels. These panels will show you a bunch of information, like the temperature of your GPU.

If at any time your GPU gets hotter than it’s supposed to, you might need to get a new cooler or figure out what’s wrong with the one you have. If you do need a new cooler, don’t use the card until you’ve replaced it to avoid damaging it.

Once your tests run without any glitches and your GPU stays cool, you can test it for even longer periods!

Using Built-In Tools on Windows to Test Your GPU

Windows 10 has some tools built right in that can help you test your GPU.

1. DirectX Diagnostic Tool:

To open it, press the Windows key + R, type dxdiag, and hit Enter.

  • You’ll see a window pop up with info about your card, like the name and model number.
  • Under the Display tab, you’ll see a list of graphics features your card supports. If any say Not Available, there’s something wrong.

2. Windows Display Settings:

  • Press the Windows key + I to open Settings, click on System, and then select Display.
  • Scroll to Advanced display settings. Here, you’ll see info about your GPU.
  • If you don’t see this info, or if the graphics settings are low, check that you have the correct drivers installed.

3. Task Manager:

  • Open the Task Manager and select the Performance tab to choose the GPU option in the hardware list.
  • This shows you the load on the GPU, how much memory it’s using, and its temperature.

Using Task Manager is a handy way to keep an eye on your GPU without needing any extra software!

Keeping your GPU cool is key, especially when running those stress tests. And, with the built-in tools on Windows, you can easily check on your GPU to make sure it’s working just right!

Run some GPU performance tests or do some gaming for a few hours

If you’re still with me, things are probably looking good for your GPU! Now, we just need to do some longer tests to make sure your GPU can keep working well even after a few hours of use.

If you don’t have a game you like to play, you can download the free version of Benchmark Heaven.

Try to run it for at least 2 hours. While you’re doing this, keep an eye out for any weird colors or crashes that could mean there’s something wrong with your GPU.

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Sometimes, if your GPU isn’t working right, your computer might restart, freeze, or shut down all by itself, or you might see a blue screen.

Look out for strange colors or big drops in frame rate during the test because these could mean there’s a problem with cooling or something else.

If you see something odd during your test, it could mean your video card has a defect. Or, it could be a sign that your power supply is too old or not working right, especially because the card uses more power when it’s working hard.

If you have a spare graphics card or power supply, try swapping them out and run the tests again to see if things get better.

In Conclusion

While the stress test and temperature check are cool, they only give us a peek at how the GPU is doing. Running longer tests is just as important, especially if you don’t know the history of the graphics card—it might have some hidden damage!

Putting a cooler on an older card can be really helpful. It makes sure the GPU doesn’t get too hot and get damaged.

Remember, testing is your buddy! Always take your time to really understand how your GPU is doing. And guess what? You can use many of these tests on laptops too!

I hope this helps you figure out if your GPU is working the way it should and maybe even make it work better!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a GPU?

GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit, a specialized microprocessor that handles the computations required for rendering images, animations, and videos on a computer.

Why do I need to check if my GPU is working properly?

A malfunctioning GPU can cause graphics-related issues such as flickering, freezing, low frame rates, and even system crashes when running graphic-intensive software or games.

How can I check if my GPU is working properly?

You can test your GPU by running benchmarking software, checking thermal readings, inspecting physical connections, updating drivers, and performing stress tests. These steps will help you determine if your GPU is working optimally or needs troubleshooting.

What benchmarking software can I use to test my GPU?

Popular benchmarking tools include PassMark Performance Test, FurMark, Unigine Heaven Benchmark, and 3DMark. These tools can help you assess your GPU's performance, measure frame rates, and detect issues that affect graphics rendering.

How can I perform a stress test on my GPU?

You can run stress tests using software such as FurMark, Prime95, or AIDA64. These tools simulate heavy loads on your GPU and CPU to test their stability and performance under pressure. Note that stress tests can cause overheating and may damage your hardware if not monitored properly.

What should I do if I detect issues with my GPU?

If you notice issues with your GPU, try updating your drivers, cleaning your GPU and fans, checking for physical damage, and testing your hardware with benchmarking and stress testing software. If the issues persist, consider contacting a professional for further assistance.

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Hello, I'm Charles, a tech blog author passionate about all things tech. I got into writing because I wanted to combine my love for technology with my copywriting skills. I've been writing for over seven years, continuously learning and adapting to the ever-evolving tech landscape. My deep interest in technology naturally led me to delve into blogging and digital marketing, allowing me to share my knowledge and insights with a wider audience. Join me as we explore the exciting world of tech together!
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