The video card or graphic card is one of the many important pieces of hardware within your computing system. And just like the many other pieces of hardware within your PC, video cards can begin to malfunction (for a wide variety of reasons).
Symptoms of a Malfunctioning Video Card
Now one of the major problems with a video card malfunctioning is that it can be difficult to diagnose that the video/graphics card is at fault. This is because computers are incapable of talking to their users in a matter of fact tone. Rather, it is your job as the computer user to ascertain your computer’s problems based upon their symptoms.
With that said, what are a few of the more common symptoms of video card issues? Typically you should begin to suspect issues with your video card if, upon loading a graphic intensive program (video/movie software, video games, 3D software), your computer suddenly quits out of a given application or decides to freeze your computer entirely. The reason is that these video intensive applications can tax your video card and require them to make use of components which are no longer working properly. And upon using a non-working component, your computer likely throws its hands up in the air and proclaims “I don’t know what to do, I have just received a bunch of bad information”.
The biggest problem with certain video card issues is, as was highlighted above, that they are erratic. Your computer may work for quite some time, but out of the blue will suddenly decide to crash. Consequently, you need some way of validating any suspicions you may have.
Testing Your Video Card
One of the better ways to tax your video card and test its stability is to make use of a free application known as FurMark. FurMark is a great little benchmark/testing program which renders (draws) complex computer fur in an attempt to test every single millimeter of your video card. The idea behind FurMark is as follow. If I make use of as many capabilities of your video card as possible at one time, and you don’t run into problems – then your video card is likely ok. If, however, I make use of as many capabilities of your graphics card as possible at one time, and I bomb out, then there may be a problem with your graphics card.
Using FurMark is remarkably easy.
1) Go and download FurMark
2) Install the program and load it up.
3) Make sure the “Run Mode” is set to “Stability Test” and then hit Go!
4) Wait a while as your computer begins to render computerized fur.
5) If, after a reasonable amount of time, nothing bad happens then your video card is likely ok (although this is not guaranteed).
6) If FurMark suddenly bombs out (or quits), then your video card is likely malfunctioning.
If you are experience strange problems upon loading graphically intensive applications then try out FurMark. It may just help you validate your suspicions.
This is a guest post by Keith. He runs Computer Repair Calgary, a blog which touches on technical topics, including how to test your video card.