How to Test a Graphics Card (To see if it works!)

You may want to test a graphics card (GPU) for a number of reasons. Some gamers may want to know if their GPU is capable of running a particular game, while others may want to discover if their GPU is performing at an optimal level and if not, determine the cause.

We will show you in this guide how you can test your graphics card regardless of the reason.

What is a Benchmarking Test for GPUs?

Benchmarking is the most common method of evaluating GPU performance. These tests are designed to simulate graphics-intensive games your PC might encounter.

Today, you can run a variety of benchmark tests to serve different purposes. A GPU unit can not only be evaluated based on its capacity, but also its stability when overclocked. It is crucial because overheating can cause your GPU to fail due to pushing it beyond its limits.

A benchmark test is an excellent tool for evaluating your GPU’s ability to withstand strain from different graphics tests, which run at different sizes and resolutions. You can also monitor factors like temperature, duration, lag, most optimal resolution, and stress from higher frame rates.

After you install a new GPU, you can run several different benchmark tests to gain insight into in-game performance. To help you make an informed choice on your new GPU, we will discuss a few possible steps to take and programs that you can run to help you gather valuable information from the results.

How to Benchmark a GPU

Depending on what you want to benchmark, you can either run a benchmarking program or play a game to check out your current hardware. It is actually an excellent way for beginners to determine their current setup by playing a game.

Playing one of the games at its highest setting will give you a clear idea of what your GPU is capable of if you have a particular genre in mind or a set of games you will play regularly.

Playing Games

Action games and RPGs with extensive open worlds often have the most sophisticated graphics and demand more power from your graphics card.

You can test them out by playing a game like Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The graphics can be set very high in both of these games, and they both feature constantly generated textures.

For Witcher, this is especially true at 4K resolution and full textures (all effects and textures). Graphic cards will be taxed by this game. Your GPU should be able to support most games at a decent frame rate and high visual settings without any lag or frame tearing.

Only the best graphics cards on the market can run this game at 1440p and come close to that 60FPS mark. Examples of these graphics cards include the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER or the AMD Radeon VII (or higher).

For your PC to record data while the game is running, you will need the Open Capture and Analytics Tool (OCAT) for AMD GPUs and FrameView for NVIDIA GPUs.

They provide information on GPU temperature, frame rate, and other vital factors that will allow you to make an informed decision on which works best for your needs.

Running Synthetic Benchmark Programs

Several benchmarking programs are available, including 3DMark. If you are forced to deal with high graphic settings with a lot of textures and animations on your GPU, this free version of the software on Steam gives you all the vital stats you need to learn about its performance.

A free version of this software displays graphs of temperature changes (cooling the GPU unit helps it last longer). Additionally, the program monitors changes in the CPU and displays how both units are working together and the amount of load distributed between them.

The 3DMark test program displays detailed charts for temperatures (both of the CPU and GPU) and the frame rate and clock speed of the GPU during gameplay simulation. It gives you an accurate idea of which games you can run on your system based on the CPU/GPU combination that you have.

The program Heaven UNIGINE is your best option if you want to really test how well your graphics card holds up to long gaming sessions.

You can run simulated games at various settings and frame rates thanks to its customizable presets. It is also possible to choose the time period for the test to check if overheating or a drop in frame rate occurs with prolonged stress or when multiple programs are running simultaneously (Open Chrome during the test).

Through graphical representations of fluctuations during the test and in real-time, the Heaven UNIGINE gives you in-depth statistics about the GPU performance just like 3DMark. During the test, you will get information about your GPU, and you can stop a test if you think it is being pushed too far.

You can test the performance of your GPU for free with GFXBench.

The software allows you to run programmable tests, and the benchmark scores you get can also be compared with those of other GPUs on the market.

With this information, you will be able to make informed decisions about your future purchases and will also know how your GPU compares to similarly priced products. The GFXBench software is highly recommended if you are considering upgrading your current GPU.

Symptoms of a Dying Graphics Card

  • Blue screen of death 

There are many causes behind blue screen of death errors. You might not know if the problem is caused by your video card, hard drive, RAM, or another component.

Your GPU may be failing if you watch movies or play games that are graphics-intensive. 

  • Annoying sound in the fan 

There is no direct correlation between fan noise and a dying GPU. However, it could be a factor behind your dead graphics card, as well. 

The GPU may be running hotter than normal when the fan on the graphics card stops working.

In addition to small colored dots on your screen, odd patterns and lines are also usually the sign of a dying graphics card.

They will not be visible when your computer is idle. However, when your GPU is under load, they will appear. 

  • Glitches on the screen 

A strange color or shape may suddenly appear on your monitor screen while you’re playing a game or watching a movie. 

It is possible for the screen to return to normal when you restart your PC. 

However, if the GPU fails, the same problem will emerge soon. 

  • Shuttering 

A failing hard drive or bad RAM might also cause the same behavior as a failing graphics card. If you encounter this, do not jump to conclusions. 

Having learned how to determine if your graphics card is failing, you know which signs to look for. However, don’t assume you’re on your way to a new GPU just yet. 

There are a few things you can do to fix your graphics card before you buy a new one.

How to Test if Your GPU is Failing

Many common symptoms are associated with failing graphics cards. Even if you were playing games just before the crash, it could be an indication that your GPU is failing if your computer is frequently crashing and having trouble rebooting.

Another sign of a failing GPU is glitchy graphics or screen tears when other players aren’t watching you. A failing GPU can also result in a noisy computer, particularly the fans.

We recommend updating your drivers before we tell you how to test if a GPU is failing. Graphs card drivers are updated regularly, so if you have outdated graphics card drivers, this can be a common cause of the issues described above.

You can find out if your GPU is failing by downloading and running FurMark if your drivers are all up-to-date.

In addition to maxing out your graphics card, FurMark will run a GPU health test. If it’s your GPU that’s causing your problems, you’ll know very quickly.

Testing a Graphics Card with a Multimeter

You should follow these guidelines when testing your graphics card with a multimeter:

  1. The black probe should be placed on the ground, while the red probe should be placed on the voltage to be checked. 
  2. As the Molex ground pin is in the center of the connector, the black probe should be connected to the ground wire on the power supply. 

The probe can easily fit inside and stay in place because it is big and round. 

  1. The voltage on your power supply is around 12 volts, so you should set your digital multimeter to voltage (DC). 

You can damage the meter if you use it for a prolonged period of time if your range is set too slow. 

  1. Connecting the PS_ON pin to any ground pin will allow you to check the power supply without connecting it to the computer. 

Any small piece of wire or metal paper clip will do. 

  1. There must only be a 5 volt standby voltage on the purple pin if PS_ON does not connect to the ground pin. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How Do I check if my graphics card is working properly?

Click “System and Security” in Windows’ Control Panel and then “Device Manager.” Double click on your graphics card name in “Display Adapters” and then click “Device status” to see what information it contains. The device will typically say, “This device is functioning properly.” If not, look for any warnings or errors there to seek help.

How Do i test If my graphics card is faulty?

If after 15 minutes your card has passed the Furmark test, press ESC to stop the test again, and then download and install Furmark. If artefacts are present, your graphics card may need to be replaced.

How Do I test my graphics card before buying?

Check the GPU’s performance with a stress-test program such as FurMark to see whether it overheats or has any visual glitches. You may also want to run a benchmarking program such as 3DMark to determine whether the device is working properly.

Is there a way to test the graphics card without a computer?

There’s no practical way to test a graphics card without plugging it into a computer, running power to it, and displaying the video on a monitor.

It might be a good idea to come to an agreement with the Craigslist seller regarding returns. I don’t know if the seller would be very willing to do it, but you have the right not to be screwed out of your money. Maybe you could try it out on your own for a couple days, and return it if it doesn’t work.


This post provides tips and programs to help you analyze the performance of your graphics card and determine whether the hardware you have is adequate to run your favorite games. After you have analyzed the results of your benchmark tests, you will be able to choose the best GPU unit for your new or upgraded GPU.

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About Jennifer Jonh

Welcome to this blog. I'm the writer and founder. This industry has been my career for over 10 years. I have tested and reviewed hundreds of graphics cards for custom PC builds throughout my journey.

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