How To Test Graphics Card without Motherboard or PC

You may need to test a graphics card without a motherboard for several reasons. It is possible to verify a graphics card’s functionality before installing it in a new or existing system or to troubleshoot an issue with a graphics card that has been removed from a system.

You will need a few tools and pieces of equipment to test a graphics card without a motherboard. The tools and equipment you require will depend on how you intend to test the graphics card. In addition to standalone graphic card testers, secondary computers, hardware monitoring tools, and benchmarking software, some tools and equipment may be required.

If you are unfamiliar with computer hardware, it is not recommended to test a graphics card without a motherboard because it can be a difficult and potentially risky process. When handling computer hardware, you should always follow proper safety precautions and use caution. You should contact a qualified computer technician if you are unsure how to test a graphics card or encounter any problems.

Testing a graphics card without a motherboard [STEP-BY-STEP]

Preparing the graphics card for testing

  • A graphics card should be properly prepared before it can be tested, which includes cleaning it and making sure that it is dust-free and seated properly in the tester or secondary computer.
  • To install and prepare a graphics card for testing, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions if you are using a standalone graphics card tester.
  • To test the graphics card on a secondary computer, make sure it is unplugged and turned off. Remove the case cover and locate the appropriate graphics card slot (usually PCI-Express or AGP). Insert the graphics card into the slot, ensuring that it is properly seated and secured. Replace the case cover and continue.

Testing the graphics card using a standalone graphics card tester

standalone graphics card tester

The standalone graphics card tester is a specialized device that is used to test graphics cards without a motherboard. A graphics card can be tested without being installed in a motherboard using these testers, which typically come with connectors for power, video, and other signals.

Set up and use a standalone graphics card tester according to the manufacturer’s instructions. To verify that the graphics card is working properly, you may need to connect power and video cables, turn on the tester, and run diagnostic tests.

Testing the graphics card using a secondary computer

  • A secondary computer can also be used to test a graphics card without a motherboard. In this case, the graphics card would be installed on a separate computer and tested there.
  • If you wish to test the graphics card on a secondary computer, follow the instructions provided in the previous step to install the graphics card properly. Turn on your computer and wait for it to boot up. The operating system and any other programs should load normally if the graphics card is functioning properly. If you encounter any errors or issues, it may indicate that the graphics card isn’t working properly.
  • The graphics card should also be tested by running graphics-intensive programs and games to see how it performs. If you experience stuttering, freezing, or other performance issues, the graphics card may have a problem.

These are just general guidelines for testing a graphics card without a motherboard, and you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when handling computer hardware and take appropriate safety precautions. Specific steps and methods may vary depending on the tools and equipment you use. It is recommended that you seek the assistance of a qualified computer technician if you encounter any issues or are uncertain of how to proceed.

Testing a Graphics Card Using PCIe Riser Extension

What is PCIe Riser Extension?

PCIe Riser Extension
PCIe Riser Extension

A PCIe Riser Extension is a device used to install additional graphics cards (GPUs) inside a computer case for the purpose of cryptocurrency mining. It consists of a standard x16 slot for the GPU, as well as power connectors and USB cables. Essentially, it is a small motherboard that allows you to install a GPU and connect it to your computer through a USB connection. This can be useful for miners who want to expand their setup and increase their mining capabilities.

With PCIe Riser Extension, you can test a GPU without having to install it on a motherboard. However, you will need a working power supply to check if the GPU fans are spinning.

Step 1: Connecting GPU to PCIe Riser Extension

Once you have purchased the PCIe x16 Riser Extension, you need to install your graphics card on it, then connect the 6-pin power connector from your power supply to the PCIe Riser Extension.

Step 2: Getting the power supply started

The safest way to test your graphics card without installing it on a motherboard is to jump-start your power supply.

The figure below shows how to jump-start your power supply by holding the 20-pin power connector with the clip facing you.

Green and Black Wires are Important to Jump Start PSU
PSU Jumpstarting Requires Green and Black Wires

Using a paper clip to connect the green and black wires in the figure, jump-start the PSU.

paper clip wire
In the image above, the green and black wires are paper clips

After you’ve joined the two holes with a paper clip, it’s time to turn on the power button to turn on the PSU.

Ensure your graphics card is working correctly by checking to see if the fans are spinning on the PCIe Riser Extension.

Alternative methods for testing a graphics card

Using a hardware monitoring tool

  • It is possible to monitor the performance and temperature of various hardware components in your computer, including the graphics card, using hardware monitoring tools. A hardware monitoring tool can help you identify potential issues with your graphics card and get a better understanding of how it performs.
  • A computer with a graphics card must be installed before you can use a hardware monitoring tool to test it. Install the hardware monitoring tool and run it to see how the graphics card performs and how hot it gets. Any unusual spikes or drops in performance or temperature could indicate a graphics card problem.

Best Hardware Monitoring Tools:

Using graphics card benchmarking software

  • The purpose of graphics card benchmarking software is to run various graphics-intensive benchmarks and tests on a graphics card to determine how well it performs. By benchmarking a graphics card, you can get an idea of its overall performance and compare it to other graphics cards.
  • You will need a computer with a graphics card installed to use graphics card benchmarking software to test it. To test the graphics card’s performance, install the benchmarking software and run the relevant benchmark tests. To get a sense of how well the graphics card performs in comparison to other devices, pay attention to the benchmark results and compare them with other graphics cards.

Best GPU Benchmarking Softwares:

  • 3DMark
  • Unigine Heaven
  • FurMark
  • Cinebench
  • PassMark PerformanceTest
  • Superposition (by Unigine)

Troubleshooting common issues when testing a graphics card

No display when testing the graphics card

  • You might have a problem with the graphics card or your test setup if you do not see a display when using a standalone graphics card tester or a secondary computer.
  • Ensure that the test computer or secondary computer is on and that the graphics card is seated properly and properly connected before trying to troubleshoot this issue.
  • The issue can also be resolved by trying a different display, display cable, graphics card, tester, or graphics card to see if the problem is with the original graphics card.

Graphics card not being detected by the tester or secondary computer

  • It could be an issue with the graphics card or the test setup if you are testing the graphics card using a standalone graphics card tester or a secondary computer.
  • Make sure all of the necessary cables and connections are properly set up and secured on the tester or secondary computer before troubleshooting this issue.
  • To determine if the issue is with the original graphics card or the tester, try using a different graphics card or tester. If the graphics card is not listed, there may be a problem with the test setup or graphics card on the tester or secondary computer. You can also check the BIOS or device manager of the tester or secondary computer to see if it is being detected.


For those who are inexperienced with computer hardware, testing a graphics card without a motherboard can be complex and potentially risky. You can, however, test a graphics card effectively and verify that it functions properly by following the right steps and using the right tools and equipment.

Tips for ensuring accurate and reliable test results

  • If you are using a standalone graphics card tester or a secondary computer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • In the tester or secondary computer, ensure that the graphics card is properly seated and installed.
  • Make sure the graphics card does not overheat during the test by using a reliable power source.
  • Run multiple tests and benchmarks to verify the performance and stability of the graphics card.

Additional resources for testing and troubleshooting graphics cards

  • You can get advice and help from other users in online forums and communities.
  • The graphics card manufacturer or the tester may provide troubleshooting guides and resources.
  • Test and troubleshoot graphics cards with the help of professional computer technicians.

There are several ways to troubleshoot and verify a graphics card’s performance, including testing it without a motherboard. If you are experiencing issues with a graphics card, there may be other approaches or methods that may be more effective for your particular situation. If you are unsure how to proceed, it is always a good idea to consult a qualified professional.

lisa shroff
About Lisa Shroff

Lisa Shroff is a graphics card expert with 6 years of experience in the computer hardware industry. She loves to keep up with the latest industry trends and her passion for PCs led her to start her blog, Lisa has managed to overclock projects for some of the biggest names in the tech industry, and she frequently attends conferences to showcase her expertise. She’s an outspoken advocate for advanced technologies in computer gaming and has been featured in many publications. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys playing video games and traveling to explore new cities.

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