How to Test a Graphics Card with a Multimeter

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Are you currently using your computer but suddenly the image on the screen becomes distorted? Now, You may be asking yourself, “is my graphics card dying?” Keep in mind that this flash or distortion is typically an indication of a dead graphic card.

You will find many other signs, and this post will present you with practical ways to tell if your graphics card is dying and learn how to test it. 

The Importance of a Graphics Card

The graphics card is a necessary and critical component of any computer, as it’s typically utilized to show your computer data on the monitor. 

If needed, you can install a high-powered graphics card (also referred to as GPU) to provide more power to different programs, just like most small business owners.

Nevertheless, a graphics card failure could cause visual alterations or make your entire computer unusable. But, it’s important that you identify first if the GPU is the one causing your problems before buying a new video card.

In the following sections, we will present you ways to check if your graphics card is dead. 

Common Signs of a Dying Graphics Card

  • Blue screen of death 

You might be familiar with the blue screen of death errors that commonly happen for many types of reasons. You don’t know whether the issues are connected with video cards, hard drives, RAM, or other components.

But if you do some graphics-intensive tasks such as watching movies or playing games, it may be a clear sign that your GPU is dying. 

  • Annoying sound in the fan 

Fan noise is not directly connected to a dying GPU. However, it could be a cause behind your dead graphics card. 

Nonetheless, you must keep in mind that the fan noise is louder than usual. When the graphics card’s fan goes wrong, that suggests the GPU might be running hotter than it should.

  • Outlandish artifacts 

This is another typical sign of a dying graphics card. Often, artifacts begin from small colored dots on your screen to some weird patterns and lines. Normally, odd artifacts show when the GPU goes under load.

When your computer is idle, you will not see them. However, the GPU goes under load immediately, and then they also show. 

  • Glitches on the screen 

This sign usually occurs when you’re playing a game or watching a movie. You may suddenly notice weird colors or shapes showing all over the monitor screen. 

When you restart your PC, the screen may go back to normal. 

Nonetheless, the same issue will return soon if the GPU is failing. 

  • Shuttering 

Shuttering is one of the most typical indications of a bad graphics card. If you come across this, do not jump to any conclusions. Remember that a dying hard drive or bad RAM might also trigger the same behavior. 

After understanding so much, you now understand how to determine if your graphics card is dying or not. When you experience one of these signs, your GPU might be failing. Still, that does not suggest the graphics card is on its way to you. 

You can do some things to fix your graphics card before purchasing a new one.

Testing a Graphics Card with a Multimeter

Here are the important guidelines you need to follow when testing your graphics card with a multimeter:

  1. Place your black probe to the ground, and the red probe should be placed to the voltage you would like to check. 
  1. Normally, the black probe could go to some ground wire on the power supply. The simplest way to do that is to put it on one of the Molex ground pins, as it is in the center of the connector. 

It is big and round enough that the probe could fit easily inside and stay there. 

  1. Set your digital multimeter to voltage (DC). You can set it to 20 volts or higher if the multimeter does not have auto-scaling. Take note that the voltages of your power supply are up to around 12 volts. 

Is your range set too slow? Then the screen will display OL over the limit. On the other hand, the meter could be damaged if you leave the multimeter like that for a very long time. 

  1. Would you like to check the power supply while it is disconnected from the computer? Then you can begin by connecting the PS_ON pin to any ground pin. 

The easiest way to do that is by using a metal paper clip or any small piece of wire. 

  1. If there is no connection between PS_ON and on a ground pin, that means the power supply is turned off. Only the standby voltage must be there on the purple, and that must be about 5 volts. 

Final Thoughts

As a word of caution, don’t try to change your graphics card by yourself unless you have substantial experience and know-how in doing so. It is always better to have a professional change your graphics card than doing it on your own. 

A stress test with a temperature test could offer you a sign about whether your GPU is working correctly or not, but it’s just a surface-level test.

Doing the longest test is of utmost importance. If you do not understand the history of the graphics card, anything could be inflicted that it had to bear to damage it in a way that can’t be obvious at first sight.

Integrating an aftermarket cooler to an older graphics card is not a bad idea at all. It will not just enhance the cooling of the GPU, but it will also make sure it will not overheat and cause any damage. Testing it with a multimeter is your friend. To make it short, always take your time when trying to build the condition of your graphics card.

There you have it! We hope you find this article informative and helpful, and we also hope you find the answers to your hard-pressed questions. What are your thoughts about it? Share your insights with us by leaving your comments down below!

Special offer for our visitors

Get your Soldering Iron Guide For DIYERS

We will never send you spam. By signing up for this you agree with our privacy policy and to receive regular updates via email in regards to industry news and promotions