I think I overheated my GPU

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Jorpho
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I think I overheated my GPU

Postby Jorpho » Sat Feb 22, 2014 4:10 pm UTC

I had been playing Post Apocalyptic Mayhem (a game of modest requirements) last night for around fifteen minutes when suddenly my screen started to fill with white snow, not unlike what you would see on the televisions of yore when the signal was weak. I exited to desktop – at which point the snow persisted – quickly closed my open applications and shut down.

I hadn't seen anything like this before, but then I haven't had much of a chance to do any hardware-demanding gaming lately. I opened up my computer's case and by far the warmest component was the power supply, which was quite hot indeed. (I also took the opportunity to clear some of the dust out of my case vents.) My GPU is an NVidia 250 GTS, which in theory has a PSU requirement of 450W; my PSU is rated as 500W.

Everything seems to be perfectly fine this morning, but I'm concerned that pushing my system might cause it to go up in smoke. Did my GPU really overheat, or is that sort of snow indicative of something else? Should I get a new PSU? I've been previously told that PSU wattage ratings are something of an exaggeration.

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Xenomortis
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Re: I think I overheated my GPU

Postby Xenomortis » Sat Feb 22, 2014 4:58 pm UTC

GPU's are fairly resilient compared to other components; they can get pretty hot no problem.
Do you have any idea what temperature it typically runs at?

Of course, graphical glitches like that are a result from faulty graphic chips; but I would expect it to simply crash or lock up pretty quickly too.

As for the power supply; if it's a cheap stock unit that came with the case, it's almost certainly overly optimistic with respect to its power rating.
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Jorpho
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Re: I think I overheated my GPU

Postby Jorpho » Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:11 pm UTC

Xenomortis wrote:Do you have any idea what temperature it typically runs at?
None at all. I know the fan was really roaring at the time – though actually I can't say if it was the fan on the GPU or some other fan. In fact, it had been frequently awfully loud; it is much quieter now at the moment. I'm not sure if that's a side effect of having been left turned off all night, or if it's due to some of the dust I cleaned out, or maybe it's just a coincidence.

As for the power supply; if it's a cheap stock unit that came with the case, it's almost certainly overly optimistic with respect to its power rating.
I got a nice boxed one when I got the video card. A "Coolmax", to be precise.

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Suzaku
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Re: I think I overheated my GPU

Postby Suzaku » Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:01 am UTC

I haven't done any research, but I believe that most (all?) nVidia cards have a thermal cut out that will prevent damage to the GPU and board from overheating. It looks to user like a system crash (source: personal experience playing Skyrim on an nVidia with one of three cooling fans failed in an unairconditioned room in Tokyo in summer - lasted about 5 minutes on average).

It would give snow artifacts as you've desribed for about a second before going black screen and making the whole PC unresponsinve until a hard reboot. It also wouldn't allow it to power back up afterwards until it had cooled down.

So it could be border-line overheat, or it could be some other issue (not very helpful there; sorry)

I'd do the standard (Windows updatre, check drivers, test) and see if the issue recurrs.

Cleaning out the dust can make a huge difference to internal temps, too.
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