What to Do When Your GPU Fails and Your PC Won’t Boot Up

Question:

How to diagnose a faulty GPU that causes the PC to shut down?

I have a PC that suddenly turned off and refused to boot up. When I removed the GPU (EVGA GTX 950) and used the integrated graphics, the PC worked normally. When I reconnected the GPU, the PC failed to boot up again. I checked the GPU for any visible damage, but I did not find any. I also suspect that the PCI-E slot or the power supply could be faulty. How can I confirm that the GPU is the problem and not something else? What are some tests or tools that I can use to isolate the issue?

Note: I tried the GPU on another PC and it caused the same problem, so I am sure that the GPU is defective. However, I still want to know how to diagnose this kind of issue in the future.

Answer:

A graphics processing unit (GPU) is a vital component of a PC, especially for gaming and video editing. However, sometimes a GPU can malfunction and cause the PC to shut down unexpectedly. This can be frustrating and potentially damage other parts of the system. Therefore, it is important to know how to diagnose a faulty GPU and fix it or replace it as soon as possible.

There are several possible causes of a GPU failure, such as overheating, dust, physical damage, power surge, incompatible drivers, or overclocking. Some common signs of a GPU problem include stutters, freezing, glitches, artifacts, high temperatures, and abnormal fan noises. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should test your GPU to confirm that it is the source of the problem and not something else.

To test your GPU, you will need to follow these steps:

1. Check your motherboard for error codes. Some motherboards have LED indicators or beep codes that can help you identify the faulty component. Refer to your motherboard manual for the meaning of the codes and how to troubleshoot them.

2. Test your GPU under load. You can use a software tool like [FurMark] or [3DMark] to stress test your GPU and monitor its performance, temperature, and stability. If your GPU crashes, freezes, or shows artifacts during the test, it is likely defective.

3. Update your drivers. Sometimes, outdated or incompatible drivers can cause GPU issues. You should always keep your drivers up to date and download them from the official website of your GPU manufacturer. You can also use a tool like [Driver Booster] or [Driver Easy] to scan and update your drivers automatically.

4. Check for damage or debris. You should inspect your GPU for any physical damage, such as cracks, burns, or broken pins. You should also clean your GPU from dust, dirt, or hair that can clog the fan and the heatsink. You can use a soft brush, a compressed air can, or a vacuum cleaner to remove the debris. Be careful not to damage the GPU or the other components while cleaning.

5. Apply thermal paste. Thermal paste is a substance that helps transfer heat from the GPU to the cooler. Over time, thermal paste can dry out and lose its effectiveness, causing the GPU to overheat. You should replace the thermal paste on your GPU every year or so, or whenever you notice high temperatures or poor performance. You can use a tool like [HWMonitor] or [GPU-Z] to check your GPU temperature. To apply thermal paste, you will need to remove the cooler from the GPU, clean the old paste with alcohol, and apply a small amount of new paste on the center of the GPU. Then, reattach the cooler and make sure it is properly secured.

6. Test your GPU in another system. If none of the above steps solve your problem, you can try your GPU in another PC that has a compatible motherboard, power supply, and drivers. This will help you rule out any other possible causes, such as a faulty PCI-E slot, a corrupted power supply, or a software conflict. If your GPU works fine in another system, then the problem is not with the GPU itself, but with your original PC. If your GPU causes the same problem in another system, then the GPU is definitely defective and needs to be repaired or replaced.

By following these steps, you should be able to diagnose a faulty GPU that causes the PC to shut down. However, if you are not confident or experienced enough to perform these tests, you should seek professional help or contact your GPU manufacturer for support. A faulty GPU can be a serious issue that can affect your PC performance and lifespan, so you should not ignore it or delay fixing it.

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