GPUs are important, but how do you know which one to choose? There are a wide variety of GPU options from different vendors, and it may not be immediately clear which best suits your needs. Knowing the basics of how they work and their differences can help you make a decision.
- How Do I Know If My GPU Is Dying?
- What Causes a GPU to Fail?
- How to find out graphics card details using Settings
- How to find out graphics card details using Device Manager
- Find Out What GPU You Have in Windows
- Find the Manufacturer and Model Number
- Popular HP Desktops
- Related tags
- Popular articles
- Also visit
- Article archives
- Ray-tracing: the latest advancement in realistic graphics
- Nvidia vs. AMD
- What graphics card do I have?
- 5 ways to check your GPU on Windows
- System information
- Windows Task Manager
- Open the computer
- FCC identification number
- Debug routine (older computers)
How Do I Know If My GPU Is Dying?
There are thousands of posts in online forums claiming that the graphics processing unit (GPU) – also known as the graphics card – is dying because there are minor graphics glitches. This does not mean that the card has crashed – it could be software related!
Even if you use a graphics card that is only a few years old, you may experience performance issues and be convinced to replace the card. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a brand new GPU or waiting months for your card to get back under warranty, you can usually fix minor issues at home.
However, to diagnose a dying GPU, you need to do further inspection. We’ll walk you through this process so you know exactly how to tell if your GPU is dying.
What Causes a GPU to Fail?
You may not find out that your graphics processor has crashed until your computer crashes while playing a game or when smoke starts to come out of your computer case. If there is a fire, it probably cannot be repaired due to a software problem. Most of the time, you know your card died when you are unable to restart the system. However, you can rule out a dead card if you understand what is causing them to fail.
Here are some reasons why a GPU can die completely:
- GPU components fail prematurely due to faulty manufacturing
- Incompatible graphics card installation
- Static overload when installing the graphics card
- Moisture build-up on the card, causing component damage
- Overheating from too much dirt or debris stuck to the cooling elements
- Overheating from cracked or worn bearings on cooling fans
- Runs your graphics card in games with incompatible software drivers
To avoid most problems, you need to regularly maintain your system, both physically and digitally. Many of these problems can be avoided by keeping the GPU clean and ensuring that your graphics card software drivers are up-to-date. Instead of waiting for your graphics card to die, why not update the drivers first?
How long do graphics cards take before they die?
Today, graphics cards have several innovative cooling features and components that protect their hardware during rigorous gaming sessions.
If key components inside your graphics card get too hot, they can brown and kill the graphics card over time. That’s why the latest cards feature a metal backplate, two or three cooling fans, and large heat sinks to dissipate heat from the card during gameplay.
However, as with all electrical components, some components may die prematurely or due to poor manufacturing quality. If your card dies prematurely, you can often replace it under warranty. Many manufacturers provide fan replacement for free if the bearings wear out, whether under warranty or not.
As long as you maintain it, a new graphics card should last an average of 5 years. You can only replace it when you want to play new games that require more advanced graphics. Check the new game specs against your requirements before operating them with your graphics card.
Make sure your GPU is not causing CPU bottlenecks. This happens when the CPU is generating more frames per second than the GPU can handle, which can lead to screen stuttering. If this scenario affects your computer’s performance, most likely you need to update your graphics card.
How to find out graphics card details using Settings
To find your graphics card manufacturer and model using the Settings app, follow these steps:
In the “Multiple Displays” section, click Advanced Display Settings.
source: Windows Center
In the “Display Information” section, confirm the vendor and model of your graphics card.
source: Windows Center
After following these steps, you will now understand the video card installed on your device.
How to find out graphics card details using Device Manager
To determine the graphics card installed on your computer by using Device Manager, follow these steps:
- Open Start.
- Search for Device Manager and click on the highest result to open the tool.
- Expand the Graphics cards branch.
Confirm the manufacturer and model of your graphics card.
source: Windows Center
After following these steps, information about your graphics card will be disclosed.
Another resource to help you choose your GPU and graphics card is the games and applications you want to run. Most of them list the required, recommended, and optimal specifications, which often include the recommended CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage.
Find Out What GPU You Have in Windows
Open the Start menu on your computer, type “Device Manager” and press Enter. You should see an option at the top of your graphics card. Click the down arrow which should contain the name of your GPU. For example, in the screenshot below, you can see that I have a Radeon RX 580.
If you’re not sure which company designed this chip, you can right-click it and select Properties to view the manufacturer – Advanced Micro Devices or AMD in my case. (Remember that Device Manager uses graphics drivers to determine what GPU you have, so if you suspect you may have installed the wrong drivers you should skip to the next section.)
Once you’ve got the GPU name, you can search Google to find out more about it or compare it to the minimum requirements of the game you want to play. Usually, a higher number means a better card – so a game requiring the RX 580 may not work on the RX 480, which is weaker (though there is a workaround for this at times).
If you’re comparing two cards that use different naming schemes – like the AMD RX 580 and their more powerful RX Vega 56 – you may need to do a bit of research to see which card is more efficient and what the price difference is.
Find the Manufacturer and Model Number
If for some reason you need to know exactly what type of graphics card you have, you will need to do a little more work.
The manufacturer can be easily found thanks to a third-party app called Speccy. Download the free version, run it, and click Graphics in the sidebar. Scroll down and look for a Subvendor entry which should tell you who created the actual card on your PC – in my case Asus made that particular RX 580. (You’ll also be able to see how much video RAM your card has, among other specs.)
Unfortunately, it won’t give you the exact model number you’ll need for, say, warranty claims. (Asus makes several different RX 580 cards, and they will need the exact model number to provide support.) PC up.
In that case, find your graphics card, remove it, and look at the sticker on the side – it should have the model number you need. You may want to write down this information somewhere so you don’t have to open your computer next time – you never know when you might need it!
You just bought and set up a new computer, and now you’re looking for some great apps. Look no further. These are the best apps for your new Windows 10 PC.
Choosing a graphics card is one of the hardest parts of buying a new computer, primarily because it’s one of the most important components, so you want to get it right. Plus, if you’re new to GPUs, you’ll need to unpack a lot of terminology.
Overall, you should update your graphics card every 4 to 5 years, although an extremely high-end GPU may last a bit longer. While price is a major factor in your decision making, performance and memory needed should also be considered. And be aware of your computer’s CPU as it may need updating as well. After all, the best GPU is only as efficient as its companion processor.
About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is the co-author of HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author who has written for USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.
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Many motherboards now completely disable a component that no longer works. If your graphics card has completely died, this could be one of the easiest ways to find out. If your motherboard doesn’t have display codes, you can try testing the card on a new system.
Ray-tracing: the latest advancement in realistic graphics
As with most PCs, GPU technology continues to evolve at a dizzying pace. A recent example of an evolution in graphics technology is “real-time ray tracing”. Ray tracing technology produces more realistic lighting effects that more accurately simulate the behavior of light and reflections in the real world.
“Ray tracing calculates the color of pixels by tracing the path that the light would travel if it passed from the viewer’s eye through the 3D virtual scene. As it traverses the scene, light can bounce from one object to another (causing reflections), be blocked by objects (causing shadows), or passing through transparent or translucent objects (causing refractions). All these interactions are combined to produce the final pixel color which is then displayed on the screen.”
Ray tracing and other comparable graphics technologies have been a target of the computer industry for years, and it was only recently that hardware and software caught up with this vision. Finally, consumer-grade GPUs have the power of effective ray tracing in games. While games still use this technology and it’s not yet ubiquitous, there’s no doubt that as GPU power grows, it will become the new norm.
Given that it’s a newer technology, GPUs that can effectively implement real-time ray tracing are typically more expensive, but costs are likely to continue to decline. Most modern flagship AMD and Nvidia GPUs support some versions of ray tracing, and it will become more widely available with each new iteration of graphics cards.
Nvidia vs. AMD
Now let’s talk about the two biggest players in the gaming GPU industry (at least for now): Nvidia and AMD.
When you buy a graphics processor, you choose between graphics cards that contain all the components necessary to render an image on screen. These cards include cooling solutions, necessary connections and most importantly the graphics processor itself. This processor is an incredibly complex chip developed over decades of research and experimentation. Since the entry barrier to creating these processors is so high, it is likely that any graphics processor you purchase will be from one of two companies: Nvidia or AMD.
In the past, these two companies have struggled to lead the GPU market, constantly forcing themselves to innovate for the benefit of consumers. Both have strengths and both offer solid options. Whichever you choose, you will be able to find a card geared towards your gaming needs.
When you buy a graphics card, you will most likely choose from models from companies other than Nvidia and AMD, such as ASUS, GIGABYTE, and MSI. These companies take chips designed by AMD or Nvidia and create their own graphics card using this technology.
Think of it like a car; the engine is made by AMD or Nvidia, but the rest of the car, including the body and cooling, are designed by the company that makes the card itself. In other words, if you buy an ASUS GPU, it’s still an Nvidia or AMD chip in an ASUS designed chassis. Each GPU manufacturer brings their own unique design options and technologies to the table, giving you plenty of options to choose from.
The GPU model (such as the Nvidia RTX 3080) refers to the CPU itself, and this is where the GPU falls out in the overall performance spectrum. There are other considerations as well, such as cooling, clock speeds, and aesthetic design that can impact performance, but when you buy an RTX 3080, you know the basic capabilities of the card regardless of the manufacturer.
This is probably the most important factor to consider when making your choice.
The latest series of Nvidia gaming GPUs is based on the Ampere architecture. The most popular and powerful GPUs are those of the 30 series (RTX 3070, 3080 or 3090), and their performance increases with their number. The RTX 20 series is still a very viable option if you don’t need the absolute state-of-the-art as well, and still allows you to take advantage of newer technologies such as ray tracing.
Nvidia offers a wide range of GPUs, ranging from the lowermost to the very high end of the consumer GPU market, not just flagship products.
There are many factors that determine GPU performance, but it’s easy to start with how many processing cores, called “CUDA cores” or “RTX cores,” an Nvidia GPU offers. This is usually a good indicator of its performance capabilities. However, as with most computer hardware, there are many metrics that affect performance, and “better” can mean different things to different people.
Here are some of the most suitable Nvidia GPUs for gaming in late 2020:
|GPU||CUDA cores||RT cores||Tensor Cores||Base GPU clock (MHz)||Increase GPU clock (MHz)||RAM type||Standard RAM configuration (GB)||RAM bandwidth (GB / s)||RAM width||TDP (watt)|
|GeForce GTX 1080||2560||Not applicable||Not applicable||1607||1733||GDDR5X||8||352||256-bit||180|
|GeForce GTX 1080 Ti||3584||Not applicable||Not applicable||1480||1582||GDDR5X||11||484||352-bit||250|
|GTX 1660 Ti||1536||Not applicable||Not applicable||1500||1770||GDDR6||6 GB||288||192-bit||120|
|RTX 2060||1920||thirty||240||1365||1680||GDDR6||6 GB||336||192-bit||160|
|RTX 2060 SUPER||2176||34||272||1470||1650||GDDR6||8 GB||448||256-bit||160|
|RTX 2070||2304||36||288||1410||1620||GDDR6||8 GB||448||256-bit||175|
|RTX 2070 SUPER||2560||40||320||1605||1770||GDDR6||8 GB||448||256-bit||215|
|RTX 2080||2944||46||368||1515||1710||GDDR6||8 GB||448||256-bit||215|
|RTX 2080 SUPER||3072||48||384||1650||1815||GDDR6||8 GB||495.9||256-bit||215|
|RTX 2080 Ti||4352||68||544||1350||1545||GDDR6||11 GB||616||352-bit||250|
|RTX 3070||5888||46||184||1500||1725||GDDR6||8 GB||448||256-bit||220|
|RTX 3080||8704||68||272||1440||1710||GDDR6X||10 GB||760.3||320-bit||320|
|RTX 3090||10496||82||328||1395||1695||GDDR6X||24 GB||936.2||384 bit||350|
Creative professionals who render 4K video or run visually intense programs will use the same GPUs as gamers. Read about some of the best gaming GPUs in our HP Tech Takes article here.
What graphics card do I have?
To find out what graphics card you have, open the Start menu or desktop search bar on your computer, start typing Device Manager, and select it when the option appears. At the top, you’ll see an entry for graphics cards. Click the down arrow and your GPU name and model will appear below.
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If you double-click the icon next to the driver name, you can view the device properties, check driver details, and identify available driver updates.
5 ways to check your GPU on Windows
Providing the right graphics specifications is crucial, especially when it comes to gaming, video editing, and running other graphics-intensive applications. Fortunately, there are many easy ways to detect graphics hardware in Windows.
The system settings allow you to check the condition of the graphics card as well as the range of its properties and compatibility. In Windows 10, graphics card status and other display information can be easily found in the Settings app. You can also update Windows drivers or update audio drivers in a similar way.
Here’s how to check the graphics processor in Windows settings:
Open Settings in the Start menu and click System.
Select Display from the System Settings menu and click Advanced Display Settings.
Under Display info, you can see which graphics card is installed on your computer, as well as other important data affecting your computer’s graphics, such as desktop resolution and refresh rate.
The System Information application is the perfect tool to look under your computer’s hood to check your graphics card and bundled drivers. It’s also a great tool for checking RAM.
Open the Start menu or go to the search bar on the desktop, start typing System Information and select it when the option appears. Click the + symbol next to Components in the upper left corner, and then click Display in the drop-down list.
You will see your graphics card name, type, and device ID. You’ll also see detailed information on driver installation and the amount of RAM you want your GPU to use.
Windows Task Manager
While graphics card refers to an extension of the graphics hardware as a whole, the graphics processing unit (GPU) is a specific component that actually processes graphics. You can use the Windows Task Manager to check the GPU chip in detail.
To launch Device Manager, open the Start menu or the Search bar on the desktop, start typing Device Manager, and select it when the option appears. You can also press Ctrl + Alt + Del on your keyboard and click Task Manager in the list that appears.
In the Task Manager window, click the Performance tab and select GPU from the list.
In addition to displaying the graphics card your GPU is in, Task Manager will show you other details such as GPU usage (how hard your GPU is currently working) and GPU temperature. If you want more power from your graphics chip, check out our guide to GPU overclocking.
Games: Choose from the HP OMEN gaming laptop range. It has some of the latest GPU upgrades available today, as well as the RAM and processing power needed to play the biggest and greatest games. When it comes to the mid-range option, the HP ENVY 15t is definitely worth a look and includes the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti.
Open the computer
Disconnect everything from the back of the computer, open the case and look for any visual identification printed on the video card or motherboard. Many times, you can find the manufacturer’s name, model number, serial number, or other unique information that identifies your graphics card or video chipset. The image below is an example of an older AGP graphics card (newer computers use PCIe).
If your graphics card is on your motherboard, you can find your motherboard’s video chipset by identifying your motherboard’s make and model, and by reading your motherboard’s documentation.
FCC identification number
If you cannot find the manufacturer or model number of your graphics card, but can see the FCC ID number, we recommend that you perform a search using that number. For more information on FCC numbers and how to search for information about them, see our FCC definition.
Debug routine (older computers)
New versions of Windows no longer include the debug command. If you are using Windows Vista, 7, 8, or 10, this recommendation won’t work.
- In Prompt – enter the following command:
- After entering the above command, several lines of text similar to the one below will appear.
The sample screenshot above shows sufficient information to determine the brand and year of your graphics card. In the fourth line of the above screenshot, you can see the brand of this graphics card which is nVIDIA TNT. If you search the internet, you’ll find that nVIDIA TNT is a Riva TNT (VGA) graphics card chipset. In our example, row five is the graphics card version, and row six is copyright, which is the year in which the graphics card was manufactured.
- If you can’t capture any information that sounds like a video card, you can also type the following command:
This command produces a dump similar to the example above. However, it may contain additional information about the graphics card.
If the video card is in the board, you can get the name of the motherboard or chipset. If you have a built-in graphics card, download the video drivers for your chipset manufacturer. Video chipset drivers are available from the motherboard manufacturer.