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I just built a new PC with these components & Windows 10:

I'm aware the airflow situation isn't ideal, but please read on.

When I first built the PC there was seemingly no issue. I downloaded Path of Exile (a new game for me) and played it at max settings for maybe 1-1.5 hours no problem. I then played Overwatch for several hours with high settings at 144 fps.

Midway through one of my games, the computer locked up and for 30-60 seconds I saw little 50px × 50px discolorations/icons spread around my screen. The computer behaved very haltingly for the rest of its on-time, and when I was finally able to close Overwatch and view other windows I found an error message:

Title: "Overwatch"
Message: "Your rendering device has been lost! Application closing!"
Picture

I immediately opened the door on my case and felt the backplate of the video card which was scalding hot. Did I cause damage to the card?

The PC seems to run fine while viewing videos and writing Stack Exchange posts, but now if I start up Overwatch at minimum settings on 30 fps, the computer will go haywire again after only about 60 seconds. I feel like my cooling can't possibly be wholly responsible for this. Even stranger is that all temperature readouts on my computer say the card never goes over 65 °C.

I've tried uninstalling GeForce Experience and checking to make sure all the fans are blowing the proper direction and even just running the computer with the case-door open.

I've seen several complaints about Nvidia's 20 series having cooling problems so I'm wondering if I should RMA this card or return it and simply get a new one altogether.

Either way I intend to purchase a larger case to solve a clearance issue that stopped me from putting the radiator on top of the case. I fully intend to fill up every fan slot on the new case I purchase and pay close attention to airflow but I'm worried for this card.

What is the core problem behind this error and how should I best go about fixing it?

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TL;DR: Return the card and get a replacement.


Overheating does not cause discolorations on the screen or error messages saying that the rendering device has been lost.

Modern graphics cards do have safety features, including thermal throttling. Thermal throttling means that your GPU (or CPU) will lower its clock speed (performance) if the maximum temperature (ca. 100°C/220°F) is reached. The clock speed will be lowered until a safe temperature is reached.

This means you will lose performance if your video card is overheating but it also means you will never "lose your rendering device" or have graphical artifacts because of overheating.


Question you can ask yourself:

  • Do you maybe run the GPU on an unstable overclock?
  • Are there any visible defects on your GPU?
  • Your answer reflects my thoughts on it so far. No I've not overclocked anything in my build and no there were no visible defects on the GPU. – SlyFiye Jun 12 at 10:23
  • @SlyFiye If you do not have a overclock and a recent driver for the gpu there shouldn't be a reason for your problem. So even if it may be fixable in some way I would return it because you've got a faulty device. If it was scalding hot there maybe was a short somewhere on the pcb but if you're going to return it anyway I would risk to disassemble the card to look. – GittingGud Jun 12 at 10:59
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    Yeah I think I'll wait maybe another day for more answers but I'll probably exchange the card after that. Thanks for your input! – SlyFiye Jun 12 at 22:11

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