# Graphics card fails after ten minutes of gaming

I am using Windows 7 and ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series graphics card. My problem is that while playing some games (I think ones which require more graphic resources like Sims 3, NBA 2k12) after 10-30 mins of gaming, the video card just shuts down, the monitor acts like the PC was turned off (no signal found) and a red light on my graphic card turns on.

After turning it off and on again, everything works ok. I'm not sure what fails and I'm not really advanced in hardware problems.

On idle, VGA temperature is about 60-70°C, and while playing I guess it's around 90° or so, but it doesn't look like overheating, because it works okay a few seconds just after restart.

• > On idle, VGA temperature is about 60-70°C, and while playing I guess it's around 90° or so, but it doesn't look like overheating, because it works okay a few seconds just after restart. That’s not good enough to rule out overheating. How hot does the CPU get? – Synetech Aug 5 '12 at 21:35
• I'm with the "90°C is too hot" crowd. 70° under load is a reasonable temperature, 90° is pushing transistor junction failure temperatures. A Core2 processor has a temperature limit around 95-99°, your graphics card is unlikely to be far different. – Mokubai Aug 5 '12 at 22:15
• @Mokubai, 90° is definitely high, but it’s not kill-the-system high. The CPU is more likely to be the problem. – Synetech Aug 5 '12 at 22:26
• @Synetech 90° is highly borderline for failure temperatures for many computer components. If its close enough as makes no difference for boiling water then you are nearing temperatures that are not good for consumer electronics. Industrial class electronics may fare better but I would be suprised if they survive long at 90-100°. – Mokubai Aug 5 '12 at 22:52
• Guys, remember he is probably reading the global thermal sensor, which often isn't representive of the actual thermal state of the card. Other sections of the card - in particular, the shader cores - are likely to be quite a bit higher. 90C is borderline critical temperature, and 60-70C on idle is way too high. Even if this isn't the OP's issue, he really should invest in a better cooling system if he remotely cares about his hardware. – Thomas Aug 6 '12 at 1:23

It is probably overheating.
The card have a shutdown protection against high temperature. While the card is off, it cools a little. So when you restart your computer the temperature already dropped and the card is okay.
As you don't use immediatly the card at full power, it remain active... until you play again with a GPU intensive game.

You really have to check your card's cooling.

• He already acknowledged the video-card temperature and it does not seem to be the problem. – Synetech Aug 5 '12 at 21:37
• Finlaybob also indicates the reason he THINKS that this isn't a temp issue, is that it's okay after restart. The answer above indicates why that may not be correct. – Everett Aug 5 '12 at 21:46
• @Synetech he may have said that it does not seem to be the problem, but he also was guessing (as you pointed out) at the temp under load, so obviously he doesn't really know if it is overheating or not... so it doesn't matter if he says it seems like it is overheating or not. – Bon Gart Aug 6 '12 at 3:03
• @BonGart, true, but I was pointing out that even if the video-card was at 90°C, that card is known to run up to 120°C before causing problems (at least for others). – Synetech Aug 6 '12 at 3:08
• In my experience 90°C is the uppermost temperature of regular consumer grade computer hardware. For consumer grade hadrware, anything above 90°C will eventually result in something bad happening (in the short term maybe weird behavior... in the long run eventual failure of hardware). Usually you want something more like 70°C to gurantee normal operation. (I learned all this from doing a bunch of overclocking.) – Trevor Boyd Smith Aug 6 '12 at 13:56

Yes, although it may seem to you like it is not overheating, it is acting like it is overheating, and the temperatures you report would support the theory that it is overheating. You should be seeing GPU temps of 35-50C when idle, and 60-75C when under load. However, you report that you are seeing what would typically be a load temperature when you are just idling. Your report of seeing temps of 90c or higher under load point to overheating.

If the PSU was at issue, meaning the card was not getting enough power because your PSU was inadequate, it is more likely that you would see nothing at all, at idle and under load.

But... you can determine which the issue is by examining which light is coming on.

D1601 - Over temp protection enabled

D1602 - EXT 12V fault

Those are the two lights that can and will light on an issue. So... take a closer look. If the D1601 is coming on, your issue is temperature. If the D1602 is coming on, then your issue is power.

EDIT As it was pointed out to me that the word guess was used in reference to the temperature of the GPU at load, this begs a few questions. What is the ACTUAL temperature of the GPU at load? What program have you used to determine the temperature of the processor at load? If you are not actually sure of the temperature of the GPU under load, how can you express any certainty as to whether or not your issue is related to overheating?

So... again. As I stated already... you can look to see which light is actually being illuminated to determine whether the card is overheating. Although I did talk about the issue possibly being overheating, I did ALSO provide a way to determine which the issue actually is. Of course, I had to guess as to what the actual card was, because that information was not provided. So it is quite possible that your card doesn't have two warning lights. Again... I don't know that, because I don't have all the information. I only have what you have provided.

You can also use a program like GPU Caps Viewer to stress your card and observe the temps at load... if you haven't already. This way, you don't have to guess what the temps are at idle, and what the temps are under load.

• 90° was just a guess. – Synetech Aug 5 '12 at 22:24
• @syntech I'll edit for the word guess used in reference to the 90C, however the temps at idle for the GPU also indicate the card is most likely overheating under load.... since those temps would be normal for a card under load... not at idle. But thanks. I needed to get on him for not being precise enough. – Bon Gart Aug 6 '12 at 3:01
• It can't be power failure -- if a PC component overdraws from the PSU then the whole PC should shut down, not just the GPU – bobobobo Feb 8 '13 at 16:02
• Depending on the card's draw at load and the power supply, the results can be the PSU shutting down, or the PSU continuing to supply power to the fans and motherboard (which would give the impression of the system still being on without power). – Bon Gart Feb 8 '13 at 20:57
and a red light on my graphic card turns on.


You should check the documentation (or ask on the manufacturer's support forum or similar) to see what that light indicates. This info may tell you exactly what the problem is.

It could be overheat, or it could perhaps be that it has detected a lock condition. If this is the case and it is a common fault in the card's firmware then there may be a firmware update for the card that will fix the issue (again, refer to the manufacturer as the first port of call for this info).

The above response is rather generic, but without the exact made and model of the card it is hard to be much more specific.

On idle, VGA temperature is about 60-70°C


That seems rather high to me for "idle". What is the ambient temperature in the room the machine is in?

and while playing I guess it's around 90° or so


What info are you using to derive this estimate? If you are taking a temperature reading after rebooting then that could be on the low side as once activity stops the temperature can fall quicker than you'd expect, and rebooting Windows can take a minute or few.

One of my older cards came with software that added readings of temperature, memory use, and various speed/activity readings and such as an on-screen overlay - it might be worth looking into software like that and keeping an eye on the temperature reading so you know what it is before rebooting not after. If you run two or more monitors it might be easier to find software that you can run on the second screen rather than as an overlay. Or better still, see if you can find something that logs the temperature reading then you have the data even after a full lock and reboot.

I've had problems in the past with the power supply not outputting enough power to cover the graphics card.

Is this a new graphics card you installed? If so power could be an issue. Check your power supply has sufficient power to run all the components in your case, not just the graphics card. (i.e. CPU,HDD,CDROM,PCI cards etc.)

If it's an old machine I would definitely check the graphics card fan. It could very well be overheating. Between an overheating event shutting the card down and restarting the computer and checking the temperature, the temperature may have dropped significantly as the card won't have been under load. Usually replacement fans can be found on eBay quite cheaply.

Finally, you could be having issues with Windows 7. I have also had issues with a graphics card working for Windows XP but not Windows 7.

The card seems quite old, Google can't find me one to buy, so this is a possibility.

Check with AMD for compatibility with Windows 7. If they don't support it, you may have to back to XP, or get a new card.

If you've checked everything else and it's cutting out or freezing, it's more likely to be a faulty PSU than anything else. Try a different PSU. I've had a very similar-sounding problem in the past. It wasn't overheating, it wasn't the PSU on paper, but it turned out the PSU was actually faulty - the same symptoms you're getting.

• Care to explain the -1? I had exactly the same symptoms as the OP (even down to having an ATI Radeon HD 4890) and it was a worn-out / faulty PSU that caused the problem. Other answers mentioned overheating and checking the card fan, etc. – oliver-clare Oct 10 '12 at 8:52

This may be 3 things:

1. An overheating problem: This is mainly due to a poorly vented box. Try a gaming case or something from Antec. Also try a 120mm fan blowing on your card from the side panel.

2. This may be caused by a lack of power from the power supply. Try swapping a high performance 600w to see if it helps

3. If this doesn't work, try a memtest on your RAM.

Then, try swapping motherboards.

I had the same problem when I was playing Crysis. I just turned the graphics to low state and everything worked fine.

If you are using the Intel HD graphics, it's possible to bypass that. I did it, and it worked perfectly fine.

• I don't see how this solves his problem. The graphic card you have cannot be compared to the one the author has. – Ramhound Aug 7 '12 at 13:42