GPU Artifacting Examples, How to Test, and Fixes

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

GPU artifacting means you see weird stuff on your screen because your graphics card (the GPU) is having trouble. You might see things like flickers, odd lines, colors looking wrong, or shapes that don’t belong. It’s annoying and a sign something’s not right with your GPU or maybe even your computer. If you play games, stream videos, or work with graphics, this can really mess things up. It’s good to know what these weird visuals are, how to check if your GPU is the problem, and how to fix it.

Also see: How to Tell If It’s Your Monitor or GPU That Is Dying

GPU Artifacting Examples, How to Test, and Fixes

Examples of GPU Artifacting

People have seen different kinds of GPU artifacting, like:

Flickering or flashing

A common problem is the screen flickering or flashing, sometimes showing black or white squares or dots. These quick, random glitches might mean the GPU’s having trouble showing stuff correctly. Seeing these squares or dots could mean there’s a problem with the GPU’s memory or it’s getting too hot.
GPU Artifacting examples Flickering flashing of squares or dots

Pixelation and distortion

Sometimes parts of your screen might look blocky, pixelated, or just wrong. This can mean there’s an issue with how your GPU is processing images or a memory problem.
Examples of GPU Artifacting Pixelation and distortion

Color shifts

If colors on your screen start looking weird, like they’re the wrong shade, that could also be a sign of GPU artifacting. This might happen if there’s something wrong with how your GPU handles colors or if the card itself is damaged.
GPU Artifacting example color shifts part of the screen

Strange lines or patterns

Seeing weird lines or patterns that don’t fit with what’s supposed to be on the screen? That could be artifacting too. These odd shapes might mean your GPU is making mistakes when it tries to figure out what to show you.
GPU Artifacting Strange lines and patterns

Screen stuttering

When your screen freezes or jumps for a moment, that’s called stuttering. It can mess up your video watching or game playing, and might happen if your GPU is having a hard time with its job or not talking right with other parts of your computer.
GPU Artifacting Examples Screen Stuttering Lag
Artifacting can be random or happen more when your computer is working hard, like during gaming or other heavy tasks.

Pro tip: Force App or Game to Use Nvidia GPU or Integrated Graphics

How to test for GPU Artifacting

If you think your GPU is acting up, here’s how you can check:

Benchmarking and stress testing

Try using tools like MSI Kombustor or 3DMark. These push your GPU hard to see if it starts showing any weird artifacts. This can help you spot problems that might not pop up during regular use.
Stress test benchmarking GPU

Monitoring GPU temperatures

Keep an eye on your GPU’s temperature with programs like HWMonitor or GPU-Z. If it’s getting too hot, that could be why you’re seeing artifacts.
Dying GPU overheat temperatureLinked issue: High GPU Usage While Watching YouTube Videos

Checking for driver issues

Make sure your graphics drivers are up to date. If artifacting started after a recent update, maybe try going back to an older driver version. Drivers can really affect your GPU’s behavior.

Trying different games and applications

See if the artifacting happens with different games or programs. If it’s just one specific app, that might point to a compatibility issue or something specific that triggers the artifacts.

Suggested read: GPU 100% Usage When Idle or Gaming (Good or Bad)

Testing with different displays and cables

It’s not always your GPU’s fault. Sometimes the screen or cables are to blame. Try using a different monitor or cable to check if the problem sticks around.
DisplayPort 1.4 Cable

Observing artifacting patterns

Pay attention to what the artifacts look like and when they show up. If you always see them, even when your computer is just starting up, that’s a strong hint there’s something wrong with the GPU.
These steps can help you figure out what’s wrong so you can fix it.

How to fix GPU artifacting issues

If you’ve got GPU artifacting, here are some things you might try to fix it:

Update or reinstall GPU drivers

Often, just getting the latest drivers can fix artifacting problems. If things got weird after a recent update, maybe try an older driver.
Update graphics driver Nvidia

Improve cooling

If your GPU is overheating, that could cause problems. Make sure it’s staying cool enough, by cleaning out dust, checking the fans, and maybe even adding more cooling to your computer.
Improve cooling in PC GPU and CPU

Stop overclocking the GPU

Overclocking can make your GPU run hotter and harder. If you’re doing that, try easing off to see if it helps with the artifacts.
Underclock GPU

Inspect for physical damage

Take a look at your GPU and see if there’s any obvious damage. If so, you might need to get it fixed or replaced.

Test the GPU in another system

If you can, try your GPU in a different computer. This can help you figure out if the problem is really with the GPU or something else in your system.

Change the thermal paste

Thermal paste helps keep your GPU cool, but it can dry out over time. Putting on fresh paste can help, but if you’re not sure how to do it, you might want to ask for help.
GPU Thermal Paste

Replace the graphics card

If none of the above works, especially if the problem is with the VRAM, you might need to get a new graphics card.
Fixing GPU artifacting can range from simple software updates to needing new hardware. Just take it step by step, and if you’re not comfortable messing with your computer’s insides, it might be time to call in a pro.

Summing up

GPU artifacting is when you see strange things on your screen because of problems with your graphics card. Here’s a quick summary of what to do:

  • Know the signs of artifacting like flickering, blockiness, wrong colors, weird patterns, or stuttering. Each clue can help you figure out what’s wrong.
  • Use tools to stress test your GPU, watch its temperature, try different games and programs, check your drivers, and test with other screens or cables to really understand the issue.
  • Fixing it might be as simple as updating drivers, cooling your GPU better, or stopping overclocking. If those don’t help, you might need to look for damage, try the GPU in another computer, or change the thermal paste.
  • If you see strange artifacts, sharing a photo on forums like Reddit can be a good way to get advice tailored to your situation.
  • If software tweaks don’t do the trick, checking for physical damage or considering a new GPU might be the next steps. Be careful with hardware changes, and if needed, ask for expert help.

Most of these tips are things you can try yourself. But if you’re not sure, especially about hardware stuff, getting help from someone who knows what they’re doing is a smart move.

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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