Video Graphics Card Repair
You might need a nerd if…
- Your monitor won’t display any graphics
- Your graphics are blurry, flickering, or poor resolution
- You need a second monitor
A few things you should know about video cardsBefore we go into how you can diagnose graphics problems, there are 3 things you should know about these graphics generating beasties.
They are incredibly sophisticatedFor a little chunk of circuitry hidden away inside your computer, a video card packs a pretty astounding punch. Just take a look at the vast amount of information reaching your monitor at any moment and you’ll get a sense of how much grunt work your video card is responsible for. For this reason, video cards have their own dedicated processor (think of it as the graphics ‘brain’ of your computer) which draws from a special kind of high-speed memory, called VRAM. Owing to the huge amount of work it does, your typical video card generates a lot of heat. So the card will usually also include a system for rapidly dissipating heat away from sensitive circuitry, either through a heat sink or fans. While you don’t need to know the intricacies of how all those bits and pieces work in harmony, the take-home message is that your video card is a vital and complicated part of your computer.
They frequently failThe second fact you should know about video cards is that they are frequently a “weak point” in the chain of hardware which makes your computer run. While it depends a little on how graphics-intensive your computing habits are, video cards are placed under a lot of strain. The heatsink can fail. Soldering points can melt or corrode. The VRAM and support circuits can give up the ghost. Even if your video card functions perfectly, with heavy use it may begin to show signs of failing in as little as two years.
They are not all created equalThe final basic nugget of nerdish knowledge you need is an understanding that video cards vary hugely in terms of quality and price. If you were to walk up to the counter of your local computer store and say “one video card, please” an inscrutable salesman would probably try to sell you hardware with specifications well above what you actually need. If all you do is word-processing and basic gaming, then a lower end video card will work perfectly for you and save you serious money. Getting the right video card for you does not have to mean buying the best one on the market!
Remember, we can help you choose the right card. You can contact us here.
Help! My display isn’t working.The big question we get asked when a customer comes to us with a graphics problem is, “will I need a new video card?” The answer is perhaps … but not necessarily. A dodgy display can be caused by a few problems, some of which you can solve yourself. Others, only a trained electronics professional can fix.
Steps you can take at homeEven if you’re a novice to computers, there are a few steps you can take if something is wrong with your display.
- First of all, check your connections. We don’t just mean wiggle your graphics cable around a bit to make sure that both ends are connected to something! Turn off your computer and monitor and carefully unplug both ends of the cable. Take a close look for dust, bent pins, corrosion or anything that seems out of place. If the cable looks bad, you’ll need to replace it. If the cable seems fine, reconnect it, being sure that both ends are firmly and correctly housed. This simple process solves a surprising number of graphics issues.
- Secondly, be sure you have the right drivers installed. Many people don’t bother to install the correct graphics drivers when they purchase a new monitor. While a new monitor may seem to work without the correct drivers, it’s likely you’ll eventually experience some kind of performance issues. Be sure to follow the instructions that came with your monitor, and install all the correct drivers.
- Finally, remember that heat is your enemy. Remember what you read before about video cards and heat? They generate a lot of it.
When you might need a nerd to stride in and save the dayIf you are lucky, the above simple steps may resolve your graphics issues. However, if the problem persists it’s likely your problem has something to do with hardware and you’ll need an expert to help you get to the bottom of the problem. If you’re experiencing any of these issues on an ongoing basis, it’s likely your video card will need repair or replacement.
- Stuttering: the screen stops and starts quickly, making any kind of animation jumpy.
- Artifacts: you see odd shapes and light effects or small areas of frozen screen
- Crashes: the entire computer crashes when you perform graphics-intensive tasks
We’ll run a full diagnosticThis is the number one reason why coming to a nerd can save you serious time and money! We aren’t just going to immediately recommend that you replace your expensive equipment. We’ll come to your house and run a full diagnostic on your computer. The only charge you’ll get for this service is to cover the cost of our time. This diagnostic is invaluable because it will allow us to rule out other problems before resorting to hardware replacement. If there’s a simple, inexpensive solution we will find it for you. Bam! Money and time saved.
We may even be able to do a video graphics card repair!The other major advantage of working with Nerds On Call is that we have some serious electronics gurus in our ranks who love to fix stuff! Depending on the problem you’re facing, one of our Nerds may be able to perform some delicate repairs to your card. If your hardware issue can be fixed at less cost than a replacement, we’ll give you that option.
If you do need a replacement, we’ll give you the best adviceFinally, let’s just say you do need your card replaced. If you walk into your typical computer store to buy a new video card, the chances are you’ll walk out of there having spent hundreds more than you needed to. At Nerds On Call, we won’t try to upsell you on unnecessary components. Visit The Nerds: Having video graphic card problems? Come in to our Sacramento computer repair shop or one of our other shop locations across California and Oregon to get your computer fixed today!
If video problems are ruining your day, we are here to help. We’ll get your monitor glowing with vibrant color before you know it. Just call us at 1-800-919-6373 or fill out our contact form.
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Questions nerds often hear about Video Graphics Card Repair
Is it going to cost me a lot to replace my graphics card?
Generally, no. Of course, prices vary depending on the quality of hardware you wish to purchase. We can give you a free estimate and talk you through your options. We can also perform repairs to cards in some cases.
I don’t have enough screen space. Can you help with that?
We can install a second monitor for you, upgrading your hardware if necessary. Once you go to two monitors you’ll never want to go back!
I think my computer is overheating. Is there a way to fix that?
Heat can be very damaging to a computer’s sensitive components. Video cards are particularly vulnerable to heat damage. Fortunately, there are a range of options for managing heat in a computer. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to offer advice.