GPU Artifacting: Common causes and how to fix GPU artifacting?

GPU Artifacting Common causes and how to fix GPU artifacting

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Encountering glitches and performance issues when playing your favorite 3D games or watching videos can be frustrating, even more so if the culprit is GPU artifacting.

As a common yet complex issue in the world of graphics processing, it’s crucial to understand not only what causes GPU artifacts but also how to identify and address them effectively.

In this blog post, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about GPU artifacting – from its most common causes to comprehensive solutions for fixing it.

Key Takeaways

  • GPU artifacting occurs when a graphics processing unit fails to display images properly due to factors such as overheating, outdated drivers, and hardware faults.
  • Common types of artifacting include screen tearing, flickering pixels, texture corruption, color distortion, pixelation, geometric anomalies, and black squares or dots.
  • To address GPU artifacting issues, try troubleshooting tips like updating drivers and software, adjusting graphics settings for optimal balance with computer capabilities (avoid excessive load with overclocking), checking for proper cooling & ventilation to avoid overheating issues. Early detection of artifacts is important for preventing permanent damage; you can monitor the temperature using software tools like MSI Afterburner or EVGA Precision X1 while gaming or performing other graphic-intensive tasks.
  • Proper maintenance including regular cleaning of dust build-up on heat sinks and adequate airflow through the system helps prevent overheating that leads to GPU artifacts.

What Is GPU Artifacting?

GPU artifacting refers to the visual glitches or anomalies that occur when a graphics processing unit (GPU) fails to display images properly due to various causes such as overheating, outdated drivers, hardware faults, bad software, and more.

Definition And Causes Of GPU Artifacting

GPU artifacting is a frustrating issue that can affect your computer’s graphics, making it challenging to enjoy your favorite games or videos. It occurs when visual anomalies appear on your screen, often in the form of distorted images such as lines, shapes, or flickering pixels.

One of the most common causes for GPU artifacting is overheating. If dust accumulates in your computer’s cooling system over time, it may restrict airflow and cause temperatures to rise within the GPU.

This increased heat can lead to graphical errors and even permanent damage if not dealt with promptly.

Another frequent culprit behind these visual glitches is an outdated driver – just like you need regular updates for other components in your machine (such as operating systems), having up-to-date drivers ensures optimal performance and stability for your GPU.

Types Of Artifacting

GPU artifacting can manifest in various ways, affecting your gaming and overall computer performance.

Here are some common types of artifacting that you might encounter:

  1. Screen tearing: This occurs when the image on the screen appears disjointed or split.
  2. Flickering: Random bursts of light or color can appear on the screen, making it difficult to view the content clearly.
  3. Texture corruption: In-game textures may not display correctly, resulting in missing or distorted images.
  4. Color distortion: Colors may appear washed out or overly saturated, affecting the overall image quality.
  5. Pixelation: Individual pixels may become visible, creating a blocky or blurry appearance on the screen.
  6. Geometric anomalies: Shapes and lines may be misaligned or misplaced within the displayed image.
  7. Black squares or dots: These small black spots can appear randomly across the screen and distract from the visual content.

Each type of artifacting can impact your experience differently, but addressing their underlying causes is crucial for maintaining optimal performance and avoiding further damage to your GPU.

Regular maintenance, driver updates, and proper cooling techniques can help prevent artifacting and ensure a smoother gaming experience.

Effects Of Artifacting On Performance

GPU artifacting can significantly impact the performance of your computer and disrupt your overall experience.

For gamers, this means that graphical glitches and odd pixels may appear on screen during gameplay, leading to distractions or even rendering a game unplayable.

Aside from being visually annoying, artifacting can also indicate underlying issues with your GPU that might affect other components within your system if left unchecked.

For instance, when a graphics card is overheating, its temperature rises beyond safe operating limits which could potentially result in permanent damage not only to the GPU but also other hardware parts connected to it.

In such scenarios, tasks requiring heavy graphics processing like high-end games or video editing software will likely put an undue strain on the system resulting in poor performance and increased likelihood of crashes and errors.

Common Indicators Of GPU Artifacting / What does artifacting look like?

Here are the signs that you should look out for:

  1. Screen flickers or flashes briefly.
  2. Color shifts on the screen or strange artifacts appearing.
  3. Textures that fail to load, causing black boxes or other glitches to appear.
  4. Complete system crashes or freeze – ups.
  5. Vertical lines appearing on the screen during high-load activities like gaming or video editing.
  6. Audio distortions like crackling or popping sounds.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important not to ignore them as they could be a sign of something more serious going on with your graphics card.

By paying attention to these common indicators, you can catch issues early and take steps to address them before they become bigger problems down the road.

Best Visual Indicators

I’ve found that one of the clearest signs of GPU artifacting is visual distortion on your screen. This can range from small flickering pixels to entire sections of the display becoming garbled or unreadable.

You might also notice color shifts or strange artifacts appearing where they shouldn’t be.

Besides these obvious visual symptoms, you might also experience performance issues such as slow frame rates, screen tearing, or crashes while playing games or using graphic-intensive applications.

These problems are often caused by underlying issues that lead to artifacting and can worsen over time if left unchecked.

What causes GPU Artifacting? And tips to fix GPU Artifacting..

If you’re experiencing visual artifacts or performance issues, it’s crucial to identify and address GPU artifacting as soon as possible. In this section, we’ll provide troubleshooting tips for fixing GPU artifacting, including updating drivers and software, adjusting graphics settings, checking and preventing overheating, replacing faulty hardware components, turning off overclocking and more.

  1. Update your drivers and software: Updating your graphics card drivers and software may resolve any driver-related issues causing artifacting. To do this, visit the website of your GPU manufacturer and download the latest drivers and software.
  2. Adjust graphics settings: Overclocking or high graphics settings may be causing the issue. Try adjusting these settings to reduce the load on your GPU and see if it resolves the artifacts.
  3. Check for overheating: Overheating is a common cause of artifacting, so check your GPU’s temperature using software like MSI Afterburner or HWMonitor. If it’s running too hot, clean out any dust from fans or heatsinks and ensure proper cooling.
  4. Troubleshoot hardware connections: Improper connections, such as loose PCIe slots, power supply cables or display cables, can cause artifacting. Double-check all connections to make sure everything is secure.
  5. Test stability with stress tests: Running stress tests with programs like FurMark can help identify issues with stability that may be causing artifacting.
  6. Check for VRAM issues: Slight color shifts on your screen can signal an issue with VRAM, so keep an eye out for these changes.

Let’s talk about the above steps a bit in detail!

Updating Drivers And Software

Updating drivers and software is crucial in preventing GPU artifacting. Outdated drivers can cause the graphics card to malfunction, resulting in visual glitches like screen flickering or color shifts.

For example, if you notice your computer experiencing graphical glitches when playing games or running demanding applications, it might be time to update your graphics card driver.

Most manufacturers have a website where you can download the latest version of their drivers, ensuring optimal compatibility with new operating systems and improved stability.

Adjusting Graphics Settings

Adjusting graphics settings can be a helpful solution. Some issues with artifacting stem from high-performance graphics settings that push the GPU beyond its capabilities.

In games and other programs, it is important to ensure that the graphics settings are balanced with your computer’s capabilities. If you see artifacts while playing games or running other applications, try reducing the graphics quality in-game or in program preferences.

For example, if there is screen tearing or color shifts on your screen when gaming, lowering anti-aliasing and shadows can help reduce these visual effects.

Overall, paying attention to how you use the GPU via optimizing graphic settings and avoiding excessive demands on hardware through overclocking will keep things running smoothly without artifacts.

Also See: TPU vs GPU vs CPU: Understanding the difference

Checking And Preventing Overheating

As discussed before, one of the most common causes of GPU artifacting is overheating, which can be caused by several factors such as dust build-up on the heat sink and inadequate airflow. It’s important to regularly clean your computer and ensure that there’s proper ventilation to prevent this issue.

Additionally, keeping an eye on the temperature of your graphics card is crucial in preventing damage from overheating. You can use software such as MSI Afterburner or EVGA Precision X1 to monitor the temperature while gaming or performing other graphic-intensive tasks.

How To Prevent Overheating

Overheating is one of the most common causes of GPU artifacting. Here are some tips to help you prevent overheating:

  1. Clean your heat sink regularly – Dust build-up on the heat sink can restrict airflow and cause your GPU to overheat.
  2. Ensure proper airflow around the GPU – Make sure that there is enough space around your GPU for air to flow freely.
  3. Check your case fans – Make sure that your case fans are working correctly and that they’re directing cool air towards the GPU.
  4. Use a cooling pad – If you’re using a laptop, consider using a cooling pad to help dissipate heat.
  5. Keep your room cool – High ambient temperatures can cause your GPU to run hotter than usual, so try to keep your room at a comfortable temperature.
  6. Avoid overclocking your GPU – Overclocking can increase performance but can also increase heat output, potentially leading to overheating and artifacting.
  7. Monitor your GPU temperature – Use software such as MSI Afterburner or HWMonitor to monitor the temperature of your GPU and make sure it’s not running too hot.

By following these tips, you can help prevent overheating and avoid issues with artifacting on your GPU.

Replacing Faulty Hardware Components

If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting tips and software updates, but your GPU artifacting issue persists, it may be time to consider replacing some of the hardware components.

The most common faulty component causing artifacting is the graphics card itself. Over time, a graphics card can wear out or become damaged due to overheating or physical damage.

Faulty Power Supply

Another possible culprit for artifacting is an insufficient power supply. If your computer system lacks sufficient power output to support your GPU’s performance demands, it can cause visual glitches and other issues like screen tearing or color shifts.

Replacing your current power supply with one that has higher wattage capacity should provide enough power for all components of your system and prevent any future artifacting problems.

Turning Off Overclocking

I’ve found that one of the most common causes of GPU artifacting is overclocking. Overclocking can push your GPU to its maximum performance, but it also generates excessive heat, and it can cause instability leading to errors or graphical glitches.

If you’re experiencing artifacting, try turning off overclocking first to see if that resolves the issue.

It’s important not to ignore signs of overheating as this is a major contributor to artifacting and other issues with graphics cards. Proper cooling maintenance may prevent overheating by cleaning out dust buildup from your fans and heatsinks regularly.

Power Supply Issues

Power supply issues can cause all sorts of problems with a GPU, including minor artifacts and complete system failures, so it’s important to verify that your power supply is providing the correct voltage and wattage for your graphics card.

How Power Supply Issues Can Cause Artifacting

One of the major causes of GPU artifacting is power supply issues. When a graphics card doesn’t receive enough power, it can result in various problems, including artifacting.

This issue can occur when the power delivery to the GPU is inadequate or unstable due to a faulty or insufficient power supply unit. It’s important to check your connections and ensure that your power supply unit can provide enough wattage for your graphics card.

Power fluctuations or surges may also contribute to GPU artifacting, so using a clean and stable power supply can prevent this from happening and increase the lifespan of your graphics card.

If you’re experiencing artifacts on your screen, checking for potential power-related issues should be one of the first steps in troubleshooting.

Tips For Addressing Power Supply Issues

Dealing with power supply issues that can cause artifacting is crucial for your GPU’s performance. Here are some tips to address power supply issues:

  1. Check the wattage, amperage, and efficiency of your power supply unit (PSU). Ensure that it meets the requirements of your graphics card and other components.
  2. Properly connect all PSU cables and connectors to avoid any loose connections that might lead to power-related issues.
  3. Replace damaged or faulty cables and connectors as necessary.
  4. Make sure to use high-quality cables and connectors that can handle the required power loads without overheating or short-circuiting.
  5. Use a multimeter to check if your PSU provides enough voltage to your GPU.
  6. Upgrading to a more powerful PSU can also help resolve power supply issues, especially during high – intensity tasks.
  7. Manage your system’s power consumption by using efficient components and optimizing cooling systems to prevent overheating.
  8. Monitor the temperature of your PSU using software tools or physical monitoring devices routinely to detect any abnormalities.

By following these tips, you can prevent power-related artifacting issues from affecting your GPU performance and prolong its lifespan.

Physical Damage

Physical damage to the GPU can result in artifacting, making it essential to prevent any physical harm that may lead to long-term issues.

How Physical Damage Can Lead To Artifacting

Physical damage is a common cause of GPU artifacting, which results in visible glitches on the screen or audio distortions. An example of physical damage is when a graphics card falls and parts get dented or broken.

Loose connections can also cause artifacting and should be checked regularly as it can result in poor contact between components, leading to electrical shorts that induce artifacts.

Dust build-up on the heat sink can cause overheating and artifacting, which can be prevented with regular cleaning to avoid system instability. It’s essential always to handle electronic devices gently to prevent physical harm and ensure proper maintenance by checking for any loose connections or damaged parts regularly.

Tips For Preventing Physical Damage

Preventing physical damage to your GPU is crucial in avoiding artifacting and prolonging the life of your graphics card. Here are some tips to help prevent physical damage:

  1. Properly mount and secure your GPU in the case to avoid any unnecessary movement or shaking.
  2. Avoid touching the circuit board or connectors with your bare hands, as oils and debris can damage the components.
  3. When cleaning, use compressed air or a soft – bristled brush to remove dust and debris from the fans and heatsinks.
  4. Keep the computer case closed to prevent objects from falling into it and damaging the internal components.
  5. Avoid moving your computer while it’s running, especially if you have a large GPU installed.
  6. Use an anti – static mat when working on your PC to prevent accidental static discharge that could harm sensitive components like the GPU.
  7. Always handle your GPU carefully, holding it by its edges rather than gripping it tightly in the middle.
  8. Keep liquids away from your computer, as spills can quickly cause irreversible physical damage.

By following these tips, you can help prevent physical damage to your GPU and ensure that it continues running smoothly for years to come.

Compatibility Issues

Incompatible graphics cards can cause GPU artifacting, resulting in strange visual artifacts on the screen or even system crashes.

Incompatible Graphics Card And Artifacting

One of the most common causes of GPU artifacting is an incompatible graphics card. This means that your graphics card may not be compatible with the software or game you are running, which can cause glitches and artifacts on the screen.

To prevent this, it’s important to ensure that your graphics card meets the minimum requirements for any software or games you plan to use.

If you’re experiencing artifacting while using certain software or games, it may be worth upgrading your graphics card to one that is better equipped to handle the load.

It’s important to note that a more powerful graphics card may also require a stronger power supply unit (PSU), so make sure your PSU is able to support the new hardware before making any upgrades.

Tips For Ensuring Compatibility

Ensuring compatibility is crucial to prevent GPU artifacting. Here are some tips to ensure your graphics card is compatible with your system:

  1. Check the specifications of your motherboard and power supply unit (PSU) to ensure they can support the graphics card you plan to install.
  2. Make sure the graphics card drivers are up to date and compatible with your operating system.
  3. Double – check that your system has enough cooling and airflow to prevent overheating.
  4. Verify that the graphics card fits in your case and doesn’t interfere with any other components during installation.
  5. Consider upgrading other components, such as RAM or CPU, if they are outdated and may cause compatibility issues with the new graphics card.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your new graphics card is fully compatible with your system and avoid any potential GPU artifacting issues due to compatibility errors.


Issues with VRAM can cause artifacting, including texture flickering or complete loss of textures.

How Issues With VRAM Can Cause Artifacting

One of the main components that can cause issues with GPU artifacting is VRAM. VRAM or Video Random Access Memory, acts as a buffer between the CPU and GPU to store textures and other graphic details for quick access.

When this component fails, it can lead to distorted images on the screen.

VRAM failures often stem from a lack of maintenance or overheating issues in your GPU. Dust buildup on the heat sink can block airflow and lead to overheating, which in turn puts additional strain on your card’s components such as VRAM.

Tips For Addressing VRAM Issues

If you are experiencing GPU artifacting, VRAM issues may be the culprit. Here are some tips for addressing VRAM issues:

  1. Check your graphics settings: Adjusting graphics settings to lower quality can help ease the load on your VRAM.
  2. Update drivers and software: Outdated drivers and software can cause compatibility issues with your VRAM and result in artifacting.
  3. Use stress test software: Running stress test software such as Furmark or OCCT can help pinpoint any issues with your VRAM.
  4. Clean your GPU: Dust buildup on your GPU can cause overheating and damage to your VRAM, so regular cleaning is important.
  5. Ensure proper cooling: Overheating is a common cause of artifacting, so ensuring proper cooling with fans and heat transfer methods is crucial.

By following these tips, you can address and possibly resolve any VRAM-related issues causing GPU artifacting. Remember, proper care and maintenance of GPUs is important for optimal performance and to prevent damage.

Prevention And Maintenance

As someone who has experienced GPU artifacting, I can say that proper maintenance and cleaning are crucial for preventing this issue and maintaining optimal performance. 

Ensuring Proper Cooling

It’s important to ensure that your GPU is properly cooled to avoid overheating and artifacting issues.

One way to do this is by cleaning the heat sink regularly, as dust build-up can impede airflow and cause temperatures to rise.

Another important factor in keeping your GPU cool is maintaining adequate ventilation around it. This means avoiding placing your computer in enclosed spaces or stacking it with other equipment that may block airflow.

By taking these steps to ensure proper cooling, you can help prevent common causes of GPU artifacting such as overheating and prolong the life of your graphics card.

Importance Of Early Detection

As a gamer, early detection of GPU artifacting is crucial to ensuring that your gaming experience remains smooth and uninterrupted.

Failure to detect and address these issues can lead to permanent damage, impacting the lifespan and performance of your graphics card.

It’s also important to be aware of common indicators of artifacting such as screen tearing or strange color shifts on your display.

Catching and addressing these issues early not only ensures that you can continue playing without interruption but also extends the lifespan of your GPU while maintaining its optimal performance.

Best Programs To Test For Artifacting

If you suspect that your GPU is artifacting, stress-testing programs can help identify the issue. Here are some of the best programs to test for artifacting:

  1. Furmark – This program allows you to push your GPU to its limits with a customizable stress test.
  2. AIDA64 – This software includes stress tests for GPU memory, graphics processing units, and the CPU.
  3. 3DMark – This benchmarking tool includes multiple tests for identifying issues with GPUs and other hardware components.
  4. Heaven Unigine – This program allows you to run graphical benchmarks and stress tests for testing GPU stability.
  5. Paessler – This network monitoring tool also includes a stress test feature for GPUs.

Using these programs can help identify potential hardware problems causing artifacting and ensure optimal performance from your GPU.


In conclusion, GPU artifacting can be a frustrating problem that affects the performance of your computer. It is important to understand what causes it and how to address it before permanent damage occurs.

By ensuring proper maintenance, updating drivers and software, monitoring the temperature of your GPU, and avoiding overclocking beyond recommended limits, you can prevent artifacting from occurring or resolve any issues as soon as they arise.

Q: What is GPU artifacting?

A: GPU artifacting refers to visual glitches or anomalies on your computer screen, such as screen flashes, pixelation, or distorted visuals. This is usually caused by issues with your graphics card or GPU.

Q: What are the common causes of GPU artifacts?

A: There are many possible causes of GPU artifacts, including overheating, outdated or incompatible graphics drivers, overloading of the GPU, or simply an old or malfunctioning GPU.

Q: How can I see if the artifacts on my screen are caused by my GPU?

A: You can perform a GPU stress test to check if the artifacts are coming from your GPU. There are many software tools available online that can help you diagnose the issue.

Q: Can overclocking cause GPU artifacts?

A: Yes, overclocking your GPU or pushing it beyond its limitations can cause GPU artifacts, as it puts excessive strain on the GPU and increases the risk of overheating.

Q: What should I do if my GPU is overheating and causing artifacts?

A: You should immediately shut down your computer and allow it to cool down. You can also consider investing in a quality cooling system or reducing the load on your GPU to prevent future overheating.

Q: How can I fix the GPU artifacting issue?

A: There are several ways to fix GPU artifacting, such as updating your graphics drivers, lowering your graphics settings, or repairing or replacing your GPU if it’s malfunctioning.

Q: Is it possible to permanently damage my GPU by simply running it?

A: Yes, running your GPU beyond its limits or exposing it to extreme temperatures can damage it permanently and cause GPU artifacting.

Q: What should I do if my GPU artifacts persist even after fixing the issue?

A: You should ask a professional technician to assess and fix the issue, as the problem may be more complex than expected.

Q: How can I prevent GPU artifacting from occurring?

A: You can prevent GPU artifacting by regularly maintaining and cleaning your GPU, monitoring the temperature of your GPU, and updating your graphics drivers on a regular basis.

Q: What is the most common cause of GPU artifacts?

A: The most common cause of GPU artifacts is overheating, which can be caused by insufficient cooling, overloading of the GPU, or high ambient temperatures.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...