My video goes black or the driver crashes during games

Last Update: 2010/12/13

In general, video blacking out in the middle of games or high graphical loads can be due to several issues either software or hardware related:

- Overheating
Try monitoring the temperature of the GPU and CPU during a load to see if there are any abnormally high temperatures.
Blowing dust out of the heatsinks with a can of compressed air regularly, can help to keep the components cooling optimally. You can use our EVGA Tool Precision to monitor GPU temperatures as well as manually adjust the fan speed to keep things cooler.
If the CPU is overheating, try reseating the CPU and heatsink. It may help to clean the heatsink and CPU and apply a new small bead of thermal compound. Reseat the CPU and heatsink. Increasing cooling and improving cable management in the case itself is also a good solution.
In general, the higher end GPUs (260, 275, 280, 285, 295, 465, 470, 480) can operate up 90c under load without problem. The official overheating point for these GPUs is 105c.If the card is getting to temps of 100c+ and blacking out or artifacting then it is likely overheating and would need to be replaced.

- Power
The 12V rail may be providing incorrect Voltage.  First ensure that the wattage and amperage on the 12v rail on your PSU is sufficient for the graphics card. To check the voltage, reboot and go into your motherboard BIOS.  You are looking for a section called either Hardware Monitor/HW Monitor/System Monitor/PC Health Status.  Once in, you need to look for the output on +12V.  ATX spec is between 11.4 – 12.6, however different brands have very different tolerances for overvolting and under volting, if it is outside 11.96 and 12.30, please contact your PSU manufacturer for their specific tolerances to under/over volting.
To rule out a power supply issue, if possible test the card in another capable system, test a similar card in the same machine, or test with a different power supply.

- Drivers
Ensure that you are using the latest drivers for your video card and have the latest patches for the games that you are playing.  Try updating your DirectX version. To rule out a video driver conflict issue, we recommend a clean install of drivers. It is advised to uninstall the video drivers first through Control Panel. In Windows XP- Add/Remove Programs, in Windows Vista/7- Programs and Features. Then reboot and install the current drivers.With the 260.xx drivers you may choose a "Custom Install" and then check the box for a "Clean Install" to remove old settings and drivers. It is also a good idea to make sure your chipset, audio and network drivers are all up to date. 

It is possible for the video to fail if the RAM experiences errors or is not configured properly. Please try manually setting your RAM timing, voltages and frequency in the BIOS to the recommended settings. Once the memory is configured properly, test the RAM with a utility such as memtest86+. If you are using multiple kits of memory, make sure to check the recommended settings with the manufacturer as multiple kits will usually have slightly different timings.

Lastly the graphical memory could be defective. You can run a scan with our EVGA utility OC Scanner , we recommend running this in full screen resolution for 30 minutes to 1 hour while monitoring temperatures and any artifacting. If you are able to, test the card in another system, if the problem persists in another capable system then the fault is most likely with the card.