Question Graphics card slowly deteriorating and crashing

Jun 19, 2021
Hi all,

Photos of the crashes

A couple of months ago my graphics card began to spontaneously crash while playing games (specifically Overwatch) with the error "Rendering device lost". This normally involved some faint green lines appeared on the screen and the game freezing (though the audio would still be playing). After this occurred a few times I decided to try to fix the issue, so first thing I tried was slightly lowering the graphics settings (from 75% to 50% render scale), which improved the issue temporarily. After a few days of this working, I decided to try the slightly higher settings once again, which of course caused the same kind of crashing.

I then decided to try reinstalling windows and my graphics drivers, which is where the problems really begin. After everything reinstalled the computer began to crash on windows. As I tried a number of fixes the situation gradually deteriorated as reaching the home screen and eventually the lock screen started to become a problem. The graphics were seemingly randomly crashing, while the computer was still running (though I don't actually know if the rest of the computer was still working too). Over this period of time I tried a number of solutions including:

Uninstalling and reinstalling graphics drivers
Uninstalling graphics drivers using DDU
Reinstalling Windows once again
Checking the crash logs, but crashing was happening so often I couldn't figure out what the actual crash was due to

as well as a few others I may have forgotten.

After much trial and error I found that I could (fairly) consistently boot into safe mode, where I once again tried a few solutions with little progress.

I then went to a friend's house where we plugged my graphics card into his (working) computer to confirm that the graphics card was indeed the problem and, as expected, similar crashes ensued.

One thing I had noticed over the weeks of testing was that the first time in a while the computer was booted up (say a few days since last boot), it lasted much longer than the subsequent times. My friend and I therefore thought the problem may be due to overheating, so yesterday I decided to replace the thermal paste on the GPU, which I (think I) did successfully. Upon taking the card apart however, I found that there was effectively no thermal paste left between the GPU and the cooler (I had never replaced the thermal paste before).

Yesterday I put the card back in to the computer and once again, it lasted ~5 minutes before crashing the first time, then crashed within a minute or two for the subsequent boots.

I tried a bit more tinkering with no luck and decided (stupidly) to try another windows reinstall. The computer then crashed during the reinstall. This means I can no longer boot in safe mode as I'm stuck in Windows set up (it asks me to sign in with my microsoft account which fails so asks me to create a local login which fails so asks me to sign in with microsoft account etc.). If I try to boot in normal mode, the card now very consistently crashes as soon as the little white loading circle appears on the screen, with a number of little green dots appearing all over the screen (see the images).

As well as this, there are a few faint green lines on the bios boot screen (see images).

Under normal circumstances, I would just upgrade the graphics card (I've had it for about 5 years) but with current prices, I'd like to try to save it if I can.

At the moment, I wonder if I could get to windows, whether it would help to underclock the card (I think the msi gtx 970 might be overclocked out of the box but I'm not sure) and see if that allows it to stabilise for further troubleshooting but can't even reach the login screen.


CPU: AMD FX-8350
Motherboard: MSI Gaming 970
GPU: MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G
SSD: Crucial 500GB

I'd appreciate any help that anyone can offer because at this point I'm totally stumped (and honestly think the graphics card may have finally died).


Sep 29, 2014
visible artifacting, its dying, as a last resort you can try heatgun meta on card, might get few months or so out of it, i got almost half a year from my artifacting r9 290 until i bought new gpu and went bankrupt
Reactions: taimoorali007