If your system memory is faulty, it can cause all manner of weird and wonderful problems, many of which you wouldn’t relate to system RAM being the culprit. Another part of your system that might have its own memory is the video card. That could also fail or become faulty as well. While a problem with system RAM can sometimes be difficult to pin down, video memory problems should be easier to identify because the issues will be related to displaying the image on the screen.
This can manifest itself in a few ways, such as getting a blue screen of death or a restart while playing games. Other issues could be graphical glitches or visual artifacts during gaming. Problems are more likely to occur when your graphics card is working hard. If you suspect there is a fault with your video card’s memory it would be a good idea to test it and help determine if you need to replace or return your card.
Here are six free tools that can help you test the memory of your video card. They were tested with and work in Windows 10 and 7.
OCCT is a well known testing tool that is able to stress multiple parts of the system like CPU, video card and power supply. It does also have a dedicated option specifically for stress testing video card memory. There is a more general GPU stress testing feature available for testing other areas of video card stability. The OCCT memory test is OpenCL based and can run on pretty much any video card.
After running the program, click on Memtest neat the bottom. Select the video card from the drop down if you have more than one card in the system, then press the big red play button. If any errors are detected, the program will log and display them. OCCT is portable so it doesn’t need to be installed.
GpuMemTest is a simple tool to run a number of tests on your video card’s memory. It aims to put stress on the VRAM as well as the memory controller by running a number of test patterns. The tests include sequential, random, alternating read and write, block copy, random data, and sparse inversions.
After install, you only really need to run GpuMemTest and press the Run Test button. The drop down boxes don’t really need touching unless you have a multi GPU set up. A total of eight tests are performed with four to fourteen passes each. Although the website suggests this is only for NVidia video cards, GpuMemTest should work with AMD cards as well because it uses OpenCL (Open Computing Language) for testing.
While FurMark doesn’t specifically scan for memory errors, it does run a demanding test that will stress the video card and its memory. Because of that, it could show errors that the video card’s RAM produces. FurMark has been around for many years and is a popular tool to stress test the graphics card for stability when it’s being overclocked. It’s an OpenGL based test and should run on most video cards.
After downloading and installing FurMark, run the program, select the test resolution you want and then Press GPU stress test. Run the test for several minutes and watch for any artifacts during the testing. The very useful GPU-Z and GPU Shark video card information tools are also included.
4. MSI Kombustor / EVGA OC Scanner X / FurMark Asus ROG Edition
Besides the standard FurMark, there are three other versions made specifically for video card manufacturers MSI, EVGA, and Asus. These versions are customized and have a few differences from the original FurMark. They each have their own user interface skins, some of the tests have company branding, they include Vulkan based tests but they don’t include the GPU-Z tool (EVGA OC Scanner has the NV-Z tool from 2014).
The ROG edition has a useful GLmem tool to check video card memory usage and a floating hardware monitor window. All three programs have custom tests where you can force them to use more VRAM than normal. The MSI and Asus tools can run a test that uses up to an extra 6500MB so most VRAM of an 8GB card can be tested. EVGA OC Scanner can only add up to 3072MB of VRAM (enough for up to 4GB cards).
Enabling the Artifact Scanner should help make it easier to pick up errors because they will be automatically detected. The MSI and Asus versions of FurMark are kept up to date while EVGA OC Scanner X dates back to 2014. It also requires a free EVGA.com account to download the tool. A shared login service like BugMeNot has a few logins for EVGA.com that might help.
5. Video Memory stress Test
Video Memory stress Test is from back in 2008 and by the same developer behind the useful Check Flash USB drive testing utility. This tool allows you to test your video card RAM using one of three different test types; DirectX, CUDA and OpenGL. It looks similar to the system memory tester Memtest86+ and works in a similar way by running a number of predefined patterns to test the memory as thoroughly as possible.
Three testing sets are present which you can run, they are Full, Express 15% or Small which is good for quickly checking of overall memory integrity. A notable issue is the problems scanning on cards with 3GB or more of dedicated memory. It’s also mentioned online that the CD/floppy version can only read 512MB of video card memory.
It may also fail when trying run tests in 24-bit or 32-bit color display modes, run the vmt.loader.bat in the folder to configure your own set of tests. Because of its age, Video Memory stress Test is probably best suited to older video cards or lower end cards with 1GB/2GB of VRAM.
These two utilities have been grouped together because they have subtle differences but are essentially the same. MemtestG80 will test Nvidia graphics cards that are CUDA enabled (2007 and newer) while MemtestCL tests cards that support OpenCL. Nvidia, AMD, Intel, and any other video cards should be compatible with MemtestCL.
Both versions of Memtest are command line based so to configure them from the defaults you will need to add arguments in Command Prompt or a batch file. Running the executable without arguments will perform a default test of scanning the first 128MB on the first card in the system, and run 50 passes. The tests are a mixture of custom patterns and some based on Memtest86 test patterns.
To test more memory and/or alter the number of times it runs the test, run the program in Command Prompt and add an argument to the command line:
MemtestCL/MemtestG80 [-gpu #] [amount of GPU RAM to test in MB] [number of tests]
If you have more than one graphics card in the system, use the -gpu option, otherwise, it can be excluded. By default, these tools will ask to send statistics to the Folding@Home group, you can disable this option through the command line or press n to answer no. An open source version of MemtestCL is available on Github that excludes the data logging options.