Whether you have upgraded to a newer model, need drivers updating or have purchased a new or used PC from a friend or auction site such as eBay or Gumtree then it makes sense to ask yourself “how to find out what graphics card I have?” If you would like to know how to locate your graphics card, make and model or even troubleshoot sluggish performing GPUs then read our PC PowerZone guide below.
Being one of the most important components inside a computer, the graphics card (can also be called a video card) is a device that receives information from the CPU and Windows software and processes this data and sends to the output display. Usually this is an external monitor, projector or laptop screen. Some of the most popular brands of graphics card include nVidia, AMD and Intel on-board chipset.
Without a graphics card or chipset there would be no video output at all. So, when you buy a computer its always worth noting what graphics card you have installed in case you need to update a driver or install some new memory to boost PC performance. The easiest and quickest way to find out what graphics card is installed is to use the Windows utility programme already installed inside your computer – DirectX.
The DirectX Diagnostic Tool Method
Before we start, you need to check whether you have DirectX installed on your PC. Windows 10 machines should have this pre-installed but older computers with versions of Windows OS such as 8, 7, Vista and XP will probably need to download an install DirectX directly on to your machine.
How to Check if Direct X is Installed on My Computer?
Anyone can do this and it takes just a few seconds to check. Press the Windows key to bring up the search box and enter “dxdiag”. You should see the dxdiag run command. If you do not see any dxdiag information you will need to download this neat little and free utility programme on to your computer.
Microsoft have an excellent web guide and download information for Direct X.
What is DirectX?
DirectX is a software tool that enables your computer graphics and audio cards to work in conjunction with software apps and games. If you have ever used DirectX before then it is likely you would have seen a performance boost because DirectX has direct access to advanced features inside your cards in order to help maximise performance and PC stability.
Although DirectX is primarily used to communicate and help with app / game performance it also an excellent way to quickly identify what graphics card is installed inside your PC case. For the purpose of this tutorial we use DirectX to find out the make, model and even how much display RAM (VRAM) is attached to our card.
Step by Step Instructions: Graphics Card Locater Guide
Follow our three step guide below in order to find out the exact graphics card make and model number – the chances are that you are using some type of AMD, nVidia or Intel graphics card.
Step 1: Press the Windows Key to bring up the search box.
Step 2: Enter “dxdiag” in the search box. You should the dxdiag run command, click enter.
Step3: When the pop-up box appears, click on the display tab to view your graphics card information.
If no dxdiag information displays, then you need to download the software on to your computer, otherwise you should see the below on your computer and completes our how to find out what graphics card I have? quest:
Alternative Way to Using DirectX
If you are having trouble with the DirectX method and you are still looking to find out what graphics card you have in Windows 10 then you can use an alternative method. Search for “advanced display settings” (located at the bottom of the screen) on the Windows search bar.
This is a sub menu from the “change display settings” screen. You can find out driver information here too which helps with troubleshooting performance issues:
How Do I Know if My GPU is Working Properly?
Graphics cards can be expensive. Even budget models can cost well over £100 and if you have purchased your computer from a shop such as PC World or Dell then they already have video cards installed. But what if, after a few months your computer starts to freeze up, the display flickers or your games are sluggish and slow to respond to mouse/keyboard movements?
Often your graphics card could be faulty and it’s worthwhile to carry out some home DIY diagnostic tests to see if you are getting good benchmark tests on your card. The first step is to perform a stress test. Download FurMark and let it rip! There is an active support forum should you need some help and testing this way will reveal any performance issues with your card.
5 Tell Tale Signs Your Graphics Card is Fried!
There are other tell-tale signs that your graphics card could be permanently damaged. These include:
1. Blue and black screens of death
2. GPU artifacting (this is when bugs and glitches appear on your computer screen).
3. Loud whirring fan noises coming from the PC case.
4. Random computer shutdowns – this is when your PC or laptop overheats, your system automatically shuts down.
5. Screen and software lock ups where games and apps such as excel, Word and PowerPoint suddenly lock-up and stop running.
If your graphics card does not seem to be adversely affected by the above factors but you are still getting poor PC performance then try to update your graphics card drivers and also scan your hard drive with a virus checker and disk defrag tool.
Why Won’t My PC Detect My Graphics Card?
There are two main reasons why Windows is not detecting your graphics card inside control panel. The first is software related and it probably resonates to a device driver issue. To check, find the box that your card came with and download the official drivers off the internet.
Secondly – there could be physical damage to either your motherboard or the graphics card itself. Carefully remove the case screws of your PC case and look inside for any evidence of damage.
Can you smell burning when you open the box? Be sure to check all the card slots on the motherboard – is the graphics card sitting straight and fully inserted in the housing slot?
Solving the “how to find out what graphics card I have?” puzzle
By reading our guide on “how to find out what graphics card I have?” we hope you easily find, diagnose and fix all your video card issues. This device is very important and plays an integral role in your computer system hardware setup.