What is Artifacting and How to fix it?

Artifacting is a phenomenon where unwanted pixel colors, buggy textures, or glitches appear on your screen while gaming due to heavy load on the GPU.

Artifacting can occur in many forms. Sometimes, you will see unusual pixel colors like pink, green color on the corners, and other times you will see the image getting distorted with a lot of glitches.

Artifacting can occur in desktop computers, laptops, gaming consoles like PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Switch, and even in Digital Cameras.

In this article, I will explain what causes Artifacting, some examples of artifacting, and most importantly how to fix Artifacting.

What is GPU Artifacting?

GPU Artifacting occurs when your GPU is unable to render the frames due to computational issues that occur because of heavy load on the GPU. This results in usual pixel colors appearing on the screen, unwanted glitches, buggy textures, or distorted pixels altogether.

A GPU requires a certain core clock frequency and Voltage level to function properly. If you increase the clock speed of the GPU by too much, it cannot function properly at that Voltage level, which results in the bad rendering of frames and leads to Artifacting.

Does Artifacting happen only in Games?

Artifacting occurs mostly while playing resource-intensive games that require a lot of GPU power like Cyberpunk 2077, Call of Duty, Valorant, Fortnite, etc. but it is not limited to games only.

Artifacting can also occur while using software that puts a heavy load on the GPU like Blender, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, etc. Basically, any software that puts a heavy load on the GPU can cause Artifacting.

What Does Artifacting look like? (Examples of Artifacting)

Artifacting can look like unwanted pixel colors for example green, pink colors appearing in the sides and corners of the game screen or appearing in the entire screen in the form of glitches.

artifacting example while gaming

The above image shows one example of how Artifacting looks like. You can clearly see the distorted pixels marked with red arrows. These unwanted green and pink pixels are called Artifacts.

As I mentioned earlier, Artifacting can also look like distorted pixels and bad glitches appearing on the screen. Here is a video that shows another example of Artifacting.

As you can clearly see, this type of Artifacting is much worse and the reason for it is the GPU in the above video has gotten a lot of damage and the GPU will most probably die sooner rather than later.

Why does GPU Artifacting happen? (Causes of Artifacting)

GPU Artifacting or Artifacting in computers happens due to four main reasons which are mentioned below.

(1) Overclocked GPU

Every GPU can function properly up to a particular core clock frequency for a set Voltage level. If you increase the core clock frequency beyond a level that your graphics card can handle at that voltage then it will cause the GPU to overheat and leads to Artifacting.

Overclocking and GPU overheating are the biggest reasons for GPU Artifacting. Most gamers try to overclock their GPUs using software like MSI AfterBurner but if you don’t do it properly then it could lead to Artifacting of the GPU, GPU Throttling and Overheating.

(2) Using outdated or Beta Graphics Card Drivers

If your Graphics card is running on outdated drivers then it could lead to Artifacting. Outdated Graphics card drivers can cause serious issues like Artifacting, poor quality visuals, screen tearing, stuttering, etc.

Installing Beta drivers for the Graphics card is another factor in Artifacting. You should never download beta drivers. Instead, you should download only the most recent Stable release version of your Graphics card driver.

(3) GPU Overheating

If your GPU is getting overheated then it could lead to Artifacting. Overheating generally occurs due to GPU Overclocking, bad cooling system, drying of Thermal paste, or dust clogging up in the air vents and in the cooling fans.

If the maximum temperature of your Graphics card starts increasing abnormally then it could lead to Artifacting.

(4) Faulty GPU

A faulty or damaged GPU could also lead to Artifacting. A faulty GPU is very dangerous to use because it could crash your system and in the worst case, the GPU could catch fire.

Can Dust cause Artifacting?

Yes, dust can cause artifacting of the GPU. If there is a lot of dust inside your computer, it will stop the hot air from escaping out of the air vents. So, hot air will stay inside the computer and will increase the overall temperature of the GPU and your GPU will start to heat up.

When your GPU overheats beyond the ideal GPU temperature it will start showing signs of Artifacting and Thermal Throttling. You can remove dust by blowing dry air using a blow dryer through the air vents of your computer. Make sure to also clean the cooling fans so that the dust doesn’t stick on them.

Can Drivers cause Artifacting?

Yes, using outdated drivers or a beta version of Graphics drivers can cause Artifacting. Outdated drivers lead to slow performance and even cause problems in the proper functioning of the GPU.

Using outdated or a beta release of drivers prevents the GPU from rendering the frames properly during high load. If you continue gaming for a longer duration using these drivers then chances are that it would lead to Artifacting or much worse damage.

Can you fix GPU Artifacting?

Yes, GPU Artifacting can be fixed in most cases. As mentioned earlier, the biggest reason for Artifacting is Overclocked GPU. If you underclock the GPU to a reasonable core clock frequency then you can fix it.

However, if the reason for Artifacting is a damaged or faulty GPU then you cannot fix it simply. You would have to replace the entire GPU in such a case.

How to fix GPU Artifacting?

In order to fix GPU Artifacting, you would have to find out why it’s happening in the first place. I have mentioned the causes of Artifacting above and I will provide the fix for each of these causes.

(1) Artifacting fix for an Overclocked GPU

If you have an overclocked GPU then you could fix it by underclocking the GPU to a reasonable core clock frequency where the graphics card can run properly.

Most people use MSI Afterburner to overclock their GPU so I will be using this to demonstrate how to underclock your GPU.

Step 1 – Install MSI Afterburner and check the current core clock frequency. As you can see from the image below, my current core clock frequency is 2024 MHz.

msi afterburner current clock frequency

Step 2 – Click on the slider under the core clock frequency option and drag it towards the left side. You should drag it to the clock frequency level where it was before overclocking the GPU. If you don’t remember the original clock frequency then set it to any value between 1300-1700 MHz.

msi afterburner underclocked frequency

Step 3 – Click on the “Check Mark” button to save your changes.

(2) Artifacting fix for Outdated or Beta version Of Graphics card drivers

If your Graphics card drivers are outdated then you can fix it by updating your drivers. There is no need to manually search for driver updates because both NVIDIA and AMD have released tools that check and update your Graphics card drivers automatically.

NVIDIA users can download the NVIDIA GeForce Experience tool. This tool automatically checks for any driver updates and allows you to download and install a newer version of drivers directly from the tool.

AMD users can download the AMD Driver Auto-Detect Tool. This tool also checks for driver updates automatically and allows you to download new drivers directly from the tool.

If you’re using Beta Drivers for Graphics card then replace it with the most recent stable release version. You should never use the Beta version.

(3) Fix for GPU Overheating

You should check the maximum temperature of your Graphics card constantly. If the temperature goes above 90 degrees Celsius while playing games then your GPU is overheating.

You can prevent GPU overheating in the following ways.

(A) If your GPU clock frequency is too high then you should Underclock your GPU to a reasonable core clock frequency. You can follow the guide provided above to underclock your GPU.

(B) Set a limit to the maximum temperature or clock frequency your GPU can achieve using tools like MSI Afterburner.

(C) Clean the dust that settles in the air vents and Cooling fans using a blow dryer.

(D) If your Thermal paste is drying then you can apply fresh Thermal Paste.

(4) Fix for Faulty GPU

If your GPU is faulty or damaged then you cannot fix it using any tool. You would have to replace the GPU with a new one.

Is Artifacting bad for your GPU?

Yes, Artifacting is really bad for your GPU. If your GPU is artifacting and you continue using it then the transistors inside the GPU will get damaged and your GPU will die.

The transistors in your GPU tend to function at a certain voltage. If you overclock your GPU, you are basically asking the transistors to function at a frequency and voltage that it is not supposed to. This increases the load on the transistors and eventually, they overheat and get damaged.

Artifacting can cause your GPU to die and in the worst-case scenario, your GPU can catch fire. Therefore, it is recommended that you never continue using an Artifacting GPU.

Can I use an Artifacting GPU for Mining?

You can use an artifacting GPU by undervolting it. Undervolting is the process of reducing the Operating Voltage of the GPU. The undervolted GPU won’t get you the same hash rate as with a normal or overclocked GPU.

Crypto Mining puts a lot of load on the GPUs so it is recommended that you don’t use an Artifacting GPU for Mining.

If you do end up using it for mining then chances are the transistors inside the GPU will overheat and damage the entire GPU. So, it is better to use a perfectly working GPU for Crypto Mining.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q.1 – My GPU is artifacting and crashing.

If your GPU is artifacting and crashing, it means that your GPU is overclocked to a much higher core clock frequency where it’s not supposed to go. You should immediately underclock your GPU using the guide provided in this article.

It can also happen if your GPU is damaged or faulty. You should replace your GPU if that’s the case.

Q.2 – Does Artifacting occur in CPU, BIOS, or GPU?

Artifacting happens mainly in the GPU because GPU is used to render frames and perform high-end computations during gaming and running resource-intensive design software like Adobe After Effects, Premiere Pro, etc.

Q.3 – Sony PS5 and Xbox Series X Artifacting?

You cannot overclock the GPUs in gaming consoles so if you get artifacting in gaming consoles like Xbox, PlayStation and Wii then it is most likely because of a faulty GPU. You should immediately take your console to the nearest service center.

Q.4 – GPU artifacts when installing drivers?

This happens if you’re installing Beta release version drivers. Make sure to download and install the most recent stable release version driver for your graphics card.

Q.5 – GPU artifacts without overclocking?

If your GPU is artifacting without overclocking, the reason might be that you are using outdated drivers or beta release drivers, or your GPU is overheating abnormally or your GPU is damaged.

Q.6 – GPU Artifacting temperature.

There is no specific temperature at which a GPU can artifact. If your GPU is overclocked then artifacting can occur when the GPU reaches a temperature over 80 degrees Celsius.

Q.7 – GPU artifacting at low temperatures.

It can happen most likely due to a very high core clock frequency that you’ve set during overclocking. If it’s happening without overclocking then the GPU is faulty or damaged.

Q.8 – Can bad drivers cause artifacting?

Yes, bad drivers and outdated drivers can cause GPU artifcating. These outdated graphics card drivers are not tested for new and modern games so they can cause malfunctions like artifacting of the GPU.

Conclusion

This article hopefully answers all your queries regarding Artifacting. I have tried my best to answer all the questions related to this topic.

However, if I missed anything then you can ask your questions via the comments section below and I will answer them to the best of my ability.

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