One of a computer builder’s primary objectives is to keep the graphics card from sagging. As graphics cards become more sophisticated, they also become heavier. Therefore, sagging is a common issue with custom PCs that feature high-quality cards; so how can you keep your GPU from sagging?
To keep your GPU from sagging, use supportive tools or place Legos underneath the graphics card. If you’re using materials from home, ensure that they won’t cause computer malfunction. GPU support braces are arguably the safest and most effective way to prevent sagging.
This article will define GPU sagging and explain ways to avoid it in your machine builds. We’ll also discuss the various mounting brackets available for PCs.
What is sagging?
GPU sagging happens once the graphics card is too heavy for a case bracket or PCB to support it. GPU sag, in most situations, makes your build look unsophisticated.
Fortunately, its impact on efficiency has proven negligible, and harm to your components is unlikely, as GPUs and PCI-e slots withstand extreme stress.
However, severe instances of GPU sag can prove problematic. If a GPU sags enough, it can warp the PCB and displace the cooling devices.
As a result, the temperature will rise, which can cause damage to the graphics card.
Another disadvantage of a sagging GPU is that it can cause the solder joints on the motherboard’s slot to fail.
The GPU’s sag can also lead to a brief loss of power. The worst-case scenario is that the graphics card will stop functioning and will no longer be registered.
How much GPU sag is too much?
Unless the sag results in a malfunction, it’s a purely cosmetic problem. However, if you see your GPU drifting towards other pieces, this is cause for concern.
GPUs are large objects, and although they’re unlikely to destroy other devices, the strain on more delicate parts may cause damage.
How to know if your GPU card has sagging damage
While GPU sag usually isn’t detrimental to your graphics card, further damage can develop from the sagging.
First, because the GPU is out of place, it can interact with other metal parts that may damage the piece.
Also, if your GPU is sagging and your PC drops, it’s more likely that the GPU will break in the process.
Perform a visual inspection of the card before assuming it’s impaired. Remove the side panel from the desktop tower and inspect the card for signs of wear or injury.
If there are no visible defects, reconnect the GPU to your PC.
But keep in mind that the absence of physical damage doesn’t mean the item isn’t defective.
If your GPU starts to sag and you experience some of the following symptoms, it may also have some damage.
7 Signs your GPU card has sagging damage
- Screen glitches are a frequent symptom of a failing GPU. These glitches occur while the video card is in use, such as when gaming or streaming. When a screen glitch occurs, strange shapes or colors appear spontaneously. Usually, you can resolve this by restarting the game or program. If, on the other hand, the video card is defective, this symptom will happen again after restart.
- Another prominent symptom of a GPU error is stuttering. It’s a sudden and significant decrease in frame rate that happens randomly.
- You can find artifacting if something is wrong with the graphics card. That’s because the graphics card is what the computer uses to display images on the monitor. Colors will seem odd, and 3D models will swell.
- A high fan speed is a typical indicator of video card problems. Of course, this isn’t to say that your video card is to blame for an increased fan pace. However, if you notice any of the additional symptoms mentioned above, your GPU likely needs replacement.
- Another indicator is driver crashes. When the monitor returns to normal after a period of inactivity, the system will tell you that the video drivers have crashed and need a restart. This activity won’t cause the computer to malfunction, but it’ll happen periodically because of the broken GPU.
- Another common problem associated with weakened GPUs is overheating. As a result of the increased fan speed, the PC and graphics card can begin to reach abnormal temperatures. If your PC begins to overheat after a few minutes, you may need to either prevent your graphics card from sagging or purchase a new one.
- You see a blue screen while doing graphically intensive operations. This symptom may be an indicator that your graphics card has failed.
Try to attach an alternate monitor to your computer to determine whether the display or the graphics card is failing.
If the visual distortions persist, the problem is most likely with the card.
How to detect GPU damage using software
If your PC is running Windows, follow these steps to learn if your GPU’s performance is declining, thanks to sagging:
- Open the Control Panel in Windows.
- Pick “System and Security” from the menu.
- “Device Manager” should be selected.
- Navigate to the “Display Adapters” section.
- Double-click the name of your graphics card.
- Scroll down to the “Device status” section. If the software identifies any issues, you’ll see them here.
Please refer to this article if you want to perform more in-depth testing to see if your graphics card is working properly.
How to keep graphics card from sagging
GPU vendors have attempted remedies, which involve strengthening the PCB with mounting brackets.
Still, even the newest cards may begin to droop on the far side of the device. You can stop the graphics card from sagging by using the following methods:
1. Install a GPU support brace
Investing in a GPU support brace for your PC is a sensible choice. You can use these mechanisms to secure the GPU and keep it from sagging.
There are two types of GPU support braces: vertical and horizontal. Both have their own set of benefits and drawbacks and are best suited to specific situations.
What is a horizontal GPU brace, and when is it appropriate to use one?
Horizontal graphics cardholders are typically L-shaped and screwed to the side of the case bracket, alongside the graphics card.
It features adjustable rubber mounts that provide adequate support for the card and keep it from sagging.
To ensure proper operation, the width of the graphics card should be marginally greater than the width of the computer case bracket.
Because of this requirement, these models wouldn’t function with low-profile graphics cards.
The Cooler Master ELV8 is a horizontal brace made of durable aluminum. We recommend it for its unrivaled durability.
What is a vertical GPU brace, and when is it appropriate to use one?
In comparison to horizontal graphics cardholders, vertical graphics cardholders consist of a stand with a shaft and two or three customizable sliders.
Owners can lock these sliders in place to protect the graphics card and keep it from sagging.
Vertical versions cannot be in device cases that lack sufficient room for the part to stand. If you have a slim PC case, you’d have difficulty adapting a vertical model to accommodate your graphics card.
Vertical GPU holders can house several graphics cards without a problem. Comparatively, horizontal GPU holders can handle just one graphics card at a time.
They can interfere with the adjacent graphics card below it if you’re using several graphics cards in a crossfire configuration.
Also, a vertical graphics card sag holder supports the graphics card more securely and is more compact than a horizontal one.
The upHere Vertical Brace is a magnetic brace that adheres to the frame. With aluminum alloy metal, it can accommodate up to two GPUs, effectively eliminating all of the weight that may cause damage to your motherboard.
2. Mount your GPU vertically
You can eliminate sag if you mount the GPU vertically. For example, you can invert your vertical PC case, swap cases, or add a vertical GPU mount to your current build.
It’s best to mount one exhaust fan at the rear of the case and intake fans at the front to prevent this!
How to mount your GPU vertically
If you’re mounting a graphics card vertically, the following steps will ensure proper installation:
- Attach the vertical adapter to the inside of the computer shell so that the plate’s notches face the motherboard edge.
- Align the riser card’s holes with the holes of the adapter cover.
- Secure the riser card with a screwdriver.
- Connect the graphics card to the riser card.
- Install the video card with screws.
3. Support the GPU with PCI cables or building blocks
Increased GPU performance requires inserting one or more cables connecting the device directly to the power supply.
These PCI wires are ideal for preventing and reversing sagging. All it takes is sufficient tension in the cable and a connection to the GPU from above.
After securing the wires, they can support the GPU.
Utilizing building blocks is another innovative way to support a large GPU. All you need to do is build a basic tower that reinforces the component.
However, don’t use plastic building blocks for this process, and they’re likely to melt as you use your computer.
4. Use dark nylon string to secure the GPU
Use a strong string, such as a nylon cord, to secure the GPU and prevent it from sagging.
Thread the rope through the backplate mount and attach it to the top of the case. Make sure the string you use can withstand the heat produced by a standard GPU.
Choose a dark hue if the case has LEDs and you want the string to be discrete.
5. Prop a pencil under the GPU card
The simplest way to quickly add power to your hanging graphics card is to use a pencil or similar object to apply upward force. Position the pencil underneath the GPU in your build.
While this is the simplest method, it does have some disadvantages. For example, you may be unable to locate a pencil of the proper height. Or you can damage certain components.
Warning: Don’t let any metal or graphite from the pencil come in contact with the graphics card. Never place it where it can obstruct the cooling fans operation.
Bear in mind that this technique is only temporary.
6. Add an acrylic backplate
A graphics card backplate is a thin metal that protects the graphics card’s rear.
The backplate acts as a brace for the card’s cooler, preventing the PCB from bending. Also, certain backplates make it easier to clean the back of the card.
Backplates often protect the GPU from sagging since they stabilize it.
How to make a backplate at home
It’s not difficult to build a backplate.
To begin, determine the GPU’s size. Take this measurement with the GPU already inside the computer shell.
This approach eliminates the possibility of creating a backplate that interferes with other components.
After that, select the acrylic you want to use and proceed to the following steps:
- Cut the acrylic with a jigsaw.
- Remove rough edges with 600 grit sandpaper.
- Attach it to the GPU using screws or suitable tape.
Other ways to improve your PC build
Before determining that you need a hardware update, ensure that you have a hardware issue.
Perform the following simple device maintenance activities first and observe whether your computer’s performance improves:
- Remove any unused programs.
- Delete viruses and other malware.
- Optimize the hard drive’s performance by defragmenting it.
Even if you don’t discover any hardware issues, you may still want to update the components to increase the computer’s speed and performance.
Upgrade the RAM
If you plan to work with videos or perform some gaming, 16GB or 32GB is a better choice.
Since RAM comes in various styles and sizes, it’s critical to determine which type of RAM is compatible with your Motherboard.
Bear in mind that a 32-bit operating system has a maximum RAM capacity of 4 GB.
Use a solid state drive with more storage
A solid-state drive is considerably faster than a traditional hard disk drive. And since these drives don’t have moving components, they’re less vulnerable to mechanical failure.
Try installing an extra drive rather than replacing the older one (as long as the original drive is still available).
The motherboards of most desktop computers will support up to four hard drives, including the optical drive.
Completely replacing a hard disk requires extra measures, as you need to move all the files from the old drive to the new one.
Invest in a better CPU
The CPU is the system’s central control. If it’s becoming obsolete, consider switching to a more modern chip that can still work in your motherboard.
Determine the CPU socket that your motherboard supports. Then, look for CPUs that can work with that socket.
Don’t forget to choose the most efficient one that fits your budget. Replacing a CPU is reasonably straightforward. But be careful to avoid bending the pins.
How to choose a CPU
The first decision is which brand to use as the brains of your computer. You have two primary manufacturers to pick from:
- Intel. Certain Intel Core CPUs provide integrated graphics processors that display images to your monitor.
- AMD. AMD offers a similar product named the accelerated processing unit, which integrates a CPU and a GPU in a single box.
Typically, these are low-power GPUs that perform admirably for everyday efficiency tasks but are limited to less graphically challenging games and functions.
Given that you’re using a standalone GPU, you’ll want to be aware of the types of graphics cards that are compatible with your motherboard.
Additionally, you must know the maximum number of GPUs that your motherboard can accommodate to prevent overloading your build.
Use a more efficient, water-based cooling system
An ineffective cooling system results in lower operating temperatures. Stable temperatures mean that the CPU and motherboard are under less stress.
Try switching to a water-based cooling system if you already use air cooling. The primary benefit of water cooling systems is that they carry heat energy away from the computer quietly.
GPU sag often stems from the mounting procedure itself rather than the card’s weight.
A certain degree of tilt is almost always inevitable, depending on the situation and how the components rest.
Even with today’s electronics, an extreme sag that might inflict substantial harm is improbable.
If you’re searching for additional ways to avoid sagging, Paul’s Hardware has a video that may help you out: