A GPU is an electronic component that enables a computer to display graphics on your monitor. It stands for Graphics Processing Unit and is often found on a graphics card. In this article, we’ll be covering how to fix GPU sag, a well-known problem for gamers.
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What Exactly Is GPU Sag?
Fixing GPU sag starts with understanding what it is. You can take the term literally because it means you’re dealing with a phenomenon called graphics card sag. It’s pretty common.
The graphics card will bend under its own weight, which happens because it’s only anchored to the motherboard in two ways. The first is the screws that hold the graphics card in place, and the second is the connection point where it’s attached to the motherboard.
These two ways only provide minimal support for the graphics card and GPU so that GPU sag can occur over time. Typically, the sagging is limited and won't cause problems, but sometimes it's more severe and can interfere with the operation of your computer.
As GPU capabilities have grown and their complexity has increased, GPU sagging has become more common.
Related: What Exactly Is GPU Scaling?
How Bad Is GPU Sag For Your Computer?
If you’ve been asking the question ‘is graphics card sag bad?’, then we’ve got an answer. It’s generally not a problem, but it can impact the lifespan of your GPU if it’s severe.
The graphics card and the PCIe lane that it connects to can withstand some sagging, but only to a point. Excessive GPU sagging can put pressure on the GPU connectors, and the PCIe lane can also come under stress from the weight of the graphics card.
You won’t need to do anything in mild cases. But in severe cases, the sagging could disconnect the graphics card from the motherboard, which would force you to stop gaming.
If you suspect your GPU is sagging, you might want to analyze its performance and compare it to manufacturer specifications. That way, you can see if it’s underperforming.
How To Fix GPU Sag? (7 Easy Solutions & Prevention Tips)
1. Use Long Objects
If you lack a PC repair kit, then you can rely on some good old-fashioned DIY. A pen is one of the options you’ll have for graphics card sag support, but you could also use a pencil or a similar item.
It’s vital to ensure it’s sturdy but not too sharp. For example, a screwdriver wouldn’t be a good idea as the metal could damage components inside your computer and scratch up the computer case.
To put your chosen object to use, test to see if it will fit between the graphics card and the base of your computer. If it does, find the lowest point of the sag, and prop it up. Make sure the object won’t slide out of position, and you’ll be good to go.
2. Use Building Blocks
If you’re unable to find anything with a suitable height, you can try small building blocks. A great example is Lego pieces, as you can stack these to a precise height. All you need to do is measure the height of the gap, as we just mentioned, and then stick together the appropriate number of Lego blocks.
Alternatively, you might like to use Jenga blocks. If the height of one block is enough, you can prop up the graphics card with it standing vertically. If not, you may be able to lay them horizontally for added stability.
Both of these, or other building blocks you can find, will make a decent graphics card sag fix. However, they may shift around if you move your computer, so you’ll need to secure them properly or be willing to adjust them regularly.
3. Use PCI Cables
Sticking objects into your computer is cheap and quick, but it's not something we recommend if you have better alternatives. One of those is using the cables inside your computer to fix the graphics card sag. Specifically, you can use the PCIe or power cables.
To use this method, you’ll need to place these cables above the GPU. It’s unconventional, as most gamers prefer cables along the bottom for a neater appearance, but it’s a suitable method if your graphics card is sagging.
When you’re positioning those cables, make sure they’re as tight as possible. They won’t support the graphics card if they’re too loose, and the sagging will continue.
You can use cable clips and ties to achieve this if the cables are too long. However, be careful not to break the cables or bend them excessively.
4. Use String Or Wire
Another low-tech option to stop graphics card sagging is to use wires and string. Unlike using long objects or building blocks, this method supports the GPU from the top of your computer case. If you’re using string, make sure it’s thick and robust. Otherwise, it could snap or come loose.
With wires, your safest option is to opt for fishing wire. It’s sturdy without being too cumbersome or thick, but you should ensure that the wire or string is taut. That way, your graphics card won’t gradually sag again.
To attach the string or wire, you can wrap it around your case or loop it over the top of a screw. You might find a hole in the circuit board on the graphics card you can thread it through. Otherwise, you’ll need to use an adhesive.
5. Use A PCI Bracket
The first of our more advanced solutions is installing a graphics card sag bracket - typically called a PCI bracket for short. You’ll need to buy a PCI extension cable to implement this approach, and the new bracket will use the slots of a vacant PCI slot directly beneath your GPU.
You may need the help of a technician to install it, but you can also find instructions online.
You can combine a graphic card anti sag bracket with the cable method we mentioned earlier. That way, your graphics card can have more protection against sagging.
If it’s sagging severely, that will be a good choice. However, if you’re using a graphics card anti sag support bracket, make sure not to place too much weight on it. Otherwise, it might start to sag as well!
6. Use Backplates
Backplates often come as standard with a higher-end GPU, like some of those used in gaming. That’s because more powerful graphics cards usually weigh more.
The manufacturers of these graphics cards know how to prevent graphics card sag. Plus, with a market size predicted to hit $200 billion by 2027, GPU manufacturers are keen to keep their customer base satisfied.
The backplate adds support to the circuit board of the graphics card, thus preventing it from sagging under its weight. Backplates can also feature attractive designs with logos and patterns on them, and they can protect your GPU from getting dusty or dirty.
You can also purchase backplates to install yourself, but it’s essential to make sure they can fit over the circuit board of your graphics card.
7. Use Braces
A graphics card sag holder is the preferred option for computer technicians. Also known as braces, these pieces of hardware are professional and well-made. When considering how to fix GPU sag, these are superior to all the other approaches we’ve covered.
Many braces are compact and narrow, meaning they fit neatly inside a computer case. Some will allow you to mount your graphics card or GPU vertically, taking the pressure off the circuit board.
You can usually find braces with adjustable components so you can fit them onto your particular graphics card. That makes them easy to use, hence why computer technicians view them as the most convenient option.
All you need to do is take off the cover on your computer, ensure the adjacent PCI slot near your GPU is free, and then use screws to mount the brace.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How do I know if my GPU is sagging?
If your GPU is sagging, then you’ll notice a slight bend in the circuit board. You may have to measure it with a ruler if it’s hard to tell. If it’s not straight, then your GPU is sagging.
Related: How To Clean A Graphics Card
Are vertical GPU mounts bad?
Generally, vertical GPU mounts are an excellent option to avoid sagging or rectify sagging that’s already taken place. However, in some computers, they can get too close to the side panels and cause airflow problems for the graphics card.
Can I add a backplate to my GPU?
Yes, you can. You might have to buy a specific backplate online or in a computer store, but you can also make your own to fit the size of your graphics card.
How do I secure my GPU?
To ensure your GPU is secure and unlikely to sag, you’ll want to lock it into the PCIe connector and then screw it into the motherboard. That will ensure it’s fixed in one position.
Is GPU support necessary?
If you have a simple GPU, then it’s not necessary to support it. But if you have an advanced GPU mounted on a graphics card with multiple fans, then the weight means it will need support.
You should now know how to stop graphics card sag and how to fix graphics card sag if it’s already occurred. We’ve covered what it is, whether it’s bad for your GPU, seven ways to fix it, and some commonly asked questions.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.