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Starcraft II is overheating some users GPUs, but Blizzard has released a temporary fix.  (Source: Doupe)
Starcraft II fans beware, your graphics card may get Zerg rushed

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, the first game in Blizzard's highly anticipated real-time strategy sequel trilogy launched on Tuesday.  Unfortunately, the blockbuster PC title -- which is expected to sell 10 million copies or more -- had some bumps during its launch.

There were a number of minor bugs, but nothing show stopping at first.  Then the reports of melting GPUs hit.

Among those affected was Adam Biessener of Game Informer whose card melted while he was live blogging about his game experience.  He bemoaned, "Three hours of cursing later, I'm posting this from my wife's laptop because both my graphics card and my work laptop appear to be fried."

The problem appears to be located in the main menu, where an uncapped frame rate maxes out the GPU, in some cases pushing it to overheating and potentially permanent failure.

Blizzard has issued a response on its support site, acknowledging that it was aware of the issue, and offering a quick fix.  The company writes:

Certain screens make your hardware work pretty hard

Screens that are light on detail may make your system overheat if cooling is overall insufficient. This is because the game has nothing to do so it is primarily just working on drawing the screen very quickly. A temporary workaround is to go to your Documents\StarCraft II Beta\variables.txt file and add these lines:



You may replace these numbers if you want to.

For eager customers who already lost a graphics card, though, that fix may prove too late.  Blizzard has not announced any plans to replace the lost hardware of victims who experienced the bug.

Many customers are outraged at this.  Writes one victim Lorsaire:

Why was this not addressed already before release, and why were there no breaking news warnings or updates to fix this before people started having damage done to their hardware?  My Nvidia GeForce cost me more than $300 to get a good card that was great for gaming...  Blizzard are you doing anything or have plans to compensate people for the damage you've created?

Of course some of the cards may be covered by manufacturer warranties.  And while it does appear a bug (uncapped framerates) is partially to blame for killing off the cards, a card pushed to the max would generally not die instantly were it not for poorly engineered and/or defective cooling.  It appears that the cards ultimately were done in by the double blow of both a software bug (in SC II) and hardware issues.

The game features intensely addictive multiplayer gaming between three diverse races -- the Zerg, the Protoss, and the Terrans.  It also features a single player campaign in which you play a Terran rebel.  Future titles -- Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void will included Protoss and Zerg campaigns, and possibly deliver new multiplayer features as well.  Just beware the uncapped framerates.

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Damn hot
By starwhat on 8/1/2010 4:29:27 PM , Rating: 2
Well its running bloody hot here, and the "fix" has no effect.

I don't know anything about cooling, or overclocking or anything. I just bought a computer which I expect to be able to play a game without blowing up!

RE: Damn hot
By kyp275 on 8/1/2010 5:26:47 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know anything about cooling, or overclocking or anything. I just bought a computer which I expect to be able to play a game without blowing up!

Reasonable expectation, and also one which the manufacturer of your PC may not have cared about :P

RE: Damn hot
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2010 1:44:03 PM , Rating: 5
How does this get a 5 on Daily Tech??? Give me a break.

Hey, did you actually SAVE the changes on notepad before closing it? Did you hit ctrl+alt+F in game to make sure it has "no effect"?

I want answers to these questions. I'm not taking your word for it. No offense, you seem highly computer illiterate. How about telling us what computer you bought?

Shame on everyone who rated this up to 5 without even the slightest information provided to substantiate his claims. Come on, this is a tech site???

RE: Damn hot
By clovell on 8/2/2010 3:54:14 PM , Rating: 2
Plus - folks who just buy a pre-built computer for gaming typically aren't aware that Graphics Cards run hot - 60C is bad for a CPU, but a GPU can take about 80C before you get anywhere close to having heat issues.

RE: Damn hot
By Lerianis on 8/11/2010 4:38:27 PM , Rating: 2
Guess again! My laptop GPU only gets up to 75C and it's black-screening the ENTIRE computer.

RE: Damn hot
By SlyNine on 8/4/2010 2:40:49 PM , Rating: 2
Make sure you're not forcing Vsynk disabled. I really have no idea how the "fix" is supposed to work. But I bet they just turned on vsynk.

Also, It would run hot. Its a game. It just wouldn't run as hot. So you need to define just how hot "hot" is before anyone can tell you if it's a problem or not.

RE: Damn hot
By walk2k on 8/5/2010 2:07:22 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry but 70-80c IS "damn hot", as in you wouldn't want to touch it, and yet that's a perfectly normal temp for a modern GPU. If it's not crashing or burning out your hardware, what's the problem?

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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