Hot Starcraft II is Frying Graphics Cards, Blizzard Issues Temporary Fix
August 1, 2010 1:20 PM
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Starcraft II is overheating some users GPUs, but Blizzard has released a temporary fix.
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
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
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
announced any plans to replace the lost hardware of victims who experienced the bug.
Many customers are outraged at this.
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
) 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.
Heart of the Swarm
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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RE: So who's fault is this?
8/1/2010 7:24:02 PM
Well it's not necessarily a bug nor in all fairness it's Blizzard's fault. This issue came up for other games as well, and there are various solutions. As Blizzard statements goes, this happens for systems where the cooling is insufficient. These systems' VGAs were not pressured in the past so every thing seemed to be alright, or have gathered some dust on the heat sink where the cooling efficiency has decreased and then there is some pressure that causes the failure.
The problem is partially because in normal gaming, the graphic component have some breathing time while waiting for say CPU and other components, but on menu screen, that's not the case. Usually games go around this issue by either capping the frame rate or putting a small idle time between frames(say 1 micro second) to prevent this problem.
Galactic Civilization 2 had this issue for people who were creating very complex and involved ship designs. They fixed it by putting some fixed idle interval at the end of each frame.
No it's not Blizzard's responsibility, but knowing their installed base, it's an oversight IMHO.
Starcraft is the new Furmark ;-)
"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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