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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The bug is not in Starcraft
8/2/2010 8:15:42 AM
This is definitely not a software bug in Starcraft, it's either a software bug in the video card drivers, or in the hardware itself. Unless the card is overclocked by the user, no rendering engine should be able to burn a card to death, be it Furmark or anything else. I don't care what the GPU manufacturers deem as "urealistical load" on the GPU, the cooling should be able to handle any load that an application could throw at it. I wouldn't expect this from an integrated GPU, those are only meant to run light loads, but heavy loads are the reason people buy discrete GPUs for.
If the GPU manufacturers are desperate enough to push their GPUs to higher frequencies than the cooling may be able to handle at max load, in order to achieve a few more FPS than the competition, then they should at least put some safety nets in there somewhere, it's not hard to do at all. The drivers should monitor the temperature and slow down the chip if it detects overheating, and ideally alert the user of the situation. This should also override any manual fan speed control and revert any overclocking.
Anyway, it's absurd to even mention that Blizzard are responsible for this and that they should replace the damaged hardware. Unless the burned cards where overclocked by the user, this is the GPU manufacturers' fault and they are the ones who should pay the bill.
RE: The bug is not in Starcraft
8/4/2010 2:59:53 PM
The drivers do this already. This has been debated with ATI calling furmark a "power virus". The software protection kicked in to slowly.
The 5xxx added hardware protection. Hardware should be able to handle what it was meant to handle. Take a car, you cannot isolate the engine ( furmark isolates the GPU) and push that at max RPM's for very long without it blowing. Being responsible is still needed.
However in this case the fault is on the videocard maker, as this is real code and it is not reasonable to expect the end user to avoid it. If furmark was the only case then maybe I could agree with ATI/AMD.
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