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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:

frameratecapglue=30

frameratecap=60

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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Who to lay the blame on?
By Yangorang on 8/2/2010 7:07:05 PM , Rating: 2
From what I've seen so far, this issue really just doesn't appear to be 100% Blizzard's fault. Card's that have been fried seem to be in particular 8800s, and some other notoriously hot cards such as the GTX480, GTX295, and HD4870X2 among others.

I have yet to hear of someone with a liquid cooled HD5870 or some other really well cooled card fried by Starcraft II. This would lead me to believe that Starcraft II is simply a relatively stressful game, and those without adequate cooling are just finding their hardware finally crapping out on them.

Granted, it is had to tell people it is not the game's fault when they have been happily gaming for years and only find their hardware crapping out on one particular game; however, I played Starcraft II for 14 hours straight on my HD5770 (stock cooler) perfectly fine without any issues. My card did get a little bit toasty at 80C even with the fan set at 70%, but it still worked perfectly fine. (ran HWMon in the background to monitor max temps-also my system is on the second floor where room temp is above avg)(and yes I am nerd enough to play through the whole SC2 campaign in one run)




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