Starcraft II players beware, Blizzard’s new game may overheat your video card.
The issue has been around for about two weeks now, but finally hit home (literally) when my own video card went kaput running Starcraft II this past weekend.
(More on Techland: Blizzard Reflects On Five Years Of World Of Warcraft)
The issue at hand? Tech enthusiast sites from across the web have hypothesized that the game’s menu screens aren’t framerate capped. Most games cap their framerate at 60 frames per second, but the theory goes that Starcraft II‘s menu screens remain uncapped and therefore forces your video card to render the game ad nauseam, consequently causing your video card to overheat.
Luckily a quick fix only requires a couple keystrokes. Simply find the variables.txt file found within the Starcraft II folder in your Documents (Documents\StarCraft II\variables.txt) and add the following lines of code:
Blizzard’s Public Relations Manager, Bob Colayco, however, had a different take on the issue. Here’s what he had this to say in response to the overheating:
“There is no code in our software that will cause video cards to overheat. When we saw this issue first reported, we conducted thorough additional testing and determined that for those players experiencing this problem, the cause is most likely hardware-related.
Like any piece of hardware, even brand-new video cards can have unseen issues — they can become damaged over time, through seemingly normal use. These problems can be exacerbated in computers that are operated in cabinets that do not have proper ventilation and/or become very dusty. Dust that collects in fans and heatsinks can interfere with the video card’s ability to dissipate heat from the graphics processor, which can be a problem when running any software that makes normal use of the graphics processor.
We recommend that users ensure that their computer systems are operated in well-ventilated areas, and that they regularly clean dust out of their fans and other computer components. We also recommend that all users ensure that they have the most up-to-date drivers installed for their video card.
Players who are having issues with the software itself can contact our Technical Support team to assist in troubleshooting. For hardware-related issues, we recommend contacting the video card manufacturer to see what their procedure is for supporting damaged or faulty cards.”
So to be safe (and spare having to replace a $100+ video card), it’s probably best to cover all bases and edit your variables.txt as well as keeping the inside of your computer dust free. Just be careful if you decide to open up your computer case, since static and delicate hardware don’t play together very well.
The upside to all this? I received my final nudge to justify building a new computer. Forget Apple’s 12 core. I’m building my own Intel i7-930 Quad-Core PC with a 160gb SSD, 6GB of RAM and 6 TB of HDD space for a quarter of the cost.
Come on Starcraft II, do your worst.
– Joseph Lin
For more information about tinkering with your variables.txt, check out this stickied post on the Blizzard forums:
For system requirements to run Starcraft II, check out this official Blizzard post: