Checking the status of your video card and GPU is a good idea in these days of graphics-intensive PC games and Web sites. This little application will give you a snapshot of those items.
GPU-Z is a basic tool that launches a small, tabbed interface with no bells and whistles, just information in a dialog box-style window. The download is simply an executable file that you run directly - there's no installing or configuring necessary. This free utility supports Nvidia and ATI cards. At launch, it automatically scans your system and reports the card name, GPU, release date and transistors, BIOS version, ROPs, memory type, and memory size.
This utility performed quickly in our tests. It doesn't include a Help file, but its function is limited to describing a single element of your system, and it performs automatically, so a Help feature really isn't necessary--but a readme file would be a nice addition. Although the tool didn't allow us to tweak our system's video performance, we liked that it displayed the driver version, GPU clock, default clock, as well as pixel and texture filtrates. We also liked that we could log sensor data to a file for later comparisons and had the option of disabling polling for individual sensors.
GPU-Z doesn't offer a wide feature set, but it does one thing and does it well. Novices may be a bit overwhelmed by the type of data this tool displays, but if your system's video card is acting up, this utility may help identify some necessary info.