maybe someone can answer. how can i tell if my video card is shot?
Check for bullet holes.
I had a similar situation, as soon as I load a game my PC would crash; the video card was a X1900XT. I confirmed it by installing it in another of my PCs. Try the following if you have not done so:
1. Disconnect then reconnect the cable at both ends.
2. Re-seat the video card; pull it out and put it back in. Sounds odd, but this has worked for me and a friend in the past for PCI cards.
3. Uninstall the video drivers in Safe Mode, then re-install when booting back into Windows.
4. Try lowering the GPU core and memory speeds.