Graphics card is the muscle behind an immersive gaming experience. It is an optimized piece of equipment used to render high-quality graphics in a matter of seconds. With all the processing going on in the background to run those demanding games at cranked-up settings and high resolutions, it is only natural that graphics cards tend to generate heat.
In order to ensure maximum performance out of a graphics card and extend its lifespan to the fullest, it is extremely important to keep its temperatures stable. In this extensive guide, we will look at what are the ideal GPU temperatures, some factors that cause your graphics card to heat up, and finally, some efficient ways to bring those temperatures down. If you have constantly been wondering about how to lower GU temperature, continue reading our guide.
- Your GPU can overheat if you put a lot of pressure on it, something that can potentially lead to hardware failure.
- It is important to keep the GPU temperature low, as this will help increase the overall lifespan of the component.
- There are a number of ways through which you can keep the temperature of your GPU low.
How To Lower GPU Temperatures?
Let’s look at some of the most efficient ways to lower those GPU temperatures. We will be dividing these solutions into two categories. One would be software-based solutions. Things you can do while staying within your operating system in order to bring those GPU temperatures down. The second category would be hardware-based solutions that involve thorough inspection, repairing, and replacement of the hardware to bring the CPU temperatures down.
Before we jump right into the hardware-based solutions, let us stay well within our operating system and try to solve the problem from there. Mentioned below are some of the ways that are known to be very effective in bringing a GPU’s temperatures down.
Revert to Non-Overclocking Settings
If you are facing a sudden rise in GPU temperatures after you have jumped into the world of overclocking, then the first solution we recommend is to revert those clock speeds back and see if you see a decrease in those temperatures. Overclocking is the easiest way to raise your graphics card’s temperatures.
We only recommend it when your hardware has enough cooling capabilities to support it. If you want to push your graphics card to its limits by overclocking it for long sessions, we absolutely recommend investing in a better cooling solution, as most stock cooling solutions aren’t able to handle that kind of load.
Try Changing Drivers
We always recommend keeping your GPU drivers up to date unless there’s an exception of a faulty driver. GPU manufacturers continue to fine-tune your graphics card with driver updates every now and then to dictate how it should behave. So, make sure your graphics drivers are up to date.
However, if your GPU drivers are updated to the latest version, and you are still experiencing a rise in your temperatures, then we recommend rolling back to the previous version of your driver and observing if that brings the temperature down. Sometimes the manufacturer can also roll out a faulty driver update that can make your GPU behave in absurd ways so just make sure you roll back to the previous version until a newer update is sent to fix the faulty one.
Under-Volt Your GPU
Under-volting your graphics card really is not as bad as it sounds. Your GPU takes a bit more power from the PSU than it utilizes. In most cases, it will work fine and continue to work how it used to with a little bit less power. This is what we call under-volting. The process involves maintaining similar clock speeds but limiting the power your GPU receives.
Cutting off some of the extra power that your GPU receives and does not utilize can help you bring your temperatures down by a notch without the cost of performance. In many cases, you will observe no change in performance. It is basically like setting a low-power mode for your GPU. You are simply reducing the power consumption of your GPU but making it run at the same clock speeds. Apps like MSI Afterburner can help you with under-volting your GPU.
Tweak Fan Curves
Many modern GPU manufacturers like Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI give you the option to tweak your GPU’s behavior with their tuning software so you can have better control over your GPU. These tuning apps allow you to adjust stuff like fan speeds, clock speeds, etc. If your GPU is set at default fan speeds, we highly recommend you set a higher GPU fan speed curve.
This can smoothen your experience by a margin and save you hours of headaches. You can also customize it to ramp up the fan speeds as soon as the GPU reaches a certain temperature. If you are facing severe overheating, we recommend you crank up those fan speeds at max. This might make some fan noise, but it will also help to reduce those temperatures down.
Hardware Based Solutions
Now that you have learned about how to lower GPU temperature using software-based solutions, it’s time to jump into the next section. If neither of the previously mentioned software-based solutions did the trick for you. Then worry not; we have a whole list of hardware-based solutions that will just be enough to do the job for you.
Mentioned below are some of the most effective hardware-based solutions for an overheating GPU. As you will have to inspect your GPU for these methods physically, it is recommended that you learn about how to remove GPU from the motherboard. This is because if you are not careful enough while removing it, you may end up damaging the component and face issues such as GPU artifacting.
Inspect Your Fans
Before we jump into much more in-depth methods, the first and the easiest thing we would recommend you do is just take a look at your graphics card’s fans. If you have a dedicated graphics card, chances are it has a dedicated set of fans on top of it that will help it to stay cool. Just boot up any GPU-intensive title and take a look at your fan’s speed and notice if the GPU cranks them up on its own.
If it does not, make sure to crank up those fan speeds with a third-party software. If your fans are not working how they should, there could be a number of reasons behind it. Make sure all the power connectors are intact and fan bearings are working properly. If that does not solve the problem, then it’s probably time for a replacement of fans.
Clear Your GPU
Cleaning your GPU does not sound like it will do much. However, we recommend doing it every now and then to make sure that dust and other dirt particles don’t gather up on your GPU and between its fan blades to clog it. Before we begin, you might want to disconnect your graphics card from your motherboard, unscrew it and take it out.
Use a blower to blow any dust and dirt particles over it and the remaining system as well. After you’re done, use a clean cotton swab to wipe it clean. Make sure you focus on the fans area since that part gets affected by dust the most. You can always go a step further by unscrewing the heatsink and cleaning it from the inside by removing the cooler. Just make sure you pay extra attention to all the wires and cables connecting your fan.
Replace The Thermal Paste
There’s no real way of knowing if it’s the time to reapply the thermal paste without opening your GPU. We recommend doing it two to three times a year. Take your graphics card out. Unscrew the heatsink and take the graphics card apart. Pay close attention to all the cables and wires. Gently remove the cooler.
Use alcohol wipes or acetone to wipe out the previously applied thermal paste. Reapply the new thermal paste. We recommend you invest in a good quality thermal paste since it goes a long way. After that, reassemble your GPU by putting on the heatsink and the cooler. Notice if it does the trick and brings your GPU temperatures down.
Improve Airflow In Your Case
Achieving proper airflow inside your case is important to allow your GPU to cool itself down. Your GPU will do anything it can to bring those temperatures down, from cranking up its fan speeds to lowering its clock speeds. However, it can not do much if you place it inside a case that has poor airflow and fails miserably to dissipate the hot air outside the case due to restricted airflow.
Make sure you have placed all your fans in the correct configuration. You must align them in an orientation that pulls the cool air in and pushes the hot air out. If that does not work, we suggest investing in more fans. Primarily to the top and front mesh of the case, at least in close proximity to the GPU. We recommend investing in a good case that can house more fans.
Invest In Water Cooling
If neither of the above solutions worked for you, then we recommend investing in a good water-cooling solution. Water cooling works like a charm and is known to cause wonders when it comes to lowering temperatures. However, it’s relatively costly compared to traditional cooling methods, and not everyone has the heart to install a water loop inside their Pc. It is the single most effective cooling method when it comes to computer hardware, and companies like Corsair, NZXT, and Cooler Master are the pioneers of it.
How To Monitor GPU Temperatures?
In addition to learning about how to lower GPU temperature, you also need to learn how to monitor the temperature. Windows 10 allows you to monitor the performance and temperatures of your graphics card right through their task manager. You can always fire up a GPU-intensive title and switch to the task manager in the middle of it to take a quick look at your GPU’s numbers. However, that is not the most efficient way to do it.
You have to keep switching between the applications between your gaming sessions which can be really annoying at times. Therefore, we recommend using an in-game third-party app like MSI afterburner that can show you your GPU’s stats, such as its utilization, temperature, clock speeds, and VRAM usage, with an in-game layout. This means you won’t even have to pause your game and switch between the applications. All the necessary stats will be displayed right in the corner of your screen.
What Are The Ideal Temperatures For A GPU?
An overheating graphics card can be a source of annoyance for most of us. However, in many cases, the graphics card is running how it should be, but the user is freaking out, not knowing that their GPU was designed to run at that particular temperature. Knowing the ideal temperatures for your GPU can provide you the peace of mind of knowing that your GPU is running exactly how the manufacturer designed it to run.
Different graphic cards from different companies are designed to run at different temperatures. However, you should take that information with a grain of salt cause many external factors also matter, such as the climate and weather conditions of where you live and the airflow of your case, etc. For example, if you live in a tropical place, your temperatures will probably be higher compared to someone living in the Artic.
How Hot Can Your GPU Be Before It Starts To Lose Its Performance?
In general, the highest temperature your GPU can reach without thermal throttling would be 90 to 100 degrees Celsius for AMD GPUs. Nvidia GPUs can go a bit further with a temperature limit of 95 to 100 degrees Celsius. However, these are the absolute hottest your GPUs can get before they start to lose their performance.
Upon hitting those temperatures, your GPU would automatically lower its clock speeds to bring those temperatures down, which will result in lower performance. This is when the GPU is overheating. We do not recommend gaming at these temperatures under any circumstances.
Best GPU Temperature For Gaming
Generally, Nvidia cards tend to perform best when they are between 70 to 85 degrees Celsius. In the case of AMD graphics cards, the manufacturers didn’t take any risks and brought that range down between 60 to 70 degrees Celsius. These temperatures, however, can go up and down by a notch. As mentioned earlier, these are designed for an ideal case scenario that can not be achieved everywhere, and a lot of it comes down to your geographical location and the airflow your graphic card gets inside your case. You might also want to check out our guide on the ideal CPU temperature while gaming.
Factors That Cause Rise In GPU Temperature
Any heavy GPU-intensive task will certainly raise your GPU temperatures from idle to underutilization, but that number should remain within the range provided by your GPU manufacturer. If your GPU starts to overheat, there can be a number of factors behind it. Mentioned below are some of the factors that can cause your GPU to overheat or raise its temperature.
The first and most common factor that can cause your GPU to overheat would be improper airflow inside your PC case. Congested space inside your case and an incorrect configuration of your fans can raise your GPU temperatures by a considerable margin.
The fans present on your GPU would require some air to circulate. If the fans present inside your case are not doing a good job of dissipating that hot air outside the case, then that price will be paid by the GPU. This will not only cause your GPU to overheat but also make your CPU run at a higher temperature than usual.
High Room Temperature
Logically, if your PC is situated in a room that tends to have higher room temperature than usual, this will have a direct effect on your graphics card’s temperature as well. Higher room temperature means higher GPU temperature.
In this case, we would recommend moving your PC to a room that is colder than others, ideally on a lower floor. However, if that is not possible in your case, then we recommend using an air conditioner to lower the room temperature, and this will automatically result in a temperature drop in your GPU.
Over the course of time, your GPU will automatically start accumulating dust on itself. This happens because the fans present on the GPU that circulate the air in its surrounding can not differentiate between air, dust, and dirt particles.
Even if your GPU does not use a dedicated fan, preventing dust from gathering on it is nearly impossible. What happens is when the dust starts to gather on the GPU, not only does it become a hurdle in the fans’ rotation and starts to clog it, but it also acts as an insulator for the heat, making it harder for your GPU’s heatsink to release that heat.
Cheap Thermal Paste
If you have recently installed a fresh thermal paste, and for some reason, instead of bringing your GPU temperatures down, you see a rise in your temperatures, chances are you have used a cheap/faulty thermal paste. Thermal paste is an extremely important component that acts as a conductor of heat between the GPU and the heatsink, allowing it to dissipate the heat from the GPU.
In order for a thermal paste to carry out its duties as intended, it must have extremely high thermal conductivity cause only then will it be able to suck the heat out of your GPU. That is why we highly recommend you invest in a good thermal paste and not cheap out here, as it plays a key factor in lowering your GPU temperatures.
Faulty GPU Fan
Another common reason why your GPU starts overheating out of nowhere is that its fans have stopped working, or at least not working how they are supposed to. Every modern dedicated graphics card has a set of fans on it. These fans play a key role in bringing the GPU temperatures down.
If, for some reason, these fans get disconnected or start to malfunction, you will notice a sudden rise in your GPU temperatures. Faulty fans are easier to inspect as, in most cases, you will only need a physical inspection to see if your fans are rotating like they should or not. You can also use a third-party software to accurately measure the fan’s rpm and see if they are rotating like they used to.
Overclocking/Other GPU Intensive Activities
If you are someone who likes to push their graphics card to its limits constantly, or you like to keep it overclocked for longer gaming sessions or engage in other GPU-intensive activities such as rendering or mining, then chances are your GPU would generate much more heat than it normally does on ideal usage.
This is fairly logical, as more usage means the GPU will have to crunch those processes for long periods of time. Hence it will generate more heat resulting in higher temperatures. We recommend over-the-counter measures like water cooling your GPU if you are someone who likes to constantly engage in GPU-intensive activities for a longer period of time, as running it on stock fans is not the best recommendation here. Also, it is important to remember that overclocking can damage the GPU if you are not careful enough.
Faulty Driver Update
We should not always jump to conclusions and blame the hardware as soon as we see a rise in our GPU temperatures. Sometimes the software can do just as much damage as the hardware. If your graphics card is seeing an abrupt rise in temperatures, especially after the manufacturer has recently rolled out a new driver update, and you have physically inspected the hardware and couldn’t find anything wrong there, chances are you have received a faulty driver update. If this ever happens to you, we recommend rolling back to the previous version of your driver and observing the temperatures.
So, there we have it. This was everything you needed to know on how to lower your GPU temperature. It is important to keep your thermals stable in order to have a smooth gaming experience without losing any performance on the table. Keeping your temperatures low is also important to increase the lifespan of your graphics card. The small efforts mentioned above can go a long way in preserving your GPU’s life.
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