A graphics card overheating is a source of frustration for many gamers. Although they might not be the first thing we consider checking, they often indicate bigger problems at play.
In this guide, we will take a closer look to discover the best GPU temperature for gaming, as well as fixes and other possible issues.
Let’s get started!
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The Ideal GPU Temperature
Modern games require your GPU to work at high intensity as they are made specifically to deliver high-quality performance and have a lot of responsibility when resources are required.
You may find it interesting that GPU temperature is directly related to the resolution at which your display is outputting images. The higher the requested resolution, the more pixels that will need to be shown and the greater the number of computations that the GPU requires.
Curiously, the GPU temperature might also be limited by your geographical location. Logically, if you are gaming in a tropical climate as opposed to Iceland, for example, you will experience higher GPU temperatures and need to invest more into cooling solutions.
These numbers depend on the specific GPU, but, in general, the maximum temperature an NVIDIA GPU can operate at is around the 95-100 Celsius mark (~200-210 Fahrenheit).
However, your GPU running at these temperatures is absolutely not recommended. If your card is approaching those heat levels, it is considered overheating. The memory and core clocks will start to drop, which will also result in worse FPS in your game.
On the other side, the upper limit of AMD cards is similar to NVIDIA’s range, at around 90-100 Celsius (~165-185 Fahrenheit).
However, there is some information circulating stating that the safe temperatures (before thermal throttling) on the RX 6000 Series are around 110 Celsius.
NVIDIA’s optimal range is between 70 and 85 degrees Celsius (~158-185 Fahrenheit), while AMDs are at their best at around 60 to 70 Celsius (~140-158 Fahrenheit).
How To Know If The GPU Is Overheating
First, you will need to know how to check if your GPU is overheating and if that is the root of your problem.
Fortunately, both AMD and NVIDIA provide their own software that you can download to check if your GPU is overheating (make sure you download the software relevant to your GPU).
If you don’t want to download this software or also want to know what your other components are doing (and at what temperature), you can try HWiNFO or CPUID CPU-Z. Despite the latter’s name, it is a really cool tool that allows for monitoring all of your PC’s components.
Why Is Your GPU Overheating?
It’s important to know why a GPU overheats before you can attempt to fix the issue. The logical answer could be that it is simply overworked. While that is technically possible, it’s also a vague diagnosis that doesn’t really offer a solution for fixing the issue.
As we examine potential problems, we will also consider solutions.
This issue is far more common than people might believe. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to occasionally disassemble your entire PC (or at least open its case) and make sure things are dust-free.
The reason why dust heats the graphics card is a simple matter of physics. Tiny dust particles prevent the extra heat from dissipating.
The more dust that gathers, the more heat that is retained. Although this is not very likely to short circuit your GPU, there are still dangers associated with it, so be careful.
The most popular way to prevent or fix this problem is to use compressed air, but you will need to be careful when using this method as it can damage fans if they spin too quickly during the cleaning process.
The easiest way to prevent this is to gently hold the fan with a finger so it doesn’t spin at all.
Another method to remove the dust is to use a cotton swab and alcohol. This method might be less effective on the chip but could be a better alternative for the heatsink.
It is very important to clean the entire case when cleaning your GPU, including the CPU cooler, motherboard, case fans, and PSU.
Always be thorough when getting rid of dust in any small spaces where it can accumulate. Proper airflow inside the case is critical, so it isn’t enough to simply remove dust from one component and leave the rest dusty.
Although most modern GPUs are powerful enough that they can run billions of computations, they are still a possible area where your PC might bottleneck.
This can happen for various reasons, but in most modern setups, it’s the result of poor optimization by game developers. However, if there is a large discrepancy between the computing power of your CPU and your GPU, bottlenecks can occur.
Unfortunately, there are very few effective solutions to this problem other than getting a better GPU. There are some methods that can be used on the CPU side of things, but, as far as GPUs go, you can’t do much more than lowering your settings and hope for the best.
Poor Case Placement
This issue is twofold. First, it’s important to have the case positioned in the best possible place to allow proper airflow. This is often an issue when the PC is somewhere cramped, preventing air from flowing freely in and around the case.
This is doubly important if the room temperature in which you’re gaming is also high. This issue is particularly prevalent during the summer months.
Placing the case away from the wall and any other structures so it can “breathe” is the best solution. You might be surprised by how much this simple fix can help.
Bad Airflow Inside The Case
This can happen a lot in home builds, as figuring out the correct positioning of the fans and managing air intake can be confusing. This is particularly true if those are the finishing touches of the long process of building your PC.
Something else that can be a consequence of PC building fatigue is poor cable management. It has been proven multiple times that cable placement doesn’t really influence the temperatures inside of the case. Even so, proper cable management is recommended.
Double-checking that the fans are positioned correctly, and cables are neatly tucked away is one of the best things you can do for your PC’s temperature.
You should also ensure that your fans provide enough cooling power for your setup. No amount of airflow management can make up for weak fans.
One potential obstacle to getting better airflow is how your GPU is cooled. There are two types of fans on the GPU, blower fans and open-air fans, and you should be conscious of these when managing the airflow inside the case.
Remember, even if your GPU isn’t affected by the extra heat, your CPU could easily be the next victim.
Another aspect that can be externally manipulated regarding fans is the speed at which they are spinning. Most modern GPUs automatically increase the fan speed when required, but you might want to enjoy an even smoother experience and turn it all the way up.
The best free solutions for adjusting fan speed are Open Hardware Monitor and SpeedFan. MSI Afterburner is another great tool that is worth checking out. AMD also provides the ability to control fan speed with its driver software. Unfortunately, NVIDIA doesn’t.
Playing GPU Intensive Games
The solution to this is very simple but probably also disappointing.
If the games you play are overloading your GPU, it might be time to upgrade or admit defeat by either lowering the settings (although that can only do so much) or playing some less demanding games.
Another reason that your GPU might be overheating could be one that you have created. Overclocking brings instability to the GPU, and many people choose to do it while being aware of the possible consequences that could affect their systems.
Overclocking is becoming easier than ever, and many PC users are trying it for the first time in the hope of achieving better performance without carefully considering the pros and cons.
This solution might also feel like admitting defeat, but it could be for the best to revert your GPU to its default clock.
Another answer is often a product of sheer stubbornness, but it is possible to engineer extra fans to cool down the GPU manually. We can’t recommend this in good conscience.
How Important Is The GPU Temperature?
By now, this answer should be obvious. In case it isn’t, GPU temperature is very important. An overheating GPU can lead to a decrease in performance and perhaps much worse.
If your screen suddenly turns black, you should consider that as a gentle warning from your GPU that you’re overdoing it and need to cool off (pun intended).
A more drastic scenario is your GPU being permanently damaged by the heat instead of calling for a timeout. Fortunately, this is mostly a thing of the past due to much higher manufacturing standards and built-in protection.