The high temperature of your hardware, including GPU, never indicates something good. On the contrary, that can be a result of cooling problems, or much worse, the first signs of hardware failure. These temperature increases are usually followed by BSOD, sudden shutdowns, or restarts and must be taken care off as soon as possible.
This is urgent mostly because constant exposure to increased heat can cause serious damage on all the hardware components, even on those that haven’t been affected in the first place. Therefore, a quick reaction is crucial in order to prevent any additional damage.
What Are the Safe Temperatures?
When we talk about the GPU, there are no universal GPU temp values that are acceptable. Graphics cards are different in their build and architecture and therefore, offer different normal and max GPU temps.
This is especially noticeable with AMD cards, where max GPU temps may vary from 57°C to 94°C, depending on the graphics card type. In case of Nvidia these values are much closer to each other and are in the range from 94°C to 105°C, but still, there is no common GPU temperature. Therefore, only the manual, or official specifications of that exact graphics card, can give the definite answer to the question: How hot should my GPU be?
Of course, the maximum GPU temp is a value that should be reached during heavy GPU loads such as gaming, but not during the idle mode or easier tasks. For that reason, visit the forums and blogs to discover what the average GPU temp of your card is, and once you have that information along with the max temp values of your GPU, proceed to the next step.
How to Monitor GPU Temperature?
If you are wondering how to check GPU temp, know that there are two ways:
- Through BIOS
- With monitoring software
One of the easiest ways to check your GPU temp is, of course, BIOS. Unfortunately, this action requires for PC restart and cannot give you the temperature values under load. In other words, it can be used for reference reasons, but for the more precise monitoring, it is advisable to use a monitoring software.
Temperature monitoring software
Today, there are numerous software solutions that offer not only the information about your GPU temp, but also detailed data about all the hardware in your computer. Of course, we’ll only mention the programs that are the best suited for your GPU temperature monitoring, and they include:
- OpenHardwareMonitor is one of the most popular hardware monitoring software out there. It is free and offers plenty of information not only about the temperature values but also about the fan speed, voltages, etc.
- SpeedFan is a software solution similar to the OpenHardwareMonitor that offers various data about the voltages, fan speeds, temperatures and allows for the fan speed change, access to the S.M.A.R.T. data of your hard drive and much more.
- Nvidia Control Panel is an Nvidia utility that offers access to numerous data and GPU functions, and among them, a GPU temperature monitoring feature.
- AMD Catalyst Control Center presents an AMD version of the Nvidia’s Control Panel software, with similar functions and options placed in a different “package”.
- MSI Afterburner is predominantly an overclocking tool that, on the other side, offers a quality temperature monitoring feature. It will give you very precise information about your GPU temperature.
- Asus GPU Tweak is a great ASUS overclocking utility, one that, just like the Afterburner, offers plenty of features, including the temperature monitoring option.
- AIDA64 is among the best software alternatives that offer a wide scope of system information, including GPU thermal monitor, but also a plenty of diagnostics and auditing options. Unfortunately, this app isn’t free, but luckily, there is a trial version that can show you what the app’s real potentials are, and surely help you with your temperature monitoring.
- Unigine Heaven is a great graphics cards stress testing utility that also offers some monitoring options, including GPU temp. Therefore, it is a great solution that will allow you to try simultaneous testing and monitoring of your GPU.
After you have decided on your monitoring software, it is the time to establish what your idle and average GPU temp values are. For the first value, wait for a couple of minutes after the system boots, until all the processes finish and there are only the essential ones. If you are not sure when that is, wait some 5 or so minutes – values that are then read should be more than acceptable.
When you have finished that, start some graphics app such as Photoshop, play a not-that-demanding game or something similar that will not load your GPU that much, and make the readings of your average GPU temps.
The last step in concluding if you have a normal GPU temp is determining what your max GPU temp is. For that purpose, you can use the already mentioned Heaven software that has both stress testing and monitoring function, a dedicated graphics cards testing utility such as 3DMark in combination with some of the monitoring software options previously mentioned, or even games themselves (if they have built-in temperature monitoring software). If you have finished collecting the data and you have normal GPU temp readings, you can relax and forget about the rest of the text.
On the other hand, if your readings are above the usual values by 5-10 degrees or more (this mostly applies to max values, since the average and idle temps may vary) solving the problem is your only alternative. In this case, read the following lines carefully.
What to Do When the Temperature Is Too High?
When GPU temperature is well above the acceptable values it is the time to take some serious action that includes the following:
Cleaning the heatsinks and the whole computer from dust with a vacuum cleaner, or even better, an air compressor, can do miracles for your GPU temp, as well as other hardware. Just be careful not to make any damage and be extra careful.
Pay additional attention to the fans and clean them the best you can. First, remove the dust from the fans with a vacuum cleaner, or blow it away with an air compressor. After that, you may use the baby wipes and ear sticks to wipe off and clean all the remaining dust, including the one that is placed below or on the fan blades.
You just need to be careful not to create the small dust piles that can later create problems with the fan spinning. In other words, just do it slowly. Your GPU will be more than thankful.
Also, be aware that dust cleaning is recommended to be done regularly every six months, as a type of prevention. So, follow the rule and don’t let things heat up too much.
Cable Management Check
Cables that are spread around the whole PC case without any order and organization can make a huge problem when talking about heat dissipation. This happens because they are blocking the airflow and they present a great place for dust accumulation.
For that reason, it is good to always keep your cables in order. To group them, organize and keep them as tight as possible and attach them to their designated places on your case.
Poor airflow can be a result of many things, one of which is already mentioned above, but. It can also be caused by an inadequate case design, wrong components case positioning, etc. Luckily, in most cases, this can be easily fixed with the installment of an additional fan or few of them.
The best option is to have a large fan at the front of the case to bring the fresh air in and one large fan at the back to extract the hot air out. If your case doesn’t support that sort of positioning, be aware that even the 8 cm fan installed anywhere on the case (up, down, on the side, etc.) should make a difference.
Therefore, if you have the opportunity, install the largest possible fans wherever there is a place for them. Also, if your case doesn’t allow for additional installment or you just don’t want to spend additional resources, you can always remove the cases side panels, and prevent the temperature build up inside the case that way, and help your card have a normal GPU temp.
Ambient Temperature Check
If you live in a hot climate region, or a place that has at least a couple of warm summer months during the year, the increased GPU temperature is an expected thing. In that sort of situation, the only real problem solver is an air conditioner.
If, on the other hand, your budget doesn’t allow for that type of investment, you can always install some additional fans, but also make sure that your cooling is working at optimal capacity, not silent/saving mode.
GPU Cooler Change
Changing the stock GPU Cooler for an aftermarket one can be very beneficial in reducing the max GPU temp. This approach will certainly help, but you need to purchase one that will suit your card the best. The best option is to Google it and see what other people are suggesting.
Also, if your budget allows it, go for water cooling solutions over the air cooling ones. Although there are air coolers that deliver similar performance as the water coolers, the reality is that the majority of them are well behind. So, if it is possible, install a water cooler and make the max GPU temp more than acceptable.
Thermal Paste Change
Although changing the paste usually doesn’t give the expected results, it is good to do it from time to time anyway, especially in the situations with high GPU temp. This mostly helps with the older graphics cards with a paste that already lost its attributes, but it can’t do any harm if you do it with the newer ones too.
Therefore, if there are high GPU temperature readings, change the paste. It won’t cost you much but it can be an easy problem solver.
Rollback to Previous GPU Driver
Even though you are constantly bombarded with the information that you need to keep your drivers up to date in order to use all the benefits of your hardware, facts show that updates sometimes may not be that beneficial. On the contrary, they can sometimes do more harm than good.
A disadvantage that may appear is a rise of a GPU temperature by 10°C, or even more after the update. Therefore, if you realize that your GPU temp has raised, especially if you updated the driver recently, roll back to the previous driver version. There is a huge chance it will do the trick.
If you overclocked your rig some time ago and you realized that the GPU temp is higher than it used to be, and you have already tried every other solution without any success, maybe it is the time for desperate measures. In other words, it is probably the time to disable your GPU overclock and start the overclocking process from the beginning, or maybe even replace your graphics card.
GPU Clock Speeds Underclock
Although this activity isn’t that common, underclocking GPU clock speed can be very advantageous. By doing this, you will reduce your graphics card power consumption, lower the GPU temp, but also help the card longevity.
For this purpose, you can use overclocking utilities such as MSI Afterburner, ASUS GPU Tweak, or any other similar software.
The Last Sanctuary
If none of the previously mentioned things help, the only option left is a computer repair shop. There are just times when there is no other solution than to leave the things for professionals to handle and resolve.
This step can prove to be expensive, but there are also cases when the troubles are a result of a small problem that is easy to fix. No matter what the end scenario is, you will at least know where you are standing and you’ll be able to plan the future steps according to that.
This article’s main purpose is to help you better understand the whole GPU temperature subject, but also assist you in trying to solve the issues that may be the cause of your increased GPU temperature. If it succeeded in that intention, its purpose is fulfilled.
On the other hand, if your problem prevailed, we hope that this piece at least cleared some doubts that you had and that it helped you find the final solution for your problem. Good luck!