The GPU is one of the most expensive and important pieces of hardware in our gaming rigs, which is why it’s important to keep it safe and cool. So, what kind of GPU temperatures should you aim for when gaming?
What Is A Good GPU Temperature While Gaming?
When gaming, a good temperature for your GPU is 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit) or less. NVIDIA GPUs can reach up to 85 degrees Celsius (185 Fahrenheit) while still being at a safe temperature, while AMD GPUs should stay at 80 degrees Celsius or below to be considered safe while gaming.
In the past, you really wouldn’t want your GPU to go above 80 degrees Celsius, ever. It was considered very dangerous.
However, modern GPUs are much more heat resistant and are rated for higher temps than ever before. If you’re still running an old GPU (10+ years old), then you’ll probably want to aim for the under 80 Celsius range.
If you’re on something a bit newer, I’d only start to worry once you hit high 80s and into the 90s.
When I’m gaming and playing a game that is harder to run or even poorly optimized, my GPU will reach about 78 degrees and sit there the entire time.
This has been a solid temperature for me and I haven’t had any overheating problems with my GPU. If my temps were to spike to 85 – 90, I’d probably rearrange my cords and dust out my PC.
If my temps were to go past 90, I’d get pretty worried and start checking my fans and case for damage.
How To Check Your GPU’s Temperature?
To check your GPU’s temperature, you need to use third party software like HWMONITOR or SpeedFan. These programs will check and monitor the temperatures of every component inside of your computer. Without a third party program, you can only check your GPU’s temperature in your computer’s BIOS (after restart).
There’s unfortunately no built-in way to check your GPU’s temperature without downloading a program (at least not in a meaningful way).
You can go into your computer’s BIOS to check your temps but you won’t be able to see them while gaming or doing anything else on your computer, so there’s not much of a point.
Luckily, there are two very good programs available for free that will monitor all of your temperatures. Personally, I use HWMONITOR:
This program is free, simple, and works wonders. It doesn’t just tell you what your temperatures are – it tells you everything else about your computer and its components.
To check your GPU’s temperatures with HWMONITOR, just download the program, install it, launch it, and find your GPU in the list of components. It’s that easy.
You can also use SpeedFan, which is an even more simple temperature monitor:
SpeedFan is very similar to HWMONITOR, except it cuts out a lot of the extra stuff. So, SpeedFan is pretty much solely for checking temperatures and (of course) the speed of your fans.
The reason I choose HWMONITOR over SpeedFan is because I want those extra details, but if you just want to monitor temps – SpeedFan is perfect.
How To Lower Your GPU’s Temperature?
Lower your GPU temperatures by cleaning the inside of your case and ensuring no wires or other components are taking up the space around your GPU. Your GPU needs room to breathe so that its fans can keep it cool and healthy. Shutting down unnecessary background programs will also help lower GPU temperatures.
CAUTION: Before handling / cleaning anything inside of your computer – make sure to touch something metal to discharge any static electricity in your body. Also make sure that your computer is turned off and unplugged from any outlets.
Clean Your GPU
Compressed air will be your best friend when it comes to keeping your GPU and the rest of your PC components healthy, happy, and cool.
To clean your GPU, turn your computer off, take your GPU out, and use compressed air to get all of the dust, dirt, and grime out of your GPU’s fans and vents.
Clean / Organize Your Case (Wire Management)
While you air dust your GPU, you might as well give your case a quick spray down as well to get all the excess dust out.
Just wear a mask or keep your mouth shut when you do, because in my experience the dust will launch a counter attack. While cleaning your case, you should also make sure that no wires are trying to strangle your GPU to death.
Clean Your Fans
Our computer fans are there specifically to keep vital components like the GPU safe. Your GPU has fans on it that get dusty, but so do the fans in the rest of your case.
Give every fan a good spray with compressed air, and a thorough q-tip swab. Again, I recommend that your computer is unplugged and that you are discharged of any static electricity.
Upgrade / Replace Your Fans
Sometimes fans are just broken, which can easily lead to overheating. I’ve told the story before about my CPU’s heatsink / fan. It had a slight crack in it, which I never noticed.
That tiny crack led to my CPU receiving uneven cooling, which led to emergency shutdowns galore. Inspect your fans and replace / upgrade any that are not up to standards.
Adjust Your Game Settings
Unfortunately, sometimes we just have to accept when our computers can’t handle something. If your temperatures only skyrocket when you’re gaming, then maybe the game is a bit out of your computer’s league.
If you know it shouldn’t be, there is a good chance the game is just poorly optimized (you can check if other players are having the same issue).
Either way, lowering your graphics settings may help lower your GPU temperatures.
Move Your PC (Get It Off Of The Floor)
If your PC is on the floor, then it’s probably sucking up a bunch of dust and dirt, which is never good for it.
This dust will pretty much swirl around in your case and land on the most important components it can find (AKA your GPU).
So, the best thing you can do for your GPU temperatures is make sure it is elevated off of the floor and that it has plenty of room around it to ventilate and cool itself down.
Adjust Your PC Settings
If your GPU is always hot while idling or just browsing the web, it could be time to lower your computer’s graphics and performance settings.
If you’re on Windows there are a ton of performance options you can adjust. These will make your operating system look a bit worse, but it will lessen the load on your GPU which will lead to lower temperatures.
Do Not Overclock Your GPU
Every GPU has a clock speed, which is how fast it performs calculations and processes data.
A higher clock speed means better performance so many people perform overclocking, which is when they raise the clock speed of their GPU. This leads to better performance, but it also makes the GPU run hotter.
If your GPU is always hot and you can’t figure out why, you should check if your GPU has been overclocked and if so, you should reset your GPU back to stock speeds.
What Can Happen If Your GPU Gets Too Hot?
If your GPU gets too hot, it will overheat which will likely cause your computer to shut down. Overheating may also damage the fans, cores, and other components inside of your GPU which will permanently damage your GPU, leading to malfunctions as well as graphical glitches and artifacts on your computer.
You do not want your GPU to get too hot. In the best case scenario – your computer will perform an emergency shut down.
In the worst case scenario, you’ll need to shell out a ton of money for a new graphics card. Overheating has destroyed millions of computer parts and is the nemesis of computer enthusiasts around the world.
Many GPUs have been lost to overheating, and many more will probably meet their end this way before all is said and done.
If your GPU overheats and becomes damaged, things on your computer will start to get weird.
Colors may start looking a little (or extremely) off, random artifacts and rips may appear all over your screen, and you’ll probably notice many weird graphical glitches.
All of this will happen before eventually your GPU just stops working. So, it’s extremely important to keep our GPUs cool and safe.
How Hot Should Your GPU Be When Idle?
When your computer is idle and you are not running any intense games or programs, your GPU temperatures should fall between 30 – 60 degrees Celsius (86 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit). Your idle temp depends on the fans in your computer, your specific GPU, and what background programs are running on your computer.
There are a ton of factors that go into your idle GPU temperatures, so you don’t need to worry too much about if your temperature is high or not. For example, my GPU idles at about 40 degrees celsius.
However, if I open up Wallpaper Engine, throw on a YouTube video, and open a couple more background programs, my temperature rises up into the 40s.
The build of your GPU, your case layout, and many other factors will also help determine your idle temps.
As long as your GPU isn’t hitting 80 degrees Celsius while your computer is idling, I really wouldn’t worry too much about it.
Your idle GPU temperatures aren’t nearly as important as your temperatures under load.
60 degrees Celsius is on the high end of idle temps, but if your GPU only reaches 75 degrees Celsius under load, then it’s perfectly fine and healthy.
How Hot Should Your GPU Be When Browsing?
When browsing on your computer, your GPU should be between 35 – 60 degrees Celsius (95 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit). It is not uncommon or unsafe for GPU temperatures to reach 60 degrees while idling or browsing the web, but temperatures above 65 degrees Celsius (149 Fahrenheit) should be investigated.
Your GPU’s temperature depends on a lot of factors; the background programs running on your computer, the amount of space in your case, your fans, and even the exact build / model of your GPU.
You really don’t need to worry about your temperatures while browsing. You should just make sure your GPU doesn’t overheat (90+ degrees Celsius) while it’s under load.
For example, if your GPU is 60 while idling or browsing, but only hits 75 when gaming, then it is perfectly healthy and running as expected.
Personally, my GPU hits about 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) when browsing and checking out YouTube videos. However, I keep my case very clean and don’t really have anything running in the background.
My house is also pretty cold most of the time, so low temps are to be expected. You should only start to worry if your temps are constantly at 70+ Celsius when you’re just browsing.
Even then, your GPU will be safe as long as it’s not hitting 90+ Celsius while gaming or doing other demanding activities. You should still take measures to lower the idle temps at that point though.
Is GPU Or CPU Temperature More Important?
CPU temperature is more important than GPU temperature because your CPU is more sensitive and more integral to your PC’s health. Your GPU may get hot under load and still be perfectly healthy, while very high CPU temperatures will likely cause your computer as a whole to shutdown and experience problems.
Both, your GPU and CPU temperatures are extremely important and you want to keep both components happy and healthy.
However, if your GPU overheats and malfunctions, you’ll still have a computer that works (albeit with some graphical glitches). If your CPU overheats, your computer just isn’t going to work. I know this from experience…
When I first built my computer, my CPU’s heatsink was damaged and I didn’t notice it. This led to my CPU constantly overheating, which would cause my computer to immediately shutdown.
It would shut down in the middle of games, it would shut down as I was writing my assignments, it would just shut down with no rhyme or reason.
Come to find out, the reason was a very hot CPU that wasn’t getting cooled properly! So, in my experience CPU temperatures are more important than GPU temperatures and need to be monitored much more closely.
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