GPU Load: How To Check it (Definitive Guide!)

If you’re curious about how to check GPU Load or how much of your GPU is being used by your AAA game or editing software, you can easily do that.

Using the Task Manager, you can view GPU Utilization, Dedicated/Shared GPU Memory, and GPU usage per engine, among other information. Tools like MSI Afterburner can provide even more information and functionality.

Listed below are all the details you need to know about checking GPU Usage with these methods.

The Process

The GPU tools were added to Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update, or version 1709 for Windows 10. Older versions of Windows 10 won’t have these tools. Here’s how to find out what version of Windows 10 you have.

This information is retrieved directly from the GPU scheduler (VidSCH) and video memory manager (VidMm) of the WDDM graphics kernel, which are responsible for allocating resources in the GPU. Regardless of the API used to access the GPU, it provides very accurate data, whether it is Microsoft DirectX, OpenGL, Vulkan, OpenCL, NVIDIA CUDA, AMD Mantle, or anything else.

If you don’t see this information in the Task Manager, it probably means that your GPU is using an older driver type.

The DirectX Diagnostic tool can be opened by pressing Windows+R, typing “dxdiag” into the box, and pressing Enter to find out which version of WDDM your GPU driver uses. If you see WDDM 2.x drivers under Drivers, your system is compatible. If you see WDDM 1.x drivers, your GPU is not. Click the “Display” tab and look to the right of “Driver Model”.

DirectX Diagnostic Tool

How to Check GPU Usage from Task Manager

To begin with, you should ensure that the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) version is 2.0 or higher. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows + R.
  2. You can now open the DirectX Diagnostic Tool by typing and entering dxdiag.
  3. Check the Driver Model under the Display and Render tabs.
Check GPU Usage from Task Manager

WDDMv1.x drivers do not support this method. Use the other ways in our guide if you use WDDMv1—x drivers.

With WDDM 2.0 or higher, Task Manager displays most GPU Usage information without requiring a third-party utility. Here’s how:

  1. To launch the Task Manager, press CTRL + Shift + Esc.
  2. Advanced View can be activated by clicking on More Details.

The GPU usage will be displayed according to the tabs you select.

The process

  1. The GPU and GPU engine tabs can be displayed by right-clicking anywhere over the columns section.
The Process
  1. The performance tab displays the GPU utilization across all GPUs at the top of the GPU column.
  2. An application’s GPU usage % shows the percentage of its busiest engine used. This is not the overall GPU usage; only the most dynamic machine is utilized.
  3. A couple of columns tell you which GPU is being used. On the performance tab, you can see what GPUs are GPU 0 and GPU 1, etc.

The performance

  1. From the left panel, select the appropriate GPU. You can check their full model name underneath by clicking GPU 0, GPU 1, and so on.
The Performance
  1. Check the performance of any individual GPU in the link if your system uses NVIDIA SLI or AMD Crossfire.
  2. You can display a graph for a different engine type by pressing the small dropdown arrow. (3D, Video Encode, Decode, Copy, Compute, etc.)
  3. Many details are available at the bottom, including GPU Utilization, GPU Memory, Dedicated and Shared Memory, and DirectX version.
  4. You can change the look of any graph by right-clicking over it. These settings do not add new data; they only alter the appearance.

Detailed information

  1. To select columns, right-click anywhere over the columns and choose Select columns from the menu.
  2. You can set the GPU’s performance by selecting GPU, GPU Engine, Dedicated GPU Memory, and Shared GPU Memory.
  1. The same columns are on the GPU tab as on the processes account.
  2. Processes or applications use dedicated GPU memory (located onboard the GPU) to execute their code.
  3. An integrated graphics system uses a portion of the overall system memory for shared GPU memory.

The users

It simply shows the GPU Usage and all the other information, but it does not include all the users who are currently logged in to the PC.

The Users

The user can be forced to sign out by right-clicking and selecting Sign off. This is like logging out usually, so you should remember that all opened apps and processes will be terminated.

Software for Checking GPU Usage

There are some great monitoring tools provided by GPU manufacturers like NVIDIA and MSI, such as NVIDIA Control Panel or MSI Afterburner. These tools are in addition to reputable third-party apps like GPUZ and HWMonitor.


You can view which apps are using your GPU directly from your taskbar if your PC sports an NVIDIA GPU, which comes with the NVIDIA Control Panel. To do so:

  1. Press Windows + S and search for NVIDIA Control Panel or right-click on your desktop screen and select NVIDIA Control Panel.
  2. Click on Display GPU Activity Icon in Notification Area at the top of the View tab or Desktop tab.
  3. You can find the NVIDIA GPU Activity icon on your taskbar. If it is not visible, click the Show Hidden Icons button.
Nvidia Control Panel

MSI Afterburner

It is incredibly versatile graphics card software that includes many features, including monitoring GPU usage. You can examine different details, including GPU usage, memory, temperatures, core clocks, voltages, and power.

  1. MSI Afterburner should be launched and settings should be opened.
  2. You can configure your GPU in the General tab.
  3. For tutorial purposes, we will use the Default Interface. Click the User Interface tab to change the skin.
  4. The hardware polling period should be set to 100 milliseconds under the monitoring tab.
MSI Afterburner
  1. Make sure GPU1 Usage is selected and On-screen Display is enabled.
  2. You can repeat this process to monitor GPU2 usage, memory usage, temperature, frame rate, and any other stats you desire.
  3. To save the changes, click OK or Apply.
  4. You can now customize how RivaTuner displays the data based on the options you selected earlier.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How Do I check my GPU usage in Nvidia?

Under Workstation, select Manage GPU Utilization in the NVIDIA Control Panel.

What Should my GPU Load be?

In AAA games, GPU usage should be around 95-100%. If you’re seeing less than 80-90% GPU usage in demanding titles, you might have a CPU bottleneck. The CPU feeds data to the GPU to accomplish tasks.

Is 100% GPU OK?

If the game is heavy, 100% GPU usage is ideal, but if it is low-end, it cannot use all resources, which results in a low GPU usage. However, keeping 100% GPU usage for a long time at idle may result in higher temperatures, noise levels, and even performance degradation.

Can you Overload a GPU?

There are a number of reasons why you may be experiencing slowdowns on your system, including GPU overload. GPU overload occurs when multiple processes work simultaneously and put a strain on your GPU.

lisa shroff
About Lisa Shroff

I am a Tech Enthusiast who is Obsessed with Graphics Cards or GPU. I have been building Gaming PC since last 6 years and got super experience in this field.

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