GPU Overheating: Causes, Symptoms & How to FIX IT! (2023)

If your computer’s graphics card (GPU) is overheating, it can cause problems with the programs that you wish to run. If your video games or video rendering frequently halts, slows, or stalls and your GPU temperature increases, then you must identify and repair the GPU cooling system to avoid long-term damage.

In addition to the cleanliness of your case, the position of the graphics card and fans, and the effectiveness of your heatsinks, several factors will affect the temperature of your GPU.

You can keep your GPU functioning properly by trying some of the top GPU overheating solutions below.

My graphics card is getting hot. Is that normal?

A desktop computer or laptop generates considerable heat from the following five components: 

  1. The central processing unit (CPU).
  2. Graphics processing unit (GPU).
  3. Heat sink.
  4. Motherboard components like the northbridge and southbridge chipsets.
  5. Hard disk drive or solid-state drive (HDD/SSD).
  6. The optical disc drive (ODD).

Among these, the CPU and the GPU generate the most heat.

When electricity flows through the chips and circuits in the processor, the GPU hardware generates resistance, which causes the GPU to get hot. It is normal for the GPU to get hot. The hardware won’t generate heat if there’s no resistance, which means it’s faulty and not working.

There are different types of GPUs, and some can reach temperatures as high as 221°F (100°C) including the high-end GPUs and data center processors.

Gaming and other graphics-intensive tasks require PCs or laptops to be between 149°F and 185°F. With graphics-intensive games, you want to keep your GPU temperature below 176°F (80°C).

For me, it’s not a good idea to allow my desktop graphics card’s GPU to exceed 149°F (65°C) too often. But some people may be more comfortable with a higher temperature level.

A GPU or graphics card can run cooler if you take the time to read about some of the causes and fixes to cool GPU.

How to check GPU Temperature

how to check gpu temperature
Check GPU Temperature

You can check the GPU temperature conveniently on most major operating systems, such as Windows and Mac.

Aside from that, every GPU brand has specialized tools to facilitate this process, whether they are apps or overlays. 

A third-party software program can also be used to measure GPU temperature.  

A GPU temperature can be checked using Windows 10’s Task Manager. Apple’s Activity Monitor does the same for Macs. AMD, NVIDIA, and other GPU brands provide temperature information through applications or performance overlays.

How Hot Is Too Hot for Your GPU?

how hot is too hot for a gpu

Several factors determine how high a temperature a GPU can withstand, including the amount of thermal paste, airflow, and the age of the GPU.

It’s generally safe for GPUs to run at temperatures below 60°C, and it’s not damaging to run them between 60°C and 90°C, but you should cool them at higher temperatures. If you run your GPU over 100°C, you may cause serious hardware damage.

The GPU cannot be exposed to temperatures over 80°C if it is too old, has dried out, and has inadequate airflow.

Why is My Graphics Card Overheating Suddenly?

Try to identify what has caused your graphics card to overheat. Have you played a new game, used a new program, or installed new components? Make sure you troubleshoot what’s new first before looking at other issues.

In normal operation

During normal operation, if your graphics card overheats, make sure your computer’s BIOS settings are set to high speeds. Although they are louder, they should prevent your PC from becoming overheated. 

In addition, quit any programs that are running in the background if you don’t need them. Some programs can raise your temperature even when you don’t use them directly.

While Playing Games

gpu overheating while playing games

When graphics cards overheat in games, the game may perform poorly or shut down altogether, which is usually a result of a failure of the graphics card. 

You might be able to keep the temperatures down by lowering the quality settings a bit at a time. View distance and shadows can have an impact on GPU performance.

Make sure your GPU software is set to perform. In a graphically demanding game, you need your GPU fans to be high, but you might be able to keep them low if you’re on a word processor program. 

During idle time

Idle systems should run pretty cool, so if your graphics card is overheating, you probably have a problem with your card. 

Consider placing your computer in a cooler spot, cleaning it out, and closing demanding background programs. If this doesn’t work, consult a professional.

GPU Overheating Symptoms

The following are some obvious signs that your graphics card is overheating; however, you can monitor your temperatures using graphics card monitoring software.

GPU Artifacting

It is a sign there is something wrong with your GPU and your screen may begin to display red tiles (or other glitches) all over it if that happens. you should check out our guide to fixing GPU artifacting.

Max temperature is reached or exceeded

Manufacturers of GPU chips usually provide the maximum operating temperature along with Thermal Design Power (TDP) numbers on their websites. Several factors influence the Max Temp of a GPU, including the quality of its electronic components, its design limitations, and the performance of its stock heatsink.

Some newer models do not have a maximum temperature listed on the specifications page. After a strenuous hour of gaming or graphics-intensive work, you should keep the temperature at or below 85-90°C (185-194°F).

You will know the exact temperatures your GPU junction and chip sensors report during idle and load once you have known your GPU’s TDP using various monitoring software (AMD Wattman, MSI Afterburner, GPUz, AIDA64). Overheating occurs when the temperature is around or beyond the recommended Max Temperature.

In general, AMD GPUs have higher maximum temperatures, but that doesn’t mean they should run at 100°C all the time. The closer your GPU gets to 100°C, the more it will be throttled, and the louder its fans will be.

Failure of a graphics card

Your graphics card might be overheating if you see a message saying your graphics card or driver failed. If your drivers are up-to-date, your program will not freeze.

Issues with games

While playing graphics-intensive games, you can safely assume your graphics card is under strain when you see graphics-related errors such as not responding to the game, failing to recover from timeouts, or something similar.

If your game lags, glitches, or crashes, you may have a problem with your graphics card.

Noisy Fans

As GPUs attempt to remove excessive heat, they overspend their fans to achieve the best cooling performance. Loud noises indicate that they aren’t performing as well in heat removal, which means overheating is straining them.

Blue Screen of Death

blue screen of death

A blue screen of death may also be a sign of an overheating GPU. Some users have reported blue screens repeatedly during long gaming sessions even when temperatures have remained low.

Check your software settings, update your drivers, and make sure your fans are set to increase performance, not to reduce noise in those cases.

Shutdowns that occur unexpectedly

The graphics card or CPU overheating may be the cause of your computer shutting down randomly. While many things can cause a computer shutdown, the graphics card is one to check first.

Your system will suffer if you keep them at a higher temperature than they were designed to be run at.

GPU Overheating Causes

  1. Overloading GPU: The first thing to look for when your GPU is overheating is how much processing load you are placing on it. Generally, the more processing load your GPU has, the more heat it will produce.
  2. Not Cleaning GPU: Improper cleaning of your GPU is likely causing your GPU to overheat. Unless you have a habit of regularly cleaning your GPU, it is most likely overheating because of dust, dirt, and lint.
  3. Insufficient Airflow: You can reduce the airflow that helps your GPU remove heat from the system by facing it into the wall. This will prevent your GPU from cooling effectively.
  4. Worn-Out Thermal Paste: It prevents heat buildup on your GPU as well as prevents it from overheating. Thermal paste enhances heat transfer from the GPU, which keeps its heat sinks working effectively.
  5. Not cool Place: Your system might not receive enough cool air if you live in an area where humidity is higher.

How to FIX GPU Overheating

When your GPU is overheating, you will notice three physical signs:

  1. You will feel hot when you touch the graphics processor or video card.
  2. Desktop cabinets and laptops will become hot due to the excessive heat generated by the GPU.
  3. Due to the faster fan speed, there will be more noise.

CPUs and GPUs do not make noise themselves. You may hear some sounds when there is an overload due to excessive vibrations caused by the fans increasing speed.

When a GPU is overloaded, it gets hotter than usual. That’s why overclocking any component is so important. Sometimes the side effects aren’t obvious at first.

It may be hard to play games, watch videos, or use graphics-intensive applications due to overheating.

The screen may minimize while gaming if you run dual screens.

Failure of the video card may result in the display going black and turning off.

1. Dirty Fans

dirty gpu fans

Fans inside your GPU as well as case fans are also affected by this, as they ensure constant airflow within your machine.

Your graphics processor will overheat when the GPU fan is dirty because not enough air reaches the heatsink to distribute the heat that builds up inside the processor as a result of the dirty GPU fan. When you have to clean your machine, it can cause different problems depending on what kind of dust and dirt you have in your environment.

When someone smokes cigarettes at home, a sticky, tarry residue accumulates on computer components, acting as a glue for dust, making cleaning difficult, particularly if dust accumulates for a long time.

If you see that your fans are dirty, there are two immediate recommendations:

  1. The computer case interior should be cleaned
  2. Maintain a clean air filter

As the airflow in some places will be clogged and stagnant, a dirty computer case will conduct air less efficiently than a clean one, which will eventually contribute to problems with other components reliant on passive cooling.

You may want to consider installing air filters on your case fans.

Rather than removing your computer case to clean the components and fans inside individually, these filters will trap larger particles like pet hair and dust.

2. Faulty Fans

A fan is one of the most important components for reducing temperature. Make sure the fans on your GPU and your computer casing are functioning properly. If they are damaged or make noises, they should be replaced immediately. If there is any physical damage to the fans, then replace them as soon as possible. Check for obstructions obstructing the fans’ work.

In addition to dust, other elements can significantly reduce the cooling capacity of the fans. If you don’t clean your computer regularly, then the chances of dust clogging your computer’s GPU and fans are very high. GPU overheating is a common problem that can be easily solved by cleaning your video card, your computer, and the air filters.

3. Basic Maintenance

Maintaining your computer’s components is essential to keeping your graphics card in good working order. Dust and clean all components. Remove the fans and filters, wipe them down, and replace them.

A malfunctioning case fan can deprive the GPU of clean cool air, especially in air-cooled PCs, which rely on the orientation and placement of the case fans.

The case fans should be working in their intended order so that more cool air gets into the case than it lets out. Inflows should be higher than outflows, but only in slight ratios. The individual specification sheets from the fans’ boxes, manuals, or websites can help you calculate the total air discharge.

The graphics card itself has fans. Be sure to clean them carefully when the computer is off. Use dry cotton swabs/Q-tips to remove dust and grime slowly and nimbly.

It might be necessary to check your system, other components, and your cooling solutions if both the graphic card and CPU are overheating.

Having difficulty keeping the temperature down may be due to a dying fan or cooler.

4. Adequate cooling

Like CPU fans that rest on the heat sink, GPU fans should be installed on any computer with a good video card. 

Make sure the GPU fan is running at the right speed and that all other fans are working correctly.

For GPU fan control, use MSI Afterburner or GPU-Z and increase the fan speed with the GPU application. 

In addition to replacing faulty fans, you’ll need to replace the power supply fan if it’s the main problem.

As well as graphics card coolers, you can find universal coolers to keep older systems cool.

In addition, check whether the fans are malfunctioning due to physical obstructions. Clean the computer cabinet or case thoroughly of dust and other objects that shouldn’t be there.

5. Update Drivers

windows driver update

Keeping your graphics drivers up to date is another precaution you can take. Outdated graphics drivers prevent your graphics card from running at its best, which can lead to overheating of the GPU.

Maintain the performance of your graphics processor by periodically updating your graphics card’s drivers.

6. Stressed GPU

You can reduce GPU overload by playing fewer demanding games, running fewer applications, and performing tasks that do not strain the GPU too much. 

If you want to reduce the load on the graphics card or GPU, you can lower the display resolution or graphics details.

If you are using a desktop computer, you may want to consider upgrading your graphics card. 

As long as you have a compatible motherboard and a powerful enough power supply, you can install another graphics card using NVIDIA SLI or AMD Crossfire.

7. Replace Thermal Paste

thermal paste
Thermal Paste

Thermal paste tends to dry out over time, which can lead to the GPU overheating if it is not applied properly to the graphics card. A lack of thermal paste causes poor contact between the CPU and the heat sink, which means you are not able to fully benefit from the cooling system of your GPU.

It’s very simple, the straightforward to simply change the thermal paste on your card. It is necessary to remove the enclosure of the GPU to replace the thermal paste, so take your time with it. Make sure that you buy the very best thermal paste you can afford. You won’t be doing this task frequently.

8. Positioning

It’s important to keep your computer in a position where it does not get exposed to direct sunlight as well as avoid placing it on the carpet. You want to make sure the computer is exposed to a lot of time and airflow to keep it cool.

The air might be obstructed by things placed on top of or near it.

9. Improper Airflow

You can prevent GPU overheating by having good airflow inside your computer. In some cases, there is simply not enough space for air to circulate, and when components are nestled together, the air does not have enough room to move around them and cool them properly.

How many fans are on your graphics card? Does it have a blower or an open fan? Look at the fans on your graphics card. When you upgrade your graphics card, consider airflow because graphics cards with three fans all spinning in one direction are not taking advantage of how air moves around them.

In a three-fan graphics card, if the middle fan spins in the opposite direction as the other two, two channels of air are created between the fans, eliminating competition between them.

To determine how to position your case fans for optimal air pressure, you should determine whether your model is an open fan or an open blower model. In a blower GPU, positive pressure is needed in the case (more air blown into it by the case fans) while in an open-air GPU, negative pressure is needed in the case (more air blown out by the case fans).

10. Old/Incompatible GPU

old gpu

It is necessary to upgrade the GPU if, after assembling the computer or changing one or more components, the GPU becomes incompatible. 

For help choosing a graphics card, you can consult this comprehensive guide.

On eBay, you can purchase a graphics card for a slightly lower price.

11. Repair Your System

Occasionally, you must repair the graphics card so that it will work properly. A few years ago, I encountered this problem. Thermal paste keeps a graphics card cool. It might overheat if it’s old, misapplied, or incorrectly installed because the GPU screws are not inserted correctly. 

A certified computer repair specialist I know helped me take apart a graphics card, clean it, and replace the thermal paste in it since I was not confident enough to do it myself.

The old thermal paste was cleaned from the chip and applied, and the screws were removed.

Watching taught me that when you put the GPU back together, you need to screw everything in firmly.

You should make sure you’re confident about reapplying thermal paste before you begin – or ask someone confident about it for help. Taking apart the GPU may void the warranty and damage the GPU. 

12. Software Issue

Uninstall any recent software you installed and see if the problem persists. If the problem persists, restore your system to an earlier date. 

In any case, make sure you don’t overload the graphics card or use incompatible hardware or software.

13. Hardware Issue

In some cases, a technician may be able to repair the GPU if he or she can determine the actual problem.

A new GPU may be a better choice if your GPU is old and the repair is expensive.

14. Water Cooling System

liquid cooling system
  • In the absence of overclocking and/or previous temperature issues, there are no performance gains
  • It might be quieter, but if you face thermal limitations due to temperature issues then this does not qualify as “performance gains”.

The use of liquid cooling for GPUs to increase performance has been endorsed by many, but little evidence suggests it is a solution mainstream users should consider. It is more likely that the direct impact of adding a water block to the GPU will be an improved auditory experience rather than a significant temperature change.

Unless you plan to overclock your GPU and know you want to keep it cool, you will not see any direct performance improvements. As liquid coolers will not fix airflow issues, they will eventually heat up if your case has poor dynamics, so if you have poor dynamics, they will eventually heat up as well. It may save a few degrees, but it won’t be much.

In addition to the problems associated with adding an aftermarket cooler, you must also install an aftermarket component in your machine. The process entails removing the plastic shroud from the GPU, installing custom fans, installing the cooler itself, and fitting the fan into the case’s airflow dynamics.

It isn’t worth spending the extra money for a few more degrees of cooling, as the GPU was designed and manufactured in its stock configuration for a reason.

15. Inadequate Power

Your graphics card will run more smoothly if you replace your power supply with something more capable and of better quality.

When the graphics card is operating at its full potential, the rest of your computer’s parts will also function well.

16. Other Components

You may have a problem with another component of your computer if repairing the graphics card did not work. You can test your RAM or stress your CPU to ensure they’re working correctly.

Ultimately, if your computer still doesn’t stay cool after installing the newly-repaired GPU, you may need to have the whole thing repaired.

It’s a good idea to test out an old GPU in your computer to determine if it behaves the same as the current one before you replace it.

Cool Your overheated GPU

Keeping an eye on your GPU temperature and keeping it cool will ensure that your hardware lasts longer, as running your GPU at extreme temperatures can damage other parts of your computer.

Visit the manufacturer’s website to find out your GPU’s maximum temperature. Keep it below the max value.

Lastly, it is not uncommon to see GPUs that get hotter with time. Furthermore, constant loads can wear down hardware. As a result, you should be aware of the signals that indicate that the GPU should be replaced.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can Overheating Damage a GPU?

When the GPU is running at too high a temperature, it probably shuts down automatically, which is why blue screens and unexpected shutdowns tend to occur.

Do Outdated Graphics Drivers Cause GPU Overheating?

Yes, It is possible to overload your GPU even if you are not overstressing it by using outdated graphics drivers. This limits your hardware’s performance. As a result, updating your graphics driver improves its performance, reducing the amount of heat it creates.

Can Power Supply Cause GPU Overheat?

Your GPU can run hotter than it should if your power supply fails or is inadequate.

Final Words

When you receive a new computer or make any changes to your computer system, hardware, or software, check the GPU temperature whenever you think the graphics card is unusually hot.

You should first close all graphics-intensive software, games, videos, and background processes before you begin investigating the cooling system or fans.

Choose a solution only after a thorough diagnosis of each of the ten reasons described in this guide. Don’t forget to consider concurrent issues as well.

In the absence of an obvious cause, you may need to contact an expert technician. Use your warranty if it is available.

In the end, if you do not find any obvious reason for GPU overheating, a hardware issue could be at play. Check your warranty, if applicable. Otherwise, contact an expert technician.

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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