If you’ve recently built or purchased a desktop gaming rig, you’ll likely know how much of an important function a GPU, or graphic processing unit, plays. Modern Nvidia GPUs, AMD GPUs, and many other brands are one of the most pivotal pieces of hardware in your machine, so ensure that they are kept and controlled in such a way as to give them the most efficient functions.
Making sure that your graphics card is kept at an optimal temperature range is a key factor in not only giving you the most consistent gaming session but also ensuring the longevity of your GPU. Whether you’re using your laptop for photo editing or gaming, it’s in your best interest to maintain your GPU.
We’ll be breaking down the benefits of having a GPU for gaming, from Alienware laptops to desktops. From there, we’ll be covering what causes your GPU to overheat and ways to prevent your GPU temps check. Charge your laptop and read on to discover our top tips!
The Benefits of GPU for Gaming
As video games have become more developed and advanced, the demand for processing power and a high-rate computer and graphics card has become an absolute necessity. To combat the massive demand to achieve realistic graphics, 4K displays, high refresh rates, and much more!
That’s not all that a GPU is good for, and the other applications that you may have on your device will also perform much better which a powerful GPU. Photo editing, video editing, and gaming will all be more efficient so you can then instead focus on giving your PC that classic visual design you were always looking for.
But don’t get overzealous with using your GPU irresponsibly, as a high GPU temperature can cause many problems. Sticks with us as we troubleshoot future GPU issues you may come across.
Normal GPU Temperatures
A good GPU temperature does vary slightly between your desktop and someone else’s, but usually, an average GPU temperature should range anywhere between 150 – 185 F (65 – 85 C). Between these temperatures, your graphics cards shouldn’t have any issues with processing and computing, whether it’s for gaming or other activities.
This can range differently based on the model of GPU that you own, and the type of machine your own. A touchscreen laptop will have a slightly different range and maximum than a dedicated gaming PC.
However, a good GPU temp should always be kept below 185F ideally.
What Causes an Overheating GPU
Your GPU is an intricate piece of machinery, and a lot of small elements can hinder its efficiency and cause it to reach its maximum temperature.
Numerous factors could cause overheating within your PC, with one of the most common being high-demand GPU games. If a game has demanding computer graphics or physics, it will cause a higher GPU temperature.
Similarly, the age of PC hardware may also lead to high temperatures. With age, the quality of your desktop’s GPU coolers may suffer, as well as the impact of your fan speed and efficiency. These may also arise from faulty production so don’t assume that GPU’s temperature can’t get hot because it’s not.
Besides the actual hardware within your laptop or desktop, other factors lend to increasing your GPU temperature. The PC case that houses you may hinder how your graphics card handles its max temperature – a high-quality case will avoid this.
The ambient room temperature range is an important factor when determining ideal GPU temperatures, with hotter rooms offering to lead to increasing temperatures for the computer’s sensitive chips.
Lowering Your GPU Temperatures
We’ve taken a look at a good GPU temperature and factors that may cause it to exceed it, so the next obvious step should be how to tackle lowering your GPU. We’ve outlined the top four ways to ensure your graphics processing unit will not overheat and remain at a normal GPU temperature.
Clean your GPU & Desktop
Your best friend when it comes to cleaning your GPU and desktop will undoubtedly be a compressed air canister. An air canister will allow you to remove dust from the hard-to-reach places within your GPU and desktop.
The build-up of dust is one of the main reasons for a hot GPU, as the dust acts as an insulator and traps the heat within your device. Whether you have a two-in-one laptop or a Macbook, removing the dust from your device will help restore your GPU to a normal temperature.
Using a thermal paster will also allow you to instantly cool your GPU temperature.
Make Sure Your GPU Fans are On
One thing that can often be overlooked is your GPU fans being turned off. When your fan speed is low or off, you’ll notice that your GPU temperature will skyrocket. If there is no way to turn on your fans and you don’t have any alternative computer cooling mechanisms, your GPU components can reach junction temperature quite quickly.
If you’re using your laptop as a monitor for your PS4 or another gaming device, always make sure to check if your fan is on!
Increase Airflow to your GPU
Your desktop will naturally use airflow inside to vent it out and cool your GPU. You can increase the airflow and remove GPU overheating by having your laptop on a surface that allows for easy airflow.
Avoid putting your device on a thick carpeted surface or an enclosed space like a cabinet. Similarly, avoid putting your laptop on your lap or near the human body since you will naturally heat up and block the airflow. Owning a monitor could improve the location where you place your laptop and increase its airflow.
To consistently achieve a normal GPU temp for your graphics card, consider using or upgrading your cooling system.
Drop the Room Temperature
If you live in a country that generally has a hot or humid climate, it may be difficult to lower your room temperature and grant your GPU a better environment to work in. That being said, if you can lower the temperature around you, it will drastically help lower your GPU temperature.
This can include turning on your air-conditioning system if you while you’re gaming or installing one of those liquid cooling systems to drop the room temperature. You can also turn off other devices that might produce heat, like your tablet, phone, or deskside lamp.
Keep Monitoring Your GPU Temperature
Once you’ve found which methods from the above list work to lower the temperature of your GPU, you should get into the habit of monitoring your device’s GPU temperature so you can always know when it’s reaching higher GPU temperatures.
If you don’t want to download tertiary software, you always open the windows task manager and performance monitor to check your GPU temperature whenever you want!
Frequently Asked Questions
We often see some frequently asked questions pop up here and there concerning what is a good temperature range for your GPU. If you’re using your desktop or tablet for your business or gaming, you should always take care of your GPU. Here are the answers to some of the questions you’ve likely been asking while reading this article.
Is 80 degrees Celsius hot for a GPU?
We’ve covered the ideal and optimal range for your GPU temperature, and 80 degrees Celsius is within the range (65 – 85 C).
That being said, your device may differ slightly from this range and you may notice your GPU begin to suffer at 80 degrees. This is unlikely and 80 degrees is considered to be a safe temperature for your GPU.
What is an unsafe GPU temp?
Generally, you want to keep your GPU temperature under 80-85 degrees (176 – 185 F). At this temperature, your GPU will operate normally and the risk of damaging your GPU is at a minimum.
Maintaining your GPU under this temperature range will allow you to prolong your GPU’s lifespan and ensure that your desktop will work for a longer time.
How do I keep my GPU cool?
We’ve covered four of the best ways to keep your GPU cool, but here are a few extra ways to keep your GPU nice and cool.
You can add an aftermarket GPU to take the load off your primary GPU, or add a PCI fan to your device to continually cool it.
There you have it! We’ve covered why you should be thinking of adding a GPU to your build, what GPU does, what the optimal temperatures are, and what causes GPUs to overheat in the first place.
Once you’ve cracked how to monitor and keep your GPU low, you can feel free to connect your Nintendo Switch to your laptop or use your tablet as a monitor instead.
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Writer Graham Grieve brings two decades of technical communications experience to The Holy Tech coverage. Isaac contributes articles on laptops, tablets and PCs, alongside various software and hardware guides. Isaac is a former newspaper journalist who also worked in tech communications for some of the country’s biggest corporations. He also counsels and creates material for other technology publications and hosts a podcast.
Isaac’s in-depth reporting and knowledge of hardware and software issues helps The Holy Tech’s readers learn how to choose the right products, or solve tricky problems.