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What Temperature Should a GPU Be (While Gaming or Not)?

I’m an avid gamer and PC enthusiast, and recently I had an issue with my graphics card overheating. I was so frustrated because I had no idea what the appropriate temperature for a GPU should be. So I decided to do some research and find out the answer.

In this post, I’m going to share what I found out. I’ll discuss the ideal temperature range for a GPU while gaming or not, and some tips and tricks for keeping it cool. Hopefully, this post will help other gamers or PC owners who are having the same issue.

What’s the Safe Temperature Range for My GPU? 

Modern models, like NVIDIA’s, should be under 185℉ (85℃) when under loading, while AMD’s recent GPUs can run up to the maximum of 212℉ (100℃). 

On average, experts advise PC users to keep their GPU’s temperature between 104-149℉  (40-65℃) when idling and 154.4-185℉ (68-85℃) when under loading. 

Other intensive activities like rendering and gaming can generate more heat. To keep your PC safe, your GPU’s temperature shouldn’t exceed 176℉ (80℃) when rendering and 158℉ (70℃) when gaming. 

Heat exceeding 230℉ (110℃) is detrimental to your GPU and can lead your PC to throttle or slow down. If the temperature rises due to a ramping clock speed, it’ll eventually force a shutdown to prevent internal PC damage. 

Overheating in GPUs is caused by a variety of reasons. To avoid costly repair or repurchase, check out the following factors that could overheat your GPUs. 

Cause of GPU OverheatingDescriptionSolution
Dust and DirtAccumulated dust and dirt can block heatsinks and prevent proper heat dissipation.Regularly clean your PC and remove dust and dirt from components.
Poor Cooling SystemInadequate fan speed or an inefficient cooling system can lead to overheating.1. Adjust fan speed using proprietary or external software.
2. Invest in a third-party cooler (open-air, blower, hybrid air-water, or water cooler).
Excessive Background ProcessesToo many background processes can overload and overheat your GPU.1. Close unnecessary tabs or applications.
2. Check and disable unwanted start-up applications.
OverclockingOverclocking disables your PC’s self-regulating system against overheating, leaving your GPU and CPU vulnerable.Avoid unnecessary overclocking, as it can cause bottleneck issues and is redundant with the latest CPUs’ capacity.
Insufficient Power SupplyAn old or faulty power supply can decrease your GPU’s power, making it work harder to finish tasks or slow down to match the power supply.Ensure your power supply is adequate and in good condition.
Room VentilationThe ambient temperature of your environment can contribute to GPU overheating.1. Open windows or use air conditioning to lower room temperature.
2. Use your PC during cooler times of the day, such as at night.
Dried Up Thermal PasteThermal paste ensures that heat does not escape and goes straight up and out of the heatsink. If it dries up, it can cause overheating.Reapply thermal paste if you remove the heatsink from your microprocessor or if the paste is dried up.
Outdated GPUAn outdated GPU may struggle to meet the demands of heavy load tasks, producing more heat than necessary.Invest in an up-to-date, high-quality GPU that can handle the demands of modern applications and games.

What’s Causing My GPU To Heat Up?

1. Dust and Dirt 

You better do it if you haven’t cleaned your GPU for some time now. Accumulated dust and dirt can block your GPU’s heatsink and prevent it from expelling excess heat. 

It’s essential to clean your PC regularly because, as harmless as they look, dust and dirt are common culprits for blockage and internal PC damage. 

2. Poor Cooling System 

If you’re guilty of throttling your GPU’s fan speed to reduce its noise, this might have caused the overheating. Make sure your fan is at the right speed by adjusting it in the proprietary or external software. 

To use your proprietary software, go to Task Manager and choose the Performance Tab. You’ll see the GPU option on the left side of the list. This will instantly show you an overview of your GPU’s temperature. 

You can also invest in various third-party coolers (e.g., open-air, blower, hybrid air-water, or water cooler) that come in different designs to fit your needs. 

3. Excessive Background Processes 

While GPUs are there for smooth graphic rendering in simultaneous tasks, too many background processes can overload and, in turn, overheat your GPU. 

If possible, close unnecessary tabs or applications that may pile up. It would also help to check unwanted start-up applications that covertly run upon turning on your PC. 

4. Overlocking

Overclocking increases your processor chip’s clock speed by undoing its throttle. Though overclocking is a popular method to amp up PC performance for a lower price, it also comes with risks.

By disabling your PC’s self-regulating system against overheating, you leave your GPU and CPU vulnerable. Recent studies also suggest that overclocking is unnecessary. It causes bottleneck issues and is redundant with the latest CPUs’ capacity. 

5. Insufficient Power Supply 

GPUs need to keep up with the CPU’s clock speed. An old or faulty power supply can decrease your GPU’s power to its optimum state. This can make your GPU work more to finish tasks or slow down to match the power supply. 

6. Room Ventilation 

The heat inside your PC may not be the sole culprit, but the temperature of your environment can be too. Though it is pretty hard to avoid in humid countries, you can lower the temperature by opening the window or turning on the AC. 

You can also use your PC at night when the temperature is relatively low. 

7. Dried Up Thermal Paste 

If you’ve cleaned your PC’s heat sink, checked the probable causes above, and still have an overheating GPU—check your thermal paste. 

Heat sinks don’t usually sit flat on top of a microprocessor, leaving gaps (air pockets) for heat to escape. Thermal paste is a heat conductor between these gaps that ensures the heat wouldn’t not escape and go straight up and out of the heat sink. 

You don’t need to reapply thermal paste annually, but you have to if you happen to remove your heat sink from your microprocessor. 

8. Outdated GPU 

Your GPU should be up to date to keep up with other PC components. An outdated graphic driver is most likely to exert more effort in meeting the demands of heavy load tasks. This, in turn, can make it produce more heat than necessary. 


What temp should a GPU be? 

To avoid the ‘blue screen of death,’ make sure to keep your GPUs within their safe temperature range and, ideally, do not let them exceed 212℉ (100℃). It’s also best to invest in the latest and high-quality GPUs free of any initial damage.