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Why is my GPU Not Being Fully Used in Games?

Why is my PC not using my GPU for games?

There could be several reasons for the PC to not use the GPU for games. Let’s look at each of them and how they can be solved.

  • The monitor is not connected to GPU.
  • The drivers are old.
  • The computer is using an integrated GPU.
  • There are issues with the motherboard or slot.
  • The graphic card is broken or damaged.


Monitor and GPU

If you are inserting a graphic card into the motherboard, you’ll need to connect the monitor to the GPU and not the motherboard.

  1. Turn OFF the computer.
  2. Connect one end of the HDMI cable to the HDMI port on the GPU.
  3. Connect the other end of the cable to the HDMI port of the monitor.
  4. Turn ON the computer.

Ensure that the cable is not tangled and is out of the way. Once the connection is set, there’s no need to touch it again.


Updating Drivers

If the graphic card’s drivers are outdated, you’ll need to update them to use the card.

  1. Go to the manufacturer’s website.
  2. Select the driver option and choose the GPU model.
  3. Download the latest drivers and install them.
  4. Reboot the computer.

The GPU should be detected and used as default by the computer.


Disable Integrated GPU

If your motherboard already has an integrated GPU, the new graphic card may not be used. You’ll have to disable the existing one.

  1. Go to Control Panel.
  2. Open Device Manager/ Hardware.
  3. Click on Display Adapters.
  4. Right-click on the motherboard graphics card and disable it.

In many cases, this will automatically allow the computer to use the graphic card you’ve inserted separately.


Other Issues

Insert the graphic card in another motherboard to check if it’s working or damaged. If the GPU is fine, check the motherboard and the slot and verify that the slot is not damaged. You’ll either have to buy a new GPU or motherboard in such instances.


Why is my GPU usage so low when playing games?

Low usage of GPU during games is referred to as low performance or FPS (Frames Per Second). This happens when the GPU isn’t fully utilized by the computer. There could be various reasons for this (software or hardware-related).

  • Overheating of GPU
  • Overheating of the GPU’s VRM (Voltage Regulator Module)
  • Irregular or not enough power supply
  • Issues with the video driver
  • Issues with the game (its software)
  • Underpowered CPU
  • Trouble with SLI (Scalable Link Interface) or Crossfire (SLI belongs to Nvidia and Crossfire belongs to AMD)

Once you correctly identify the problem, you can fix it to increase GPU usage during games. You might need to contact a technician to fix some of the above issues.


GPU not Fully Used in games


How do I make sure a game is using my GPU?

It’s easy to ensure that the games are running on your dedicated GPU. The process is slightly different from Nvidia and AMD. We’ll look at both.



  • Go to Nvidia Control Panel.
  • Choose Manage 3D Settings. (This is found under 3D Settings.)
  • Select Program Settings.
  • Select Generation Zero. (You might have to add it to the directory.)
  • Select ‘High-performance Nvidia processor’ in the second drop-down list for the preferred graphics processor.
  • Save the settings.

If you cannot see the second option, it means that there’s no dedicated GPU.



Follow the same steps as mentioned above. You need to select PowerPlay from the options. Set the plug-in to Maximize performance and save the settings.

The only thing you’ll need to do is select the dedicated graphics processor and set it to High/Maximum performance.


Why does my GPU show 0% usage?

The GPU will show 0% usage due to any of the following reasons:

  • The computer is running on an integrated GPU and not a dedicated GPU.
  • The monitor is connected to the motherboard.
  • The games are not open. (GPU is not required for regular browsing and light computer work.)
  • The drivers are not updated.

We’ve already seen how to solve the above issues. Using monitoring software like GPU-Z or MSI Afterburner will help get a correct measure of the GPU usage. You can also overclock the GPU to ensure that the graphic card’s performance is not being limited.

How to increase GPU usage for games?

The simplest way to increase GPU usage for games is by disabling Vsync and other frame rate limiters. However, some games come with fixed frame rate limiters (cut off at around 60 FPS). In such instances, the GPU usage cannot be increased even if it’s capable of handling much more.

  • Playing the game at a higher resolution should increase GPU usage.
  • Increasing the graphical settings will also increase GPU usage, though it can strain the CPU.


Game Title and Version

When the GPU usage is not high for games, it means that the computer is not powerful enough to run such fast games. While older games are CPU-based and single-threaded, the newer ones like First Person Shooters are GPU-based and need more power to run at their top speed.


Use Razer Cortex

Razer Cortex is a free platform that allows you to run games faster and at a higher speed. This will increase GPU usage by closing down other programs on the computer and preventing them from interfering with the game.

Once the game is over, the software will automatically restore the programs to their previous settings. However, improper use of the software can result in the computer’s memory being wiped off.


Low GPU usage in only some games

Low GPU usage in only some games could mean-

  • The game doesn’t require a high GPU and has a fixed FPS rate. Examples of such games are Darkest Dungeon, Portal 2, Monster Train, etc.
  • The system is bottlenecked by the CPU and is unable to use the maximum performance the GPU can offer.

If the reason is the game itself, there’s nothing to do about it.

But if the reason is a bottleneck, you’ll need to find the CPU usage and how much each thread is being utilized. If CPU utilization is more than GPU usage, upgrading the CPU should solve the problem.


Check BIOS and Enable HPET (High Precision Event Timer)

  • Restart the computer and open BIOS
  • Go to System Utilities and select System Configuration.
  • Select Platform Configuration.
  • Choose Advanced Options.
  • Disable HPET ACPI Support.

This should smoothen out the graphics and increase the FPS, which will, in turn, increase the GPU usage.

Slow RAM speed can also lead to less GPU usage in some games.

Increase RAM Speed

The RAM speed is also increased through BIOS settings.

  • Open BIOS
  • Check the Memory/Advanced
  • Enable XMP/ AMP.
  • Save and quit BIOS

Enabling XMP will overclock the RAM to the maximum speed the motherboard can handle. If the GPU usage is still low, you might have to upgrade the motherboard.


How to fix low GPU usage high CPU usage?

To fix low GPU and high CPU usage, you’ll first need to know where the problem lies.

  • Adjust the game settings by disabling all CPU-based graphical settings. If the graphic setting is not ‘High/maximum’, the load will fall on the CPU instead of GPU.
  • Capping the FPS at 60 will also reduce the CPU usage.
  • Disabling G-sync will help smooth the stuttering screen.
  • Increase the screen resolution to boost GPU so that the pressure will not fall on the CPU and result in a bottleneck.
  • Check the GPU drivers and update to the latest version.
  • Disable any background-running third-party apps that add to the pressure on the CPU.
  • Go to BIOS and disable power-saving mode. We want the system to run on high power, but by using GPU.
  • Enable XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) in BIOS to increase RAM’s performance.
  • Run the game on four threads in the CPU and overclock the GPU. Tweaking the CPU/ GPU settings should give you the expected result.

If none of the above options work, uninstall and reinstall the game. You can do the same to the operating system (try reinstalling the game first, it’s easier). If the motherboard, CPU and/or GPU are old, replace them with newer models.


How to fix Nvidia low GPU usage?

Nvidia’s GPUs are quite popular in the market but can still cause a bit of trouble if the system settings don’t match the graphic card. GTX 1080 usually touches 99% GPU during high-quality games.

However, if it doesn’t, you’ll need to check the following, one by one:


Screen resolution

As the screen resolution increases, the FPS will go down. The lower the FPS, the harder it’ll be for the CPU to push the frames. This will increase CPU usage and the GPU usage will be low. By increasing the GPU settings, you can take the pressure off the CPU and let the GPU work harder.


Nvidia Control Panel

Open the Nvidia Control Panel, go to 3D Settings and maximize the Nvidia graphic processor’s performance. This should always be set to Maximum or High for GTX 1080 to show high usage.


Other Reasons

  • CPU Bottleneck
  • Driver incompatibility
  • GPU overheating
  • Fluctuating power supply or low voltage

It’s likely that the game doesn’t require high GPU usage or that the game’s specifications don’t match the capabilities of the GPU and CPU. Gamers have been noticing that some games come with way too advanced settings that don’t work even with the latest CPU and GPU.


How to fix AMD low GPU usage?

Understanding the reason for low GPU usage will help easily fix the problem. We’ve already looked at the potential causes in the previous sections. The process of fixing low GPU usage for AMD Radeon RX 6800 is similar to the processes earlier explained.



Running graphic cards in Crossfire mode can limit GPU utilization. This could be because some games are not compatible with this Crossfire mode or the HB Bridge could be faulty. Try reseating the HB Bridge, reinstalling the updated drivers and disabling the Crossfire mode for RX 6800 to show a higher GPU utilization.



The GPU usage can be low if FreeSync is enabled along with Vsync. Though it helps reduce screen stutter, it’ll also limit the FPS and put pressure on the CPU. Turn OFF Vsync if FreeSync is already enabled.


SMT (Simultaneous Multithreading)

Disable SMT when using AMD RX 6800 or any of the latest GPUs for older games. You can enable it again when playing newer games.


How to fix gigabyte low GPU usage

GTX 1050 Ti OC by Gigabyte has been designed for super-fast gaming. If the GPU usage is less, it means that-

  • There’s an issue of CPU bottlenecking.
  • There’s too much pressure on the GPU because of many background apps.
  • The GPU drivers are outdated and updated again.
  • The CPU/GPU/RAM has been underclocked.


Low GPU usage can be fixed by:

  • Overclocking the GPU and RAM
  • Uninstalling and reinstalling MSI Afterburner
  • Updating drivers
  • Cross-checking that the game is a genuine version
  • Preventing CPU from being bottlenecked


How to fix low GPU usage Fortnite

  1. Fortnite recommends a full-screen setting for the graphics to play at their best and use only GPU power. The 3D resolution has to be set to 100%. The FPS rate can be anything you want. However, to fix low the GPU usage for Fortnite, set the FPS as per the screen resolution of the monitor you’re using. Check if the CPU is bottlenecked and take the necessary steps to clear this problem.
  2. Overclock the CPU and run everything at the maximum settings.
  3. Increase the RAM speed by enabling XMP profile in BIOS.
  4. Set the window mode to Full Screen.


How to fix low GPU usage warzone

Warzone was released in 2020 but looks like it’s still troubling gamers by not utilizing GPU power. Check the common issues (we’ve listed them already) to see if any of them is the reason.

Change Warzone to Windowed mode as a final solution. This has helped many gamers increase GPU usage.

  • Launch Warzone and go to Options.
  • Select Display section from the Graphics
  • Set the Display mode to Windowed.

You can also use a 1440p monitor and change the FPS to 100-100. Since Warzone has optimization issues, you’ll have to work on a trial and error basis to up the GPU usage.

Ernie Lo

Ernie Lo is a qualified web designer and web developer. He works as an IT support technician and website manager at Benleigh Vending, and he also fixes vending machines.

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