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How to Fix a GPU Overheating (Is your Temperature Safe?)

Fixing a overheating GPU

What is the average GPU temperature?

The average GPU temperate of a laptop is 167°F (75°C). At this temperature, you won’t need to worry about your GPU overheating.


What is the normal GPU temperature for a laptop?

The normal GPU temperature for a laptop when it is in use is generally between 149°F (65°C) and 185°F (85°C). In the idle state, the optimal temperature is lower and ranges between 95°F and 131°F (35°-55°C).

When the GPU operates at a normal or a slightly colder temperature, you’ll often be able to achieve consistent performance from your laptop.

A slightly colder temperature is always better for the GPU than an above-normal temperature.

If the temperature of your GPU is very high, the performance may not be consistent. You may be able to start fine but are likely to experience decreased performance over time. In some cases, system stability will also be at stake.


What is a safe GPU temperature for a laptop?

The safe GPU temperature for a laptop is between 176°F (80°C) and 194°F (90°C). When the temperature increases beyond this range, the performance will go down. It’s recommended that the GPU temperature does not exceed 201° to 221°F (94°-105°C).


What is the normal GPU temperature under load?

The normal GPU temperature under load for a laptop is between 158°F and 167°F (7075°C). Some users prefer their GPU to have a lower temperature range of 122°F (50°C) to 140°F (60°C).

For a desktop, the normal temperature is usually lower than that of a laptop. Experienced users prefer this temperature to be between 140°F (60°C) and 167°F (75°C).


What is the normal GPU temperature when gaming?

The normal GPU temperature when playing medium-resolution games for four to five hours is between 140°F (60°C) and 149°F (65°C). For high-resolution games, the temperature will be slightly higher and can range from 149°- 158°F).

If you’re in a cold country, it’s ideal for your system to have a normal GPU temperature between 127.4°F (53°C) and 140°F (60°C) while gaming.


What causes the GPU to heat up?

The GPU tends to get hot because of heavy loads, airflow issues, GPU cooler failure, or a system cooling failure.

  • Heavy loads
  • Airflow issues
  • GPU cooler failure
  • System cooling failure


Heavy loads

The CPU is generally idle when the computer is used to carry out normal tasks such as sending e-mails, processing a Word document, or working on a spreadsheet calculation.

However, when one or more intensive tasks are carried out such as executing a financial model or using design software to create a 3D image, the load on the CPU increases considerably and it has to work more actively making it hotter. Overclocking the CPU also contributes to an increase in heat.


Airflow issues

Sometimes, dust accumulates on the case, ports, and inlets of the CPU. This will obstruct the smooth flow of air that keeps the CPU cool.

When the dust and dirt are blown out using compressed air, normal airflow resumes and the CPU will not get hot.


CPU cooler failure

The fan in the CPU cooling assembly may be faulty or could have become defective. If so, it will stop spinning. Having the fan replaced should help. Sometimes, there may be a loose contact in the CPU cooler that can be fixed by removing and reattaching it.


System cooling failure

If either the fan present in the power supply or the case fan stops functioning, the CPU cooler starts working overtime to stop the CPU from getting overheated.

However, this results in hot air circulation that can cause some components in the CPU to get fried. Getting the defective fan and affected components replaced should help.


How to reduce GPU temperature of a laptop

You can reduce the GPU temperature of the laptop by opting for a raised surface, using a cooling pad, using a better thermal paste, or by removing the accumulated dust inside. Some other ways include replacing a faulty fan, downgrading the GPU clock, or a GPU driver rollback.

  1. Keep your laptop slightly lifted off the table. You can keep a book or just about anything under the laptop. However, you must take care not to block the inlets while you do this.
  2. Consider using a cooling pad. It is worth considering a pad with large fans as they have more airflow and are quieter.
  3. Replace the thermal paste on the GPU. The rise in GPU temperature may be due to drying out of this paste on your graphics card. You’ll need a lint-free cotton swab or cloth or microfiber, replacement thermal compound, screwdriver, and isopropyl alcohol to do the replacement. This process takes only about five minutes to get done.
  4. Remove the screws from the GPU using the screwdriver. Apply some isopropyl alcohol on the microfiber cloth and clean both the GPU base and fan. Apply some thermal paste and close the cover of the GPU. Tighten the screws back in a criss-cross pattern and install the GPU back in place.
  5. Remove the dust accumulated on the GPU. This may be one reason why the temperature is high. You can do this using a screwdriver, baby wipes, and compressed air can.
  6. Remove any dust on the outside of the GPU and unscrew it from its position. Twist the cooler gently and take it apart. Don’t pull the graphics card and fan apart.
  7. Disconnect the fan, turn it downward and remove the dust using compressed air. Clean the fan and graphics card using the screw and baby wipes. Assemble the card after everything has dried up.
  8. Plug the fan back and install it in position. Screw everything back in place.
  9. The graphics card may have a defective or malfunctioning fan that spins very slowly or doesn’t spin at all. A replacement is the only solution.
  10. You can consider lowering or downgrading the GPU clock by using the overclocking tools of your graphics card. This is a temporary solution to lower the GPU temperature until you figure out the actual reason and resolve it. Once you have fixed the problem, you can reset the GPU clock to its original setting.
  11. Check whether the video driver of the graphics card has been updated. In some cases, an update tends to raise the graphics card temperature to a high level. If so, do a rollback to the previous stable version. It’s to be noted that there might be instances where you may have to delete the graphics card driver or update it.


Why is my GPU overheating all of a sudden?

Your GPU may be heating all of a sudden because of dust in the heatsink, bad contact between heatsink and GPU, a graphic driver update, or a GPU fan problem.

Alternatively, the position of the Wi-Fi card or a GPU bitcoin mining malware can trigger the problem.

  • Dust in heatsink
  • Bad contact between heatsink and GPU
  • Graphic driver update
  • GPU fan problem


Dust in the heatsink

One way to find this out is to put your hand behind the heatsink and check for hot air coming out of the holes near the ports at the rear. If there is no air at all, the heatsink may be blocked.

Blowing a can of compressed air over the heatsink can help cool down the temperature of the GPU.


Bad contact between heatsink and GPU

You may consider reseating the heatsink. The thermal paste between the graphics chip and heatsink could have come off or dried up. Remember to remove traces of the old paste before doing a reapplication.


Graphic driver update

The graphics driver may have automatically got updated to a newer version. Sometimes, it happens that a version update heats the GPU for no reason at all. This is especially true in Windows systems. A rollback to the previous version will often solve the problem in such cases.


GPU fan problem

You can use a utility tool like MSI Afterburner and adjust the speed of the GPU fans. Alternatively, you may consider increasing the number of fans. If the fan doesn’t spin at all, it may be faulty and will need a replacement. Use this chance to clean the dust from the fans.


Laptop GPU temperature is too high

Your laptop GPU temperature is often too high due to dust accumulation on the heatsink, a dried-up thermal compound, or incorrect fan settings.

  • Dust accumulation on the heatsink.
  • Dried up thermal compound.
  • Improper fan settings.
  1. Use compressed air to blow out the dust and dirt on the heatsink. This will remove the dirt blocking the air vents as well. You can also use this chance to check if the heatsink is seated properly on the chips.
  2. Dismantle the laptop and do a thermal paste replacement. Make sure that you remove any remains of the old paste before adding the new one.
  3. Adjust the fan speed settings using third-party tools like MSI Afterburner. If a fan doesn’t spin at all, you must do a replacement as it’s likely to be defective. This tool also helps in setting a power limit for the graphics card at a lower temperature.
  4. Get a gel pack fitted inside the laptop cooler. This will ensure that the GPU temperature does not get very high.
  5. Link the CPU and VGA cooling through the same cooling fan/fans and a common heatsink. This prevents the CPU from overheating and ensures that the GPU also remains cool at the same time.
  6. Opt for a cooling pad if the GPU temperature rise is too high because the room might be overly warm. A metallic fanned cooling pad is a good choice.


Why does the GPU temperature keep rising?

The GPU temperature keeps rising mainly due to an overclocked GPU, fans running too slow, dust in the heatsink, a loose cooler, or because of dried-up thermal paste.

  • Overclocked GPU
  • Fans running too slow
  • Dust in heatsink
  • Loose cooler
  • Dried up thermal paste
  1. Rolling back a graphics driver update or a gaming App setting that automatically sets your system to gaming can make your GPU clock like before.
  2. Use software like MSI Afterburner to adjust the fan speed or set it at 100% depending on how the temperature rises.
  3. Clean the dust on the heatsink using a can of compressed air. Dust can block the air vents and hamper the airflow.
  4. Check the screws of the cooler and tighten them if they have become loose. Loose screws can prevent the cooler from remaining intact and doing its job properly.
  5. Check for dried-up thermal paste and if you find any traces, remove it. Apply new paste and assemble everything back in place.


Laptop GPU temperature is too low

The temperature of your laptop GPU could be much lower than it should be because of very high fan speed, an underclocked GPU, or a video driver issue.

  • High fan speed
  • Underclocked GPU
  • Video driver issue
  1. Adjust your fan settings so that it runs at slower than its current speed. However, make sure that you do not make a drastic change to avoid overheating later.
  2. Change your GPU clocking frequency so that it clocks at a higher frequency than before.
  3. If you have old graphics drivers installed, an update may help to raise the GPU temperature. In rare cases, some users have found that a rollback to a previous version works for them.


How to fix GPU overheating in laptop

You can fix an overheating GPU in a laptop by applying new thermal grease, cleaning the fans, undervolting the GPU, or by using a cooling pad. If you’re playing games, limiting the FPS is a good option.

  • Applying thermal grease
  • Cleaning the fans
  • Undervolting the GPU
  • Limiting the FPS
  1. You can consider buying a cooling pad or a laptop cooler. However, ensure that you buy one that is compatible with the type of laptop you have. If you’re unsure of this, it’s ideal to keep the laptop on a hard and raised surface. Avoid a soft surface.
  2. Underclock the graphics card and if needed, restore all the other overclocked settings to their default values. While overclocking helps to enhance performance, it stresses out the hardware and results in heat generation.
  3. If you’re an avid gamer, consider lowering the FPS. A high FPS can overheating the GPU on a laptop.


How to fix GPU overheating in PC

You can fix an overheating GPU in a PC by replacing non-working GPU fans, ensuring air movement in the right direction, adding more fans, or opting for a better case. Other options include a utility tool or the control panel of your GPU.

  • Non-working GPU fan
  • More fans
  • Air movement in the right direction
  • A better case
  1. Check if your GPU fan is spinning. If not, it’s most likely to be defective and has to be replaced.
  2. Apart from the inbuilt fans, you can consider setting up a fan near the removable side panel of your CPU case.
  3. Check for air movement in the right direction. Ideally, the back/top fans should release the hot air while the front/bottom fans must have fresh air intake.
  4. Inspect if your CPU case is compatible with the GPU. If you have a high-end GPU, you may need to opt for a better case.
  5. Monitor the temperature using MSI Afterburner. This tool also helps to adjust the GPU fans’ speeds and monitor overclock rates.
  6. Use the control panel of your GPU to monitor its temperature and facilitate interaction with the GPU in other ways. This control panel often comes along with the card drivers. If you don’t have them, they are easily available from the manufacturer’s websites.


How to fix GPU overheating a MacBook Pro

You can fix an overheating GPU in a MacBook Pro by doing an SMC reset, activating the Energy Saving option, and ensuring normal cooling down of the system. Apart from these, it might be worth cleaning the GPU and applying thermal paste as with any other laptop.

  • SMC reset
  • Energy Saving option
  • Normal cooling of the system
  1. Do a System Management Reset of your MacBook Pro. The method differs based on whether your laptop has an inbuilt or a removable battery.
  2. Activate the Energy Saving option. This makes the laptop use the GPU integrated with the CPU instead of the discrete CPU whenever possible. The integrated CPU heats up lesser than the discrete CPU.
  3. Ensure that the MacBook Pro is getting cooled as it should normally be. The exhaust grids and fans must have no obstruction.


Is my GPU too hot?

Your GPU may be too hot if it shows a temperature reading between 194°F (90°C) to 212°F (100°C) or higher, under load. Without load, the GPU may be overheating if its temperature is over 122°F (50°C).

There might also be a consistent drop in the performance of the system. In some cases, the system also turns OFF automatically.

To monitor the temperature, you can use one of the several utility tools available for this purpose. Some of them also allow you to adjust the temperature and overclocked settings. Investing in a case with unhindered airflow can prevent overheating.


Is 40 degrees Celsius hot for a GPU?

40 degrees Celsius is not too hot for a GPU. Almost all GPU manufacturers agree that this is an ideal temperature for the GPU to operate without load. So, even if this is your GPU temperature under load, there is no risk associated with it, if all the GPU components are intact.

You can continue to use your system safely without any problem as long as the CPU is not getting overheated and the PSU fan is spinning.


Is 50 degrees Celsius hot for a GPU?

50 degrees Celsius is considered normal for a GPU when it works without load. If all GPU components are in order such as a clean heatsink, spinning fans, and good thermal paste, you can safely use your GPU.

It is unlikely that a GPU will have such a low temperature when it operates under load.


Is 60 degrees Celsius hot for a GPU?

60 degrees Celsius is not hot for a GPU that operates under load. For GPUs from certain manufacturers, the minimum temperature under load is 149°F (65°C).

However, if your GPU is not under load, this temperature can be considered to be a little on the higher side.

The system might give out a reduced performance if it operates continuously without load at this temperature.

  • Consider applying some thermal paste on the heatsink. The old paste would mostly have dried up.
  • Adjust the speed of the fan or fans of your GPU. You can alternatively use a cooling pad or an additional fan.
  • Check if there are broken components or a non-spinning fan in the GPU that need to be attended to.
  • You can shut down the system for some time and allow it to cool down before you use it again.


Is 70 degrees Celsius hot for a GPU?

70 degrees Celsius is an acceptable temperature for a GPU that is working under load. However, in normal conditions and when there is no load, this is a sign of the GPU getting heated.  This can not only cause system instability and decreased performance but can also trigger a graphics card failure.

  • Check if the GPU is receiving good airflow inside the case. You can consider repositioning the fans if needed. Alternatively, you can buy a new case or add more fans.
  • Check if the graphics card driver has updated to the latest version automatically and if so, rollback to the earlier version.
  • Use third-party software and underclock the clock speed of the GPU. This enhances the lifespan of the graphics card and lessens power consumption.


Is 80 degrees Celsius hot for a GPU?

80 degrees Celsius is hot for a GPU working without load. But, it’s close to the maximum temperature when operating under load.

If the GPU gets heated this much without load, the graphics card may throttle and damage the GPU, the system could shut down abruptly or you may experience reduced performance.

  • Check if there is unobstructed airflow. You might need extra fans or a bigger fan.
  • Clean the fans and heatsink regularly so that they are dust-free.
  • Lower the graphical settings for your games. This might lower the game performance but will not have a drastic effect.


Is 90 degrees Celsius hot for a GPU?

90 degrees Celsius is undoubtedly hot for a GPU whether it operates with or without load.

  • Check out all the tips given above as they can help cool a GPU of this temperature.
  • Look for one or more broken cables or cable connections and if so, get it fixed.
  • Opt for a water cooling system. This is often expensive but is worth the investment.


Is 100 degrees Celsius hot for a GPU?

100 degrees Celsius is way too hot for a GPU at any point in time. If the GPU operates at this temperature consistently, you can run into serious problems like those highlighted earlier.

  • Replace your stock fan/heatsink setup, with an aftermarket alternative from a reputed manufacturer.
  • Ensure proper cable management and correct fan positioning so that there is unrestricted airflow and the case has an ambient temperature.
  • All the tips specified earlier can also help to reduce the GPU temperature.


NVIDIA GPU overheats when playing games

Players have experienced their NVIDIA GTX GeForce 1060 overheating when it’s under load when playing games.

The reasons a  NVIDIA GTX GeForce 770 can overheat is because of a dusty GPU, clogged radiator, or a faulty fan controller.

  • Fans spinning fast or not working
  • Dusty or dirty GPU
  • Clogged radiator
  • Defective fan controller
  1. Check the spinning rate of the fans and do an adjustment to their settings using MSI Afterburner or such tools.
  2. Get rid of the dust or dirt accumulated on the GPU using compressed air. Also, remove the graphics card and clean it.
  3. Check for clogs in the radiator and remove them using mild pressure.
  4. Invest in a water cooling system. It’s often worth the expense.
  5. Check if the GPU has a defective fan or fan controller. You should do a complete fan replacement in this case.
  6. Lessen the number of applications that have access to the graphic card.


Radeon GPU overheats when playing games

Some users have noticed that their Radeon RX470 or Radeon 520 overheats when playing intense games. The fans may not spin at all.

A small amount of users have experienced their Radeon RX480 overheating and shutting down their PC. These problems are likely because of the following:

  • The case is too small
  • The driver update is not done
  • Dried-up thermal paste
  • Clogged fans
  1. If your case is too small, the airflow may be limited. Consider investing in a bigger custom case.
  2. Check if the thermal paste on the card has dried up. Do a reapplication if necessary.
  3. Check to see if your graphics card driver has had an update. A rollback could bring it back to the temperature it was before overheating.
  4. Replace the stock cooler with a good one from a reputed manufacturer like Corsair.
  5. Use a frame limiter to lower the maximum frame rate. This reduces the GPU usage and results in less heating.
  6. Uninstall third-party tools like MSI Afterburner and use AMD Wattman from the manufacturer instead, to configure the settings. Some third-party tools show signs of incompatibility with graphic cards from the manufacturer.

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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