Causes of GPU overheating and how to fix it

Are you worried about the graphics processor giving off more heat than usual? Overheating GPU can not only damage its own core, but also harm other components of the computer.

The GPU is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment in a computer, so no one wants their precious device to be damaged by overheating. Therefore, monitoring the temperature of the GPU is a must.

Let’s explore how you can determine when your GPU is overheating, its causes and symptoms, and finally what you can do to cool down your GPU.

What is overheating for the GPU?

GPUs are designed to handle high temperatures because they are constantly operating under heavy loads, generating more heat. How high a GPU temperature can endure depends on the manufacturer, the amount of thermal paste, the airflow, and how long it has been used.

In general, temperatures below 60°C are perfectly safe for the GPU, while temperatures between 60°C and 90°C are not harmful, but you should consider cooling more. At temperatures above 100°C, there is a high risk of hardware damage.

If the GPU is too old, the thermal paste has dried, and there is not enough airflow, it may not be safe to leave the GPU in temperatures above 80°C.

What causes GPU to overheat?

There are many causes of GPU overheating

Here are the top causes of GPU overheating:

first. GPU overload: The first overheating indicator is how much processing load you are placing on your GPU. In general, the higher the GPU load, the more heat is generated, and vice versa.

2. Do not clean the GPU: Dirt and lint accumulation on GPU hardware is the second most common cause of it overheating. Unless you’re in the habit of cleaning your GPU regularly, there’s a good chance that improper cleaning is causing your GPU to overheat.

3. Insufficient airflow: If the GPU is facing the wall, you restrict the airflow which helps to remove heat from the system. This prevents the GPU from effectively cooling.

4. The thermal paste is dry: High-quality thermal paste improves heat transfer from the GPU, making its heat dissipation efficient. However, over time, the glue becomes dry and interferes with the flow of heat out of the system. As a result, heat builds up, causing your GPU to overheat.

Symptoms of GPU overheating

Loud fan noise, screen errors, and experiencing graphics-related errors are some of the signs that your graphics card is heating up too much, but similar symptoms can also occur if GPU hardware is faulty or if the graphics card is outdated.

Therefore, you should check the GPU temperature through specialized software to confirm whether it is overheating and causing these signs. Open Hardware Monitor, MSI Afterburner, and HWMonitor are a few popular tools for monitoring GPU temperatures.

Following are some symptoms of GPU overheating:

first. Fan noise: One of the first and most important signs of an overheating GPU is that the fans are speeding up as they try to overheat. Fans that make loud noises indicate that they are not doing well at removing heat, which means that overheating is putting stress on the GPU fans.

2. Strange phenomenon on the screen: If you start seeing red boxes (or other errors) all over the screen, it’s a sign that something is wrong with the GPU.

3. Error while playing game: Whenever you see graphics related errors like unresponsive graphics card, graphics card unable to recover from timeout or anything like that while playing graphics intensive games or the game starts lagging, glitching, or crashing, it’s very likely that your graphics card is overworking.

Other possible reasons for GPU overheating include blue screen errors, PC errors, and sudden shutdowns under high load.

Different ways to cool down GPU

If an overheating GPU is causing the problem, you can cool it down by following the steps below.

first. Clean GPU fan: Clean the GPU fan properly, making sure there is no dirt or lint inside to help dissipate heat more efficiently. Using an air compressor or rubbing the impeller with alcohol is a safe way to clean the fan. You should also dry it properly before reinstalling the fan into the computer.

2. Turn off overclocking: The higher the clock speed of GPU cores, the more heat they generate. Therefore, if your GPU is overclocked, consider resetting it to a normal clock speed. If the GPU still heats up, try running it on non-overclocking settings to see if that solves the problem.

3. Hardware test: Carefully check the GPU fans to make sure they aren’t damaged (very rare). Replace them if they are worn to solve the overheating problem.

4. Improved airflow: Did you recently move your computer to a new place and it started to overheat after that? If that’s the case, make sure your GPU has enough airflow.

5. Replace thermal paste: Thermal paste doesn’t wear out for several months, and depending on the quality of the glue the GPU has, it can last up to 10 years. It helps if you still consider changing the thermal paste every 3 years for better performance, but replacing the thermal paste on the GPU is not an easy task.

6. Limit GPU overload: Overloaded GPUs tend to generate more heat, so avoid overloading it by running multiple graphics-intensive tasks concurrently. Overloading not only causes the GPU to overheat, but it also damages the fan and its other components.

The various methods listed above improve the flow of heat out of your overheating GPU. However, if they don’t deliver the performance you expect, consider adding more fans to the case. By adding more fans, you can improve airflow out of your system, thereby reducing GPU temperatures.

Furthermore, if your budget allows, consider installing a water-cooling system for your graphics processor. If you combine air cooling with water cooling, the GPU temperature will drop significantly.


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