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What’s a Good Temperature for My GPU? (and How to Avoid Overheating)

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What’s a Good Temperature for My GPU? (and How to Avoid Overheating)

Key Points

  • GPU temperatures should stay within appropriate ranges to avoid serious problems.
  • Common causes of GPU overheating include hardware and software issues.
  • A good temperature range for a GPU depends on the manufacturer and type of GPU.
  • NVIDIA GPUs should not exceed 85° Celcius, while AMD GPUs can handle up to 100° Celcius.
  • Cooling options for GPUs include open-air cooling, blower-style air cooling, liquid cooling, and hybrid cooling.

You don’t have to be a tech geek to understand that your GPU should stay within appropriate temperatures or you’ll have serious problems. Unfortunately, not everyone knows what a good temperature for their GPU is supposed to be.

Fortunately, we’ve worked with all sorts of computers over the years and we’ll break down everything you need to know about GPU temperatures. From overheating to how to cool them and maintain safe temperatures, get ready because you’re about to learn a lot!

Let’s get started!

What Causes GPUs to Get Too Hot?

There are many reasons that your GPU is overheating. For context, a GPU is a graphics processing unit and is a piece of hardware that controls your computer’s images and videos. When something goes wrong with the hardware or even your software, your GPU can overheat.

Here’s a simple list of likely culprits for your GPUs temperature woes:

  • Your current GPU can’t handle what you’re doing. If you’re a gamer, or you didn’t purchase a GPU that’s appropriate for what your CPU can handle, it may overheat.
  • Your Thermal Paste has aged to the point it won’t disperse the heat properly.
  • You haven’t kept your computer clean. If you have too much dust collecting in your case, you won’t have sufficient airflow.
  • You need more fans or a better cooling system.

Fortunately, there are only so many things that can go wrong with a GPU, so diagnosing the problem is fairly simple. Of course, you need to know where to look. That’s why the list above is a really helpful place to get started.

What’s a Good Temperature for a GPU?

Before we go further, let’s answer the most pressing question, “What is a good temperature range for a GPU?” Well, the answer isn’t as simple as you may think.

To start, there is a general temperature range to abide by, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your GPU is running too hot.

Most GPUs can handle temperatures from 65-85° Celcius (149-185° Fahrenheit). However, this doesn’t explain everything you need to know.

First, it’s best to abide by any standards set in your GPU’s user manual. There are some variations in what safe temperatures are that depend on the manufacturer and which type of GPU you’re using (which we’ll talk about more in the following sections).

What’s a High Temperature for a GPU?

Now that you know a good general range, let’s explore NVIDIA and AMD GPUs. Each has its own recommended standards and what exceeds those limits.

NVIDIA

If you have an NVIDIA GPU, anything over 85° Celcius (176° Fahrenheit) is too high. Of course, you do have a little bit of wiggle room. But if your GPU is exceeding that limit, it’s time to cool it down.

AMD

AMD GPUs can withstand a little bit higher temperature at 100° Celcius (212° Fahrenheit). However, similar to NVIDIA GPUs, there is some wiggle room, but we wouldn’t recommend going over that limit for longer than necessary.

What Are the Options for GPU Cooling?

Perhaps you’re working with your own build (highly recommended) and you want to know what your cooling options are. Fortunately, there are quite a few cooling system options that are efficient and effective. Let’s talk about them.

Open Air Cooling

Open-air coolers are a popular option for keeping your GPU at comfortable temperatures. They do a relatively decent job of removing heat from the GPU and dispersing it over the heatsink as long as you aren’t overclocking your machine and have plenty of ventilation in your case (we’re talking to our readers who don’t keep their cases clean here). This cooling option redirects heat away from the GPU using one or more fans.

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Blower-Style Air Cooling

Another option is known as blower-style air cooling. This is very similar to the open-air cooling system mentioned above, except there are a few notable differences.

As opposed to open-air cooling options, the blowing-style coolers have protective plastic around the heatsink. This means it expels air out of the back of the case rather than all around it.

While open-air and blower styles seem to do the same thing, choosing the right one depends on your case. If your case has adequate ventilation, then open air may be better. However, the blower style may be better if you have limited spaces for the heat to go.

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Liquid Cooling

Liquid cooling is another great option for keeping your GPU at reasonable temperatures. Many gamers prefer liquid cooling because it’s so efficient. Moreover, if you overclock your machine, liquid cooling is a must. However, it’s also a little costly and quite complex.

Liquid-cooled machines are also much quieter than fans. So, if you enjoy a little peace and quiet, this may be the route to go.

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Hybrid Cooling

If you want the best of both worlds, go hybrid. Hybrid coolers (also known as AIO or All-in-One) use fans, heatsinks, and water cooling to keep your GPU within safe temperatures.

Factors that Impact Your GPU Thermals

Now, it’s time to talk about what’s happening inside your case when your GPU temperatures leave the “good” range.

Ambient Temperature

Now that we’ve explained cooling systems for your GPU, the ambient temperature will make a bit more sense. While there is some debate about whether ambient temperatures actually matter, studies show that it does.

If the temperature in your room is high, then it stands to reason that the temperature in your case must be higher as well.

Your Case

The shape and size of your case will impact how cool your GPU stays. For example, those with smaller cases will have less room to fit cooling units. But this also applies to cases that don’t have proper ventilation.

The Cooling System

As explained above, the cooling system you choose is vital to keeping your GPU from getting to dangerous temperatures. While air coolers and blower-style coolers can be effective, liquid and hybrid coolers are better for gaming and overclocking (pushing your hardware past its limits).

Be sure to choose the right cooling system for your GPU and usage. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself, and your GPU, overheated.

How to Check the Temperature of Your GPU

If you’re worried about overheating, you can check the temperature of your GPU using a few methods.

Check Windows

Our Windows 10 and 11 readers can hit cntrl + alt + Delete to open the Task Manager and click Performance. Then, click GPU and check your computer’s temperature.

Ours is currently running at 34° Celcius while writing this article, for example. Even with an after-market GPU, this method works.

Check Your GPU App

Another place to check your GPU temperature is the manufacturer’s app. For example, we have an AMD Radeon graphics card. Upon installation, we also installed the app on the computer.

If you go to the search bar in the bottom left corner, you can type the name of your GPU and pull up the app. Here, you’ll see the GPU temperature.

Third Party Apps

If our first two options don’t work for you, third-party applications may do the trick. Open Hardware Monitor is one such application, but there are many. Install the app and grant any permissions necessary to monitor your GPU’s temperature.

Note: It’s important to read reviews before allowing permissions or installing third-party software. Some software may make your computer more susceptible to viruses and malware.

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It’s crucial to keep your PC from overheating so your computer doesn’t suffer any permanent damage.

What Happens to a GPU When It Overheats?

Your GPU won’t go down silently. It will let you know that it’s overheating. Unfortunately, many users ignore early warning signs and go full nuclear before realizing what’s happening. If you aren’t sure what happens when your GPU overheats, here are some of the consequences:

  • The blue screen of death appears and your computer becomes useless.
  • You won’t get the same performance you’re used to getting.
  • You’ll notice system issues and even crashes.
  • If you’re gaming, your frame rate will drop unexpectedly.

When we test new games, we check our GPU temperature frequently to ensure we aren’t overtaxing our cooling system. However, these tell-tale signs will also let us know it’s time to chill out (pun intended).

How to Cool a GPU That’s Overheating

Now, let’s dive into the most important part of our article. If your GPU is already overheating, none of the above information will help you immediately.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to take action quickly and for the long term.

Get Cool Air in the Case

One of the best ways to get your GPU to cool down immediately is to get airflow to it. The easiest way to get airflow to your GPU is to open the case.

Of course, if you’re using a factory PC or a laptop, this may not be an option for you. If that’s the case, move the device away from any other tables, walls, etc., and clear the vents of any obstructions.

Close Some Programs

For those of us with devices we can’t open and air out, closing some programs will immediately take some of the stress off the GPU (we’ve had this happen on Mac computers). Taking some of the load off your GPU will reduce how hard it’s working, and therefore, cool it down.

Check the Fans

If you notice your GPU getting too hot for no apparent reason, check the fans. You can typically hear them running (unless you’re using a liquid-cooled system). Open the case and ensure they’re working properly.

For our readers using a laptop, you should be able to hear the fans running. If they aren’t, close some programs and ensure the vents are clear until you can investigate further.

Get More Fans

When your GPU overheats regularly, it’s time to make some hardware changes (or quit overclocking if that’s what you’re doing, but that’s no fun). Adding more fans to your system should help regulate your GPU temperature going forward.

Assuming you have the case and the space to accommodate new fans, add some. Or, upgrade your current cooling system to one that matches your needs (see our section above for help choosing the right system).

Add Thermal Paste

Another long-term solution is to replenish or add thermal paste. When placed between the GPU and the heat sink, thermal paste will redirect heat away from the graphics processor, therefore, keeping it cooler.

Of course, this won’t be an option for all of our readers, but for those with custom builds, it’s a must.

Wrapping Up

Of all the tech issues we run into, an overheating GPU is at the top of our “do not recommend” list. It’s pretty easy to diagnose and fix, but it’s going to cost time and money. Fortunately, understanding what is and isn’t a good temperature for your GPU, what causes them to overheat, and how to fix them will save you from a total meltdown (metaphorically and literally)!

Summary Table

TopicDetails
Good Temperature for a GPUDepends on the manufacturer and type of GPU. NVIDIA GPUs should not exceed 85° Celcius (176° Fahrenheit), while AMD GPUs can withstand up to 100° Celcius (212° Fahrenheit).
GPU Cooling OptionsOpen Air Cooling, Blower-Style Air Cooling, Liquid Cooling, Hybrid Cooling
Factors Impacting GPU ThermalsAmbient Temperature, Case Shape and Size, Cooling System
Checking GPU TemperatureCheck Windows, Check Your GPU App, Third Party Apps
Consequences of GPU OverheatingPerformance issues, system crashes, permanent damage to the GPU
Cooling an Overheating GPUGet Cool Air in the Case, Close Some Programs, Check the Fans, Get More Fans, Add Thermal Paste

Frequently Asked Questions

Can games overheat my GPU?

Yes. Some games have higher graphic settings than others and will overtax your GPU. If you notice your frame rate dropping, it’s time to check the temperature.

Are new GPUs expensive?

You may find some good deals on graphics cards and they do vary in price. However, good graphics cards will cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than one thousand dollars. They’re definitely something we don’t enjoy replacing.

Is an upgraded GPU difficult to install?

GPUs aren’t typically difficult to install if you have a custom build. However, you must check your hardware to ensure a new graphics card will work. If your motherboard doesn’t have the slots or the power supply doesn’t have the wattage to share the power needed, a new graphics card isn’t feasible.

How do I know if I can add more fans?

Similar to upgrading your GPU, check your power supply before buying more fans. If your power supply can support more fans, and your case has room, it’s typically possible to add more.

What's a good temperature for a CPU?

Your CPUs temperature generally shouldn’t go over 65° Celcius (149° Fahrenheit). Of course, it’s also important to check with the manufacturer for specific information.

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