Why Is My GPU So Hot?

For gamers, the GPU is the most crucial part of the entire setup. It directly influences gaming performance and a well-arranged and functioning GPU can create that small difference in-game that ensures the win. Smooth, lag-free gameplay, the best resolution, and framerate are largely dependent on the GPU’s ability.

But even the best GPU’s tend to falter and face issues when running high graphic games for long sessions. This is mainly because of a sharp increase in core temperature of the GPU core which poses a severe strain on the structural integrity and performance of the unit.

Most modern-day GPU’s have a program that displays core temperature when functioning. When you play this temperature climbs and could range anywhere between 40- 90 degrees Celsius.

But when the core temperature starts reaching the upper limits of this range, things get a little dicey. You instantly start noticing a drop in performance and this could adversely impact the longevity of the product with repeated exposure to high temperatures.

These spikes in temperature happen when you are running a very graphic intensive program like most 3D design software and also modern video games with high graphic requirements, randomized textures, and auto-generating landscapes (open-world exploration games).

But, if you find that the core temperature increases without much strain or rises too drastically and remains close to the higher limit throughout your usage, you could do a few things to try and limit the issue and damage.

Check the Ventilation

For any gaming PC, keeping the CPU cool is crucial. The GPU is one of the components that cause random, acute spikes in temperature. The countermeasure against this is to have an intake fan close to the main CPU and GPU units.

The intake and the exhaust fans need to be identified and placed at opposite ends. This ensures that cool air flows through the length and breadth of the CPU, keeping all the components cool. Also, the side with the intake and exhaust valve should never be covered. Ensure at least 2 feet of space around the fans to ensure a healthy airflow.

Make sure the air is passing across all the hardware inside the CPU if you are building a custom PC. Most CPU cases/shells come with preordained positions from the vents but ensure that this is the optimal location for air to flow efficiently through your setup.

Check the Vents and Fans for Dust

The vents that house the intake and exhaust fans and also the fans housed on the best modern-day GPU units collect dust over time. Because of constant air circulation, the build-up is heavy around the GPU. This results in reduced speed of the fan blades and also tangling with the motors that run the fans.

This causes a loud noise (if you feel your CPU is louder than usual, might be time for a cleaning) and also poor ventilation around the core components of the GPU.

Clearing the dust is simple but time-consuming. You cannot vacuum the vents with powerful suction since it can disrupt the fragile solders and components inside the CPU. Use a pressurized air canister and direct it at the vents, this should dislodge some of the dust that you can clear. If it is a PC assembled by you, open up the case and use a combination of an old toothbrush and a can of air to slowly clear away dust from the fans and other clogged up areas.

Crank Up the Fan Speed

The best modern-day GPU’s come with programs that allow for incredible customizability. You can control the voltage, clockspeed, and fan speed. By increasing the voltage and clockspeed, you improve the performance of the GPU. This allows you to play games with a higher graphic output. But it also drastically increases the GPU temperature. This is why NVIDIA’s RTX series does not allow you to tweak the voltage (you can if you tweak the frequency-voltage graph but we do not recommend you do that) easily. The best way to counter an overheating GPU is to increase the fan speed by 10-20 percent.

This increases airflow but also increases power consumption. But the increased airflow cools down your GPU which is very important to longevity. Make sure you know how to tweak the fan speed on your particular GPU (several specific tutorials available online). This could allow you to game for long hours without experiencing any major issues.

Some GPU’s allow you to set an upper-temperature limit. When your card hits this temperature, the fan speed is automatically increased until the GPU cools down. This could be handy for beginner gamers looking for more efficient performance and aren’t worried about some extra noise. Increasing the fan speed with the automatic setting might increase the noise periodically.

Try Reducing Game Textures and Graphics

Most games have a video settings tab where you can turn off certain elements of the game like shadows, sun flares, texture quality, and color palette. This drastically reduces the strain on your GPU and will reduce the core temperature while gaming. Though this is a last ditch effort, if you are really looking forward to playing a particular game and figure out through GPU benchmarking tests that your PC cannot handle the game at full resolution, graphics, and framerate – reducing certain superfluous features might help improve in-game performance.


If you think your CPU is overheating during gaming sessions, the culprit might be the GPU. These simple steps allow you to reduce core temperature which is crucial to increase the lifespan of these essential gaming PC component.

About Suraj Radhakrishnan

Suraj is a tech writer with a passion for gaming. A lifelong Xbox proponent, he enjoys sports video games and high octane shooters. A lover of long, story-driven campaigns, he prefers completing missions to hunting down friends online. He also takes a lot of pride in telling people he has never played Fortnite.