How Hot is Too Hot for GPU?

Do you know how hot is too hot for your GPU?

That’s a question worth asking if you want to protect your PC and avoid costly repairs.

As gamers, we know that our graphics cards are an integral part of the gaming experience.

We also know they’re a bit delicate and need to be handled with care.

One question that many new gamers have is how hot is too hot for GPU?

In this post, we’ll explore and discuss about that.

As a rule of thumb, anything above 185°F (85°C) is too hot for a GPU.

Further in this post, we will discuss the ideal temperature for a GPU and talk about why you should care about this as a gamer.

Let’s dive right in.

How Hot Should My GPU Get?

GPUs run hotter than CPUs.

The CPU usually never gets anywhere near as hot as the GPU, though, at least not when you’re just gaming.

How hot should my graphics card get then?

As mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t let it get above 185°F (85°C) when gaming. A lot of gamers swears by this number.

That said, all GPUs have different thermal characteristics.

Some are designed to run in the upper 90°C range, some as low as 55°C.

For example, AMD once released a GPU that can run as hot as 110°C!

The point to view here is that every gaming computer is different.

Some gaming computers are made so hard and strong.

They can take a lot of heat. 

Other computers are cheaper and more modest, especially if they come from a budget seller.

So how hot should your GPU be when it’s not gaming?

Depending on your preference, you’ll want a range between ~40°C-60°C.

Again, take a look at the specs before you buy so that you know what kind of numbers to expect from your GPU.

There are tools out there that can help you keep track of how hot your CPU and GPU is getting at any given time.

I really like the MSI Afterburner to check GPU temperatures.

It has a built-in function that makes it possible to display the temperature of both CPU and GPU.

Plus, it works for both AMD and Nvidia GPU.

But, there are also many other tools out there that do the same thing.

This is just one of them.

But here’s the bottom line:

You don’t want your GPU to run hot all the time.

It’s better to keep your GPU at a cool temperature than have it run hot when you’re gaming.

You don’t want to damage the core components of your GPU or shorten its lifespan dramatically through overheating.

As a rule of thumb, your GPU should not run hotter than 85°C when gaming.

Anything above this range is too hot, especially if you plan on gaming for an extended period of time.

Also read: Do I Need a Graphics Card If I don’t Play Games? Everything to Know in 2021

Why is Hot GPU Bad?

Now, let’s talk about why hot GPU is bad and why you don’t want your GPU to overheat.

There are three main reasons why you don’t want your GPU to run hot all the time:

First of all, you need to make sure that your GPU doesn’t run too hot because it will cause performance issues.

Chip on the GPU depends on its ability to deliver electrical signals. 

It consists of semiconductors that process the digital input into graphic output.

When it’s too hot, the electrical resistance can increase. As a result, the efficiency and the performance of your GPU is dropping.

Secondly, a hot GPU will reduce the lifespan of your graphics card.

Cycling through extreme heat, the electrical component inside your GPU can get saturated.

That’s why electricity has a different life span over various temperatures.

Prolonged heat can cause error and data corruption. 

Running it at a cool temperature can help to get the most of your GPU lifespan.

Last but not least, it can cause the solder on your GPU to melt and detach from the board.

The solder won’t start to melt until it’s around 200 °C. But 100 °C is enough to soften the solder.

It will weaken the connection between electrical components in the GPU.

So to summarize my points, you want to keep your GPU in a cool temperature range for the best performance.

It will also help you maintain the lifespan of your graphics card and PCB board.

Are 80 Degrees too Hot for a GPU?

Over 80°C is quite hot for a GPU, but not necessarily dangerous.

However, it’s essential to play safe and ensure the temperature stays below an optimal range so that you can be sure your device keeps running smoothly without being throttled down.

Some GPUs will drastically cut back their performance well before reaching this point if they detect overheating to prevent damage or failure from occurring on them.

However, this compromises the consistency of performance by lowering framerates and causing some reduction in quality settings at higher resolutions, which may affect FPS (frames per second).

But again, 80°C is still below our recommended safe temperature threshold of 85°C.

As long as you stay below it, your GPU should be ok.

But there’s no harm in keeping the temperature well below 80°C.

But if you want to play it extra safe, invest in a cooling pad for your laptop or a fan to deliver cool air into the chassis of your desktop computer.

It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Also read: How Many FPS is Good for Gaming in 2021 and Beyond? [Ultimate Guide for New Gamers]

Are 76 Degrees Celsius Hot for a GPU?

I can tell you from experience, 76°C is not hot for a GPU. 

I know it sounds crazy, but in fact, this temperature range is optimal if you are looking for the best performance and consistent framerates.

In fact, Your GPU can take a bit more heat than you think before it starts to throttle down.

I believe most GPUs will run just fine at 76 degrees. 

I have many graphics cards that run in this temperature range. 

They work just fine even after several years of heavy gaming sessions.

The bottom line is: don’t be too scared to push beyond 76°C if you think it’s going to help you maintain a smooth framerate.

Some people are even reporting that they can go as high as 80°C before seeing any performance drop whatsoever.

As long as you stay below 85 °C or so, your GPU should be able to handle it just fine.

Is 87 Degrees Hot for a GPU?

Yes, it is. And even if your GPU manufacturer said that the temperature limit is higher than 87 °C, I would still not go above it.

Some GPU manufacturers will state the maximum temperature of their product if you read the manual.

Nvidia 3070 Founder Edition Maximum Temperature. Source: Nvidia.

But I wouldn’t take their word for it and still try to stay below their stated temperature limit.

My advice is to keep your temperature well below 87 °C at all times, and you should be fine.

Many other gamers on the gaming community like Reddit also swears by staying below this temperature.

Just keep in mind that the performance of your graphics card will drop as soon as it’s overheating.

I also believe that the higher you go above 87 °C, the more likely it is to fail and get permanently damaged.

The thermal paste will become less effective over time, so the thermal conductivity between the GPU die and the heatsink will decrease.

Also read: 16 Easy Ways to Make Your Laptop Faster for Gaming!

How to Lower Your Graphics Card Temperature?

There are many ways to lower your GPU temperature. Let’s talk about them.

Lower the Game Setting

The easiest way to lower your GPU temperature is by lowering your game setting.

This will significantly reduce the load on your GPU and help you reach a lower temperature threshold.

Also read: Should You Turn Vsync On or Off in 2021? [Ultimate Answer]

Undervolting the GPU

You can use software to change the clock speed or frequency of your graphics card.

Lowering the voltage of your GPU will also help it run cooler and last longer. 

However, this requires a bit of know-how.

You can learn how to undervolt your graphic card if you want to do that.

It’s an excellent way to lower your GPU temperature.

You might experience some drops in FPS, but it’s still better than getting your graphics card to overheat.

Tweak Your GPU’s Fan Settings

The fan is an essential part of the GPU because it helps cool your card.

You can increase the spin rate of the fan to make it move more air and work faster.

The faster your fan spins, the more heat it moves, and consequently, your graphics card temperature should drop.

However, you should also remember that faster spinning fans generate more noise.

Most graphic cards can control their fan speed, and there are many software you can use to do that as well.

You can try controlling your fan manually by using a tool like MSI Afterburner if you want to.

Improve your PC’s Airflow

PCs are not always designed for the best airflow possible, but they can often be improved.

One thing that works is adding more fans to intake or exhaust fan ports for airflow to be maximized and increased.

This will helps prevent overheating of your graphics card as well! 

You should also ensure that nothing that gets in the way of air intake or exhaust ports.

For instance, you should always keep them clear from obstructions like books and walls. 

By doing this, heat should fluctuate and disperse more naturally to ensure your graphics card stays cool.

Also read: 5 Easy Ways to Cool A Laptop While Gaming in 2020

Clean Your PC

With time, the filter and fan will accumulate dust from the air.

This can reduce cooling efficiency because it blocks airflow and leads to overheating.

A dirty PC may lead to clogs that slow down airflow, which is not good for your graphics card.

You can schedule monthly cleanings to keep the filter and fan-free from dirt, which will help maintain its cooling efficiency!

You’ll be surprised how much better your computer’s performance is after a good scrubbing.

Replace the Thermal Paste

If you have tried everything, I highly suggest you take a look at your thermal paste.

Maybe it is not doing its job anymore and needs to be replaced?

Replacing that old thermal paste may just be what your graphics card needs to get back up and running!

Changing your thermal paste can drop the temperature by 3-9 °C!

Make sure you use the right thermal paste for your graphics card as well.

If you are not familiar with how to replace your thermal paste, I would recommend seeking professional help from someone who knows how to do the job correctly.

Conclusion: So How Hot is Too Hot for Your GPU?

In conclusion, heat is the number one enemy of any graphics card.

As a rule of thumb, anything above 85°C or 185°F is too hot for any GPU.

It is a good idea to keep your graphics card temps below 85°C if possible for the best performance. 

Bear in mind, however, that this temperature is not a hard and fast rule.

Different graphics cards have different operating temperatures, and the way you use your computer will also make a big difference. 

If you want your computer to always run at its best, then I would suggest you look at cooling solutions for your graphics card. 

They can bring down the temperature and keep it cool under even heavy loads!

Final Words

I hope this article has helped you learn about the ideal temperature for your graphics card.

If you have any questions or would like to join the discussion, leave a comment below!

If you have any questions about keeping the temp down or anything else related to computers, feel free to drop me a comment below! 

I will do my best to answer them. Many thanks for dropping by!

About the Author
Hi, I'm Steve. I'm a proud gamer. I have been active within the gaming sphere for 30+ years. As gaming is something I enjoy very much, I want other people to enjoy it also. That is exactly why I started this blog.

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