What Is a Good GPU Temperature Idle Vs Load [2021 Guide]

Various GPU models and brands are manufactured and designed for best performance within defined temperature limits. When the fan starts to get so loud, it means you’ve reached the optimal temperature for GPU.

A good GPU temperature when the computer is idle should be between 30°C and 50°C. But when performing GPU-intensive workloads like gaming, the GPU temperature increases significantly to around 80°C and 90°C—however, factors such as the manufacturer and model influence the optimal temperature for GPU. For example, the optimal GPU temperature for AMD and NVIDIA is 120°C and 105°C, respectively. 

Exceeding the optimal GPU temperatures may pose significant risks to your computer’s components. Later in this article, we will talk about different ways to cool down your GPU effectively. Right now, we will dive deeper into what you need to know about the temperature of idle and loaded GPU.

What is the Normal GPU Temperature While Under Load?

A Laptop’s normal GPU temperature while under load is between 50°C and 60°C. However, a normal PC GPU temperature under load should be between 60°C and 75°C.

When performing GPU-intensive workloads like gaming, GPU temperature typically increases to around 60°C and 70°C. However, it is advisable to keep your GPU temperature below 80°C while under load.  Temperature increases beyond 100°C can pose significant risks of failure and bricking the GPU.

Overclocking a GPU can considerably boost your graphics card processing. For instance, video or image editing applications that demand more GPU power can perform slightly better overclock. However, despite being time-consuming, overclocking your GPU can also be very expensive as it usually shortens the lifespan of a GPU.

Overclocking squeezes out more frames from computer components, giving gamers considerably higher frame rates per second. Most people prefer overclocking in order to get extra performance when they can afford the water cooling and a larger PSU.

How long does a GPU last if it’s constantly hot?

By design, gaming GPUs do not fail easily. GPUs can run at 100% load for years. What should worry you is a sudden silence from the fan(s) when your laptop or PC is loaded.

NVIDIA graphic cards will fail after four years when loaded 24/7. On the other hand, AMD can only last for three years if it’s constantly under load

When the compute load of the GPU is left to run 24/7, you have to be wary of its temperature. You need to constantly monitor the system temperature. In addition, you should probably install liquid cooling to your GPU as it will overheat pretty quickly when under constant load. Another thing to note is that water cooling systems should be an essential investment when your GPU is constantly hot.

Normal GPU Temperature When the Computer is Idle vs The Optimum Operating Temperature of a GPU

The normal GPU temperature when the PC is idle should be between 40°C and 50°C. However, the idle GPU temperature for a laptop is 40°C. 

The optimal operating temperature for GPUs should be between 60°C to 85°C.

A GPU performs best at its optimum temperature range which in theory should be able to process data with much efficiency.

But this does not always apply to all graphic cards. There are several factors that influence the idle GPU temperature. Similarly, these factors can alter the optimal GPU temperature.


The thermal capacity of graphic cards varies by;

1.  Model and Brand.

For instance, the optimal operating temperature range for AMD is between 60°C and 70°C. Meanwhile, NVIDIA performs its best between 70°C and 85°C.

2.  Weather and Room Temperature.

Overheating graphic cards will perform poorly during hot summer then they will perform during cold seasons. The same is true for cold or warm room temperatures. Usually, the effects of the room temperature would be hardly noticeable.

3.  GPU age.

Old GPU has a low optimal temperature range compared to new ones. Therefore it is easier for old graphic cards to overheat even when the computer is idle.

4.  Workload

If you are running GPU-heavy resources, the system will produce more heat than light applications.

5.  Cooling Solution

Finally, the amount of airflow allowed into the GPU by the case affects its thermal capacity. Small cases restrict airflow and hinder cooling. The number of fans in your GPU is also crucial for attaining a good GPU temperature.

You can usually learn more about your GPUs ambient and idle temperature on the manufacturers’ website.

Does GPU Temperature Affect its Performance?

Yes. GPU temperature affects its performance. Overheating decreases GPU performance to undesirable levels. Apart from lowering your graphics card lifespan, you also run the risk of bricking your GPU.

Technological advances in computing protect most GPUs against overheating by slowing a computer’s performance. This in-built mechanism of lowering performance to shed excess heat to attain optimal GPU temperature is called GPU throttling.

It is important to note that GPU throttling does not occur equally across all graphic cards. To reduce unnecessary anxiety, consider airflow, cooling solution, and case selection.

To maintain your GPU at an optimal temperature, you should consider using a larger case to mount the extra fans that will be needed for more cooling. Additionally, larger cases would have more space for you to install a water cooling unit or a larger heatsink to provide better cooling for your components.

Although the choice of graphics card is a matter of personal preference, consider GPU with multiple fans. Single fans are inefficient in replacing the hot air with cool air. A cooling solution with three fans is recommended to get optimal GPU temperature and can even eliminate throttling.

Here’s How You Can Monitor Your GPU Temperature

Higher GPU voltages produce significant amounts of heat regardless of changes in clock or memory speeds. If left unmonitored, you can encounter substantial damages to your system.

By default, older versions of Windows have no temperature monitoring tools. But on Windows 10 May 2020 update, the process is quite simple.

Access the Task Manager and go to the Performance tab. The GPU section will display your current GPU temperature. See the image below.

good gpu temperature

Otherwise, you must download third-party software.

The MSI Afterburner and Riva Tuner will help you monitor your GPU temperature. But first, you have to download and install both of them. Although it’s an overclocking tool, MSI Afterburner displays your real-time GPU performance.

Follow these steps:

> Open Afterburner

> go to settings> On-Screen Display > Monitoring > Show In On-Screen Display.

You can display other properties like frame rate if you like.

Different Ways to Effectively Cool Down Your GPU

So we have looked at the temperature limits for GPU, and we now know the performance margins. What if the optimal GPU temperature is exceeded?

Here are some effective ways to cool down your GPU.

1.  Clean Up Your GPU

Dust build-up is one of the major culprits for GPU overheating. Especially when dust clogs your fan blades and case. To get a good GPU temperature, you have to get rid of the dust particles. Using a compressed air canister to blow off dust would usually be effective enough and it will enhance cool air circulation and heat dissipation.

2.  Keep Your Computer Case Open.

As we saw before, a case plays a significant role in your GPU temperature. Keeping your case open will ensure cool air circulation.

A properly directed airflow will keep your GPU & PC components cool. You can try to find computer cases that allow unrestricted airflow.

3.  Install an Aftermarket GPU Cooler 

The best thing about aftermarket GPU coolers is their large heat sinks. Although you will need to disassemble some graphics card components, your GPU will be cool afterward.

Keep in mind that GPU coolers come in small and large sizes, so purchase what fits in your system. Also, making adjustments to your GPU will void your warranty.

4.  Replace Thermal Paste

Dry thermal paste will lead to GPU overheating. If you do not have any idea on how to go about the replacement, see here. Clean off the dust around your GPU before embarking on thermal paste replacement.

Also, ensure that you use the best-performing thermal paste that suits your budget. Be keen on the screws. Do not close the GPU components until all screws are fixed. Once this is over, your idle GPU temperature should return to normal.

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