How to lower your GPU temperature and keep it cool – everything you need to know

Follow this easy step-by-step guide to keep your GPU temperature low

Learn how to lower your GPU temperature with the Msi GeForce RTX 2080. Image shows a GPU on a blue background below the PC guide logo

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The more your computer has to handle a heavy workload, the more heat it will create. That is why knowing how to lower your GPU temperature and keep it cool is an important step in keeping your hardware in top condition. With the specialization of tasks, GPU temperatures have been increasing with time. This is why we’ve decided to bring you 6 different efficient methods of how to lower your GPU temperature, keep it cool, and avoid any damage.

There are many methods to ensure your graphics card remains at a good temperature; from managing your cables to changing the thermal paste. In this article, we’ve decided to include a step-by-step guide for each of the most effective and popular methods.

If you find this article helpful, check out some of our other coverage on similar topics, including how to remove a graphics card and our guide to overclocking a GPU.

How to lower your GPU temperatures – step-by-step guide

1

Improve case airflow

Step

1

Manage cables

  • Arrange internal cables neatly to enhance airflow.
  • Tidying cables reduces airflow obstruction, allowing cooler air to reach your GPU more effectively. Consider using cable ties or clips for better cable management.

Step

2

Optimize fan placement

  • Adjust or add case GPU fans for balanced airflow.
  • Ensure your case has a good mix of intake and exhaust fans. Position them to create a steady flow of cool air across the GPU. Adding more fans or repositioning them can significantly impact cooling.

Step

3

Upgrade case

  • Switch to a better-ventilated case if necessary.
  • If your current case has poor ventilation, consider upgrading to a case with a better airflow design. Cases with mesh fronts or additional fan mounts can greatly improve air circulation.
2

Clean dust from components

Step

1

Power off and open case

  • Turn off your PC and open the case.
  • Always power down and unplug your PC before opening it to ensure safety. Removing the side panel will give you access to internal components.

Step

2

Dust off components

  • Use compressed air or a soft brush for cleaning.
  • Gently remove dust from the GPU, focusing on its fans and heatsinks. Also, clean other components like the motherboard and power supply to maintain overall airflow.

Step

3

Clean regularly

  • Establish a regular cleaning routine.
  • Regular cleaning, such as once every few months, prevents dust buildup which can impair cooling efficiency. Keeping the external environment clean also helps reduce internal dust accumulation.
3

Adjust fan speeds

Step

1

Install monitoring software

  • Use software like MSI Afterburner for fan control.
  • Install reliable software tools that allow you to adjust and monitor your GPU’s fan speeds. MSI Afterburner is a popular choice that works with most GPUs.

Step

2

Customize fan curve

  • Set a custom fan curve in the software.
  • A custom fan curve adjusts the fan speed based on temperature thresholds. Set the fans to increase speed at lower temperatures for better cooling.

Step

3

Monitor temperatures

  • Regularly check GPU temperatures.
4

Reapply thermal paste

Step

1

Disassemble GPU

  • Carefully remove the GPU’s cooler.
  • Power down your PC and carefully disassemble the GPU to access the chip. Handle the components with care to avoid damage.

Step

2

Clean old paste

  • Remove existing thermal paste.
  • Using isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth, gently clean off the old thermal paste from both the GPU chip and the cooler. Ensure the surfaces are clean for effective reapplication.

Step

3

Apply new paste

  • Put a small amount of thermal paste.
  • Apply a pea-sized amount of high-quality thermal paste on the center of the GPU chip. When reassembling, the cooler’s pressure will spread the paste evenly.
5

Use aftermarket cooling solutions

Step

1

Choose compatible cooler

  • Find a cooler compatible with your GPU.
  • Research to find an aftermarket cooler that fits your specific GPU model. Consider factors like size, cooling capacity, and noise levels.

Step

2

Install the cooler

  • Replace the stock cooler with the aftermarket one.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to carefully replace the GPU’s existing cooler with the new one. This might involve applying new thermal paste and securely attaching the cooler.

Step

3

Test performance

  • Check the GPU’s temperature post-installation.
  • After installing the new cooler, monitor your GPU’s temperature to ensure the aftermarket solution is effectively reducing heat.
6

Undervolt the GPU

Step

1

Use tuning software

  • Install software like MSI Afterburner.
  • Download and use GPU tuning software to adjust the voltage settings of your GPU. Ensure it’s compatible with your specific GPU model.

Step

2

Reduce voltage

  • Lower the GPU voltage incrementally.
  • Gradually decrease the GPU’s voltage in small steps, while keeping an eye on the performance and stability. Avoid drastic changes that might cause instability.

Step

3

Test stability

  • Conduct stress tests after adjustments.
  • After each voltage adjustment, run stress tests or play graphics-intensive games to ensure the GPU remains stable and performs well at the lower voltage.

Is 90c too hot for GPU?

A GPU temperature of 90°C is generally considered above maximum for most graphics cards under normal operating conditions. While many modern GPUs can technically handle temperatures up to around 90°C, consistently operating at such high temperatures can increase the risk of thermal throttling, where the GPU reduces its performance to cool down.

How hot can a GPU run safely?

The safe operating temperature generally falls between 65°C and 85°C under load. Most GPUs are designed to handle temperatures up to 85°C without any immediate risk of crashes. However, it is preferable to keep the temp below 80°C to ensure safe and stable operation.

How to lower your GPU temperature: Conclusion

Reducing the hot air that your GPU produces is a good way to maintain optimal performance and longevity. Whether it be through liquid cooling or undervolting your GPU and keeping it at its default settings, lowering your GPU temperature is a good way to help it manage a heavy load. If you follow one of these 6 easy step-by-step methods, you’ll be back using your improved PC in no time.

Eve is a writer and copy editor at PC Guide, who focuses on a broad range of topics but main interest lies in the development of AI technology.