Many gamers freak out when they find out their favorite game uses 100% of their GPU. They think it is a bad thing and need to do something to fix it.
But the truth is that 100% GPU usage is not a bad thing per se, as it totally depends on the conditions under which that 100% is being reached.
If you want to know why your graphics card is running at 100%, when you should worry about it, and what to do if it happens, just keep reading.
What does 100% GPU usage mean?
The percentage of your GPU usage basically tells you how much of its processing power is being used at any given time.
So, when your graphics card runs at 100%, it means that it’s being maxed out. This means your system is well optimized, and no component is bottlenecking it, which is a good thing.
However, 100% GPU usage is not always a good thing. If you’re getting 100% GPU usage when idle, it means something is wrong.
This brings us to the next section.
Should I worry about 100% GPU usage?
As I told you, it depends on the conditions, and this is what we are going to discuss now.
1. 100% GPU Usage When Playing An AAAA Game
If you are playing high graphics games on max settings and getting 100% graphics card usage, then everything is fine, and you don’t need to worry. Your graphics card is being fully utilized and working at its full potential.
This is the situation where you want your GPU to run at 100%.
Games tend to be very demanding, especially if they are graphically intensive. So, it is totally fine if your GPU usage is 100% when playing demanding games. The only worrying thing will be if your graphics card temperature is very high; if you want to know more about it, you can read our article “What Is A Normal GPU Temp While Gaming? [Solved]“
2. 100% GPU Usage When Playing A Less Demanding Game
Now, if you are playing a less demanding game and still getting 100% GPU usage, then probably something is wrong.
This means that your system is using 100% of your GPU to run a game when it doesn’t need that much processing power to run properly.
There can be several reasons for this. It could be a driver issue, a bottleneck in your system, or simply because the game is not optimized.
There is also the possibility that your GPU is old and is actually using 100% of its processing power to run a not demanding game.
Related Article: How To Monitor CPU And GPU temp While Gaming? [Solved]
3. 100% GPU Usage When Idle
Now, if you are seeing 100% GPU usage even when you are not doing anything, then there is definitely something wrong.
This means that your system is using 100% of your GPU to do nothing. This is most likely caused by a driver issue or a problem with your system.
Related Article: What Is A Good Idle GPU Temp? [Solved]
4. 100% GPU Usage When Browsing The Internet Or Watching Videos
Again, if you see 100% GPU usage even when you are doing simple tasks like browsing the internet or watching videos, then something is wrong.
This means that your system is using 100% of your GPU to do simple tasks when it doesn’t need to, so you need to take some action.
How to fix high GPU usage?
Now that we know what causes 100% GPU usage and when you should worry about it, let’s take a look at how to fix it.
1. Monitor Your GPU Usage
The first thing to do if you think your GPU is being used too much is to monitor it.
There are several ways to do this, but the most popular and easiest way is to use Windows Task Manager.
To do this, simply open the Task Manager and go to the “Performance” tab. There you can see if it is reporting high GPU usage.
If you want to monitor GPU usage while playing a game, you can download a third-party tool like MSI Afterburner. This will allow you to see your GPU usage in real-time while playing games.
To do that with Afterburner, download it and then open it. Once you have opened it, go to the settings and then to “Monitoring.” Here you will see all the options that you can enable to monitor your GPU usage.
Click “Display On-Screen Display” and click apply.
Now, you will see your GPU usage in real-time while playing games.
After monitoring your GPU usage for a few hours, you will know for sure if you have a GPU usage problem.
2. Reinstall Your GPU Drivers
A corrupted GPU driver is the most common cause of high GPU usage. But the good news is that it is a very easy problem to fix. All you need to do is uninstall the old drivers and install the latest ones.
To do this, go to “Device Manager,” right-click on “Display Adapters,” and then select “Uninstall Device.”
Once you have uninstalled the drivers, restart your PC and then install the latest drivers from the manufacturer’s website.
3. Disable Background Apps
Another common reason for 100% GPU usage is background apps.
There are several programs that can use up your GPU resources without you knowing. To fix this, type MSConfig in the search bar and open it.
Once you have opened it, go to the “Services” tab, click on the option to “Hide all Microsoft services,” and then click on the “Disable all” button.
Now, restart your PC and check if the problem is fixed. What you did by doing this is you disabled all the programs that run in the background but the ones that are essential for Windows to run (Microsoft services).
Then re-enable them one by one to see which one is causing the problem.
4. Use A Malware Cleaning Tool To Scan And Remove Viruses
Another possible cause of 100% GPU usage is a virus or malware infection. If you have a virus or malware on your system, it can use up your resources without you knowing.
Over the last years, a lot of mining malware has been released. These viruses use your GPU to mine cryptocurrency without your permission, and the attackers get all the rewards.
The malware cleaning tool I recommend is Malwarebytes. This very effective free tool will remove any malware from your system.
To use this tool, simply download it and then run it. Once you have opened it, click on the “Scan” button to start scanning your system for malware.
Once the scan is finished, you will see a list of all the malware that has been found on your system.
Click on the “Quarantine” button to remove all the malware from your system.
After you have quarantined all the malware, restart your PC and monitor your GPU usage again to see if the problem is fixed.
100% GPU Usage FAQ
Is 100% GPU Usage Normal?
It depends. If you are playing a game or using a program that is using 100% of your GPU resources, then it is normal. But if you are not using any demanding programs and you are still seeing 100% GPU usage, then it is not normal.
What Percentage Should My GPU Run At?
Again it depends on what you are using your GPU for. If you are using it for gaming or other demanding programs, it is normal to be at 100%. But if you are only using it for browsing the internet or watching videos, then your GPU usage should be around 20%.
Is 100% GPU Usage Bad For My GPU?
Just like with any component in your PC, the more you use it, the more wear and tear it will experience. But with that being said, your GPU SHOULD be working at 100% under certain circumstances because that is what it is made for.
So, I would say no, 100% GPU usage is not bad for your GPU, you have bought it for a reason, and that is to be used.
How Much GPU Usage Is Normal For Gaming?
If you are playing a demanding game, you should expect your GPU usage to be 100%. But if you are playing an older or less demanding game, your GPU usage should be around 50% to 70%.
It is most likely normal if your GPU is running at 100% while gaming or using other demanding programs. But if your GPU usage is at 100% and you are not using any demanding programs, then there might be a problem.
Follow the steps above to monitor GPU usage; if you are seeing a high % of usage when not doing anything demanding, try the solutions I recommend to lower GPU usage.
I hope this article has helped you solve your high usage problem. Please let me know in the comment section below if you have any questions or comments. Thank you for reading!
Nick Ryley, is a computer architect and the owner of The Pc Geekz.
His love to play games got him interested in computers in the first place. He wanted to be able to build a gaming PC that could run all the latest games at max settings and this has him pursuing a major in computer architecture!
He started this blog to help people out and answer some of the most common questions about computer building