A good idle CPU temp is anywhere between 40-60°C. If your idle temp is lower than this range, you have an excellent cooling system. However, if your idle temp is higher than the maximum GPU temperature range, you should consider improving your cooling system because you have a GPU overheating problem.
If you want to learn how to measure your idle GPU temp and why your GPU temp is high, then read on! After many hours of research, I have created this article to answer all your questions about your GPU temperature.
So, what is a good idle GPU temperature?
As already mentioned, a good idle GPU temperature is between 40-60°C. Anything lower than this can be considered excellent, and anything in between is pretty good.
Many factors can affect your GPU temperatures, like your graphics card model, case airflow, and the thermal paste you used (more on that later).
It would also help to remember that different GPU models have different ideal GPU temperatures. So, while the 40-60°C range is a good general rule of thumb, it’s always best to check your graphics card manufacturer’s guidelines to be sure.
What Does “Idle” Mean?
I know that many of you new to the PC building scene might not know what idle means. So to clear things up, idle means that your GPU is not performing any intensive tasks.
This can be defined as when your computer does very little or nothing. If you are doing things like gaming or video editing, your GPU is not idle. Your GPU will usually idle when you are browsing the internet or watching a movie on your desktop.
Now that we know what idle means, let’s move on and talk about what a normal GPU temperature should be when gaming.
Related Article: What Is CPU Throttling & Thermal Throttling?
So, what is a good GPU temperature when gaming?
While giving a temperature range for your GPU idle is pretty straightforward, things are a bit different when it comes to gaming.
The answer can vary quite a bit depending on your graphics card model, the settings you’re playing at, and how well your PC is cooled.
Playing games is one of your GPU’s most intensive tasks (unless you are mining crypto), so you can expect your GPU temperatures to be higher than usual.
If you are playing a low-end or an older game, you can expect your GPU temperatures to be in the 60C to 65C range.
On the other hand, if you are playing a demanding game on high settings, you can expect your GPU temperatures to be in the 70C to 75C range after a few hours of gaming.
As I told you, different GPU models have different ideal GPU temperatures, So it is quite possible that your card might be able to go higher or lower than the ranges I just gave you, but no matter the card model, it should always be below the 80°C mark.
Many manufacturers claim that their graphics cards can operate at over 100°C, but this is not something you should ever allow your GPU to reach, no matter what. If your GPU operates at these temperatures, you risk damaging your graphics card and significantly shortening its lifespan.
Now that we know what a good temperature is for gaming let’s talk about how to measure your GPU temperature.
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How to measure your GPU temperature
Now that you know what the ideal GPU temperature is, you might be wondering how you can measure your GPU temperature.
There are two different ways you can do this:
You can use a software program or check the temperatures through windows.
There are many various software programs to measure your graphics processing unit temperature.
My favorite is GPU-Z, but other popular programs like MSI Afterburner can also be used.
While MSI Afterburner has more features than GPU-Z, I find that GPU-Z is more user-friendly and easier to use.
To measure your GPU temperature with GPU-Z, download and install the program. Once installed and open, go to the “Graphics card” tab to select your graphics card model.
Once you’ve done that, go to the “Sensors” tab, and at the “GPU temperatures” dropdown, you can select either minimum, maximum, or average GPU temperature to be displayed.
If you want to know the “idle” GPU temperature, then the minimum GPU temperature is what you’re looking for.
If you want to measure the temperature while gaming, leave the program to run, play your game, and check the maximum GPU temperature.
Windows Task Manager
With the latest Windows 10 update, you can check your GPU temperature directly through the task manager.
To do this, open your task manager by pressing “ctrl+alt+del” and selecting “task manager.”
Once open, go to the “Performance” tab and scroll down to find your graphics card.
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What Is Causing My GPU to Run Hot?
After you have checked your GPU’s temperatures, you might wonder: “Why is my GPU running so hot? Is this normal?” The answer to this question can vary quite a bit.
Many factors can cause your GPU to run hot, and I will talk about the most common ones.
1. Poor Airflow/Cooling
One of the most common reasons for high GPU temperatures is poor airflow and cooling.
If your case doesn’t have good airflow or your graphics card is not properly cooled, you can expect your GPU temperatures to be higher than average.
Creating a good airflow is crucial for keeping your system cool; the most important is to create a good balance between in and out airflow.
There are two types of airflow:
Intake and exhaust.
The intake airflow pulls cool air into your system from outside the case, while the exhaust air pushes hot air out of the case.
You can go for either negative or positive pressure; both have pros and cons.
Negative pressure has better cooling potential, but dust buildup will be more of an issue.
Positive pressure has a worse cooling potential, but dust buildup will be less of an issue.
I prefer negative pressure because I think the pros outweigh the cons, but it’s up to you which one you want to go for.
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2. Dirt And Dust
Another common reason for high GPU temperatures is dirt and dust buildup on your graphics card.
If you don’t clean your system regularly (at least once every six months), the dust will slowly build up over time and block the airflow, which in turn will cause your GPU to run hot.
This is one of the most common reasons for not only GPU temperatures but also CPU temperatures to be high.
To clean your system, you must open up your case and use a can of compressed air to blow out all the dust.
If you haven’t done it before, you will be surprised by how much dust has built up over time when you open the case.
I recommend doing a thorough cleaning every six months or so to keep your system in tip-top shape.
If you have overclocked your GPU, you can expect your GPU temperatures to be higher than usual.
This is because when you overclock your GPU, you are pushing it beyond its limits, which in turn will cause the temperatures to be higher.
It is standard for the GPU temperatures to be 10-15 degrees Celcius higher when overclocked, but if you see temperatures above 90 degrees, I recommend backing off the overclock.
You should not overclock the GPU if you don’t know what you are doing. There is a steep learning curve, and if you don’t do it right, you can cause damage to your graphics card.
With that said, if you are looking to overclock your GPU, I recommend doing some research first and then proceeding cautiously.
Related Article: 100% GPU Usage: Should I Worry?
3. Thermal Paste
Another reason for high GPU temperatures is bad or no thermal paste.
Thermal paste is what transfers the heat from your GPU to the cooler. If there is not enough thermal paste or the thermal paste has dried out, it will not adequately transfer the heat, and your GPU will run hot.
Thermal paste tends to evaporate over time, so it is something that you need to keep an eye on.
I would recommend reapplying thermal paste every year or so to be safe.
The fix to this problem is to replace the thermal paste.
If you are going to reapply thermal paste, I would recommend using a high-quality thermal paste like Arctic Silver 5 or Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut.
4. Running Too Many Tasks
Running too many tasks simultaneously can also cause your GPU to run hot.
If you are playing a game, streaming, and have 20 tabs open in your browser, you can expect the temperatures to be higher than if you were just playing a game. This is because your GPU is working overtime to keep up with all the tasks you are asking it to do.
Even if you have a good gaming PC, there will be a limit to how many tasks you can run simultaneously without the temperatures getting too high.
The best way to fix this problem is to close any unnecessary programs and tabs you are not using. This will free up some resources for your GPU to use, and, as a result, the temperatures should go down.
5. Poor Cable Management
Poor cable management can also cause your GPU to run hot.
If your cables are blocking the airflow, it will cause the temperatures to be higher than usual.
Planning the cable routing before you even start building the PC can save you a lot of headaches down the road.
That being said, if you already have a PC and the cables are blocking the airflow, you should rearrange them so that they are not blocking the airflow.
To do this, you should disconnect all the cables from the components and then try to route them in a way that does not block the airflow.
It can be a bit of a pain, but it is worth it in the end. If your PC case does not have good cable management, you can try to use zip ties or velcro straps to keep the cables tidy or, preferably, invest in a better case.
6. Fan Speed
The fans on the GPU are there for a reason: to push the heat out of the GPU and keep it cool.
If the fans are not spinning fast enough, the heat will not be adequately dissipated, and your GPU will run hot.
This is not something easy to fix if you are not familiar with computers.
The best way to fix this problem is to use a program like MSI Afterburner to control the fan speed.
After you have increased the speed, you should check the temperatures to see if they have gone down. If the temperatures are still high, something else is probably causing the high temperatures.
7. Not Enough Power
Most good GPUs require extra power to function. If your GPU does not have enough power, it will run hot.
This is because if the GPU does not have enough power, it will overcompensate by running at a higher frequency, which will cause higher temperatures.
This happens when inexperienced people build a system without correctly calculating the power requirements.
To fix this, you should calculate your system’s power requirements and make sure your power supply can provide enough power. You can use a program like PCPartPicker to calculate the power requirements.
Once you know how much power your system needs, you should buy a power supply that can provide at least 20% more power than what your system needs.
Related Article: What Power Supply Do I Have? [Solved]
8. GPU Fans Not Working
If your GPU fans are not working, it is a severe problem. The GPU will overheat, and the temperatures will be much higher than usual. This happens when the GPU fans are damaged.
First, you need to ensure that the fans are working correctly. You can do that by opening your case and inspecting the fans.
If they are not spinning, you can try to spin them manually. If they still don’t spin, you will need to replace them.
9. Your GPU Is Not Good Enough
The last reason your GPU might be running hot is that it is not good enough.
This is because if the GPU is not powerful enough and you are trying to run demanding games or applications, the GPU will overcompensate by running at a higher frequency, which will cause the temperatures to be higher.
The fix is to either upgrade your GPU or lower the settings of the games or applications you are trying to run.
Idle GPU Temp FAQ
Are 50 Degrees Celsius Idle Too Hot For A GPU?
No, 50 degrees Celsius is not hot for a GPU idle. GPUs are designed to operate at high temperatures, and 50 degrees Celsius is well within the operating range.
Are 45 Degrees Celsius Idle Too Hot For A GPU?
Yes, 45 degrees Celsius is a good GPU idle temperature. It is in the lower end of the 40 to 60 degrees Celsius range, which is considered normal for a GPU idle temperature.
What Is A Good Nvidia GPU Temperature?
While Nvidia states that their GPUs have a maximum temperature of 110 degrees Celsius, I don’t think that is the temperature you should be aiming for.
I recommend keeping your GPU temperatures below 80 degrees Celsius to be on the safe side.
What Is A Good Idle Temperature For A 3080?
According to Nvidia’s official specs, Nvidia RTX 3080 has a maximum temperature of 93 degrees Celsius. That said, I recommend keeping your RTX 3080 below 80 degrees Celsius to be on the safe side.
Should GPU Fans Always Run?
No, GPU fans don’t always need to be running. If the GPU temperature is below a certain threshold, the GPU fans will not spin. This is because there is no need for the fans to spin when the GPU is cool.
We have talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding GPU temperatures. We have also discussed some things that can cause high GPU temperatures. Lastly, we have provided tips on keeping your GPU cool.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.
Nick Ryley is a computer architect and the owner of The Pc Geekz.
His love for playing 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