Have you ever put food in the microwave and forgot about it only for it to explode 11 seconds later? I totally don’t do this three times a week… And no, this isn’t an article about preparing gourmet meals in a microwave, I’m just setting you up for an artful comparison. It’s called writing, sweetie, look it up.
If you push your GPU to its very limits, especially when overclocking, then your GPU will suffer a similar fate to your egg in a cup. Your Nvidia EGGTX 1060Ti will explode. Metaphorically, of course, you aren’t in any actual danger.
Let’s get away from this egg/microwave analogy and get into the specifics:
Why Does GPU Temperature Matter?
The gaming industry went through a renaissance in the last two decades. Video games became extremely popular, and as a result, gaming PCs became a common thing rather than a specialty product. Consequently, the best graphics cards for gaming saw a boom in development since they serve the most critical role in a gaming PC.
With the vast variety in GPUs and video games themselves, we must understand that not all GPUs are equally capable of running the various titles available today. It’s important to understand that GPUs aren’t always operating under the same load. The strain under which a GPU is operating depends on many factors such as the resolution of the monitor, the game’s demand for the GPU’s processing power, cooling solutions, and how advanced the GPU itself is.
The amount of work a GPU is performing at any given time directly influences its temperature. It’s important to keep the temperature of the GPU within an optimal range because excessively high temperatures can damage the hardware and shorten the card’s lifespan. Then you have to go out and spend a bunch of money on new stuff.
There is no single temperature limit that applies to every GPU out there. The boundaries and optimal values differ between GPU models and manufacturers. As the captain of your gaming ship, you should know the temperature limits and optimal values for your particular model.
Since there are fairly universal values that we can refer to, we should go over some generalities. The highest safe temperature for a GPU that we’ve seen goes up to 204°F (95°C), but for the most, it is not recommended to exceed 185°F (85°C). If you want to be on the safe side, never let your GPU get hotter than that for prolonged periods.
This is a broad generalization, but if you’re playing an average game on average settings with a 1080p monitor, your GPU temperature should be under 140-149°F (60-65°C) most of the time. If you’re feeling like turning up the settings or upgrading to higher resolutions, like 1440p, the temperature should be in the 149-158°F (65-70°C) range. For extremely demanding games running on the ultra-est of ultra settings, the GPU’s temperature shouldn’t exceed 167-185°F (75-85°C).
Let’s take a closer look at the maximum allowed temperatures for some of today’s most common GPU models. You’ll probably find your model in one of our tables. If not, check your warranty or your manufacturer’s website.
AMD GPU Maximum Temperature
|AMD||Maximum Temperature under load in Fahrenheit||Maximum Temperature under load in Celsius|
|RX Vega 64, R7 240, HD 5970||185°F||85°C|
|RX Vega 56, RX 470, R7 260X, HD 5670||167°F||75°C|
|R9 Fury X, HD 7850, R7 250||149°F||65°C|
|RX 580, R7 370, HD 7790||156.2°F||69°C|
|RX 480 (4GB and 8GB), HD 6970||176°F||80°C|
|R9 Fury, HD 6950||172.4°F||78°C|
|R9 Fury Nano, HD 7870||163.4°F||73°C|
|RX 570, HD 7970||165.2°F||74°C|
|R9 290, R9 290X||201.2°F||94°C|
|R9 380X, HD 7770||159.8°F||71°C|
|RX 560 4GB||143.6°F||62°C|
|R9 380, R9 280X (XFX), HD 6870, R7 250X||158°F||70°C|
|HD 7950, RX 460||147.2°F||64°C|
|HD 6850, HD 6570||179.6°F||82°C|
NVIDIA GPU Maximum Temperature
|NVIDIA||Maximum Temperature in Fahrenheit||Maximum Temperature in Celsius|
|Titan V, GTX 1080 Ti, GTX 980 Ti||195.8°F||91°C|
|Titan Xp, Titan X (Pascal, 2016), GTX 1080, GTX 1070 Ti, and GTX 1070, GTX Titan X (Maxwell, 2015), GTX 1060 6GB and GTX 1060 3GB||201.2°F||94°C|
|GTX 980, GTX 970, GTX 770, GTX 960, GT 740 and GT 740 (DDR5), GT 650, GT 730 (DDR3, 128-bit), GT 730 (DDR3, 64-bit), and GT 730 (DDR5), GT 640||208.4°F||98°C|
|GTX 780 Ti and GTX 780, GTX 950, GTX 750 Ti, GTX 750, GT 640 (DDR5)||203°F||95°C|
|GTX 590, GTX 1050 Ti and both GTX 1050 (3GB and 2GB), GTX 670, GTX 580, GTX 760, GTX 660, and GTX 660 Ti, GTX 480 and GTX 570, GTX 560 Ti (448 Cores Limited Edition), GT 1030||206.6°F||97°C|
|GTX 560 Ti, GTX 560||210.2°F||99°C|
|GTX 470, GTX 650 Ti||221°F||105°C|
|GTX 550 Ti||212°F||100°C|
How to Measure GPU Temperature
With all the reference data in front of us, keeping your GPU under the safe temperature threshold should be fairly straightforward. The GPU temperature should be monitored regularly, especially when it is forced to do heavy work. Sometimes it’s easy to know that your GPU is struggling. That’s because your fans start to sound like a jet engine. However, sometimes completely silent fans can signal that your graphics card isn’t working. In that case, check out our guide on what to do when your GPU fans stop spinning.
In most cases, there is available software for accurate temperature measurement. GPUs produced by NVIDIA can be easily checked through the Nvidia Control Panel, while GPUs manufactured by AMD can be monitored via AMD Catalyst Control Center.
There are also other programs like MSI Afterburner, CPUID GPU-Z, and Seppcy. All of these programs are free to use and easy to install. They collect temperature information from sensors on the GPU and display it through the software interface in both Celsius and Fahrenheit, along with other vital data about your graphics processing unit.
If there is no software available for your GPU, temperature data can also be found in BIOS. After entering BIOS, you can see temperature readings and set temperature limits. Those limits will tell your computer to shut down if it gets too hot in order to protect the hardware from damage.
5 Tips on How to Lower Your GPU Temperature
As we mentioned before, high temperatures can damage a GPU. Let’s explore the possible causes of and solutions to this pesky problem.
Primary factors of extraordinary temperature other than heavy workload are dust, poor cable management, restricted airflow through the computer case, cheap thermal paste, extreme ambient temperature, insufficient cooling, and a poor computer location.
Here are some practical solutions that can help lower your GPU’s temperature:
- Your computer should be cleaned of dust regularly (monthly should do for most people). Open your computer case and use compressed air to blow the dust off. Make sure to use air only.
- Poor cable management restricts the airflow and prevents hardware from cooling. Think about cable management while building your computer. Try to organize cables in a way that will provide the most space for fresh air.
- Install three or four coolers in your case and organize them so they will provide the most efficient airflow through your computer case (that is, make sure you have fans in the front drawing air into the case and fans in the back blowing hot air out).
- Maintain a reasonable ambient temperature and keep your computer in a position that allows unrestricted airflow.
- Get high-quality thermal paste and change it every 6–12 months.
Tip: If #5 is troubling you, check out the proper way to apply thermal paste.
Monitoring your GPU temperature does take a bit of work, as many different factors influence it, but it’s a fairly straightforward process. If you’re puzzled about which cooler to get, we recommend reading through our review of the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO.
We also went over how we can control and keep the temperature in check by following some simple advice. Even if you sport a great budget graphics card for gaming, you should make sure that heat doesn’t kill it.