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Optimal CPU/GPU Temperature for Gaming

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Thanks to modern gaming, PC games now draw most of their performance demands from the GPU – something that, historically, wasn’t always the case.

Looking back, games used to rely on the CPU for their performance requirements. However, thanks to a recent change in architecture, games now rely much more heavily on GPUs to drive frame rates. Naturally, that has had a knock-on effect on the manufacturers themselves – with consumers now demanding much more power and better cooling solutions across the board.

AMD and Nvidia are two brands that have been producing GPUs for as long as I can remember – with Nvidia, for the most part, dominating the market. Having said that, AMD has leveled the playing field over the last couple of years thanks to their latest range of Navi GPUs. Thanks to such fierce competition between the two brands, we’re seeing much more powerful cards being released from both sides. Which, for the most part, is great news.

However, aftermarket GPU manufacturers now have to provide even better cooling to try and counterbalance the extra heat these cards generate. This leads to a wide array of varying average temperatures across the board – giving you as a consumer, even more things to think about during an upgrade purchase.

With that in mind, AIB’s usually cap the max temp of their GPUs to around 203°F (95°C). This is done to try and avoid any permanent damage occurring to the GPU itself. Having said that, the optimal GPU temperature for gaming shouldn’t exceed 185°F (85°C), even if some are rated at higher.

Keeping everything in mind, let’s take a look at some of the contributing factors that create heat within the GPU:

  • Playing very stressful GPU-dependant games
  • The quality of the GPU’s cooling design
  • Your ambient temperature
  • The quality of your case
  • How many case fans you have
  • Quality of airflow

The list actually goes on, but these are the most affecting factors for increased GPU heat while gaming. To ensure temps are kept at optimal levels, you really want to create a level playing field across all these factors. That way, you’ll give your system the absolute best chance of staying cool.

Anyway, we’ve put together the following two tables to showcase both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs with their rated max temperatures.

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