Video Card Overheating Prevention Tutorial
Have you ever wondered why your graphics card (either brand new or over time) seems to be running a lot hotter then you've read online or expect it to be? Have you sometimes been playing a game long time only to have the game crash to either a black screen or to windows saying the drivers failed?
The reason this happens is because either the graphical processing unit core the video ram chips are overheating, or if you're overclocking not enough video core voltage (vCore). They are over heating due to a couple of reasons:
1) Heavy overclock stressing them too hard/hot
2) Not enough air is been blown across the component to cool it off
a) video core is overheating (temperature reported high)
b) video ram chips are overheating (hard to tell as only the video core is reported by most/all temperature programs).
We'll look at the second reason mostly. I must remind you right now that you need to have decent air flow within your case. If you have maybe or two fans, and when your card is running you feel a lot of warm air in it, you probably need more/better fans. You should ideally have fan on the side of your case (side panel as its also refereed to) pulling fresh/cool air from your room into your case.
Most AMD and nVidia graphic card companies will have your graphics card come with a default fan profile. The problem with this default fan profile is that its usually set to allow the card to run as quiet as possible, as a lot of people do not enjoy the sound of a fan running at 100%. This default fan speed can typically cause a video card to idle and at full load (aka gaming) to run a lot hotter then most people would run it at (and what reviewers normally test them at).
The video core normally doesn't suffer that much by this, however it would seem a lot of the time the video ram chips do (typically where they are positioned they get less air flow across them then the core) and can cause these nasty instability and crashing while gaming.
There is a very simple way to fix/correct this problem which will help potentially prolong the life of your graphics card as the components will not be running as hot. To perform this fix you will need to download one of the following graphics card overclocking tools such as:
Sapphire TriXX Tweak Utility
These can easily be found on each of the manufacturer's website's relatively easily, typically by just googling the name.
Once one of these graphics card overclocking software is installed, you are left with two options:
1) Manually set the fan speed higher at a constant speed
Some people will do this option as they will manually lower the fan speed when they aren't gaming, and manually increase the fan speed when they are, or they just leave it at one constant speed (typically fast enough to cool the video card off, but slow enough as to not be annoyed by the fan)
2) Creating your own custom fan profile.
Those who enjoy having their card run without having to remember to manually change the fan speeds from their slower idle quiet speed to their faster gaming speed go with this option.
Here is a little tutorial in how to do this using MSI Afterburner however most the other software mentioned should have this feature as well.
This is the screen you'll first see is this once you load it for the first time(depending on what skin you have it set to, I use the old default one)
Make sure to have the fan speed set to auto, otherwise the custom fan profile will not work. Also make sure to have in the bottom left hand corner the Apply overclocking at system startup is enabled as well.
Next, go into settings.
This is under the General Tab
Make sure to have the following boxes checked as follows:
Synchronize settings for similar graphics processors (ONLY if you have 2 or more graphics cards, otherwise it doesn't really do anything for one card)
Start with Windows
Now lets go to the Fan tab
Make sure to have the following box checked as follows:
Enable user defined software automatic control
Now you can play around with this to find figure out how you want your fan speed curve to go, personally i have the fan run relatively slow/quiet for when I'm in idle or 2D mode (not gaming) as the temperatures are a lot cooler and have the fan speed increase quite a bit when I'm gaming as the temperatures at full load are a lot hotter. Click ok when you're done and you're all set (afterburner may ask you to restart the program, do it)
This method should help ensure that your card runs as cool and quiet as possible without you having to worry too much about it after you've set it up. Afterburner will always load when you start windows and run in the background so you never have to remember to load it every time you turn on your computer.
Feel free to comment in here if you found this helpful, something you didn't quite understand, or would like to add to it.
Nice tutorial. Does gpu-z give accurate vram temps or am i running much hotter than it says? I also had good luck with my custom cooler. basically cutting my temps in half and my sound to nothing. Are these aftermarket coolers miles about what some of the non reference designs provide?
I am not sure about gpu-z, I would imagine/hope they all pole the same sensors but who knows really. You could try running them side by side to see. I just know MSI Afterburner, EVGA Precision, Sapphire TRIX, etc run side by side all report the same temperatures.
It actually depends on the cooler, how it was designed and the case. The Twin Frzr II design is a great one however if you can't dump the hot air it exhausts into the case it will run your card hotter then a default cooler design. All I can say is the default cooler designs will run your cards the hottest, while the after market coolers (some of the ones the companies throw on like the frzr II) will run your cards cooler and quieter typically.
Otherwise, nice guide, should help alot of people out.
This is true, though I am more expecting people who are running at stock, meaning their system shouldn't need more vCore as the manufacturer presets this.
Haha yeah fair point, I was just worried it might create some misconception amongst those who are new to overclocking and reading over this. Seems to be rectified now, thanks Arinoth.
There should be a disclaimer that despite all attempts at trying to get your card to run cooler case air flow and circulation will play a large part in keeping your card(s) cool too.
Added extra note of requiring decent air flow to help with the lowering the temperature of one's graphics card.
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