How hot should my NVIDIA GPU be?

How hot should my NVIDIA GPU be?

Summary: Following coverage of the thermal issues that are affecting an unknown cross-section of NVIDIA GPUs (latest here), several readers have been asking me what temperature their GPUs should be in order for them to be safe from any potential problems. Unfortunately, it's hard to give a definitive answer.

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TOPICS: Processors
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Following coverage of the thermal issues that are affecting an unknown cross-section of NVIDIA GPUs (latest here), several readers have been asking me what temperature their GPUs should be in order for them to be safe from any potential problems. Unfortunately, it's hard to give a definitive answer.

It's pretty easy to find out the temperature of your GPU, for example you can use nTune to keep an eye on your GPUs temperature. As well as monitoring and logging, it'll also give you an idea if things are getting too hot, and allow you to take steps to cool things down a little by adjusting the fan.

But ... GPU temperature measurements are spot readings and as such it is possible that you're not getting the full picture. It's still possible for hot spots to develop within the GPU unnoticed. Remember, it only takes a tiny hot spot in the right place to kill a piece of silicon. These hot spots can form for a number of reasons - poor application of thermal grease, inadequate application of thermal pads, other problem with the cooling system, etc, etc etc - and can form very quickly.

Another problem here is that it is unclear why the NVIDIA GPUs are failing, although it seems clear that it is related somehow to heat. It is possible that the GPUs are failing while still operating within (or close to) operating parameters. The fact that the BIOS updates from Dell and HP seem to turn the cooling fan on permanently seems to suggest that there's no safe operating temperature.

So, how cool should your GPU be? Well, the best answer I can give is that it should be as cool as possible without driving yourself nuts with fans roaring away flat out all the time. Normally systems do a good job of controlling the temperature automatically but if you're gaming then there's nothing wrong with kicking the fan up a few notches to help keep the GPU cool. At the same time make sure that the system has adequate airflow and that intakes/exhausts aren't obstructed by anything (clothing, dust ...). That's the best that you can do.

Personally, I'd use the notebook normally, let if fail in the warranty period and get it fixed properly (if outside the warranty period then I'd probably offload it on eBay and upgrade). My personal feeling is that the older mobile G84s and G86s are ticking timebombs and that the same might be true for the G92, and that makes them a liability I can do without.

Topic: Processors

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9 comments
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  • I don't know but I can tell you how hot it SHOULDN'T be!

    [url=http://blogs.zdnet.com/Apple/?p=2126] Apple hardware burns down Cupertino HQ. [/url]

    That's too hot. Anything less than that is golden.
    NonZealot
    • !

      ROTFLMAO!!
      HypnoToad
  • should question be how many watts should

    my card darw.
    bicard
  • RE: How hot should my NVIDIA GPU be?

    The biggest issue is that Nvidia will NOT release any thermal specifications on their mobile GPU's. This is obviously an attempt to protect the manufacturers that incorporate NV GPU's in their product line, from any legal recourse, such as a class action suit.
    I went thru 3 weeks of getting stonewalled by both Nvidia and HP when trying to resolve an ongoing thermal issue with my Geforce GO 7600.
    All I wanted to know was what the max. operating temperature was, and they both refused to tell me by asserting that it was proprietary information. HP's tech support only offered warranty service IF the GPU failed within the warranty period, but would not respond when given a record of current operating temps.(160F-170F deg.).

    Resolved the issue myself by modifying the existing heatsink (now runs ~15F cooler), but this should have been covered under warranty..
    tjdadj
  • RE: How hot should my NVIDIA GPU be?

    I have tried to find an answer also but never can. Right now nTune is telling me that my 2 CPUs are running at about 40C and my GPUs are running at 62C - there is no way for me to know if that is ok or not and I guess I'll only find out if my video cards burn down.
    reverseswing
    • My temps (if it helps you)

      I have a midtower with one AMD cpu (it runs low 40s most of the time). My 8800 gt is reading 56 (low load) BUT this is after I added another case fan. I now have 2 in and outflow fans (before I had 1 in and 2 out). With 3 fans, my cpu was getting into the mid to high 50s from the heat off the graphics card (I don't know what the gpu was putting out as I didn't have ntune then).

      Hope that helps.
      Drakaran
  • I'm using a Belkin laptop cooler

    On my Dell Inspiron 1420. I have the Nvidia 8400Gt I believe, are these external cooling devices any good? I does seem to keep things cooler, also these Intel/Nvidia machine aren't nearly as hot as the latest AMD/Ati machines any problems with them yet. I have my fingers crossed so far its been fine but I've only had it for 11 months.
    tech_walker
    • ATi

      ATI's GPU's can handle alot of abuse. I've seen their graphics cards reach up to an amazing 95?C/203?F+ and still run stable. ATI has amazing quality. I like their quality to performance ratio. Not to slow or too fast.
      rebelxhardcore
      • ATI

        Well... I'm really torn. I can't have hardware that melts, but on the other hand, the last time I dealt with ATI's support they were so outrageously rude I swore I'd never buy from them again, if I can help it. I registered a simple complaint and they replied with an e-mail that ignored my question and told me to consider using their competitor's products. Nice support.
        rrusson_z