The second thing after CPU temperatures should be your graphics card. Questions that you may need to ask yourselves include the following: “Do you know how hot it is? Do you know what load it runs under?”
Graphics cards generally run hotter than CPUs. That is is in their nature of calculating floating-point values for polygon intersections, that a larger margin of error is tolerated. Combine that with the fact that modern GPU runs thousands of threads for polygon positioning, texture appliance, and shader calculations at the same time. Any error, however insignificant, is likely to only last one or even a handful of frames, which can easily just be a few hundreds of a second. Graphics do not usually carry any input into the game engine, but rather are only interpretations of output from the engine. Errors will extremely rarely cause the engine to crash. But GPU errors have a huge impact on how fluid and responsive the game is perceived.
With graphics cars taking over physics calculations with technologies like “PhysX” the situation is a little different. If the calculations are central to the simulation and they run on an overheating graphics car, suddenly overheating of the GPU can very likely lead to game crashes. You may want to force NVIDIA PhysX to run on your CPU instead. This can be done in the NVIDIA Control Panel.
90-100C Is Not Uncommon
You can see temperatures as high as 90 C or some cards even 100 C without directly having to fear your card is taking damage. However. Modern GPU, like CPU, utilizes built-in power management and automatic under- and overclocking. The higher the temperature the lower the permitted power consumption and clock frequencies. A cool card can perform from 50 % to even 80 % better than an overheating card. The rule of thumb is to look at your card’s current temperature limit, and set fan speeds to keep the card below that temperature. A surefire sign of either overheating or memory errors is the so-called “artefacting”. That is strange black triangles showing up at random on your screen.
Download MSI Afterburner
A brilliant tool to monitor and control this is a piece of software called MSI Afterburner by MSI. Even if you do not own an MSI graphics card, the app will work equally well. It allows you to set your memory and core clock speeds as well as temperature limit, power limits and over-voltage percentages. It all depends on your particular car model and how open the specific manufacturer has left the card to manipulation.
Set Your Fan Speeds
Another great thing you can control with MSI Afterburner is your fan-speed curve. So you can set the fans on your graphics card to ramp to 100% speed at something like 75 C. It will make your PC noisy, sure, but it will give you higher clock speeds and more stable game performance.
I have been providing PC cleaning, optimization and boosting through my private company to many happy customers. And I have seen improvements in the order of 20-40% performance improvements from simple cleaning of cooling fans and heatsinks, and optimizing just slightly on the CPU, memory, and GPU settings. This can easily be the difference between thinking your PC is old and out of date, to having it perform even better than it did when it was brand new. And that could save you hundreds of $$$
We recommend the JayzTwoCents MSI Afterburner video. But promise me to clean your graphics car first! And remove the heatsink shroud and clean the individual ribs as well.