Why You Should Prolong GPU Lifespan (And Ways to Do it Right)

By Brian Stone
Published 06/26/2019
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a chip with GPU printed on top


Needless to say, graphics cards are the powerhouse of any gaming desktop. Not only that they’re responsible for pushing HD images when gaming but it’s also their responsibility to keep the frames high for a smooth and stellar gaming experience.

But because they do most of the hard work, it’s just fair to give them justice by keeping them cool. After all, it’s the key to prolong GPU lifespan. In this article, we’ll cover why it’s vital to prolong GPU lifespan and even teach you practical ways on how to stay within safe temps.


Why It’s Vital to Keep the Temps Down?

Graphics cards are built to perform. So, it’s unlikely that it’ll perform as good as it was initially installed a few months after without proper maintenance or care.

Cards will be highly susceptible to inconsistency and even failure sooner than expected months after going without proper care and maintenance. So obviously, it’s best to take precautions ahead to prolong GPU lifespan and get the best out of your investment.
Fortunately, caring for your graphics card isn’t hard at all. And what you get in return from doing so also goes a long way: a performance that’s as good as how it initially performed (well, at least very close).


What’s a Safe Temperature and What’s Not a Safe Temperature?

Graphics cards are made differently in construction and performance capability. So, it makes sense that their safe temperature limits vary as well.
Because of this, it’s hard to say what’s a safe temp for all cards. Regardless, it has always been a rule of thumb that graphics cards should stay under 80 degrees Celsius or 176 degrees Fahrenheit.

Even though there are cards that can safely go over 90 degrees Celsius or 194 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re still better off checking the manual or the manufacturer’s website just to make sure how hot can your card go. You can also use a 3rd party software to see your card’s max temperature limit, which we’ll talk in detail below, including their download links.


Ways to Get Low GPU Temperatures

There are many reasons why a GPU’s temperature is nearing its max indicated limit. But regardless of what’s causing it, the following should address these problems effectively.


  • Track Your Temps Regularly



You can’t really tell whether or not you need the following unless you have a software that tells you your card’s real-time temperature. While it’s true that there are plenty of these you can download on the internet, the MSI Afterburner is a trusted one that plenty of professionals are also using.


    1. Buy the Right Type of Graphics Card


There are 2 types of graphics cards:

      • Reference card (or blower fans) – most of the time only run with 1 fan
      • Aftermarket cards (or non-reference cards)- these can have as many as 3 fans to keep the GPU cool when under load

Aftermarket GPUs are more expensive but are usually safer and are more stable when overclocked compared to reference cards. But this isn’t always the case because some of the best graphics cards under $200 have 3 fans while others only have 1.
In most cases, you’ll want an aftermarket card to take advantage of the multiple fan setup as opposed to reference cards. But if you’re strictly budget-limited or if you have a really efficient cooling system, reference cards shouldn’t be an issue at all. Just expect these to sound unusually loud when under load.


    1. Buy Adequate Number of Case Fans


Proper airflow is essential to get really low temps. Having the right number of case fans automatically gives you lower temps compared to cases that only run 1 or 2 case fans.

To be able to determine how many case fans you can put inside your case, simply check the manufacturer website or read the manual of your case. This should indicate not just the number of case fans you can put inside the case but also the size of the case fan compatible with it. Considering case fans range from 80mm, 120mm, and 140mm, it’s worth noting ahead to buy the right kind of case fan.


    1. Change Thermals on a Regular Basis


A lot of people forget about this when it should never be ignored at all. Graphics cards come with thermal paste out of the box but a year or so later, this will likely dry out (depending on a number of cases), which will then result in higher temperature readings.

When this happens, it’s recommended that you get an aftermarket thermal paste and have your GPU’s thermals manually replaced instead.


    1. Underclock when You Don’t Need the Power


Underclocking your GPU sounds counterintuitive but a person may actually want to underclock a GPU safely if the card is too powerful for the current application(s) they’re running.

What makes underclocking great is the fact that you still get the most performance from the card without putting too much stress to the GPU. And this is just what you need to prolong the lifespan of the card.



Prolonging your GPU’s lifespan give you optimal performance longer than cards that are just left out for good after being installed, which ensures you an investment worth spent. This also means you have a better chance of selling this at a higher price in the next year or two, making it easier for you to upgrade parts.
Needless to say, prolonging your GPU lifespan is beneficial overall, and by following the tips indicated above, you should be able to achieve this with ease.