The Heat is On: Diagnosing Sporadic GPU Overheating in Gaming PCs


“Why does my MSI GTX 1080 FE graphics card reach high temperatures, up to 92 degrees Celsius, and cause the fans to run at full blast during certain graphically demanding games? This overheating issue doesn’t occur consistently, even with newer titles that presumably have higher graphical demands. For instance, while playing ‘Evil Within 2’, an older game, the GPU fans were excessively loud, indicating extreme heat generation. What could be the reason for this sporadic overheating, and what components should I inspect or consider replacing? Could it be related to the fan system or the thermal paste? For context, the graphics card is installed in an ASUS ROG G20CB with an i7 6700 processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and an aftermarket SSD. The PC is a refurbished model purchased in 2018, which originally contained a GTX 1070 that was replaced due to similar overheating and artifacting issues.”


The issue of a GPU, such as the MSI GTX 1080 FE, reaching temperatures as high as 92 degrees Celsius is a cause for concern among many PC enthusiasts and gamers. Overheating can lead to reduced performance, system instability, and in severe cases, hardware failure. The fact that this overheating is not consistent across all graphically intensive games adds an additional layer of complexity to diagnosing the problem.

Potential Causes of Sporadic Overheating

Several factors could contribute to the sporadic nature of the overheating:


Game-Specific Demands

: Different games have varying levels of graphical demands, which can cause the GPU to work harder and heat up more in some games than others.


Inefficient Cooling System

: The fan system or the thermal paste may no longer be effective, especially if the PC is a refurbished model and the components are older.


Airflow Restrictions

: The design of the ASUS ROG G20CB case may restrict airflow, leading to higher temperatures.


Background Processes

: Other processes running on the computer can also affect the GPU’s temperature.

Troubleshooting Steps

To address this issue, consider the following steps:

  • Inspect the Cooling System

    : Check if the fans are functioning correctly and if the thermal paste between the GPU and the heatsink has dried out or deteriorated.

  • Improve Airflow

    : Ensure that the PC case has good airflow, with clean vents and fans.

  • Update Drivers

    : Keep the GPU drivers up to date, as updates often include performance improvements and thermal optimizations.

  • Monitor GPU Usage

    : Use software tools to monitor the GPU’s temperature and usage in real-time to identify patterns that lead to overheating.

  • When to Consider Replacements

    If the above steps do not resolve the issue, it may be time to consider replacing the following components:

  • Fans

    : If they are not spinning correctly or are too loud, they may need replacement.

  • Thermal Paste

    : If it has degraded, reapplying a high-quality thermal paste can significantly lower temperatures.

  • GPU

    : If the GPU continues to overheat despite all efforts, it may be faulty and require replacement.

  • Conclusion

    The MSI GTX 1080 FE’s overheating issue is a complex problem that requires a methodical approach to diagnose and fix. By understanding the potential causes and systematically addressing them, you can ensure that your GPU runs at optimal temperatures, providing you with the best gaming experience possible. Remember, regular maintenance and monitoring can go a long way in preventing such issues from arising in the first place.

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