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Computer Overheating When Playing Games? Gaming PC Cooling

Have you ever thought about why your computer keeps overheating when playing games? As an enthusiastic player, you’ve most likely spent hundreds of dollars on high-end gaming gear. So picture your dismay when your Desktop PC stalls or even shut unexpectedly in the middle of a game.
Overheating is most likely the cause in this case. While current computer components are intended to handle heat effectively, they may still overheat, particularly when used for high-demand applications like gaming.
Overheating the CPU due to a temperature issue is a dangerous indicator since it might ruin the processor and create instability in the system’s hardware.
While playing a game, many components might overheat and create issues.
Overheating during gaming is often caused by an overheating CPU and graphics card, an excessively hot environment, and inadequate PC ventilation.
Games put your PC under greater strain than normal desktop usage. As a result, we need to measure the temperatures of your computer’s components during or after a few minutes of gaming.
If you wait too long, your computer may stop posting. That implies that it will no longer start up.

Overheating may cause random shutdowns, freezing, crashing to the desktop, unexpected restarts, and CPU throttling.

To save your costly computers, you must understand how to prevent your computer from overheating when playing games.
In this post, we will discuss the most common reasons for overheating in a gaming computer, how to monitor the temperatures of your components, and how to fix these issues.

What Are The Temperature Values?

When discussing CPU temperatures, one is usually referring to either the junction temperature (i.e. the internal temperature) or the T Case temperature (i.e. chassis temperature). The former is frequently 10 to 20 degrees colder than the latter.

"What are the temperature readings?"
Understanding temperature values is key to monitoring and controlling the temperature of your surroundings.”

Processors From Intel

The maximum temperature of an Intel CPU varies depending on the model. However, it typically ranges from 60 to 65°C for Pentium 4 models, 50 to 65°C for Core models, and 70°C for the Nehalem generation (i3/i5/i7). Laptop CPUs can withstand temperatures of up to 100°C.
Intel’s post on commonly asked questions about Intel processor temperatures and its production sites for its CPUs might be helpful. You’ll see that the T-case varies from model to model. The T-case temperature for the i5 M-5Y71 (previously known as Broadwell) is 95°C, although the 8th generation i9-8950HK can withstand temperatures up to 100°C.
Beyond this number, the system’s heat protection kicks in and reduces the processor’s performance. If the temperature increases again, the CPU shuts down, making thermal damage almost unlikely for modern chips.

Intel CPUs
“Experience lightning-fast performance with Intel processors”

Processors From AMD

The maximum operating temperature of an AMD processor is defined by the CPU’s trade reference (OPN). The temperature is displayed by the third character from the right on the OPN, which is located on top of the CPU.
These temps differ depending on the model. For example, the maximum temperature for FX processors is 61°C, but Ryzen processors may reach 95°C.

“Experience lightning-fast processing speeds with AMD processors – perfect for gaming, content creation, and everyday computing needs.

Why Do Computers Overheat?

Almost every component in a computer generates heat while it is operating. The heat created raises the inside temperature of the computer chassis.
However, certain components, such as the CPU and graphics card, will produce more heat than others. These components are usually equipped with cooling systems to disperse heat. And for the system to function properly, this heat must be effectively dissipated from the computer casing.
So, suppose your computer misbehaves during gaming. In that case, it might be due to one or two particular components experiencing cooling difficulties, which could boost the ambient temperature within your case and create problems elsewhere.
Let’s look at the most common causes of overheating and how they influence your computer.

What are the reasons for a computer overheating?
Why do computers overheat? It’s a common problem that can be caused by a number of factors, including inadequate ventilation, dust accumulation, and hardware issues. To prevent overheating, it’s important to keep your computer clean, make sure it has proper ventilation, and check for any hardware issues that may be causing it to run too hot.”

1. GPU

The GPU, or graphics card, is most likely one of the most important components of a gaming PC. Regrettably, they also produce the greatest heat. Most graphics cards have one or more cooling fans to help keep the card cool as it plays the most demanding games.
At least one fan should be installed in your computer case to evacuate the hot air produced by the GPU’s fans.
The cooling fans on your GPU will normally begin to spin only when the GPU reaches a certain temperature. However, you may alter the settings to enable the fans to start sooner to rid the GPU of heat quicker. Any problems with the cooling fans can result in a massive heat buildup, potentially damaging your graphics card.

Graphics Accelerator
“An Introduction to Graphic Processing Units (GPUs)”

2. CPU 

Your CPU comes with a cooling fan that performs a fantastic job of keeping it cool. They are, however, built to manage your processor’s base clock. If you want to overclock your system, replace the factory cooler with an aftermarket liquid or air-cooled system that can handle the extra heat.
If your CPU’s temperature continues to rise when operating at its base rate, it might be due to the thermal paste. Thermal paste fills the gap between your CPU and its cooler. However, it dries up and degrades with time, making heat transmission less effective.
A faulty cooler might potentially cause the CPU to overheat. So, carefully follow the directions, whether establishing a new system or replacing the thermal paste.

The central processing unit (CPU) is the brain of the computer, responsible for executing instructions and performing calculations.

3. Dust 

Huge volumes of air, as well as dust and debris, are sucked into your computer casing. Dust particles jam the fans, slowing them down and heating the components. These will gradually increase the temperature of your gaming system and, if left unchecked, may destroy it.

“The role of dust in overheating of electronic devices

4. Poor Ventilation 

Fans will struggle to discharge heated air and replace it with cooler air when your gaming PC is hidden away in an enclosed environment, such as a cabinet. Poor cable management may also obstruct Airflow from inside the case, raising the ambient temperature.

Lack of air circulation
“When ventilation is poor, heat can’t escape, leading to overheating in electronic devices”

What Are The Warning Signs That Your Computer Is Overheating?

Overheating may cause your systems to freeze, crash, or shut down unexpectedly while they are in operation. To establish if your system instability problems are caused by overheating, you may use free programs like the HWMonitor, which monitors and displays the temperatures of individual components. The simple actions indicated here prevent your computer from overheating and enable you to return to your favorite game quickly.

"What are the indications of a PC that is overheating?"
The warning signs that your computer is overheating can include slower performance, random shutdowns or restarts, and error messages. If you notice any of these issues, it’s important to address the overheating issue before it causes further damage to your computer.

1. Maximize Airflow

Poor ventilation keeps stagnant air within your case, boosting the ambient temperature and reducing system performance. This might be caused by inefficient or insufficient case fans or too many cables obstructing the vents.
Cables should be routed neatly and efficiently out of the rear of your PC. This will provide more room for air to move.
Check your case, fans as well. If they are old, exhausted, and blocked with filth, clean or replace them. If you have one fan in your case, you may need to install an additional one to improve the flow of cooled air through the system.
Position the case to allow for extra breathing space. Make sure it’s in a well-ventilated area. Nothing should be obstructing the vents around the computer, particularly the rear where the hot air departs.

Optimize airflow
Maximizing airflow is key to keeping your computer cool and running smoothly.

2. Finish The Case

Contrary to common perception, operating your game system with the side panels removed does not assist in cooling it; it has the opposite effect. Removing the side panels alters the airflow pressure and lowers the performance of the case fans.
Again, it would enable additional dust and debris to accumulate on your PC’s components, raising the temperature even higher.

Complete the enclosure for cooling
Ensure proper protection and cooling for your computer with a finished case.

3. Clean Up Your Desktop Computer.

Clean the insides of your computer regularly, ideally using a can of compressed air. Over time, dust is dragged into your computer, blocking the fans and other components and decreasing their effectiveness.
Replace your CPU fan.
The CPU is the most costly and delicate component in your computer and is prone to overheating. Unfortunately, your PC may have been sent with a CPU with a standard fan.
While it does a good job of cooling the CPU, you can boost cooling by replacing the original fan with an aftermarket one. Because aftermarket fans have larger heat sinks, they transmit heat more effectively.
You may also use liquid cooling systems, which are particularly useful if you overclock. Liquid systems remove heat from your CPU by circulating cooling fluid via a network of pipes and radiators.

organize your desktop computer
“Declutter your workspace and boost productivity with a clean desktop computer!”

4. Examine The Thermal Paste.

Thermal paste is a thermally conductive material used to eliminate pockets of air from the contact between the heat sink of the cooling fan and your CPU. Consequently, the thermal paste promotes maximum heat transmission and dissipation away from the CPU.
The thermal paste dries up and degrades with time. As a result, its heat transport and dissipation characteristics will deteriorate. You might consider changing the thermal paste if your CPU is too hot.
Also, when installing a new cooler or replacing the thermal paste, be sure to install the cooler correctly. Finally, strictly adhere to the instruction booklet since poor installation may result in CPU overheating.

"Inspect the thermal paste"
Ensuring optimal temperature with a thermal paste check!”

5. Overclocking Should Be Avoided.

Overclocking your computer, like an athlete on drugs, provides you with the greatest performance and pushes your components to their utmost. Unfortunately, it also raises their body temperature.
If you do not adequately cool your hardware, this might cause harm to your gaming system. If the overheating becomes unmanageable, you may need to contemplate overclocking.

Avoid overclocking for the sake of safety
Avoid overlocking to prevent overheating!”

Diagnosing A PC That Overheats When Playing Games

Here are some measures to follow to determine which component is overheating or causing a computer to overheat.
Make sure that no games or other unneeded apps are running.
Before going to the bother of analyzing the problem, be sure that any overheating isn’t caused by overclocking.

"Troubleshooting a PC that experiences overheating during gaming sessions"
“Uncovering the root cause of overheating issues during gaming sessions on a PC”

1. Take Off The Case Cover.

With your case’s cover off, do the following instructions.
This ensures that you are dealing with each component separately, with no chance of inadequate case cooling interfering with each component’s test.

Remove the case cover
“Removing the case cover to improve cooling”

2. Collect Thermal Data From All Key Components.

First and foremost, you must collect some temperature data. You will need to download and install the following program to do this.

"Gather temperature information from essential components"
“Gathering temperature insights to ensure optimal performance of all critical components”

Setup Speccy

Install the free version of Speccy on your PC by clicking here.
Run it when installing it and examine the temperatures indicated after the software has finished.
Take special attention to the temperatures listed below.

Configure Speccy
Ensuring system efficiency by fine-tuning Speccy for accurate temperature monitoring

Temperature Of The Central Processing Unit (CPU)

The central processing unit (CPU) is required for all computational processes. It is involved in the processing of some features of games.
It has less to do with visual rendering and more with AI, map data, character levels and talents, and other factors.
The CPU should be approximately 175 degrees Fahrenheit (79 degrees Celsius) or colder in an idle state.
This signifies that no applications that might put the CPU to work are running.

"Measuring the heat of the Central Processing Unit CPU"
Keeping the CPU cool for optimal performance: Monitoring the temperature of the Central Processing Unit”

Temperature Of The GPU

The graphics processor on the graphics card is known as the GPU. It renders and displays game visuals to the monitor, among other functions on the card.
The GPU should be at or below 149 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius).
The temperature of the motherboard or the temperature of the system

Thermal reading of the GPU
“Keeping a close eye on the temperature of our GPU to ensure optimal performance and longevity.”

Finally, Record The Temperature Of The Motherboard.

The temperature should be 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) or below.
Other aspects to consider while purchasing gaming PCs
The temperature outside your computer’s enclosure significantly influences all of these values.
As a result, these figures aren’t set in stone and should be adaptable to some hardware exceptions and ambient exterior temperatures.
It’s merely a basic guideline to serve as a baseline measurement.
Keep these temps available once you’ve recorded them so you can compare them.

"Measuring the temperature of the motherboard to ensure the backbone of our system is operating at peak levels."
Monitoring the temperature of the motherboard to ensure the heart of our system is running at optimal levels.

3. Begin A Game When Speccy Is Active.

Begin a game and play it for 2–3 minutes.
Hold down the ‘Alt’ key on your keyboard while tapping the ‘Tab’ key until Speccy appears on your screen, then let go of the ‘Alt’ key.
Note the temperatures of the same component adjacent to the idling temps.
Let’s look at the differences to see which components you should look at.

Launch a game while Speccy is running"
“Starting the game with Speccy by our side, keeping an eye on the system’s performance while we play.”

4. Comparisons And The Separation Of Hotter Components

Recheck the temperature measurements of the components and proceed as follows.

Analyzing the temperature difference: comparing and separating components for optimal functionality
Separating the heat: comparing components to optimize performance

CPU benchmarking

You must install a repair if your CPU temperature surpasses 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius).

How to Troubleshoot Central Processing Unit Overheating?

On the market, there are several great third-party CPU cooling assemblies.
If you already have a good cooler assembly on your CPU, turn it off and move it to a good work location.
Disassemble it and check that you’ve used a high-quality thermal paste.
Before applying thermal paste and reattaching the heat sink and fan assembly, ensure that the surfaces of the CPU and heatsink are fully clean, even with minute dust bits.
I suggest the Noctua NH-D15 chromax. black CPU cooler. More on this in my best premium CPU cooling post.
It offers excellent cooling performance while keeping your system quiet.
If you believe that an air cooler would not enough, try an AIO cooler, which delivers excellent cooling while producing very little noise.

"Diagnosing and resolving problems with the Central Processing Unit: a troubleshooting guide"
“Solving CPU issues: troubleshooting tips”

GPU Benchmarking

The GPU is a critical component in gaming. It is subjected to a great deal of punishment when gaming.
If the GPU temperature surpasses 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius) after 2 to 3 minutes of gaming, consider boosting the cooling of your graphics card.

"Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) benchmarking"
“Testing graphics power: GPU benchmarking”

How to Resolve GPU Overheating Problems?

Switch off your computer and relocate it to your work location.
Check that no other cards are installed that are too near to the graphics card cooling fans.
Anything else that is closer than 1 inch should be eliminated. If a different slot is available, you may relocate this card.
If not, investigate if you can locate a USB replacement if you need the capabilities of that particular card.
Restart the game and check the temperature of the graphics card if a card is too near to it. Otherwise, proceed with this process.
Remove the graphics card and place it on a clean, open workspace.
Remove the card’s heatsink and cooling fan assembly.
Examine the thermal paste to verify whether it is of good quality.
If you’re not sure, use thermal paste removal fluid to remove the old thermal paste.
Before applying the new thermal paste and reattaching the heatsink and fan assembly, make sure the surfaces are clean.
Please read our article on how to change your GPU’s thermal paste for a step-by-step tutorial.
Also, ensure that the GPU cooling fan is spinning freely. Check to see whether the fan progressively slows down when you delicately flick it up with your finger.
If the fan comes to a halt after spinning up, it has to be replaced.
There are moderately priced aftermarket graphics card coolers that are fantastic. This is an efficient method for dealing with graphics card overheating.
Install the free MSI Afterburner and create a fan control profile to guarantee that the fans spin up to the proper speeds when the GPU warms up.

Troubleshooting GPU Overheating Issues
Keep your gaming or rendering performance cool with these solutions for GPU overheating problems

How To Fix Motherboard Temperature Problems?

Disconnect your computer’s plugs and transfer them to your work area.
To begin, replace the heat sink thermal compound for any heatsinks connected to your motherboard.
Check or replace the heat transfer compound for the north and south bridge chips or heatsink-cooled regulators. Do this whenever you come across any old thermal compound on a heatsink.
Also, make sure the heat sinks are correctly placed and make adequate contact with the surface area that will be cooled.
If changing the thermal paste does not help, the problem may be with the motherboard or the power supply.

Resolving Motherboard Temperature Issues
“Keep your computer running smoothly by troubleshooting and resolving motherboard temperature issues”

5. Troubleshoot Cooling Issues Of  The Case

If removing the case lid fixed all of your overheating issues, go to the next step to resolve any cooling difficulties caused by the case’s cooling.

"Fixing Case Cooling Problems"
Say goodbye to overheating and hello to cool and stable performance with this guide to troubleshooting case cooling issues.

Resolve PC Cooling Difficulties And The Reasons For Overheating.

Check that there is adequate Airflow traveling through the casing.
This implies that fans must be fitted so sufficient air is pulled into and evacuated from the case.
For additional information, please see my other post, PC airflow optimization.

"Fixing PC Overheating Issues and Identifying Causes"
“Keep your computer running at optimal temperatures by identifying and resolving the causes of overheating with this guide.”

The Most Effective Cooling Setup

The optimum situation is for slightly more air to be sucked into the case than drawn out.
This will result in a minor increase in positive air pressure within the casing.
There are a few advantages to doing things this way.

  • Simply filtering the intake fans will filter the air coming into the case.
  • You may make certain that only the coldest air reaches the specified area. This should be at the bottom of the case and opposite the exhaust fan (s).

So, if your intake fans are filtered, you may expect just a small quantity of dust to enter your computer.
We also talk about how to keep dust out of your computer and how the cooling system affects how simple it is to apply.
The exhaust fan(s) should be mounted either along the top or on the upper rear side of the case.
This takes use of the inherent tendency of heated air to ascend. Cool air enters the enclosure at the bottom and escapes at the top.
Using this type of PC case cooling, you can guarantee that all computer components do not overheat, which may help them survive longer.
If you reside in a hotter region, upgrading your case with a bigger one might solve your cooling problems.

"Optimizing Cooling for Maximum Efficiency"
“Achieve maximum cooling efficiency for your computer with this guide to the most effective cooling setup”

6. Make Sure The Wiring Inside Your Case Is Tidy

Apart from contributing to the interior beauty of your computer, wiring or cable management is also vital in another manner.
A misplaced cable or wire might cause a fan to stall or even stop entirely.
Not only does clean wiring make working on your computer simpler, but it also helps prevent stray wires or cords from straying where they aren’t intended to.
So, spend some time cleaning up your wiring. You’ll be pleased you did after the project is finished.

Organizing the Internal Wiring of Your Case
“Improve airflow and aesthetics by tidying up the wiring within your PC’s case”


It is simple to keep your computer from overheating when playing games. However, you must first monitor your computer’s temperature using freely accessible free programs to detect early overheating danger indicators. You then troubleshoot the system and address the faults.
Keeping your gaming computer cool preserves the health of the components and helps them to live significantly longer, allowing you to have a more pleasurable gaming experience.
That covers all the primary components and how to identify and repair cooling problems.
Concentrating on one component simultaneously permits you to devote concentrated effort to solving the problem. Keep in mind to take your time. Rushing causes mistakes that require more money to correct.
It is also strongly advised that you always use a high-quality thermal compound.
The cheap thermal paste hardens faster than it should. It creates more of a heat barrier than a heat transmission medium.
I hope this has been helpful, and I wish you the best of success in having your computer function well.

Prevent your Gaming PC from Overheating: The Final Verdict on Cooling Solutions