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What Is Thermal Throttling?

When used normally, computers generate some heat, but when under a tremendous strain, they generate a lot more. The consequence of this is a performance decline known as thermal throttling. So what precisely is “throttling,” and how can you prevent it?

What is Thermal Throttling?

Your GPU produces a lot of heat when it handles a demanding activity, like gaming. Your graphics card starts to reduce performance to disperse heat when your cooling system can no longer do it quickly enough to keep temperatures within a safe range. Until temperatures fall to a safe working range, your framerates and the core and memory frequencies start to decrease. This feature is present in all current GPUs in order to safeguard the electronic parts from harm. Thermal throttling, if left unchecked, can significantly affect performance. Additionally, while thermal throttling by itself doesn’t harm anything, the heat that causes it can harm your video card and reduce its lifespan.

Thermal Throttling Protects Hardware

Heat is produced by computer parts like the CPU, GPU, and even memory modules. They can become overheated since they emit a lot more heat while under a heavy load. These components could be permanently damaged if exposed to high temperatures for an extended period of time.

Performance is restricted after a component reaches a certain temperature in order to reduce heat buildup and promote cooling. Only if the cooling system can maintain the components’ safe operating temperature will they be able to operate as safely as possible.

In this context, “throttling” refers to “ditching performance” by reducing clock speeds. The performance of your GPU or CPU will suffer as a result of slower operation. On the desktop, you could notice that the user interface (UI) is a little slower, and GPU heat throttling will lower gaming frame rates. Crashing, distorted images on the screen, and abrupt restarts are some of the more severe overheating symptoms.

How to Prevent Throttling

Controlling heat is necessary to preserve performance, but not all graphics cards are subject to throttling to the same extent or even at all. The effects of thermal throttling on your system depend on a range of circumstances. The three most important aspects to think about are case selection, cooling method, and airflow.

It is more difficult to keep your GPU cool when your case is compact and lacks open space, which traps heat and prevents airflow. A larger, well-designed chassis might offer more fan mounts and airflow optimization choices. If your GPU manufacturer employed a bespoke cooling solution that conducts heat into your case rather than immediately eliminating it, as with reference designs, being able to attach additional fans in your case is extremely advantageous.

Heat produced by your GPU is effectively removed from the case by adding more fans to the top of your case. Additionally, it reduces the air temperature within your case, which keeps other parts, like your CPU and RAM, significantly cooler.

The brand of graphics card you select may be a matter of personal opinion, but the cooling system it employs must be carefully considered. A single blower-type fan is often used in reference designs to cool the card. The graphics card’s back is drawn in, and cool air is vented out of the end with the connectors. Although this design is effective, performance is limited by the single fan.

It’s frequently best to choose a graphics card with a multi-fan cooling solution. Throttling is considerably reduced or even completely eliminated thanks to the additional fans—sometimes as many as three. It should be noted that since these graphics cards’ cooling do not directly remove heat from the case, your case must have adequate airflow to manage the hot air they produce.