High GPU usage can be annoying if it’s affecting your gameplay such as constant FPS drops or overall low FPS, however, high usage can also be a normal thing if playing demanding games or if you have an old graphics card.
If you’re playing games at 60+ frames per second (FPS) with buttery smoothness, then there’s no reason why your graphics processing unit (GPU) shouldn’t be at high usage, that’s perfectly normal, it just means that the game you’re playing is quite demanding. But when your frame rate drops down below 30 FPS, that could definitely affect gameplay and ruin your experience altogether, this can be due to a few reasons, however, if you have an old GPU then it could be a normal issue.
The problem isn’t always related to hardware though. Sometimes, poor optimization by developers, glitches, compatibility problems, etc, may also cause this issue.
Below we will tell you a few different things that can help you out with your high GPU usage & improve performance overall:
In most cases, installing updates from Microsoft fixes many of these kinds of issues. However, updating to new versions usually causes more harm than good sometimes. Thus, we recommend avoiding automatic updates whenever possible. And if you’ve recently updated your computer, check its System Restore point to see if anything went wrong during the update process. If you haven’t installed any recently, maybe try installing the latest updates and see if it helps.
One of the major factors affecting overall system performance is outdated or missing driver files. Most often, they become corrupt due to different reasons like incompatible software installation, malware infection, incorrect use of third-party apps, etc.
To install drivers simply go to your GPU manufacturer’s website and download the drivers related to your card, NVIDIA:
When multiple programs run simultaneously on your desktop, chances are that one will end up causing conflicts. That’s where compatibility modes come into play. They allow both operating systems and various software components to communicate properly with each other without crashing every time something unexpected happens. Unfortunately, modern games aren’t compatible with certain older PCs because they don’t support the required features anymore. Hence, those users resort to enabling compatibility mode to improve gaming performance.
But if you have tried everything else on our list, turning on compatibility mode probably won’t help much. You’ll need additional tools to do so. For instance, if you want to enable compatibility mode for Overwatch, right-click the executer application and you should have a “Compatibility” tab, click it and then choose a different Operating System like Windows 10 or 7 and it should help. (Assuming you’re not using either one of these)
Game Settings and In-Game Options
Sometimes, even after checking all settings thoroughly, gamers still encounter fps dropouts and lagging issues. The culprits could range anywhere from bad internet connections, bandwidth saturation, faulty hard drives, etc. While fixing such bugs requires extra effort, changing individual settings within a particular title makes things easier. Here are a few tips you can follow along with:
Decrease Resolution: Try lowering the resolution and rerun the game if necessary. Otherwise, change your display setting to match the lower screen resolution.
Disable Visual Effects: Turning off visual effects improves game loading speed significantly, which ultimately leads to better performance.
Optimize Anti-Aliasing: Some anti-aliases take way too long to render. Alternatively, turn AA entirely off and enhance image quality through post-processing methods.
Turn Off VSync: When enabled, sync adjusts vertical synchronization accordingly. However, turning it off is usually better for smoothness and an overall increase in FPS.
Use DXGI Compression: Enabling this option saves lots of memory space and enhances rendering speeds considerably.
Change Texture Filtering: Selective coloring reduces jagged edges caused by texture filtering.
Switch Off PhysX: Using PhysX interferes heavily with framerate stability. As such, disable it when needed.
Set Render Limit: Setting a limit helps reduce the maximum number of draw calls.
Limit Memory Allocation: Increasing allocated VRAM doesn’t guarantee a higher frame rate. Instead, set it to the minimum value recommended by the developer.
VSyncing refers to synchronizing output frames rendered on your monitor to GPU. During this process, your GPU renders frames based on clock speeds specified in the driver. Although beneficial in terms of smoother visuals, it results in stuttering if done excessively. Fortunately, disabling vsyncing solves this problem easily.
Overclock Your GPU
Overclocking means increasing the frequency of GPU core clocks beyond stock values. Usually, manufacturers provide optimal frequencies that maximize power efficiency and heat generation. But overclocking involves adding voltage slightly over default values to boost performance. As a result, higher temperatures occur, leading to reduced lifespan of electronic parts.
However, if you know what you’re doing, overclocking is a viable solution for boosting gaming performance. It increases overall FPS and decreases input latency dramatically. Moreover, newer games feature built-in overclocking utilities designed specifically to handle extreme scenarios efficiently. There are two ways to achieve overclocking:
Manually adjusting voltages via BIOS menu: This approach provides full control over thermal design power (TDP), fan curve, etc. Users must have basic knowledge of electronics and programming principles to tweak voltages correctly.
Using specialized software: Several software offers auto overclocking functionality. For example, EVGA Precision X offers advanced monitoring and tweaking capabilities. Additionally, ASUS GPU Tweak II comes preloaded with an excellent overclocking utility that gives complete control over fan curves, voltage levels, TDP, etc.
Use PhysX/AMD Physics Driver
Its main purpose is to increase physics simulation accuracy. Originally released for consoles, PhysX runs flawlessly across all platforms including Windows 10. However, users who own AMD graphic cards complain of excessive GPU usage once it becomes active. Thankfully, AMD’s newest release addresses this issue.
As soon as it launches, install the Physx_v3.190625.exe file located inside the folder. Upon launching the application, switch to Tools ” Utilities ” Application Settings. Set Graphics API to Classic. Make sure to apply all changes made to PhysX. Afterward, restart your computer and check if GPU usage remains high.
Check for Crossfire Errors on Nvidia GPUs
Crossfire technology enables multi-GPU configurations for improved gaming experiences. Basically, it splits the workload among multiple discrete graphics units to deliver impressive graphical outputs at a minimal cost.
Luckily, Nvidia releases new hotfixes regularly to address specific bug reports raised by customers. If you are running Crossfigure GPUs, try downloading the latest hotfixes.
John has been a gamer since the early age of 7, playing a huge variety of single-player games, and MMOs, and even participating in LAN Tournaments for FPS games such as Counter-Strike Global Offensive. Ever since he found his passion in gaming & in technology in general, he has continuously increased his knowledge in software, programming & hardware and is now working at TechReviewTeam helping readers, answering questions, writing articles & reviews for the team.