Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is one of the essential components in your gaming computer. It’s a special electronic circuit created to handle all the data transferred from the computer internals to a connected display.
Gaming is usually a graphics-intensive activity, and your computer needs to be as optimally performing as possible. GPU usage should be somewhere between 70 to a full-fledged 100% based on the demands of the game you’re playing. A drop in the GPU usage results in low performance or what experts refer to as Frame per Second (FPS) in-game.
Find all these in detail below. We’ll also discuss why it’s good to have your GPU usage high and CPU usage low while playing that high-demanding game.
How Much GPU Usage Is Normal for Gaming
The GPU usage varies depending on the type of game you’re playing. Generally, you can expect a 30 to 70% GPU usage if you’re playing a less demanding game. On the other hand, a high-demanding game can have the GPU running at almost 100%, which is normal. A high GPU usage means that the game uses all of the GPU’s available FPS or performance. Indeed, you should be concerned if your GPU usage isn’t high for graphic-intensive games.
Unless your computer is idle, it’s perfectly normal to have a high GPU usage when gaming. Your PC’s graphics card is designed to be utilized fully at nearly 100% for years, particularly for GPU-intensive tasks such as gaming. So, high GPU usage is expected.
Expect to reach 90 to 95% GPU usage when playing most high-graphics games. If you’re standing on at 80% and hitting 55 to 50 FPS in-game, it may be a sign of CPU speed bottleneck issues. It’s okay if your FPS in-game is high, as that also indicates that a game is demanding, and at that point, the GPU usage should be at maximum.
It’s normal to have the GPU usage hitting 100% when gaming, provided your graphics processing unit’s temperatures aren’t more than 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celsius). If the temperatures get too high (85+ degrees Celsius), you might suffer reduced performance over time.
GPU Usage High, Temperatures High, FPS Low
Some games are designed to utilize your GPU fully, which is a good thing. It’s bad news if your GPU usage is high, temperatures are high, and performance is low. High GPU usage is normal as long as the performance and temperatures are acceptable (above 55FPS and below 185 degrees Fahrenheit). But, if both the temperatures and performance aren’t acceptable, it would indicate that your GPU may not be strong enough for the game.
You’re likely to experience input lag if your GPU usage is 100% and temperatures are high when playing some games. You can lower your GPU usage by limiting the FPS. Bringing the GPU down to a certain level, e.g. 95%, can help reduce the lag, lower the temperatures and enhance latency.
Enable Vsync or use software such as MSI Afterburner. You can effectively put a cap on your FPS by reducing some GPU-intensive options in games such as DSR, resolution, or shadows.
Always ensure you have the most up-to-date Nvidia or AMD drivers, particularly if you’re playing a demanding game. You can get the drivers from the Nvidia official website or via GeForce Experience if you have Nvidia GPU.
High GPU Usage, Low CPU Usage – Is It Normal?
Yes, it’s perfectly normal. It means you’re getting the best in-game performance from the GPU, and your CPU isn’t getting hurt in the process. High GPU and low CPU usage are what you should expect when gaming. When doing such graphics-intensive tasks, your GPU should be the bottleneck of your system and not the CPU.
So, you certainly don’t want your CPU standing at 100% while handling demanding tasks such as gaming instead of the GPU. Some games (e.g. RPG) have so many actors, high draw distances, and much more, which taxes your CPU. But, even then, your GPU usage should be higher than your CPU usage.
We’ve learned that 70 to 100% GPU usage is normal for gaming. The range depends on the type of game you’re playing. Some games aren’t as graphics-intensive as others, in which case, a GPU usage of around 70% is acceptable.
Conversely, most games can have your GPU usage hitting 90 and up to 100%. High GPU is normal if your FPS in-game and temperatures are above 55 and below 185 degrees Fahrenheit respectively.
We’ve also learned that high GPU usage and high temperatures can cause latency issues. You can bring your GPU usage to a certain level by limiting the FPS to help fix this input lag problem. Do that by enabling Vsync or using appropriate software.