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GPU temperatures

I’m a bit suspicious about the current state of my nvidia 8600GT video card. About a year ago, I was a bit concerned that it might have been overheating, leading to graphics corruption and crashes. I picked up a couple of tools to monitor the GPU temperature, and found that when it was under heavy loads, the temperature would get quite high – or at least what I felt was quite high – climbing into the low 80s.

That’s 80 degrees Celsius, just 20 degrees short of the temperature where water boils. I got a tweaking tool and ramped the fan profile up a bit, which kept the temperature peaking in the mid 70s, and all seemed to be well.

Yesterday, though, I discovered something odd.

After some graphics corruption, and an application crash which then needed me to reboot Windows before I could get any 3D stuff to consent to run without crashing again, I pulled out one of the tools and checked the temperature of the GPU again.

82 degrees. That’s idle, after a reboot.

The ambient air temperature was 17 in the early hours of the morning and, motherboard and hard-drive sensors reported 30-40 degrees, as did the CPU cores. The GPU, however, was sitting at 82 degrees on an otherwise idle 2D desktop.

That seemed a little high.

I pulled out my copy of Mount and Blade, and ran that in a window (as is my wont), while I monitored the GPU temperature some more. It peaked at 116 degrees. More than enough to boil water. That’s 240.8 in Fahrenheit.

Now that’s hot.

A little reading suggests that 125C is about the threshold where everything can be expected to fry, or at least to fail interestingly (graphics corruption and crashes and all of that jazz).

Clearly, I’m concerned about the card. I could cook bacon at 116 degrees (though it would be bad for the system if I tried). I’m glad I didn’t try a really intensive application.

I’m not yet sure if the fan is failing, or the heatsink has come a bit loose. The thermal compound might be breaking down, or it just might be that the temperature sensors are misreporting/being misread by the software.

With Summer just started, and the already hot weather set to get a whole lot hotter, I’m thinking this is something I need to figure out sooner rather than later.

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Categories: Hardware, Personal.

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