How to Monitor CPU and GPU Temp While Gaming?

If you think that an overheating GPU or CPU might be causing delays or disruptions in your gaming experience, or if you want to assess the effectiveness of your PC’s cooling system, especially after overclocking, it’s important to know how to track CPU and GPU temperatures during gameplay.

Luckily, keeping an eye on CPU and GPU temperatures while gaming is quite straightforward. All you need to do is install some reliable and free third-party software, such as ‘MSI Afterburner,’ ‘GPU-Z,’ and ‘CPU Temp,’ and set them up with the appropriate configurations.

MSI Afterburner is a highly regarded software not only for temperature monitoring but also for real-time tracking of various aspects of your CPU and GPU, like CPU and GPU usage, FPS, RAM usage, and more.

‘CPU Temp’ by ALCPU is another crucial tool that informs you of the minimum and maximum temperatures your CPU reached within a specific period. Additionally, it provides essential information about your CPU’s temperature specifications, including its TJmax temperature.

Lastly, GPU-Z by TechPowerUp is a comprehensive tool for everything related to your graphics card, including temperature monitoring.

In the following text, I will explain how to monitor CPU and GPU temperatures during gameplay in real-time with minimal effort.

Why Monitoring CPU and GPU Temperature is Important

Monitoring the temperature of your computer’s CPU and GPU is essential for several reasons:

  1. Performance: High temperatures can lead to thermal throttling, which reduces the performance of your CPU and GPU, resulting in decreased frame rates and stutters during gaming.
  2. Longevity: Consistently high temperatures can shorten the lifespan of your components and increase the risk of hardware failure.
  3. Stability: Overheating can cause system instability, leading to crashes and potential data loss.

Ideal Temperature Ranges for CPU and GPU

CPU Temperature Ranges

  • Idle: 30-50°C (86-122°F)
  • Gaming: 50-70°C (122-158°F)
  • Max: 80-95°C (176-203°F)

These ranges are general guidelines, but specific CPUs may have different maximum temperature limits. Consult your CPU manufacturer’s documentation for exact values.

GPU Temperature Ranges

  • Idle: 30-45°C (86-113°F)
  • Gaming: 60-85°C (140-185°F)
  • Max: 90-105°C (194-221°F)

Like CPUs, individual GPUs have different temperature tolerances. Refer to your GPU manufacturer’s guidelines for specific information.

Methods to Monitor CPU and GPU Temperature

There are two primary methods to monitor CPU and GPU temperature: using built-in utilities or using third-party tools.

Using Built-in Utilities

Windows Task Manager

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager.
  2. Click on the “Performance” tab.
  3. Select “CPU” or “GPU” to view their respective temperatures.


  1. Restart your computer and enter the BIOS/UEFI setup (usually by pressing Del, F2, or another designated key).
  2. Navigate to the hardware monitoring or system status section.
  3. Locate the CPU and GPU temperature readings.

Third-Party Tools

There are numerous third-party applications that can help monitor CPU and GPU temperatures. Some popular options include:

  1. HWMonitor
  2. MSI Afterburner
  4. Open Hardware Monitor
  5. Smart Game Booster
  6. HWiNFO
  7. RTSS

Steam & Orign

A simpler alternative to downloading utilities for improving game performance is to play online games on platforms that already have built-in FPS counters.

While this approach restricts you to games available on these platforms, it eliminates the need to research, download, and learn new software. If you prefer to start playing without downloading additional tools, this could be the ideal solution for you.

Try nvidia-sml.exe

Nvidia GPU users can quickly and easily view their CPU and GPU temperatures by executing the “nvidia-smi.exe” command in just a few simple steps.

To do this, follow these instructions:

  1. Press WIN + R to open the Run command prompt.
  2. Type “cmd” and press Enter.
  3. Locate “nvidia-smi.exe” in the “C:Program FilesNVIDIA CorporationNVSMI” directory.
  4. Drag the file into the command prompt window and press Enter.
  5. The CPU and GPU temperatures, along with additional details, will be displayed in the window.

This method is faster than checking temperatures through the BIOS, making it a valuable option for those with Nvidia GPUs.

How to Maintain Optimal CPU and GPU Temperature

To ensure your CPU and GPU maintain optimal temperatures during gaming sessions, follow these best practices:

  1. Proper Airflow: Ensure your PC has adequate ventilation, with unobstructed intake and exhaust fans. Regularly clean dust filters and remove dust buildup within your case.
  2. Quality Cooling Solutions: Invest in high-quality air or liquid cooling solutions for both your CPU and GPU. Opt for aftermarket coolers if the stock solutions are insufficient.
  3. Thermal Paste Application: Periodically reapply thermal paste to your CPU and GPU, following the manufacturer’s guidelines. This ensures optimal heat transfer between the components and their respective coolers.
  4. Temperature Monitoring: Regularly check your CPU and GPU temperatures during gaming sessions using the monitoring methods mentioned above. Adjust your cooling solutions accordingly if temperatures are consistently high.
  5. Undervolting and Overclocking: Experiment with undervolting to reduce heat generation while maintaining performance. Overclocking should be approached cautiously, as it can increase heat output. Make sure you have adequate cooling solutions in place before attempting to overclock your CPU or GPU.
  6. Ambient Temperature: Keep your gaming environment cool and well-ventilated. High ambient temperatures can negatively impact your system’s cooling efficiency, resulting in increased component temperatures.
  7. Cable Management: Proper cable management is essential to maintain unrestricted airflow within your PC case. Neatly route cables away from fans and heat sinks to prevent potential obstructions.
  8. Software Optimization: Update your drivers regularly and optimize game settings to reduce unnecessary stress on your CPU and GPU. Some settings, like resolution and texture quality, can significantly impact the workload and heat output of your components.


Monitoring and maintaining optimal CPU and GPU temperatures are critical for a smooth gaming experience, as well as ensuring the longevity and stability of your components. By following the guidelines and best practices outlined in this article, you can enjoy uninterrupted gaming sessions while preserving the health and performance of your hardware.

Remember to consult your CPU and GPU manufacturer’s documentation for specific temperature tolerances and guidelines. Stay vigilant about monitoring temperatures and making necessary adjustments to your cooling solutions to ensure your system remains within safe operating ranges.


I love gaming and I have been playing games since the late 90s. I am very passionate about gaming and I always find the time to play different games. I started this website to take my hobby to the next level and share it with the world.