How to Fix a Computer That Overheats When You’re Gaming

When gaming pushes your computer to its limits, overheating can become a problem, potentially leading to serious issues like system failures, random shutdowns, or permanent damage. Understanding how to prevent and fix overheating is crucial for maintaining your computer’s health and enhancing your gaming experience.

Understanding Overheating in Gaming PCs

Overheating can manifest through various symptoms, such as the computer failing to boot (post), unexpected shutdowns, system crashes, or performance throttling. Before diagnosing or fixing the issue, ensure that any form of overclocking is disabled, as this could be exacerbating the problem.

Steps to Diagnose and Fix Overheating Issues

Step 1: Prepare Your System

  • Safety First: Ensure the computer is off and unplugged.
  • Case Lid Removal: Open your computer’s case to eliminate any restricted airflow issues that might affect temperature readings.

Step 2: Monitoring Component Temperatures

  • Install Monitoring Software: Download and install Speccy to monitor the temperatures of key components.
  • Check Idle Temperatures: Note the temperatures of your CPU, GPU, and motherboard at idle. Ideal temperatures are:
    • CPU: Below 175°F (79°C)
    • GPU: Below 149°F (65°C)
    • Motherboard: Below 95°F (35°C)

Step 3: Assess Temperatures Under Load

  • Run a Game: Start a game and after a few minutes, switch back to Speccy to check the temperatures again.
  • Record and Compare: Document the temperatures under load and compare them to the idle temperatures to identify any abnormal increases.

Step 4: Address Specific Overheating Issues

  • CPU Overheating:
    • Consider upgrading to a high-quality CPU cooler.
    • Check and replace thermal paste if necessary.
    • Ensure the heatsink is clean and mounted properly.
  • GPU Overheating:
    • Ensure there is adequate spacing around the card for airflow.
    • Check and apply new thermal paste to the GPU.
    • Consider aftermarket cooling solutions or adjust fan settings with software like MSI Afterburner.
  • Motherboard/System Temperature:
    • Replace old thermal paste on chipset heatsinks.
    • Ensure proper contact between heatsinks and components.
    • Consider issues with the power supply if temperatures remain high.

Step 5: Optimize Case Cooling

  • Airflow Configuration: Set up your case fans to create a positive pressure environment with filtered intakes and appropriate exhausts.
  • Fan Placement: Intake fans should be at the lowest point; exhaust fans should be at the highest.
  • Choose Larger Fans: Larger fans can move the same amount of air at lower speeds compared to smaller fans, reducing noise.

Step 6: Organize Internal Cables

  • Cable Management: Tidy up the cables inside your case to ensure they do not obstruct airflow or interfere with fan operation.


Addressing overheating in your gaming PC involves a combination of proper maintenance, hardware checks, and system optimization. By following these steps, you can ensure your PC runs efficiently, extending its lifespan and improving your gaming experience. If problems persist after these adjustments, consider professional help, as there may be deeper hardware issues at play.

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