Tips for Protecting GPUs and CPUs from Heatwaves

If you’re from these parts of North America you won’t soon forget how the weather was about exactly a year ago from now. Late June of 2021 saw the West Coast hit with a heatwave that put every other one EVER before it to shame with just how incredibly hot it got. The mercury soared to well over 40 degrees in most places and one location not too far from here recorded the hottest temperature in Canadian history. To say it was sweltering hot would be an understatement, and unfortunately it seems that we’re all living in a much, much warmer world than we used to.

We are not going to segue into discussing climate change and / or global warming here, but what we will do is say that it is not just us humans and the animals around us that stand to be worse for wear because of extreme temperatures. Turns out they can be plenty harmful for the digital devices a lot of us rely on for work, and the same ones that nearly all of us will use for entertainment even if we don’t spend our workday in front of monitors and a keyboard. There a reason most GPUs come with the own radiator and cooling fan, and we’ve all heard our CPU or notebook whirring when it needs to cool itself down.

This is a topic of interest for us here at 4GoodHosting, and we are like any reliable Canadian web hosting provider in that just like many of you we are mix of both those scenarios and if it’s not the desktop or notebook that is being put through its paces it is the mobile. Such is the way with modern life for a lot of us, and anything that puts the operations of that in jeopardy is going to have a target on its back. There’s all sorts of buzz around malware and DDoS attacks and the likes these days, but what about temperature extremes?

Components Kept Cool

Processors and graphics cards are very sensitive to heat, which is why ensuring they have the ability to stay cool when the temperature around them rises drastically is important. This isn’t a new requirement reality, and most will come with some form of cooling solution and better ones depending how premium the product is. In high-strain environments you may also find water-cooling blocks and AIO cooling systems can require a fan and radiator to pull fan-cooled water over the hot surface. The thing is, these solutions will be dependent on having cool air around them if they’re to be effective.

As it is now the system generally only cools in relation to the ambient temperature of its surroundings, and this puts additional strain on our computers and laptops. But how hot is too hot here exactly? This isn’t our area of expertise, but we’ve dug up that typical safe GPU temperatures are usually between 150° to 185° (65° to 85° Celsius).

For CPUs the same values are around 140° and 160° Fahrenheit (60° to 70° Celsius), but anything even near that may be putting your system in jeopardy of overheating to the point of failure. That’s within your power to control, but what if the same reality exists for a CPU or GPU and there’s nothing you can do to remedy the situation?

Stay Cool Tips for Users

So here’s what you can do to safeguard your components if you’re aware that a heatwave is on its way.

  1. Clean Device and Make Sure Vents are Clean

The buildup of dust and fluff is likely occurring in every desktop PC much faster than the owner is aware of, and this may mean your system is already deprived of airflow. The smart move is to use a can of compressed air to gently dust away any buildup every once in a while. If you have a PC case that can be opened up by removing a panel then you should also give your case fans a blast of air to clean them, and make sure that the inside of your system is clear from any dust build-up.

  1. Overclock Less Often

Many PC enthusiasts aim to maximize performance with overclocking. This not only draws additional power, it also increases the average operating temperature and sometimes quite significantly. Unless you absolutely need your system to be overclocked at all times, consider pulling back on the days when the weather is hot and likely going to get hotter.

  1. Get Fanning

Case fans are integral to keeping your CPU and GPU cool. With some units you may have a controller that allows you to bump your fan speed up to 100%, but if not you will need to control this directly on the system by heading into the BIOS again. This is time consuming, so a good option is to install 3rd-party software like SpeedTemp, but be aware that some CPU fans won’t be compatible with it.

A case upgrade may be in order if you have those fans maxed out through SpeedTemp and the unit is still running too hot.

  1. Replace Thermal Paste / Thermal Pads

This one may be well beyond the means of a lot of people, and quite likely if you’ve never opened up a computer before in any capacity. If your build has a few years behind it, consider cleaning off the old thermal paste from the CPU and replacing it with a fresh batch. This may help to bring the heat down.

Some units may not have the best thermal pads to begin with either. We’ll let you look into this one further on your own as we don’t want to on too long here. There are good tutorial videos easily found on YouTube.

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