Why Is My GPU Underperforming? Common Causes and Fixes

If you’ve noticed that your gaming or graphic-intensive tasks aren’t running as smoothly as they should, you might be wondering, “Why is my GPU underperforming?” Your Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) plays a main role in rendering images and videos on your computer screen. 

When it’s not operating at its best, it can lead to a frustrating computing experience. You’re not alone in facing this issue; many users can face this same issue.

In this article, I will provide you with the most common causes and expert advice to optimize your GPU’s performance.

Understanding GPU Underperformance

Why is my GPU underperforming? It’s a question that perplexes many, but let’s start by understanding the fundamental aspects. A Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) plays a pivotal role in rendering graphics, making it vital for gaming, graphic design, and other GPU-intensive tasks. When it underperforms, it can lead to lag, reduced frame rates, and system slowdowns.

Common Causes (why is my GPU Underperforming)

Outdated Drivers

GPU underperformance is frequently caused by outdated drivers. Manufacturers of graphics cards often update their drivers to guarantee that they are compatible with the newest software and to improve overall performance. Outdated GPU drivers prevent your GPU from operating at peak efficiency, which leads to poor performance and graphical glitches.

Why Do Outdated Drivers Affect GPU Performance?


New software and games often rely on the latest GPU drivers for optimal performance. Outdated drivers may not support these new applications, causing issues.

Bug Fixes

Driver upgrades frequently contain bug fixes for graphical defects and performance problems. You will not receive these fixes if you are using outdated drivers.

Enhanced Performance

Manufacturers optimize drivers to improve performance in newer games and applications. Outdated drivers can’t take advantage of these optimizations.


Why Is My GPU Underperforming

When your GPU is working hard, it might get really hot. It can slow down to prevent harm if it becomes too hot. Because of this, underperformance is frequently caused by overheating. Let’s investigate GPU cooling techniques.

Why Does Overheating Happen?

Dust and Dirt

Just like your car’s engine, a GPU can gather dust and dirt over time, clogging up its cooling system.

Poor Ventilation

If your computer case doesn’t have good airflow or if it’s in a tight space, it can lead to poor ventilation, causing heat to build up.

Old Thermal Paste

The thermal paste between your GPU and its cooler can dry out and lose effectiveness over time, leading to increased heat.

How to Prevent Overheating

Clean Your PC

Regularly clean your PC’s insides. Remove dust with compressed air, especially around fans and heatsinks.

Check Ventilation

Make sure your computer case has good airflow. Consider adding more fans or adjusting the case’s positioning for better ventilation.

Replace Thermal Paste

why is my graphics card underperforming

If you’re comfortable with it, you can replace the thermal paste on your GPU. This should be done carefully or by a professional.

Monitor Temperatures

Use software to monitor your GPU’s temperature. If it consistently reaches high temperatures, take action.

Inadequate Power Supply

A stable power supply is vital for a GPU to function optimally. If your power supply unit (PSU) can’t provide the necessary power, it can result in reduced GPU performance. Upgrading to a higher wattage PSU may be necessary in such cases.

Dust and Dirt Buildup

Your computer’s inside, particularly the GPU, may gather dust and debris over time. The GPU may overheat and perform worse as a result of this accumulation, obstructing ventilation and cooling. You can lessen this problem by cleaning the inside of your computer regularly.

Background Processes

Running too many background processes can consume GPU resources, leaving less for your main tasks. Use task manager to close unnecessary applications and processes.

Hardware Issues

Occasionally, hardware issues like loose connections or failing components can lead to GPU underperformance. Check your GPU’s physical connections and consider a professional inspection if problems persist.

VRAM Shortage

Virtual Random Access Memory (VRAM) is a critical component of your GPU. It’s like your GPU’s workspace,f where it stores data for quick access. If your GPU’s VRAM is running low, it can significantly affect performance, particularly in modern games and applications that demand a lot of memory.

Why Does VRAM Shortage Happen?

High-Resolution Graphics: Games and software with high-quality graphics demand more VRAM to store textures, models, and other graphical data.


Running multiple applications simultaneously can consume more VRAM, leaving less available for your primary task.


Older GPUs may have limited VRAM capacity, making them less suitable for newer software.

How to Address VRAM Shortage

Lower Graphics Settings

In games and applications, reduce graphical settings like texture quality and resolution to decrease VRAM usage.

Close Unnecessary Programs

Shut down background applications to free up VRAM for the task at hand.

Upgrade Your GPU

If your GPU has limited VRAM, consider upgrading to a newer model with more memory.

How to Check GPU Performance

Monitoring Software

Software like MSI Afterburner and GPU-Z allows you to monitor your GPU’s temperature, clock speeds, and usage in real time. Anomalies in these metrics can indicate underperformance.


Benchmarking software, such as 3DMark, can assess your GPU’s performance against industry standards. Running benchmark tests can help identify areas where your GPU falls short.


In conclusion, a GPU underperforming can be a frustrating problem for gamers and professionals who rely on graphics processing power. Understanding the common causes of GPU underperformance and taking steps to address them, such as updating drivers, ensuring proper cooling, and providing sufficient power, can significantly enhance your GPU’s performance.


  1. Can I clean my GPU myself, or should I seek professional help?

    You can clean your GPU yourself, but it’s essential to follow proper procedures to avoid damaging sensitive components.

  2. Are there any software tools to automatically update GPU drivers?

    Yes, some software tools, such as NVIDIA GeForce Experience and AMD Adrenalin, can automatically check for and install GPU driver updates.

  3. Is a GPU upgrade the solution to poor performance?

    Upgrading your GPU can improve performance, but it may not be the only solution. Ensure your CPU, RAM, and power supply can handle the new GPU, and consider other potential bottlenecks in your system.

Leave a comment