It can be frustrating when you have a computer or laptop overloaded with high GPU usage especially when it’s just idle. High GPU can slow down the entire system and affect its overall performance. But, what if there is a way to lower the GPU usage? By following the different methods outlined in this article, you will be able to lower GPU usage significantly.
The first thing to take note of when trying to lower GPU usage is to know the factors that can affect your GPU usage such as your OS, the games you play, your system configuration, and your graphics card.
Trying THESE different methods is important so you can know which works best for you.
In this article, you will learn how to lower GPU usage on your PC to prevent dominating too much of your resources. Read on!
Why is my GPU at 100% usage even when Idle?
It is normal for GPU usage to get high during a game session. Even though your GPU is designed to be used 100%, there are a few reasons why high GPU usage becomes an issue when idle and you should try and fix it as soon as possible.
If you are a beginner, high GPU usage can overheat your graphics card which can force the fans to spin at complete speed. When your computer begins to sound like a jet engine, it is most likely because of this.
The card won’t be able to run games effectively because the resources are being used on needless background programs.
Once you discover that your frame rate in games is too low than usual, then you might be having the overlay bug. For instance, if a background application is using a whole 90% of your GPU, then only 10% of the power will be made available when you play games.
Avoid running a graphics card often at complete power as this can degrade its lifespan and consume a lot more energy than usual, which could lead to a higher energy bill than you are used to.
In perfect condition, the GPU usage should always be under 5% when idle and there are programs opened. Web browsers can activate GPU usage, especially once the hardware acceleration has been enabled, and you are watching HD videos at 1080P or even higher.
How Long can a GPU Run at 100?
A GPU at 100% can run splendidly for 24/7 usage under minimized temperature and power specs which won’t likely destroy the GPU anytime soon and you could run it for at least 2 years with constant use in the same condition and without any issues.
What causes high GPU usage?
In case you are wondering what the cause of the high GPU usage is, check out the following reasons below:
- A recent system or software update could be responsible for your GPU utilization spikes.
- Updates to drivers or security software are usually downloaded before they are installed in background processes. This installation process could be long and resource-intensive.
- High GPU usage is a bug caused by overlay programs.
These and many more are the causes of high GPU usage. It’s therefore important to fix this issue as fast as you identify it because it can adversely affect the overall performance of your graphics card and even reduce its lifespan.
How Much GPU Usage is Normal?
If you are a gamer, about 70% to 100% is expected for gaming depending on the type of game you are playing. Some games are not as graphics-intensive compared to others. In other words, a GPU usage of about 70% is acceptable. In contrast, most games can have your GPU usage getting as high as 90% and even up to 100%.
GPU usage should be 0% when it’s not in use. However, if you have high GPU usage, the GPU usage could display 50% or more, even when there are no programs opened and you are on the desktop! The task manager will probably detect that the card is being used for video encoding even there are no programs are opened.
How to lower GPU Usage
Even though, disabling the GPU overlays and auto replay features will help lower GPU usage while idle in most cases. There should also be a great improvement in your frame rate when playing games. Do you have an Nvidia or an AMD Graphic Card Driver? Then, here’s how to lower GPU usage on both cards:
Clean Re-install Drivers and Software
The overlay bug causing high GPU usage can be caused by drivers and software problems. When you clean and re-install, then you will be on your way to lowering high GPU usage.
In case you feel that there’s an issue with the software itself, then you may need to uninstall either Geforce Experience or AMD Radeon Software from your programs. However, if this doesn’t lower GPU usage, you can proceed to the next fix.
Uninstall & Reinstall Nvidia and AMD Graphic Card Driver
One of the first things to do is to uninstall and reinstall the graphics card driver to lower the high GPU usage. To achieve this, follow the steps below:
- Go to your computer’s control panel and navigate to the device manager.
- Once you are there, click on “Display Adapters” followed by Nvidia or AMD.
- Then, right-click and choose uninstall, and restart your PC before reinstalling it again with the most recent driver from Nvidia’s/AMD’s website (or any other trusted source).
That’s it! This should help lower GPU usage.
Update or Reinstall GPU Drivers
At times, the GPU drivers may become outdated leading to high GPU usage which causes malfunction.
Updating your GPU drivers to the latest version will automatically detect any new driver updates and install them for you while reinstalling them will uninstall any old drivers and install the most recent version.
To lower GPU usage on your computer, you can uninstall and reinstall graphics drivers following the steps below:
- Download a program known as DDU (Display Driver Uninstaller) that will help to completely remove NVIDIA driver files and Settings.
- To get your system set for a clean installation, try and uninstall Geforce Experience.
- Run DDU to remove the drivers, while your screen may flash a few times.
- Restart your computer.
- Now, download and install the new drivers.
- You can download Geforce Experience first and use it to download the most recent drivers or you can download the drivers manually.
- Go to the NVIDIA Download Drivers page, input your graphics card model and download the latest drivers.
- Open the file and allow the installation process to be completed.
- Restart your computer again.
- You will be reminded by Geforce Experience once a new driver update is available.
- That’s it!
For AMD Drivers
AMD has its tool for driver file cleanup known as the AMD Cleanup Utility but you can also use DDU to remove the files.
- Either of these programs will do the magic, run one first to remove all AMD files and software from your system.
- You can use AMD Radeon Software to install drivers or you can install them manually.
- Once you discover that the software is causing the issue, then you can manually install the drivers.
- Simply choose your AMD graphics card from the list then download and install the latest driver package.
That’s it! You have successfully uninstalled and reinstalled graphics drivers.
Lower Your Game Resolution and Settings
In case none of the aforementioned steps has worked for you, then you can check your GPU usage during high-intensity gaming on high settings. It’s likely the issue is limited to only specific games.
Another possible way to lower GPU usage is by lowering the resolution and graphical settings in-game, especially if you are having issues with your graphics card.
The steps below will help you to change your graphical settings in-game in a simple way that doesn’t overburden your GPU.
- Open the Settings of the particular game that you are playing.
- Now, go to the Video Settings.
- Change the “Graphics Quality” setting from “High” to “Medium” or “Low”.
- Lower the “Resolution” in-game to reduce GPU usage.
- Enable “V-Sync” to limit the framerate according to your monitor’s refresh rate.
However, you need to know that different games have different settings; some have more than one option for lowering graphics quality. You can engage each setting and see which provides the best performance while balancing your GPU usage.
It’s not appropriate to just leave the settings at high because it can harm your PC.
Turn off all GPU Overlays and Auto Replay Features
another way to lower high GPU usage is to disable any GPU overlays and auto replay features.
On Nvidia, follow the steps below to disable these features:
- Open Geforce Experience: Go to Settings >> General tab >> Settings >> Disable Instant Replay.
If you are an AMD user, follow the steps below:
- Open Radeon Software Manager.
- Under the General tab, disable overlay and in-game replay features.
That’s all about how to disable GPU overlays and Auto replay features On Nvidia and AMD.
Disable Applications With High GPU Usage
GPUs are basically for gaming and other multimedia applications, however, they are capable of draining your system’s overall performance once it’s used excessively.
You can single out which apps use a lot of GPU and uninstall or disable them as necessary with Windows’ built-in task manager.
Reduce your system resource utilization dramatically by turning off applications with high GPU usage. Follow the steps below:
- Open the Task Manager by right-clicking on the taskbar.
- Tap on the “Processes” tab from the top Menu.
- Right-click on the upper bar and enable GPU once you don’t see GPU usage.
- Search for the application with the most GPU usage.
- Right-click on the process with most GPU usage and click on “End task”.
This will temporarily close the app with a lot of GPU activity only. However, you can take a step further by uninstalling such graphics-intensive apps or limiting their usage.
Configuration of Settings in GeForce Experience (for Nvidia GPUs)
Do you have an Nvidia GPU? Then, there are a few settings you can adjust that may be causing an increase in GPU usage even when the computer is idle.
You will need Nvidia GeForce Experience, which is a companion app with Nvidia GPUs that can be used to update drivers, adjust configurations, etc.
Follow the steps to achieve this below:
- Download and install GeForce Experience in case your PC doesn’t have it already.
- Set up GeForce Experience either from the taskbar or via the search option.
- Tap on the Settings icon located in the top-right corner.
- Search for “In-Game Overlay” >> Settings >> “Done”.
- Disable “Instant Replay” by clicking on it and changing it to “Off”.
- Tap on “Settings” >> “Privacy Control” >> “Desktop Capture”.
Now, this is how to lower the GPU usage if you have an Nvidia GeForce GPU.
Configuration of Settings in AMD Radeon Software (for AMD GPUs)
You can as well make some visible adjustments to the AMD Radeon software if you have AMD GPUs to lower GPU usage.
The AMD Radeon Software, which is an alternative to GeForce Experience allows you to control almost everything about your graphics card.
Follow the steps below:
- Download and install AMD Radeon Software in case you don’t have it already installed.
- Set up AMD Control Panel from the taskbar.
- Go to the “Home” tab and click on “Settings” under the “Media & Capture” panel.
- Finally, disable the “Instant Replay” and “In-Game Replay” features.
That’s it! One of the above fixes the problem of high GPU usage on AMD graphics cards and Nvidia.
How to lower GPU Usage on Nvidia
This is another way to fix high CPU usage on Nvidia. Follow the steps below:
- Open Geforce Experience.
- Click on the cog icon to open the settings in the top right corner.
- Scroll down to the In-Game Overlay section.
- Turn off Instant Replay.
- Tap on Settings (cog icon on the right) to open the overlay.
- Scroll down to Privacy Control.
- Disable the Desktop Capture feature.
- Turn off the In-Game Overlay feature back in Geforce Experience.
- Finally, open Task Manager to see if it worked.
- The GPU usage should be zero.
This is a straightforward method how to lower GPU usage on Nvidia.
How to Fix High GPU Usage on AMD
This is another dynamic way how to lower GPU usage on AMD. Follow the steps below:
- Open AMD Radeon Software.
- Click on the Gear icon in the top right corner.
- Click on the General tab.
- Now, disable Instant Replay.
- Disable Instant GIF.
- Turn off In-game Replay.
- Disable Record Desktop.
- Disable Show Indicator.
- Turn off the Borderless Region Capture.
The settings will save automatically and the GPU usage should drop drastically to the normal range when idle.
However, note that, if some of the services mentioned above are not available, then possibly your card does not support them. If that is the case, you need to disable all the services listed for your card and this should help lower GPU usage.