Why do my GPU clocks remain high when my system is idle?

Last Update: 2017/10/29

Nvidia GT/GTX cards operate at different performance states (called "P States") depending on the graphical/processing load placed on that card.

When a card is being kept at higher clocks while idle, there are many factors to consider. Please check the Global 3D settings for the card in the Nvidia Control Panel. Right click the anywhere on you Desktop and select the Nvidia Control Panel. Click on Manage 3D Settings > Global Settings > Power Management. If the Power Management is not set to Adaptive or Optimal, the card may be held at higher clocks.

You would also want to determine if the monitor/s you are running require more pixel clock from the card than is possible at the idle frequency (usually 139 Mhz - 253 Mhz). If you are running 2 or more monitors that are 1440p or higher resolution or you are running any monitors that are high refresh rate, 120Hz or higher per second refresh rate, it may keep the card at higher frequencies. This is particularly common with systems running multiple monitors where one monitor is running at 60 Hz and the other is running at 100 Hz or higher. In order to get the card to work at lower frequencies with this configuration, you may need to enable "Multi Display Power Saver" in the Nvidia Inspector third-party software.

Please note that Nvidia Inspector is not an official program of Nvidia or EVGA and we cannot guarantee how well it will operate.

Background programs can affect this behavior as well. Any hardware monitoring software or screen capture software (including Nvidia's own ShadowPlay) can cause the card to run at higher clocks. Any programs that use 3D models or have specific plug-ins for CUDA acceleration (common on professional programs from Adobe, Autodesk and others) may keep the clocks high. To see if background programs play a part in this issue, we would recommend that you try a clean boot of Windows. A clean boot ensures that minimal, if any, programs will be running in the background when you first boot up Windows. Instructions on how to perform a clean boot in Windows are provided by Microsoft in the link provided HERE

If the card will still not idle the clocks correctly, please try to do a full reinstallation of the Nvidia drivers. EVGA keeps links to the Nvidia drivers at the EVGA Download Center. Please download the latest driver for your card and version of Windows. When installing that driver please select "Custom Install" and click on the option for "Perform a Clean Install". This setting helps to ensure that the previous drivers, any power settings and any Nvidia Control Panel settings are reset when installing the newer drivers.

All that being said, many EVGA cards will not turn on their cooling fan/s until the card it at or above 60C (on the GPU die). The card will likely still run passively (fan/s off) even with the higher clocks, if the processing load on the card is relatively low. This will not affect the longevity of the card in any way, but will slightly increase the power consumption of the card. This increase in power consumption will therefore lower the efficiency of the PC and we recommend correcting the higher clock idle if possible.

  • If the issues continue, please contact our Customer Support using the methods described below.

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