The Graphics card is one of the fundamental components of a PC build. Gamers will spend a great deal on buying a decent graphics card to get the best gaming performance.
A decent GPU can significantly boost your graphics performance, allowing you to enjoy gaming and graphics-related work on the next level.
A GPU delivers high graphics to help you play games and watch high-definition videos. However, all this brilliance can drown in an instance when you notice a low GPU usage. A problem with your GPU can considerably downgrade the graphics performance of your computer, leading to low-quality videos and lower FPS in games. You’ll face this when your GPU fails to function in an efficient manner.
There could be many reasons why you’re facing low GPU usage. You may even face problems with the recommended proposed settings. But there’s nothing to worry about as we’ve got some brilliant working fixes that will definitely put your GPU right back on track.
So, stick with us till the end to fix your GPU and enhance your graphics performance.
Why Is My GPU Usage So Low? – Causes
There could be many causes for low GPU usage on a PC. Mainly, the video card is the main culprit in such a case. Your GPU usage can be pretty low if your video card is out of date. Other than that, outdated chipset drivers and integrated graphics could also be held responsible for low usage.
There could be multiple other reasons, such as extreme overheating of the graphics card, CPU and RAM bottlenecking, damage to GPU, and so much more.
Low GPU usage will cause continuous lag throughout your gaming session. The entire graphics performance of your computer will downgrade. This can get extremely frustrating, especially when it happens with a high-end GPU from which you expect a lot.
If you want me to point out all of the main reasons that could cause low GPU usage, go ahead and read below.
The following are the causes of low GPU usage:
- The system may use integrated graphics in place of dedicated graphics.
- Outdated Chipset driver.
- Corrupted or outdated GPU drivers.
- Broken or corrupted Windows Registry.
- GPU Driver is not set to the highest level of performance.
- Third-party apps interfering with GPU.
- Issues with power supply.
- Certain Game-related Issues.
- CPU and RAM bottlenecking may cause low GPU usage.
- VRM overheating.
- Antivirus interference.
Any reason from the ones stated above may be causing low GPU usage on your computer. Identifying the root cause of the problem can help you out a great deal in getting closer to the solution.
Once you find out the reason for the performance drop, you will automatically be able to find the solution through this guide. However, if you cannot dig out the leading cause, you are recommended to try out every single fix in this guide until you find the one that works for you.
How To Fix Low GPU Usage?
Before you proceed to try out the fixes, please try to understand the reasons that can cause this issue. Identifying the main reason can make your job much easier, and you’ll only have to try out one fix to get to the solution.
Nevertheless, we have provided up to 12 fixes in this text segment to help you eliminate the low GPU usage problem. Hopefully, at least one fix will be able to work for you. If you haven’t identified the cause, you can go through each fix one by one to see which one solves the issue.
So, without further to do, let’s head right into it.
Update GPU Drivers
Backdated or corrupter drivers could be the main reason for low GPU usage. It is common for users to forget to update their drivers. This could cause certain malfunctions to occur, which can easily be reversed by simply updating your GPU drivers.
Driver updates can help get rid of bugs and improve the performance of your GPU. The best way to update your drivers is to completely uninstall them first, along with all the related files, and then reinstall the latest drivers. This way, you’ll also eliminate any corrupted drivers, and your GPU will function better than ever.
To update your GPU drivers, follow the steps below:
- Press both the Windows Key and the R key simultaneously. This will launch the Run dialogue box.
- In the Run dialogue box, go ahead and typeappwiz.cpl and then press Enter. This will direct you to Programs and Features Settings.
- Find your GPU drivers inside here (AMD or NVIDIA). You must right-click on the driver and select Uninstall. Also, remove any other files related to the drivers.
- Once the uninstallation is complete, visit the website of your dedicated GPU and install the latest drivers from there.
- Once installation is complete, restart your computer, and you should be all set to go.
An important tip is to download the final version of the drivers. You should avoid any beta version that may be available.
Hopefully, this will have fixed your low GPU usage issue. If not, proceed to the next fix.
Update Chipset Drivers
The chipset on the motherboard is in control of the entire motherboard, acting like its brain. This chipset has control over everything ranging from GPU core speed, CPU core, RAM speed, VRM power, and so much more.
The driver establishes and maintains communication between your motherboard and GPU. An outdated chipset driver could be held responsible for low GPU usage. Therefore, it is essential to update your chipset driver to the latest version.
The following are the steps to get the latest chipset driver:
- Visit the website of your motherboard manufacturer.
- On this website, go ahead and search for your motherboard’s model number. Once you find it, select it.
- Next, find the Support option and head on to the Download section.
- You’ll be able to see a Driver Download tab. Go on and select it.
- Next, you must find the latest chipset driver and download it.
- After downloading is complete, have the driver installed.
- Once installation is complete, restart your PC to bring the changes into effect.
And there you go, that’s how simple it is to update the chipset drivers. Hopefully, this hack will have fixed your low GPU usage. If the issue still persists, move on to the next fix.
Fix GPU Overheating
The latest graphics cards are designed to achieve any limit without any performance drop. They can function at their best for hours while providing top-notch performance. However, there is a high risk of overheating, which can significantly compromise the performance and can be held responsible for low GPU usage.
Overheating happens when your GPU fails to cool itself. It may occur due to issues with your fans or any other causes. This can cause significant performance drops, low clock speeds, and major FPS drops, ultimately leading to low usage.
Overheating may also commonly occur after overclocking your GPU. Even if your coolers are working fine, your GPU may still overheat. A great degree of overheating can damage hardware, especially the VRAM of the GPU. Other than that, dirt can also alter performance and increase the risks of overheating.
To prevent overheating, you are recommended to avoid overclocking your GPU at unnecessary times. Moreover, ensure your fans are spinning to their best capacity to help get rid of all the heat. Make sure there are no faulty fans as that could create major problems.
If you have faulty fans, you should replace them before using your GPU again, as without the fan, your GPU will fire up very quickly. Maintaining balanced airflow and providing proper ventilation so your system can stay cool and safe from damage is very important.
Disable Integrated Graphics
There are certain CPUs that come along with integrated graphics. Even if you have a graphics card, your system will use the integrated one, which may result in low GPU usage. Users usually face this issue when replacing their old GPU with a new one.
Once your system gives preference to the integrated graphics card, your dedicated graphics card will have no purpose left. At the same time, you will note a drop in your GPU usage, which brings along various performance flaws. In cases like these, you must disable the integrated graphics to give preference to your dedicated graphics card.
Follow the steps below to disable your integrated GPU:
- Using the search option, find your way to the Device Manager.
- Inside Device Manager, go ahead and click on Display Adapters and then select Integrated Graphics Card.
- Right-click on this and then select Disable.
- A prompt screen will appear where you must click Yes.
After performing these steps, you may experience some screen flashing. However, there’s nothing to worry about because once your dedicated GPU takes control, everything will start functioning normally.
In the future, you can enable the integrated GPU through the same procedure when ever you like. Hopefully, this will have resolved the issue. If not, there’s always another fix to try out.
Disable Third-Party Programs Running in Background
Third-party applications running in the background can interfere with the normal functioning of your GPU in many occurrences. They may utilize your GPU’s processing power and may also cause low GPU usage. Too much processing power may prevent the CPU from utilizing the GPU power, resulting in the issue you are facing.
Malicious applications and software with malware and bugs can give rise to the low GPU usage issue. Therefore, if you think this may be the reason for your problem, you should go ahead and disable all third-party applications.
Follow the steps below to disable third-party applications and programs running in your background:
- First of all, you must launch the Task Manager. You can do this by simultaneously pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc.
- Once launched, find the Startup tab and click on it.
- Locate the program that may be causing such issues and select it.
- Next, click on the Disable option to shut the program down.
- Perform these steps for each third-party application that may be creating this problem.
- You can then try restarting your computer to start off with a fresh slate.
By disabling the main third-party applications that caused low GPU usage, you can regain the original performance of your GPU and put everything back on track.
If this fix does not work for you, try out the next one.
Fix Bottlenecking Issue of CPU or RAM
CPU and RAM bottlenecking can also give rise to the low GPU usage problem. CPU bottleneck will happen when the processor isn’t fast enough to process and transfer data. The bottleneck can also happen when the data transfer speed from the CPU has been topped.
A slow processor is the main cause of a CPU bottleneck. On the other hand, poor graphics can also be held responsible for CPU bottlenecks. Whenever you play any high-demanding game and you receive somewhat 80% to 90% GPU usage, you can assume your CPU is facing bottlenecking issues.
CPU-dependent games on a low-quality processor can cause bottlenecking. A combination of a high-end GPU with a weak processor can give rise to such issues. This is because the processor processes the data very slowly, leaving very little for the GPU to work with. This results in low GPU usage.
You can improve functions by lowering the resolution of your game. This will allow more time for the processing of the data. Other than that, you must disable any unnecessary processes that may be operating in the background. By taking these measures, you can avoid facing bottlenecking issues.
To Fix CPU bottleneck issues, you must change or maybe upgrade your CPU. A more powerful CPU will help you get rid of this problem and boost your overall performance. You can also try overclocking your CPU. However, you must overclock your CPU carefully and safely to avoid any sort of damage to your components.
RAM bottleneck is also similar to a CPU bottleneck. It happens when you lack enough RAM to handle tasks and processes, eventually resulting in a bottleneck. All of this will result in low GPU usage.
To fix RAM bottleneck issues, running every system with a dual-channel memory configuration is recommended. This will help speed up your entire computer and improve GPU usage. You can also overclock your RAM by setting the appropriate MHz and proper voltage. Intel allows you to perform overclocking by turning on the XMP profile. For AMD, the feature is called RAMP.
Switch GPU Into Performance Mode
The graphics card allows you to set it into various modes based on your required performance. You can choose amongst low to high profiles. By changing the settings of your GPU, you can obtain much more performance gains from it.
Improper configuration of these settings can result in low GPU usage and can also cause lower clock speeds. On NVIDIA, you have the power management mode, while on AMD, you get the Texture Filtering Quality settings. This will help produce better graphics while enabling lower power usage.
To set your GPU into performance mode using NVIDIA, follow the steps below:
- Select the NVIDIA control panel by right-clicking on your desktop.
- Next, select Manage 3D settings.
- You must set CUDA – GPUs to ALL and the Low Latency Mode to On.
- Next, choose your GPU under OpenGL Rendering. Set the Power Management Mode to Prefer Maximum Performance.
- Switch The Shader Cache to On.
- Set the Texture Filtering Quality to High Performance.
- Change the Threaded Optimization to Auto.
- Once all the changes have been made, click Apply and save the new settings.
By performing these steps, you can throw your GPU into performance mode. You will notice an improvement in the overall performance of your GPU. This fix may be able to get rid of your low GPU usage problem.
Change Antivirus Settings
Antivirus is a very essential tool to have on your computer as it protects you from harmful malware and viruses. Your antivirus features a firewall that can filter access to each application.
The antivirus on your computer always runs in the background in search of threats. This antivirus can unknowingly slow down your computer. Take, for example, you’re immersed deep inside the gaming world, and suddenly your antivirus starts performing a scan on your computer. The scanning process will utilize more CPU power resulting in low GPU usage.
If your CPU is being used heavily, it will hardly be able to send any data to the GPU, resulting in graphics problems. Therefore, if you want to avoid an occurrence of this type in a game, you must disable the real-time protection and scanning on the antivirus. However, only disable it when you play games or perform any graphics-related work as, without the antivirus, your system is open to viruses and malware.
Antiviruses these days usually come with a Gaming Mode feature. However, the Windows Defender Firewall lacks this option. But you can easily disable the Windows defender to enjoy an uninterrupted gaming session and full GPU usage.
Follow the steps below to disable Windows Defender’s Protection:
- In the search bar, type in Virus & Threat Protection.
- Inside this window, go ahead and click on Manage settings.
- Next, you must turn real-time protection off by switching the toggle to Off.
By performing these steps, you can enjoy playing games without the interference of your antivirus. Hopefully, this will solve your low GPU usage issue.
Fix Broken Registry Settings in Windows
A registry key may remain on your system after you remove a program. Corrupted or broken Registry settings may also be held responsible for low GPU usage. A corrupted, missing, or improperly removed registry key may give rise to various hardware-related issues.
You can easily fix a corrupted registry entry by following the steps below:
- First, launch the RUN dialogue box. You can do this by pressing the Windows Key + R.
- Inside this box, go ahead and type CMD. Once done, click on Ctrl + Shift + Enter to launch CDM along with Administrative Privilege.
- Next, you must type in sfc /scannow and then click on enter.
- Once the scanning is complete, restart your computer for a fresh start.
Scanning to find a registry key error can fix low GPU usage issues in cases that apply. If this fix did not work for you, try out the next one in line.
Check Out PSU Wattage Problem
If your PSU is underpowered, it will not be able to deliver enough power to a high-end GPU for it to run to its limits. A PSU with a faulty PCIe connector will also not provide enough power to the GPU. This will prevent normal power delivery to the GPU, resulting in low GPU usage.
If the GPU does not receive the required power, it will never be able to reach its full potential. To fix a problem of such type, you will have to equip your system with a more powerful PSU having higher watts. This way, you’ll be able to extract the highest performance from your GPU.
Therefore, you must match your GPU’s minimum Watt requirements with the wattage supply capability of your PSU. Also, ensure your PSU is damage-free and has no faulty wires or connectors, as those could also drop the efficiency.
Another option is to go for adaptive settings. This will adjust the power management according to the card and its requirement.
Tweak In-Game Settings
By changing the video settings of your games, you can increase the FPS of your gameplay. Most games out there select the settings automatically for optimized performance. But if you want to keep the graphics card performance balanced with the game quality, then you’ll have to tweak around with some settings.
Many users will turn every option inside the settings on, hoping this would give the best results. But if you lack a powerful CPU and GPU, this will only put a burden on your system resulting in low GPU usage. Therefore, you must select the best, most optimized recommended settings for your gameplay.
The main aspect that matters most here is resolution. Selecting the most appropriate resolution for your game according to your hardware is very important. The lower the resolution, the better your GPU will perform. Checking out Anti-Aliasing and Vertical Sync can also improve performance.
Patch Affected Games
This problem is more prominent in Windows 10. These latest patches on the Windows 10 have been disturbing gaming quality, resulting in bugging and lagging. This usually ruins the performance of the GPU, and users have been experiencing sudden drops in FPS while gaming. Various crashes may also occur more often.
The latest patches have been affecting the graphics cards of both AMD and NVIDIA. These patches also distort the colour spectrum of LCD displays. The only way to avoid these patch problems is to revert your Windows 10 update and abstain from updating your Windows.
Is 100% GPU usage bad?
It is completely normal for your GPU to run at 100%. Manufacturers design the GPU to run to its fullest. However, if the GPU usage falls below 100%, this could indicate some problem with your system. 100% GPU usage will give out the best performance and will drastically increase your FPS in gaming.
Can the bottleneck damage the GPU?
Bottlenecking will not damage your GPU. Overheating is the only thing that can damage your GPU and shorten its lifespan. If bottlenecking raises the temperature of your GPU, then it may cause damage and decrease its lifespan.
Can you increase the GPU usage?
Yes, you can definitely increase GPU usage through some methods. Some of these processes include:
- Update Graphics drivers
- Decrease Game resolution
- Overclocking RAM and CPU
- Changing various in-game settings
- Disabling SMT and HPET
- Disabling third-party background programs
How do I increase the warzone GPU usage?
You can increase GPU usage in warzone by following the steps below:
- Update Graphics Drivers to the latest version
- Install Windows compatible with Graphics Card
- Enable High-performance settings
- Run the game at optimal settings based on the minimum requirements
How do I force GPU usage?
Forcing GPU usage is simple and can be performed by following these steps:
- Select the preferred app and right-click on it
- Select Run with graphics processor
- In the sub-options, select High-Performance card
Some Final Words
There could be all sorts of reasons that may lower your CPU usage. This may be the most frustrating thing for a gamer, and an immediate solution will serve very necessary.
We provide all the fixes you can try out based on the causes to help improve your GPU usage. The solution will only lay a few steps away if you can identify the reason for low GPU usage.