GPU Not Being Fully Used in Games – The Ultimate Fix

I know how frustrating it can get when you find out your GPU is not being fully used while playing games. I’ve been through the same experience, and it felt like hell not being able to enjoy the best gaming performance from a high-end graphics card. But after multiple efforts, I was able to master this problem and get it fixed. There’s nothing better than a GPU running to its full potential for a gamer.

If your GPU usage is below 80-90% in demanding games, it’s likely that your CPU is the bottleneck. The CPU has to send data to the GPU. If the CPU can’t send enough data, the GPU can’t do its job. This problem occurs when you pair a powerful graphics card with a low-end CPU.

Many games these days are being developed to run with the latest and most powerful GPUs on the market. Regardless, users still discover that their GPU is not being used to its highest potential as promised. This may compromise gaming performance. Users also wonder if pushing their GPU to the highest limits for the best performance is possible.

If you want to learn why your GPU is not being fully utilized while playing games, and you want to know the reasons behind it and what you can do to fix it, you have arrived at the right place.

Why Is My PC Not Using the GPU for Games?

There are all sorts of reasons why your PC may not be using the graphics card for gaming. We’ll go ahead and check each one of them out to see how we can solve the issue.

Monitor and GPU

Your PC may not be using the GPU for gaming if your monitor has no connection with the GPU. If anyone wants to put the graphics card into the board, they’ll have to connect the monitor to the graphics card in place of the board. It would be best if you linked the HDMI cable to the HDMI port on the graphics card while the computer is powered off.

Take the opposite end of the HDMI cable and connect it to the HDMI port on the monitor. Make sure the cable management is done in a clean fashion, and there is no tangling. Once the connection has been set up, there’s no need to interfere with it anymore. The computer must be turned off while performing this procedure.

Outdated Drivers

If your graphics drivers have been out of date for a long time now, it’s very important you have them updated. Backdated drivers may cause issues with GPU usage, which could be the reason why your GPU is not being fully used while gaming.

You must download the latest drivers from your graphics card manufacturer’s website. You can put in the graphics card model number to get your desired drivers. Install them and reboot your computer to apply the new settings. Once done, you should see some major performance gains related to your GPU.

Integrated Graphics

Even if you have the most expensive graphics card, it will fail to function if you have integrated graphics enabled on your computer. By disabling integrated graphics, you will be able to start using your dedicated GPU again in place of the integrated one.

You must navigate to the Control Panel, where you will open Device Manager to manage your hardware. Here, find your integrated graphics and have them disabled so your computer can start using the dedicated graphics. Once done, you will notice a major boost in your graphics performance if your dedicated GPU is more powerful than the integrated one.

Other Causes

At times, your graphics card may be damaged. Or maybe the slot on your motherboard is broken. You can try inserting the card into a different motherboard to check what’s wrong with it. In the case of a damaged graphics card, you’ll have to get it repaired or buy a new one. You’ll have to buy a new computer board if the slot is responsible.

Why Is My GPU Usage So Low While Playing Games?

Low usage of your GPU can result in low graphics performance. This may be the case when your computer fails to use the graphics card to its highest potential. The reasons for this could be multiple and may be linked with either the software or the hardware.

Overheating of the GPU or the GPU VRM could cause major drops in GPU usage. Moreover, the irregular or inadequate power supply could hinder the proper functioning of your GPU. Issues with game software or outdated drivers may also result in low GPU usage.

An underpowered CPU that may not be able to process data for the GPU can also result in this issue. Moreover, trouble with SLI on Nvidia and Crossfire on AMD could cause low GPU usage and the performance drops you are facing.

The reasons could be multiple, and if you can identify the main cause behind the problem, the solution is very simple to get to.

How To Ensure If a Game Is Using GPU?

The process of ensuring your games run on the dedicated GPU is quite simple. The steps of the process slightly differ for Nvidia and AMD, which is why we’ll explain them both separately.

Nvidia

To make sure your game is using the dedicated Nvidia GPU, follow the steps below:

  1. Launch the Nvidia Control Panel.
  2. Inside the control panel, find the option Manage 3D Settings. You’ll see this option under the 3D Settings tab.
  3. Next, select the Program Settings option.
  4. Once done, go on and click on Generation Zero.
  5. Next, in the second drop-down list, select High-performance Nvidia processor for your preferred graphics processor.
  6. Once the changes have been made, save your new settings.

Being unable to view the second option would mean the absence of a dedicated GPU on your computer.

AMD

For AMD, you must perform the same steps that have been mentioned above. The only difference is that you’ll have to select Powerplay from the options and change the plug-in to Maximize performance. Once everything is done, save the settings, and you’ll be good to go.

All you have o do is select the dedicated graphics card and set it to Maximum Performance.

Why Is My GPU Showing 0% Usage?

GPU usage may be displayed as 0% due to many reasons as described below:

  • Your monitor might be connected to the motherboard instead of the dedicated graphics card.
  • The computer may be using an integrated graphics card processing in place of a dedicated graphics card.
  • Games may not be operating, which may result in low GPU usage. This is because the GPU isn’t used for normal browsing and basic computer work.
  • The drivers may be completely out of date.

The abovementioned issues have already been addressed, and you know exactly how you can fix them. You can use software like the MSI Afterburner or GPU-Z to monitor your GPU usage. Moreover, overclocking can greatly boost graphics performance to the maximum, allowing more GPU usage.

Why Am I Getting Low GPU Usage Only in Some Games?

Sometimes, you may experience low GPU usage only in some particular games. An occurrence of such type could mean the following:

  • The system could be bottlenecked by the CPU, disallowing the GPU to gain maximum performance. This could occur in CPU-intensive games.
  • Your game may have a fixed FPS rate and probably does not require a high-performance GPU. Such games don’t require the full functioning of your GPU, which could result in low GPU usage.

If low GPU usage is due to the game itself, that’s completely normal, and you don’t have to worry about anything. On the other hand, if the issue is caused by a CPU bottleneck, you’ll have to monitor your CPU usage to find out to what extent each thread is utilized by the system. You can increase GPU usage in such cases by the following methods.

Disable HPET

You can improve the FPS you are getting by disabling HPET settings in the BIOS or by using the device manager. Disabling HPET can cause flickering in your gameplay, and disabling it can assist your GPU in multiple ways. It will remove the screen scattering and micro-blinking you’re probably facing through the games.

After you disable HPET, you’ll notice an increase of up to 4 FPS in your gameplay. Disabling HPET can help you get rid of some problems in certain cases. You can disable HPET by following the simple methods stated below.

Using the Device Manager

  1. Launch the device manager on your computer.
  2. Go ahead and select System Devices.
  3. Next, search for the option named High Precision Event Timer. You must click on it.
  4. Once done, select actions from the top and then click Disable.

Using BIOS

  1. Restart your computer and launch the BIOS.
  2. Find your way to System Utilities. Over here, select System Configuration.
  3. Next, click on Platform Configuration and then select Advanced Options.
  4. Inside these options, go ahead and disable HPET ACPI Support.

By performing these steps, you’ll be able to improve your graphics settings and FPS. This will automatically improve your GPU usage.

Speed Up Your RAM

At times, slow RAM speed may also cause lower GPU usage in various games. You can easily increase your RAM speed through the BIOS settings by following the steps below:

  1. Restart your computer and launch the BIOS settings.
  2. Select the Memory/Advanced option.
  3. Inside here, go ahead and enable XMP / AMP.
  4. Once done, go ahead and save the new settings. Quit BIOS and start your computer.

By enabling XMP, you have overclocked your computer’s RAM to the highest speeds handled by your motherboard. If the GPU usage still comes out low, you may need to upgrade your motherboard.

How to Fix Low GPU Usage Along with High CPU Usage?

If you want to fix low GPU usage with high CPU usage, you’ll have to first identify where the problem lies. You can do the following points to improve your current scenario:

  • You can lower CPU usage and improve GPU usage by disabling all CPU-based graphics settings. Make sure to set the graphics settings to Maximum/High. This will transfer the load from the CPU to the GPU.
  • By disabling G-sync, you can smooth out a stuttering screen for better performance.
  • Setting the FPS to 60 will help reduce load on the CPU and transfer it to the GPU.
  • Update your GPU drivers to the latest version to help the GPU function properly.
  • Low screen resolution may put a load on the CPU, resulting in a bottleneck. By increasing the screen resolution, you can increase the GPU usage and remove load from the CPU.
  • Disabling background third-party programs can take pressure off the CPU.
  • Disabling power-saving mode through the BIOS can increase GPU usage.
  • Tweaking the GPU and CPU settings can give you the desired results. Set the game to run on 4 threads and overclock your GPU. This may help improve the current scenario.
  • Increase the RAM speed and performance by enabling XMP through your BIOS settings.

If all of the above fails to work, you can try reinstalling the game to see if that makes a difference. If your motherboard, GPU, and CPU are not up to the mark, you can also consider replacing them to gain better performance.

How to Fix Low GPU Usage on Nvidia?

Nvidia GPUs are some of the best on the market and are recognized for their high-level performance. Some models, like the GTX 1080, are capable of reaching 99% performance in the best quality games. However, when the system settings do not match the graphics card requirements, you may face issues of low usage.

You can improve low usage by the following methods:

Screen Resolution

As you increase the screen resolution, FPS will decrease. This will make it difficult for your CPU to push the frames, resulting in increased CPU usage. If you increase the GPU settings, you’ll be able to take the load off of the CPU and add it to the GPU. This way, your GPU will function much harder and your GPU usage will increase automatically.

Using the Nvidia Control Panel

Launch the Nvidia control panel and find your way to 3D Settings. This way, you can maximize the performance of your Nvidia Graphics card. The settings must be set to Maximum or High for your card to show the highest usage.

Other Options

Low usage on Nvidia could occur due to a CPU bottleneck, GPU overheating, corrupted or outdated drivers, and insufficient or irregular power supply. By fixing each problem individually, you’ll be able to gain higher GPU usage,

Moreover, there are certain games that don’t require high GPU usage. You will notice different GPU usage based on different games and their quality. Some games may contain highly advanced settings that will utilize more GPU usage, while others won’t require much.

How to Fix Low GPU Usage on AMD?

By understanding the causes of low GPU usage, you can easily get to the solution. The causes have already been discussed in this article. Moreover, the process of fixing low GPU usage on AMD is similar to any other GPU.

FreeSync

If you have FreeSync enabled along with Vsync, you’ll notice a drop in your GPU usage. Although enabling this option can reduce screen stutter, it also lowers the FPS, putting more burden on your CPU. You can turn off Vsync if FreeSync is enabled already. This may improve usage.

Crossfire

GPU usage may be limited if the graphics card is run in Crossfire mode. The reason for this could be the incompatibility of games with Crossfire mode. Moreover, a faulty HB Bridge could also cause problems.

To get improvements, try updating the drivers, reseating the HB Bridge, and disabling Crossfire mode. By performing these tweaks, you’ll be able to get higher GPU usage.

SMT

SMT stands for Simultaneous Multithreading. You can get better GPU usage by disabling SMT when using an AMD graphics card, especially in older games. You can enable it whenever you play newer games.

How to Fix Low GPU Usage on Gigabyte?

The gigabyte graphics card is designed for high usage to provide a fast gaming experience. If you notice low usage with your graphics card, that’s an indicator of some sort of problem. There must be a problem with your processor’s performance.

The reasons for low GPU usage will be the same, including outdated drivers, third-party apps, and an underclocked computer. By overclocking your graphics card along with your RAM, you can experience performance gains. Moreover, it is vital to use genuine games for the best performance.

How to Increase GPU Usage for Games

The simplest method for improving GPU usage for games is by disabling various frame limiters such as Vsync. Some games, however, may come with fixed frame rate limiters. In cases like these, it may not be possible to increase GPU usage even if the GPU is powerful enough to function much better.

You can use the following methods to increase GPU usage in games:

  • Setting higher resolution for games can greatly increase GPU usage.
  • Increasing various graphics settings will put more load on the GPU, increasing its usage. However, this may also put pressure on the CPU as well.

Game Title and Version

Certain games these days are more demanding and are highly GPU-based. The latest games, including the First Person Shooter games, are GPU based and require a powerful GPU to give the best performance. If GPU usage is low for games, it may mean your computer isn’t powerful enough to accommodate those games at its best.

Using Razer Cortex

Razer Cortex is a software that offers a platform to run games at higher speeds with better performance. It improves GPU usage and gameplay by shutting down background applications that interfere with normal gameplay.

How to Increase GPU Usage on Fortnite?

You can increase GPU usage on Fortnite by taking the following measures:

  • For graphics to function at their best, Fortnite recommends you use full-screen settings. This will allow the game to use GPU power only.
  • Set the 3D resolution to 100%.
  • You should set FPS according to the monitor’s screen resolution.
  • Check for CPU bottlenecking and try to resolve this problem.
  • Enable XMP profile in BIOS to increase RAM speed.
  • Overclock your CPU and use the maximum settings to run all programs.
  • You must set Windows mode to Full Screen.

How to Increase GPU Usage on Warzone?

Warzone was released back in 2020, but it still seems to trouble gamers due to low GPU usage. You can check out the reasons listed above in this article to see if any of them may be the cause of it. If you can’t match the reasons, you can try changing Warzone to Windowed mode.

Changing Warzone to Windowed mode has proven to be highly beneficial for many users and has helped increase GPU usage. Follow the steps below to put Warzone into windowed mode:

  1. Launch the Warzone game.
  2. Find your way to the options.
  3. From the Graphics Settings, select Display.
  4. Next, you must set the display mode to windowed.

By performing these steps, you should be able to enhance your GPU usage with Warzone.

Is 100% GPU usage in games normal?

Yes, 100% GPU usage in games is normal. Your GPU will use 100% of its power to render the game as smoothly as possible. However, if your GPU is not being used efficiently, you may see lower FPS (frames per second) in games.

To see if your GPU is being used efficiently, open Task Manager > Performance tab > under the ‘Processes’ tab, look for the process which is using your GPU.

If this number is not at 100%, it means that there is a problem with how your GPU is being used.

The solution to this problem is to install a new graphics driver or to reinstall your current one. You can find the latest drivers for your graphics card on the manufacturer’s website.

Wrapping It Up

The GPU is the heart of a computer for gaming. It can get frustrating if you spend high amounts on a decent GPU and you still fail to get the desired performance.

The reasons for low GPU usage are plenty and have all been mentioned in this article. To get more GPU usage, you’ll have to try out various fixes and tweaks that will unlock better performance.

Certain games are less demanding and will utilize your GPU much less compared to the more demanding games. If you want to fix your low GPU usage, you’ll have to address the cause first to reach a better solution.

This article holds all the information you’ll require to tackle a scenario in which your GPU is not being fully used for gaming.

Related:
Base Clock Speed vs Boost Clock Speed on CPU and GPU
What Can You Do if Your GPU Fans Are Not Spinning?
What to Upgrade First, CPU or GPU
Can You Use a NVIDIA GPU with an AMD CPU?

Nick Miller

It's Nick Miller a 25 year old tech enthusiast and senior editor at Flexgate, i try to make tech simple for the everyday person. You will find review about tech, tools and Computer hardware here.

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