Why GPU is Underperforming? 7 Reasons & Solutions

Every part of your computer needs to perform at their respective highest level to offer the best performance continuously. However, there may be times when the graphics unit of your system may be underperforming.

It is important to know the reasons behind such below par performance so that you can take the necessary actions immediately or well before things turn out to be a disaster.

If you go through this article you will come to know all the possible reasons for the GPU in your computer performing at a lower level.


  • Overheating due to several reasons such as dust build up, poor ventilation and poor climatic conditions is one major cause for a GPU underperforming.
  • Overclocking too much and too frequently may also result in the GPU underperforming.
  • Insufficient power supply may also cause the video card to underperform since all the components in it will not have enough power to operate well.
  • Inadequate Video RAM and bottlenecks can also cause the GPU to perform at a lower level.
  • Check for viruses and malware as well as issues in the hardware or software which can also reduce the performance level of the GPU by a significant margin.

How to Determine If Your GPU is Underperforming?

Why GPU is Underperforming

As we have established above, it is the GPU that renders and then displays data on computer monitors.

Hence, the most common telltale sign which might indicate that your computer’s GPU is under performing or malfunctioning is visual distortion.

To ascertain that the GPU is in fact under performing, follow the steps below:

Check card manually

Manually inspect your device’s graphics card or GPU to ensure that it hasn’t come loose and there is no dust, damage and/or wear and tear.

Visible damage is an indication of hardware issues.

Switch monitors

Connect a different monitor to your CPU, or your monitor to a different CPU to rule out monitor related issues.

If visual distortion continues it means the GPU is facing issues.

Check device manager

Open Device Manager and check your GPU’s status. If there are any issues, a warning or error will appear in place of “This device is working properly”. Based on this error/warning you can find out what the issue is.

The 7 Reasons Why GPU is Underperforming

Reasons Why GPU Is Underperforming

Now that you have identified that the GPU and not some other computer component is having problems, let us explore the reasons why GPU is underperforming.

1. OverHeating

Excessive heat and computers are incompatible.

Overheating is an extremely common issue with electronic devices that manufacturers still haven’t been able to completely solve.

Hence, you must do everything you possibly can to keep your computer cool.

Overheating occurs when the GPU works hard on accomplishing repetitive tasks.

It is easy to observe overheating by running a program that occupies considerable memory on your PC.

Since, fans will start spinning faster and make a louder buzzing noise, regardless of whether you are using an external or internal graphics card.

It is best to run a graphics-intensive game to check for overheating.

Overheating will become obvious when your game starts stuttering or if your computer freezes or completely crashes because of the overload overheating has caused.

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Apart from running graphics-intensive games and large programs, other factors that might be causing overheating are:

  • Hot and humid climate conditions:  If your environment is hot and humid it will take a toll on the GPU and your computer as a whole. Since, high ambient temperature raises any electronic equipment’s temperature.
  • Poor ventilation: To ensure proper ventilation and heat management computers have internal fans and vents. There must always be a constant airflow between the computer’s surroundings and its GPU.
  • Dust build-up: Overtime dust and grime buildup everywhere including the vents of your external graphics card and computer. Dust will also get in the way of any internal fan’s ability to spin freely, therefore causing fans to become inefficient at cooling. Consequently, causing inadequate cooling, heat retention and in turn underperformance.


Fortunately, overheating related issues are fairly easy to solve. To resolve these issues, begin by changing your GPUs performance settings.

If they happen to be at high performance, change them to medium or low performance.

Next, you must work on improving airflow. Begin by thoroughly cleaning your device and if needed have additional fans installed.

Your PC’s chassis probably has spaces to install extra fans on the bottom, top and front.

Although installing additional fans will make your PC noisier it will certainly help with lowering device temperature quickly and efficiently.

Also, switch on the air conditioning to reduce ambient temperature.

Additional fans cannot be installed in laptops but they can be placed on top of a cooling pad.

Most cooling pads available today feature two large 140mm fans that lower internal temperature by blowing cool air upwards.

Their only disadvantage is that they increase dust collection, which means that you will have to clean your laptop more frequently.

2. OverClocking

Overclocking a graphics card refers to slowly increasing its clock speed in order to boost its performance.

It is achieved by adjusting the voltage and frequency of its core and memory so as to increase its speed.

Ways to achieve overclocking via software are also available.

Overclocking is a guaranteed way of improving GPU performance. Hence, gamers often overclock their GPUs.

Unfortunately, overclocking creates other issues in computers.

A GPU that has been excessively overclocked is required to run at an extremely high speed, which is incompatible with other hardware computer components.

A vast majority of modern-day graphics cards have been developed to handle slight overclocking to a certain degree.

However, do keep in mind that as processing demands increase, so do chances of GPU damage.

Moreover, you will experience instability in games and visual distortions by excessive overclocking, which ironically defeats the purpose of overclocking.


Remember, your GPU will function optimally, provided it is given adequate cooling and power.

You must never feel the need to improve GPU performance by way of overclocking it.

There are simple, effective and safe ways to address GPU underperformance issues, most of which are included in this article.

3. Inadequate Power    

A very common cause of GPU underperformance is insufficient power. Since, an underpowered GPU forces the computer to slow down the graphics card’s performance.

Graphics cards have numerous components that are affected by power restrictions.

Your computer may have an up-to-date powerful GPU that can perfectly handle graphics-intensive games and other programs.

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However, it can face limitations due to the power configuration of the PSU i.e. Power Supply Unit being used or the power supply itself.

In simplest terms, if your PCs power supply is unable to provide enough power for the GPU, it is guaranteed to underperform.

Insufficient power issues often boil down to the fact that a computer is old and simply does not have a robust PSU.


Insufficient power issues are quite simple to solve. Replace your existing PSU with an up-to-date one that supplies higher wattage.

A PSUs wattage is mentioned on its label and even if you are unable to locate it, we still recommend replacing your current PSU because most modern ones are capable enough of running mid-range and high-end graphics cards without any issues whatsoever.

4. Inadequate VRAM  

When your graphics card is underperforming you must look into its VRAM i.e. Video Random Access Memory spending.

Since, this is the parameter that measures the amount of memory your GPU is using to save data from virtual reality games.

The VRAM is also tasked with detecting the number of assets and textures being displayed on screen.

The more graphics memory or VRAM that is available to your GPU the more powerful it is in terms of handling various graphics-intensive games/programs.

Put simply, this means that if your GPU has inadequate VRAM it is highly likely to face underperformance issues.

These issues, in turn will result in choppy gameplay and low framerates.


You can improve your GPUs performance along with your gaming experience by increasing your GPUs VRAM.

If increasing your VRAM fixes underperformance issues then you can enjoy virtual reality games.

If not, you may have to reduce or completely stop playing virtual reality games until you are able to increase VRAM even more.

5. Virus and Malware

Virus and malware refer to any software that is designed with the intention to damage, disrupt and/or gain illegal access to a computer and its data.

Hence, they are a terribly destructive threat for computers.

Your computer can become infected quite easily via suspicious links, emails, apps, ad websites as well as infected external USB devices.

Virus and malware negatively affect your GPUs performance by repeatedly displaying pop up messages.

Some of these messages even demand payment. Additionally, they significantly slow down computers which consequently negatively affects the GPU as well.


To get rid of virus and malware infecting your computer you must immediately install the most up-to-date version of a reliable anti-virus software.

Then scan your device and remove all infected files and threats.

Anti-virus software prevents all security threats, therefore enhancing the performance of every computer component.

Another simple yet effective way of avoiding virus and malware related threats is by practicing caution and avoiding clicking on any link, email, file, website, app etc. that seems suspicious.

6. GPU Bottleneck

Growing demands of PC gaming are increasing issues relating to GPU bottleneck.

Bottleneck refers to a forceful slowing down of one computer component in order to create a balance with another component whose performance has greatly diminished.

Consequently, GPU bottleneck and other issues are causing the GPU and computer users to underperform.

For instance, if a computer’s CPU has slowed down it is bound to negatively affect the GPU, as it will remain unable to process information quickly enough.

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Therefore, GPU, will be unable to rapidly render a game’s frames, which will cause underperformance that results in lagging frame rates.


To solve bottleneck related issues, stop all extra background processes because they cause extra strain on the CPU.

You can also resolve bottleneck issues by increasing your monitor’s resolution.

Doing so will create added burden on the GPU and restore a balance between GPU and CPU.

Additionally, you can go to a game’s settings menu and then lower CPU-intensive parameters to substantially increase FPS or Frames Per Second in any game you play.

7. Hardware & Software Issues

Hardware and software issues are another common cause of GPU underperformance.

Virus and malware attacks or driver crashes can all affect the GPU.

Your computer’s GPU could also be underperforming due to an essential program’s incompatibility with it.

Oftentimes, outdated drivers are inefficient and buggy.

If you attempt to launch a modern, graphics-heavy video game using these outdated drivers, the GPU is forced to underperform.

If you happen to still be using an operating system like Windows 7, which is no longer supported by Windows, the possibilities of computer and GPU underperformance skyrocket.

Another scenario which results in GPU underperformance arises when you see a code 24 error i.e. if the status in the Device Manager, in regards to the GPU reads that the device is not present, has not been installed correctly etc.

Furthermore, if yours is a low capacity and low-speed RAM you should not expect your GPU to perform optimally.


Installing and updating all relevant drivers must be on top of your to-do list, especially when trying to boost GPU performance, irrespective of whether your computer has a discrete GPU or integrated graphics.

For their different operating systems, Microsoft regularly releases updates and patches, which are able to fix any bugs that may be causing poor performance while gaming.

Therefore, you must update and install all necessary drivers. Also, check and update if any Windows updates are available.

Microsoft DirectX is an API i.e. Application Programming Interface, developed for handling multimedia including game programming on Microsoft platforms.

If you have Windows 10 or 11 you probably already have DirectX 12 installed.

If you have older Operating Systems you must check if you have installed the latest version of DirectX that is compatible with your device.

If you are interested in and if your budget allows you to upgrade to Windows 11, or choose to invest in a brand-new computer that is up-to-date in every aspect.


First, work on identifying the reasons why your GPU is underperforming and then try the solution that you think will work best for you.

If you are unable to identify exactly what is causing your GPU to underperform, we highly recommend trying all of the aforementioned solutions one after the other.

Doing so will most likely resolve all issues causing the GPU to perform poorly.

About Taylor Swift

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift, a UOPEOPLE graduate is a freelance technology writer with in-depth knowledge about computers. She has an understanding of hardware and technology gained through over 10 years of experience. Follow Her at Linkedin