I recently bought a ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 but the GPU has been running at very high temperatures especially during gameplay. So far I've mostly been playing ARMA3 as it was one of the main reasons I purchased the card. I first tried playing the game on Ultra and on the surface the card preforms well as I have no FPS lag and the game looks beautiful but not long into gameplay the card quickly raised in temperature to 80°C and I could smell very faint burning. In an attempt to lower this I thought running the game at Very High may solve the temperature issues so I closed ARMA3, waited for the GPU to cool down and than tried running the game at Very High but still encountered the same problem. I then tried the same approach at High and Standard and the temperature still goes to 80°C.

My Hardware Specs:

  • Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark 2
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K
  • GPU: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 4GB
  • Memory: 2 x 4GB DDR3 @ 1866Mhz

My CPU is also running on air using the stock cooler and my case has two 120mm Chassis fans, one placed at the front and the other at the back.

I want to know whether the GPU is defective or is this normal behavior for my hardware. I know ARMA3 is a very demanding game and is very poor for benchmarking hardware but to my knowledge I should at least be able to play this game on Standard at a reasonable temperature.

Thanks in advance.

  • 3
    Not sure about the 970, but 80°C is in general not an unreasonable temperature for a GPU. My old 8800GT easily reached 90°C, and that was completely normal. Years later when the cooling failed, problems only became apparent once it got hotter than ~110°C. Jan 9, 2015 at 9:58
  • Even if that is the case should I smell burning while the card is at 80°C? Jan 9, 2015 at 10:06
  • If you smell something burning, I'd recommend you open your PC and try to find out where exactly the smell is coming from. The last time I smelled something burning from my PC, it was a coil on my PSU (Power Supply Unit) that had melted down. Naturally, I had no other choice but to replace it.
    – Nolonar
    Nov 12, 2015 at 13:18
  • @Nolonar I switched the Graphics card and had the same issue so I checked more closely and it turns out that it was the PSU, which eventually died and after I replaced it with a new one I've had no problems since. I guess the issue was that even though it was a 700W PSU it was cheap and couldn't handle a GTX 970. Nov 12, 2015 at 13:32

3 Answers 3


This is about the expected, according to the Tom's Hardware review.

If there is a lot of dust in the fan you might carefully clean it with some compressed air but it shouldn't be a problem.

  • I'm not sure whether this helps much as the GTX 970 in question is a Gigabyte GTX 970 Windforce OC which has three massive fans while my ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 only has two fans so it would run hotter. Jan 9, 2015 at 10:04
  • Naah, generally not an issue, most modern graphics cards can last up to at least 90c, and they usually have a thermal shutoff so they just shut down instead of melting down.
    – Elva
    Jan 9, 2015 at 10:27
  • Should I be worried by the burning smell when it gets to temperature? I'd be happy to run it at 80°C if it is well within the limits of the card but the burning is a little bit disconcerting. Jan 9, 2015 at 13:09
  • A burning smell is never a good thing (except when barbecuing), you should get that looked after if it's still in warranty.
    – Elva
    Jan 9, 2015 at 13:28
  • The card arrived yesterday so I'm going to return it to the retailer to get a refund and hopefully buy another GTX 970 from a different manufacture. Jan 9, 2015 at 14:14

Most modern Graphics cards go up to the lower 80 degrees when under load, and that's perfectly normal, the burning smell you mentioned sounds a bit concerning, though I think you should double check on that because I don't think a new card would have such a problem.

Modern cards also have a built in system to underclock themselves, or lower performance so they won't get too hot, if you see that scenario happen too often, maybe you should clean your case and add some more ventilation (i.e. add more fans) so that the airflow in your case is better


There is actually no problem with that.

I also have a GTX 970, running idle at 50°C with 0% fan speed and load at 85°C with 100% fan speed when playing Witcher 3 on maximum graphical settings. You can set custom fan profiles with EVGA Precision software, if you are worried. GPUs can run on this high temperature for years. They are designed to withstand this temperature.

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