How Much Is GPU Sag Too Much?

Many factors are important when deciding what parts of your computer will be the best use for you, one of which is the amount of GPU sag. This article explains what this means and how you can determine if your system is running on too much or too little particular type of power.

How Much is GPU Sag Too Much? 

GPU sag is a term used in computer graphics to describe the reduction in performance due to the accumulation of delays in rendering frames. Various factors, including insufficient hardware resources, excessive loading on the graphics processor, or faulty software, can cause sag.

Sag can significantly impact the performance of graphics-intensive applications and should be avoided wherever possible. GPU sag should generally be at most 10 percent of the total frame rate. If it exceeds this limit, it may indicate an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

There are several ways to measure GPU sag: using benchmarking tools, measuring frame latency using capture tools, or watching the CPU usage during gaming sessions. Each method has its limitations and advantages, so choosing one that will give you accurate results is important.

How to Measure GPU Sag?

GPU sag is the downward motion in a graphics card’s fan speed when it’s under load. Several factors, including heat, dust, and age, can cause it.

Over time, GPU sag can cause the fan to run constantly and make your graphics card work harder than it needs to. Sag can also lead to decreased performance and noise problems.

To measure GPU sag, you’ll need a thermal monitoring system (like EVGA Precision XOC) and some basic tools. First, start by booting up your computer and letting it idle for at least 10 minutes. This will allow the system to reach a stable temperature.

Once the computer is idle, start the thermal monitoring software and click on the “Graphs” tab. You’ll want to select the “Graphics Card” graph as your main display panel. On this graph, you’ll want to track how much heat is being produced by your graphics card over time.

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You should see a gradual increase in heat until the card reaches its operating temperature range (around 60-70 degrees Celsius). At that point, you’ll want to watch for sudden increases in heat production that may indicate GPU sag.

If you see an increase in heat production at or around this point, you likely have some degree of GPU sag on your system. To reduce or eliminate GPU sag, you’ll need to address one or more of its causes: heat buildup from your components or Dust Devil activity from fan blades.

Troubleshooting the Problem

GPU sag describes the phenomenon where the GPU voltage drops below a certain threshold, causing performance drops.

Sag can occur for several reasons but often from improper cooling or overloading the graphics card. If you experience significant drops in frame rates, it’s worth checking your system for any signs of GPU sag. Here are some troubleshooting tips:

1. Check Your Cooling: One of the most common causes of GPU sag is improper cooling.

Make sure that your graphics card and fan are properly installed and functioning, and check to see if your case has enough room to allow adequate airflow. Under-powered fans can also cause problems, so upgrade if necessary.

2. Overload Your Graphics Card: Another common cause of sag is overloading your graphics card.

If you’re using a high-end graphics card that’s not properly equipped for the task, you’ll likely experience FPS decreases. Consider replacing your graphics card if you’re experiencing significant dips in performance.

3. Check for Signs of GPU Sag: If all else fails, it might be worth checking for signs of GPU sag by running some diagnostic tools like Fraps or MSI Afterburner. These tools can help pinpoint any issues with your system’s hardware and may help improve FPS levels overall.

What Can Cause GPU Sag?

GPU sag is a problem that can occur when a graphics card’s power supply cannot keep up with the demand put on it by the computer’s processor. This issue can cause the graphics card to lag in its rendering, resulting in blurry or distorted images. 

Several things can cause GPU to sag: insufficient power, overheating, faulty hardware, and insufficient cooling. If you’re experiencing GPU sag, there are a few things you can do to try to fix it. First, check to see if your computer is getting enough power from its power supply.

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Ensure all of your electronic devices are unplugged and your computer is plugged into an outlet with enough voltage to meet the required wattage. Next, check for any signs of overheating.

If your graphics card is getting too hot to touch, it may be overloading and causing GPU sag. Lastly, inspect your hardware for signs of damage or malfunctioning components. If you find anything suspicious, please contact customer support for assistance.

How to Test for GPU Sagging

It depends on the specific situation and configuration. However, some general guidelines can be followed when testing for GPU sag.

The first step is determining the maximum load the system can sustain without experiencing noticeable lag or performance degradation. This can be done using a benchmarking tool or manually testing various workloads under varying conditions.

Next, use that information to set a baseline for how much GPU sag should be present at any given time. If the system falls below that baseline during heavy workloads, then excessive GPU sag may be present and corrective action may need to be taken.

Testing for GPU sag is only sometimes straightforward, so it is important to clearly understand what constitutes excessive sag before starting any investigation. In general, however, the excessive sag will typically result in reduced performance and increased lag during high-load scenarios.

Therefore, monitoring both CPU and GPU performance regularly is important to identify potential issues early and take appropriate action.

Some Common Causes of GPU Sagging

GPU sag can cause many problems, from decreased FPS to garbled graphics. Here are some of the most common causes of GPU sag:

1. Overheating

If your computer is constantly running hot, the graphics card is likely getting scorched. This heat can cause the materials inside the card to expand and contract, which in turn causes the card to sag.

If you notice your graphics card sagging noticeably whenever your computer gets hot, try turning off all unnecessary background processes and see if that helps.

2. Dusty cards

Dust and other small particles can accumulate on a graphics card over time, which will cause it to sag. Cleaning your car regularly with a vacuum cleaner or compressed air can help prevent this problem from happening.

3. Weak power supply

A weak power supply could cause your graphics card to sag because it cannot provide enough juice to keep the hardware running smoothly. If you’re experiencing significant GPU sag, upgrading your power supply may be an ideal solution.

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4. Poor installation 

If your graphics card isn’t installed correctly, it may not be able to handle the load of the computer. If you notice significant GPU sag after installing a new graphics card, consult an expert to ensure everything is installed properly.

5. Corrupted files

If your computer is constantly crashing or exhibiting other problems, corrupted files likely are to blame. If you suspect this is the case, try reinstalling your operating system and all its associated software. This should restore your computer’s original settings, which may help resolve any GPU sag issues.

GPU Sag and the Impact it has on Users

GPU sag is a term that describes the phenomenon where the GPU’s clock speed fluctuates significantly, sometimes resulting in poor performance. Various factors can cause sag, but it’s often most noticeable when gaming or using intensive 3D applications.

GPU sag can have a significant impact on users’ performance. If GPU sag is severe enough, it can cause decreased frame rates and even choppy gameplay. For some users, excessive sag may even lead to system instability or failure.

There are many ways to reduce or prevent GPU sag. Some simple measures include keeping your computer clean and free of debris, ensuring your graphics card has adequate ventilation and using a thermal pad or heatsink to help cool your GPU.

More advanced solutions include overclocking your graphics card or using software that monitors and manages your system’s temperatures.

Whatever approach you choose, ensure you’re aware of the potential consequences before taking any steps.

If you experience significant drops in performance due to GPU sag, don’t hesitate to contact your hardware manufacturer or consult a qualified technician for assistance.


GPU sag can be a challenging problem to solve, as it can often be impossible to tell when your graphics card is causing too much of the sag. Fortunately, there are a few simple measures that you can take to minimize the amount of GPU sag in your games.

By following these tips, you should be able to eliminate most of the sag from your gameplay and enjoy smooth gameplay without any hitches or glitches. Thanks for reading!

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Matt Wilson
By Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is a PC gaming and hardware expert with years of experience. He's a trusted tech product reviewer for gamers and tech enthusiasts.

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