Computers generate heat with normal use. The more the load increases, the higher the heat development. High temperatures can cause a drop in performance known as thermal throttling. But what exactly is “thermal throttling” and how can you avoid it?
If the CPU or GPU throttle their performance independently, then only for their own protection. In this case, you need to lower the temperature in the system.
Thermal throttling is there to protect your hardware. Because PC components such as CPU, GPU and even memory modules generate heat. The heat inside the case increases with heavy loads. As a result, the components can become too hot. In the event that the high temperatures persist, they can even be damaged. Therefore, the performance is limited as soon as a sufficiently high degree of heat is reached. This should prevent heat build-up and promote cooling for it. Because your components can only safely exploit their full potential if the cooling system can keep them within a safe operating temperature.
With the help of a powerful water cooling system for the processor, you can largely prevent problematic thermal throttling in many cases – but here, too, there are certain limits in practice.
In this context, “throttling” means “loss of performance” in the form of lower clock rates. Your graphics processor or CPU will run slower and therefore reduce performance. On the desktop, you may find that the user interface is a bit sluggish, while the graphics chip’s thermal throttling reduces the frame rate in games. Even if high-end graphics cards and processors generate a lot of waste heat, it is still possible to prevent this phenomenon by means of adequate cooling. You can also find out if your system is thermally throttling by using a system monitoring program such as MSI Afterburner. The software monitors the clock frequencies of your GPU and CPU and indicates when a throttling has occurred.
However, thermal throttling is not limited to desktop computers and classic notebooks. A large number of tablets and smartphones are affected due to their fanless design. These devices rely on passive cooling, which is well suited for less complex processes, but can lead to thermal throttling if the load continues. However, since mobile chips are also becoming more and more powerful, manufacturers are switching to the so-called “vapor chamber” design, which is vapor chambers that use evaporation to achieve better cooling than passive solutions.
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