GPU maintenance - fun ways to spend downtime


Active Member
May 31, 2016
Have you been neglecting your GPUs? Need something to do during unexpected downtime? GPU manufacturers hate this simple trick...

Just a small fix I thought I'd share: replace the thermal interface material on older GPUs.
Here is a short 10 minute stress test on an old Quadro K6000 graphics card. Note that it had been cleaned spotless with some compressed air prior to the test.

You might be able to see that the temperature ramps up very quickly, overshooting the target temperature for this card. As a result, the card reduces the GPU clock speed to 797MHz and stays there.

And here is the same test after removing the old TIM on the GPU and applying new TIM:

The rise in GPU temperature is quite a bit slower thanks to the better thermal contact. The GPU no longer overshoots the temperature target, and thus maintains the full boost clock of 900MHz for the remainder of the test.

In conclusion: reapplying thermal paste on old GPUs is an easy maintenance step to improve performance, and potentially extend the life span of the device. With the Quadro K6000 I had at hand, the whole procedure without testing took less than 15 minutes. The thermal pads on VRMs and memory can usually be reused, they degrade not nearly as rapidly as OEM thermal paste.
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