Question GPU throttling after cleaning dust out?


Jan 19, 2014
GPU is an OEM version of the RX 580 4GB from an HP Omen 880-020, the GPU is about 3 and half years old.

Earlier today I decided to clean dust out of my PC. Pretty much the only thing I did was clean the dust filters, clean the fans a tad bit, and dust out the GPU. The GPU wasn't that dusty, just a dust layer on the inside fins of the fan and some dust on the heatsink. I took the GPU out of the PC, took it outside, and sprayed the fan/heatsink with compressed air. The can of compressed air is from 2015, but I read that the can doesn't expire and the can still blew air. I made sure to keep the can upright and I didn't see it spray any of the liquid. I do think some dust or something from outside fell into the GPU, but I REALLY looked around inside for it and kept spraying it, and I didn't see it. After I was done I put it back in the PC. I realized I never turned the PSU switch off when I unplugged my PC, but I think that shouldn't mean much.

Anyways I plug everything back in, PC POSTs and boots no problem, and no other problems. I notice that my idle temps seem to be a couple degrees lower(50c instead of 54c), so I'm feeling pretty happy. I load up Apex to see my temps during full load and as I'm running around in the practice range I notice my game is lagging like crazy. Not FPS lag, that seems to be normal, but rather lag like stuttering. It felt like network lag where I was skipping around. My temps are skyrocketing to 80c before the default fan curve even bothers upping the fan RPM, and it hits 85C with the fan at like 50% RPM. The climb between 80-85C is when the lag starts to happen and I notice my clock speed is jumping all over the place as well. Once the fan RPM reaches 100%, and the temp stabilizes at 82C(which is the same as my full load temp before I cleaned my GPU), the stuttering stops and the game is normal. I stayed in the practice range for about 10 mins and max temp was 82C, with it sometimes falling to 81C for a couple seconds.

The default fan curve seems to like to take a bit of sitting at a high temp before it decides to increase fan speed, which I don't know is normal or not, but that's been normal to me. What is not normal is the stuttering that occurs before the fan reaches 100% and is able to stabilize at 82C. This didn't happen before I cleaned the dust out of my GPU. If I use a custom fan curve where the fan will actually increase RPM as soon as it hits a certain temp, there is no stuttering and the GPU sits at 78/79C for a little bit before slowly climbing to 82C and stopping. Like I said, 82C is normal full load, but I believe the fan didn't have to work as hard before to keep it there. I believe the fan sat at like 80% compared to 100%. Everything applies to different full load games like Warframe and Genshin Impact too. In League of Legends, my GPU temp is normal, sitting around 64C with the minimum fan speed, so no worries there.

I tried reseating the GPU and same thing happened. Also CPU temps are normal.

In general I'm not too worried about this because I didn't notice anything else wrong aside from some slight stutters on Warframe(but that may have been just Warframe being wonky). My GPU fan has to work harder it seems, but once it stabilizes at 82C it doesn't hard lag/stutter, and there isn't any FPS drops. I just have a couple questions;

  1. Does anyone know why this might be happening, and if it should be worrying?
  2. Am I actually experiencing thermal throttling, or is it something else? I've heard of FPS lag from throttling, but I'm not getting that and I'm getting actual lag/stuttering instead.
  3. Would it be wise to update my GPU driver? I am currently sitting on 20.11.2 and I haven't bothered updating because I haven't had a problem before this.
Thank you!


Mar 11, 2021
I mean, if all this happened once you did a deep cleaning, the only reason why this happening is that something went wrong during the process. And that yes, definitely looks like thermal throttling to me, which shouldn't happen when you cleaned a component.