Zotac Geforce GTX 550 Ti Overheating problem. (FIXED)


Sep 21, 2013
When my gpu is idle, its temperature is around 37~ degrees Celsius.
But when under-load(CS:GO, fallout4(which it barely runs), bf3 etc...) its temperature reaches
a steady 96 degrees Celsius without any fluctuations(well maybe between 95-96).
I assume it is the thermal throttling temperature of this card.
And I also assume that it is not a normal behavior of a gtx 550 ti.
I tried to clean the card using an air compressor once without separating the card from its fan
but to no avail.
So my question is : what can I do to decrease its temperature? as the high temperature most likely holds my card from reaching its full potential in terms of performance(due to thermal throttling).
Maybe I should separate the fan from the gpu and clean it more thoroughly?
Maybe I should clean the gpu and reapply the thermal paste?
Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance!!
Forgot to mention that I owned this card for approximately 4 years.

More information that might be helpful :
CPU idle temperature : 30C~31C
CPU under-load temperature : 55C~
1x4gb Ram
intel core i3 2120 3.30GHz



Feb 20, 2016

My Zotac 550 ti amp edition has the exact same problem and thermal throttles at 96 degrees. I have already tried using canned air ext... Did reapplying thermal paste work for you?



Sep 21, 2013
Well, after all this time I finally got my lazy self to buy Arctic MX4 thermal paste and isopropyl alcohol 70% and do the procedure.
I disassembled the GPU from its fan and then I discovered that the thermal paste was dry and and poorly applied. Together with the assumption that the thermal paste was low quality I felt like the potential of improvement was high. I used paper towel, q-tips and 70% isopropyl alcohol to thoroughly remove the old thermal paste from the GPU and the fan. I tried to clean the fan from dust as much as possible by blowing through a straw. Then after I completely removed the old and dry thermal paste and some dust, I made sure that the surface of the GPU chip and the heat sink was completely clean with no small dust particles or traces from the thermal paste. Afterwards, I carefully applied the new thermal paste onto the GPU surface using the X method, attached the fan to the GPU, inserted the GPU into the motherboard and tested the results. In the test I checked the IDLE temp and "under-load" temp.
Reason for under-load being in quotation mark is because in order to make the test unbiased I had to find a game that wont strain my GPU enough to make it reach its thermal throttling temp. The game I chose was Minecraft. I found a location where my GPU usage is 39% and temp is 90c, not thermal throttling.
In both before and after I was in the exact same spot looking at the exact same place so that the results will be as accurate as possible.
now for the results :

Before :
IDLE : 44c~45c (30% fan speed)
under-load (~39% usage) : 90c (64% fan speed)
After :
IDLE : 31c~32c (30% fan speed)
under-load (~39% usage) : 52c (30% fan speed)

Unbelievable results... Never have I heard of any results close to these.
The biggest improvement I have heard of online was maybe 15c underload but 38c? wow. (Actually even more because the fan speed is lower by a considerable amount)
I was very happy with the results but wanted to check one more thing : whether my GPU can reach 100% usage or will it thermal throttle before it reaches it. Chose fallout 4 as the game on which I will test it out. And oh boy was I happy to find out that at 100% usage my GPU reaches 66c~.
Overall, I am very happy with the results and I really recommend anyone who suffers from overheating GPU to consider reapplying the thermal paste.
Probably gonna overclock my 550 ti now lol
Sep 13, 2018
I just wanted to chime in on this one even though it's been over 2 years. This is because this is the first hit I got for "Zotac Geforce 550 ti overheating".

My card, which is quite old, was also overheating. When under load it would get over 90c. Idle was hot too (60-65c maybe?). Worse, when running the folding at home application, it would actually get the occasional computation error.

I took off the heatsink and the paste seemed dry and brittle. A little bit like a pencil eraser.

I removed the paste, and because I didn't have any more on me, I just reassembled it dry with not paste at all. When I did this, the fan would max out and the card would overheat and shutdown before I could even get into Windows :)

Once I reapplied paste
idle the temperature is around 55c
Under loan (furmark!) the temperature is 82c and the auto fan is around 50%.

And I look forward to folding at home not generating any more errors.