What Should CPU Usage Be When Gaming?

gaming cpu usage

Your CPU usage, as well as the temperatures from your CPU, tends to increase when you start playing your game. It is very important that you monitor this along with your memory and GPU so as to know exactly if your PC build can handle the game you are playing.

This post will major on the CPU (central processing unit) usage and other related, important information that you also need to know. What should CPU usage be when gaming? Let’s start by knowing exactly what CPU usage is.

What is CPU Usage?

CPU usage can be basically described as the measurement of how much the processor is working.  It is based on utilization and it is the measurement of a processor’s limits.

When you under-clock your CPU, you will see your CPU usage increase. It is what you check to inspect the level of the processor’s capacity that is in usage.

In addition, a computer’s CPU usage can vary depending on the types of tasks that are being performed by the processor.   Hence, excessive CPU usage for certain programs can be a cause for alarm. This is why you should know how your CPU usage should be while gaming.

How Should My CPU Usage Be While Gaming?

Even though CPUs are designed to withstand a certain limit of heat, they are still built to know when it is time to cool down to prevent further damage.

The safest temperature to go for while gaming is 70-80 degrees Celsius at the maximum. This is the peak point near danger since it will still be able to do its task perfectly and without potential threats.

CPUs are meant to be used at these aforementioned levels, but in situations where the CPU temperatures exceed the safer levels, you might need to check your CPU coolers or reposition your CPU to a cooler environment.

How To Reduce CPU Usage While Gaming

Even with the understanding that 70-80 degrees Celsius maximum is the safest temperature to go for while gaming, One of the common problems many gamers deal with is seeing their computer use 90-95% of CPU while playing games, where the GPU is barely used 40%.

This is usually caused by unnecessary 3rd party applications running in the background, Enabled Power preserving modes, in-game settings, or just Problematic graphics drivers.

Above all these, the common reason for your CPU to bottle-neck is unnecessary 3rd party applications running in the background. You can troubleshoot this by disabling unnecessary background applications. To do this:

  1. Press Windows + R keys to open the Run utility.
  2. Type msconfig and press Enter (This will open the System Configuration).
  3. Now, select the Services tab and check the Hide all Microsoft services box.
  4. Click on the Disable all option and then click OK.
  5. Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to open the Task Manager.
  6. Right-click on all the unnecessary programs that are running and select the end task option to close them.
  7. Then restart your computer once it is done.

Other ways you can reduce your CPU usage while gaming includes: Uninstalling GPU drivers, changing the in-game settings, disabling all power preserving modes, or maybe, reinstalling the game that is causing the issue.

How To Check CPU Usage

When the CPU usage is high, the computer that used to be fast can become unbearably slow. This is why you should monitor your CPU usage, especially when you use your computer for gaming.

Whenever troubleshooting slowness issues occur on your laptop or desktop, checking CPU usage is one of the first things to consider. Here is how you can view  CPU usage through  Windows XP and Windows Vista

  • Press the buttons Ctrl, Alt, and Delete all at the same time to start the task manager.
  • This will pop up a screen with several options where you will choose “Start Task Manager.
  • The Task Manager Program window will be opened, then you click the “Performance” tab.
  • You will find the percentage of CPU usage on the first box that shows on the screen.

If high CPU use is slowing a computer, you will see a spike of 75 percent to 100 percent. Whereas, the normal range will show below 20 percent to 30 percent.

Why is My CPU Usage So High?

As mentioned earlier, there are more than one reasons for your CPU usage to throttle. The first one like I earlier mentioned is when unnecessary 3rd party applications run in the background. This can hog the CPU usage while you are gaming.

Also, your CPU usage can be high if you have the FPS cap set to unlimited while your CPU is not configured to handle high FPS. This has to do with the in-game settings. In addition, Problematic graphics drivers can also be a cause of high CPU usage.

Sometimes, when the power preserving modes in your computer are enabled, you can experience serious CPU usage issues, particularly for people who play games.

You should also investigate whether the game has become corrupted, as it can cause several problems which include high CPU usage.

How Much CPU Usage is Normal?

When playing less damaging games with your PC, the normal CPU usage is 10% to 30%. For more demanding games, it can spike up to 70%, and up to 100% for rendering work.

As for watching videos on Youtube, the CPU usage depends on your CPU, browser, and video quality. Normally, it should be around 5% to 15%

The speed of your CPU, apps installed and currently running, certain PC settings, and status of your hardware and software, and even the Graphic card are factors that can determine your CPU usage.


You will be able to do your task faster and play your favorite games with High FPS when you keep your computer optimally fast and properly configured.

When you take care of your computer for gaming, you also prolong its life and allow it to work properly for a long time.

Part of taking care of your computer includes inspecting your CPU usage and making sure that it is within the safe temperature when gaming, and I hope this article has been able to expose you to what your CPU usage should be when gaming, and how to reduce High CPU usage.

Further contributions are welcomed in the comments. Thanks for reading.

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