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For ~95% of the time, I'm not using my computer for games or anything else graphically intensive, so my GPU rarely heats up to the recommended maximums of ~100 °C (212 °F) that it shouldn't exceed (as according to what I've read). However my GPU had usually stayed around 35 °C (95 °F) under my regular circumstances, but lately it's been hovering around 60 °C (140 °F) under the same regular circumstances.

It's indicated elsewhere on this site that my current GPU temperatures are still relatively safe. But I'm still concerned since my temperatures are relatively much higher than what they were before. I just started using MSI Afterburner, and after making some minor adjustments to the Fan Control Properties I was able to decrease the temperature by around 5 °C. Before this, I took out the card to inspect it but the fan and underneath the fan didn't seem too dusty. If I'm recalling correctly, there's been no decline in fan speed.

So should I be starting to get concerned? Should I make more aggressive adjustments in MSI Afterburner, if I should even be using this software? Am I likely having false memories about what my GPU temperatures used to be?

My card is an EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti and it's 1.5 years old.

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Recommended maximum doesn't mean it should be getting anywhere near 100C, even under full load. A 550Ti should be around 60C under full load. Check your fans on the card to make sure they're all working, grab some compressed air and clear out all the dust, make sure it's getting good airflow. –  Darth Android May 16 '13 at 18:01
    
Are you sure you've excluded all software reasons? A trojan mining bitcoins can get your GPU hot. –  AnonymousLurker May 16 '13 at 18:08
    
Darth Android: I'm aware that it's not good practice to take my graphics card to its recommended-limits-not-to-exceed on a regular basis. The point there was to show that I've read the relevant threads on this site before posting and to show the values of all the relativistic variables. Regardless, your 60 °C number is incorrect according to the specs themselves, which indeed says 100 °C. And my airflow is no different than what it always was before my issue arouse. –  Kaethe Ceri May 16 '13 at 18:24
    
AnonymousLurker: I have no trojans and no bitcoins to mine. –  Kaethe Ceri May 16 '13 at 18:25
    
Does ProcessExplorer show your GPU as idle? System Information (Ctrl+I), GPU tab. –  Darth Android May 16 '13 at 18:35
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