So what is it about dirt and dust that seems to cause so many problems with printed cards? Well, to understand this, you must first understand that GPUs consume a lot of power. Different brands have different power consumption requirements, but high-end GPUs from major brands can take half the power of a PC alone. Nvidia’s 4090, for example, requires 450W of power to operate.

The next thing you need to understand is that almost all of that energy is converted into heat. Have you ever put your hand on the back of your computer and felt the hot air being pushed out? Well, about half of that is being done by your graphics card. GPU manufacturers have found great ways to transfer this heat away from your graphics card so it can be lost to space. However, dust and debris can block the card, keeping the heat inside. Even the tips of the fins that are designed to help dissipate this heat will not work if they are covered in dust.

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Most modern graphics cards have built-in protections to control their power consumption before they overheat to the point of damage. The unfortunate side effect is that they no longer work as well as they did when they were running at full strength. Cleaning your GPU can allow it to return to normal operation.

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