Skip to main content

Tested: Is Discord really slowing down Nvidia GPUs?

A recent Discord update may have introduced a bug that slows down your Nvidia GPU when you use the popular voice chat app. Not all cards are affected, but it appears that the vast majority of them might be.

We tested it ourselves to verify whether there really is a performance drop. Here’s what we know, and if you are affected, there’s a quick fix that can solve this problem.

RTX 3080 graphics cards among other GPUs.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends.

The report about this peculiar issue first emerged on the Linus Tech Tips forums. An owner of an RTX 3060 Ti graphics card found that the memory clock of their GPU dropped by 200MHz as soon as Discord was launched, and it stayed at the lowered value until the app was closed.

Another user then pitched in and posted on the Nvidia subreddit, reporting that same problem, this time on an RTX 3080. It appears that Nvidia’s latest and greatest RTX 40-series cards are unaffected right now.

Both reports are related to RTX 30-series cards, but we tested this ourselves and found that the issue will likely affect a much larger user base than we initially thought. Even older graphics cards suffer from this problem, and as per the Steam Hardware Survey, those GPUs still make up the majority of the market.

I tested this myself on my dated GTX 1060. Starting with HWiNFO, I compared the memory clock with and without Discord running in the background. Although the drop was less significant (100MHz instead of 200MHz), it was still there, and the moment I turned Discord off, the clock bounced back to normal.

I also ran a FurMark benchmark to compare performance with and without Discord. This rig can’t score high even on a good day, but within those measly scores, I could see a drop when I ran the benchmark while Discord was on. Without it, the card averages 71 frames per second (fps) and 4,272 points; with Discord, it maxed out at 69 fps and 4,151 points. It’s interesting to note that in the benchmark, the memory clock did indeed drop by just over 200MHz.

Benchmarks of a GTX 1060 GPU.
Benchmark scores with and without Discord running in the background. Image used with permission by copyright holder

The bug likely stems from the most recent Discord update that enabled AV1 streaming in 4K60 for Discord Nitro users. This seems to be limited to RTX 40-series cards, though, so while it enabled one feature for those high-end GPUs, it also seems to have broken something for other users.

A lot of gamers run Discord in the background, and it’s no secret that many of Nvidia’s best GPUs are found in gaming rigs. For some players, this will almost be constant if they use Discord most of the time.

With that said, 200MHz worth of memory clock speed is really not that much, especially on high-end GPUs. Seeing a drop by 2 fps is pretty much nothing. You don’t have to worry about the performance of your card, at least not unless you want to squeeze every last drop out of it. In games, this won’t have any impact whatsoever.

Nvidia was quick to react to the post on Reddit and came up with a temporary fix. If you want to get ahead and sort this problem before Discord and Nvidia roll out proper updates of their own, make sure to check out the official Nvidia help article here.

Editors' Recommendations

Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
Not even Nvidia’s RTX 4090 can handle Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Cal holding his lightsaber with BD-1 on his shoulder.

Nvidia's RTX 4090 is overkill for a vast majority of games, but it seems to have met its match in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. That's right -- even the best graphics card struggles to maintain more than 35 frames per second (fps) in EA's upcoming title.

Of course, this kind of performance is unintended, and it stems entirely from poor optimization. Will your computer be able to handle the game when it launches tomorrow?

Read more
Watch out — Diablo IV might break your Nvidia GPU
Screenshot from the Diablo IV trailer.

Following last weekend's Diablo IV open beta, reports came flooding in saying that the game might be breaking Nvidia graphics cards. This means various crashes and subpar performance, as well as even outright dead GPUs.

Fortunately, not all cards are affected, and there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Here's what we know.

Read more
Intel may have found the solution to Nvidia’s melting GPUs
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 is shown along with a hand holding the power cable adapter.

The 12VHPWR connector found in Nvidia's best graphics cards has had its fair share of issues. After dozens of cases of the connector melting during regular usage, the most common cause may have been found, but a permanent solution to the problem has been elusive. Up until now, that is.

Surprisingly, the possible fix comes from Intel, not Nvidia. The company issued a recommendation regarding the design of the connector.

Read more