Safe CPU Temps: How Hot Should My CPU Be?
In this guide, we’ve detailed how you can check your CPU temperatures and determine whether or not your processor is operating in a safe range.
Whether you have just built your own computer, or you’ve got an older system that you want to check up on, it is always a good idea to monitor you CPU’s temperature…
But monitoring your processor’s temperature won’t do you any good if you don’t know what temperature it should be running at. In this guide, we’ll show you how to check your processor’s noprmal temperature range. We’ll also help you figure out how hot your CPU should be running.
Because, ultimately, every processor is built to run at slightly different temperature ranges. And, there is really not a one-size-fits-all approach to determing normal CPU temperature ranges.
(If you are looking for a quick answer, we have attempted to give you a one-size-fits-all answer below. But, just know that it will never be a great way to determine whether or not your CPU temps are too high or not.)
In any case, though, after reading through this guide, you’ll have a solid understanding of safe CPU temps. You’ll also learn how to determine whether or not your processor is running at the appropriate temperature.
The Quick Answer – Are Your CPU Temps too High?
Again, there is no way to give you an accurate one-size-fits-all answer to whether or not your CPU temperatures are too high or not. “Normal” CPU temps are going to vary quite a bit depending on the processor. I suggest that you read this guide in full to gain a better understanding on how you should proparly check and see what temperature your CPU (or, rather, your CPU’s cores) should be running at.
But, as a generalization that might help you identify a serious problem, if you have an Intel processor, you could say that a CPU core temperature of over 40-45-degrees Celsius while idling and/or a temperature of over 85-95-degrees Celsius while under full load is probably a cause for concern.
If you have an AMD Ryzen processor, you could say that a CPU core temperature of over 40-45-degrees Celsius while idling and/or a temperature of over 85-95 degrees (depending on the Ryzen generation) Celsius while under full load is probably be cause for concern.
So, in other words, if your CPU is hitting those temperatures on a regular basis, you will likely want to dive into the problem further and see what is going on.
Again, this is a generalization. It’s probably not the best way to figure out if your temperatures are appropriate or not. For a better way to check and understand whether or not your processor’s temperatures are acceptable or not, keep reading this guide.
How to Check Your CPU’s Temperature
First off, before you can determine whether or not you are getting safe CPU temperatures, you will need some way to check and see what temperature your processor’s cores are actually running at.
There are quite a few different ways to do this.
You can check your CPU core temperature directly through your motherboard’s BIOS. However, this reading will only give you the idle temp for your CPU and won’t help you when stress testing your system. And, the temperature shown in your BIOS will always be a bit higher reading than what it will be when the system is idling in Windows, because BIOS will always boot your processor using higher voltage levels in order to make sure that it will initialize.
To get a better reading on the temperature range that your processors runs at (at both idle and under load), you’ll want to use third-party software.
There are quite a few different programs out there that will let you monitor your CPU temperatures (and some will monitor the temperature on your other components, too.)
- Core Temp
- Open Hardware Monitor
Check CPU Temp with Core Temp
I’ll use Core Temp to check my processor’s temperature.
As you can see, I have an Intel Core i7-8700K processor, which is a six-core CPU. Core Temp shows you what the individual temperature is on each one of those six-cores. At the time of taking this screen shot you can see that my processor’s cores are running at an average of about ~31-degrees Celsius.
And, since Core Temp also shows me what the processor’s load is, I can tell that these temperature readings are coming from when the CPU is idling (the screenshot shows that my CPU is at less than 5% load, which means it is “idle”.)
So, we can say that my temperature is idling at about 30-degrees Celsius.
To check what my temperature is under a heavier load, you could play a demanding game (like PUBG, or Battlefield 1), or render a video, or do something else taxing. But, in order to guarantee a proper 100% load on your processor, you’ll want to use a stress-test benchmark tool.
Using Prime95 to Stress-Test
There are a number of stress-test tools out there and there is a lot of discussion on which one is the best to use. I use the SmallFFT test on Prime95 v26.6. The SmallFFT test on newer versions of Prime95 will actually push your processor past realistic levels and, therefore, is not a great method to use if you are trying to determine whether or not your CPU temps are safe or not.
You can disable the feature that causes the test to push your processor the extreme by adding a line of code to a specific file in the program, but for me—and likely for other users—it’s easier to just download the older version.
But, the general consensus is that Prime95 v.26.6 gets about as close to a true 100% load as any CPU stress-test tool out there. So, that’s what I use.
Now, using Prime95’s (v26.6) SmallFFTs stress-test to put my system under full load, I get the following temperatures:
Here you can see that under 100% load, my CPU’s cores are running at about an average of ~77-degrees Celsius.
So, now that I have those numbers, how do I know if 30-degrees Celsius while idling and 77-degrees Celsius under full load is a good range of CPU temperatures for my processor?
While I can tell you that those are generally safe CPU temperatures for the 8700K (at stock settings and with the cooler I have), there are a few things that I had to consider first before declaring that those are CPU temperatures I can live with.
You Know Your CPU’s Normal Temp at Idle and Under Load – Now What?
Step one is finding out what your processor’s average temperatures are at idle and while under load. Once you have those temperatures, then you can seek out whether or not they are normal.
However, Intel and AMD do not provide specific numbers of what are considered ‘normal’ temperatures for your processor. And, there really isn’t anywhere on the web that will give you that information outright, either.
That is partly because there are many factors that will determine what temperature your processor’s cores should be running at. And, if a CPU manufacturer suggested a one-size-fits-all recommended operating temperature, it would likely cause more harm than good.
So, one of the only ways that you can get a good idea of what your CPU temps should be, is just by comparing the temperatures you are getting to the temperatures that others who have the same processor and similar setups are getting. Whether that’s by checking forum posts, or by reading/watching others conduct reviews on the processor you have.
Fortunately, there are so many enthusiasts out there that there is likely enough information available for you to determine what the proper range of temperatures your CPU’s cores should be running at for various use-cases.
Now, Intel does provide a maximum operating temperature, which we will get into in just a moment. And, if you have an Intel processor, that maximum operating temperature will help you determine whether or not your temperatures are approaching (or hitting) a level that is definitely too high.
But, before we get into that, let’s first go over some of the many factors that will play a role in determining what temperature your processor’s cores should be running at.
1. Optimal CPU Temps Will Vary Depending on the Processor You Have
An Intel Core i7-11700K is going to run at different temperatures than an older Intel Core i3-7100 at idle and when under load.
An AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is going to run at different temperatures than an AMD Ryzen 3 3100 at idle and when under load.
The i7-3720QM processor in an old laptop is going to run at different temperatures than a desktop processor, or than a newer Intel Core i7-1165G7 laptop CPU.
Most processors run at different temperatures, whether by slightly differing amounts, or by significant temperature differences.
So, the first thing you need to understand is that you shouldn’t compare the temperatures you are getting to the temperatures someone else is getting who has a completely different processor.
2. You Must Take Ambient Temperature Into Consideration…
The next thing you need to consider is ambient temperature (or room temperature).
Let’s say you just built a new computer with an i7-11700K and you fire it up and you see that your processor is idling at 33-degrees Celsius. You think to yourself, “I guess that’s okay, because I saw someone’s benchmark on YouTube where they were running their 11700K at about 30-degrees Celsius. But, why is my processor running 3-degrees Celsisus higher than theirs?”
Well, it’s possible that the room temperature where your computer is operating is higher than the room temperature where the benchmark you saw took place. And, that difference in room temperature is why your processor is running at a higher temperature than the benchmarked processor.
So, before you freak out, make sure you take into account the room temperature your computer is operating in and factor that in.
And, this is especially true if you’re going to start Googling what temperatures other’s are getting their processor to run at. Because if you stumble onto a forum where someone is posting that they are getting lower temperatures than you are with the same processor, you don’t want to jump to conclusions. It may just be that that person has their computer in a much cooler room than yours.
Generally speaking, I’d guess that most people run their computers in rooms that have temperatures of 21-22 degrees Celsius. But there are definitely others who will prefer rooms much cooler or warmer, depending on their preferences.
In any case, ambient temperature (or room temperature) is an incredibly important factor to consider when trying to determine whether or not your CPU temps are too high.
Of course, you could be getting higher or lower CPU temperatures than others for a few other reasons, too. And, one of those reasons could be that you or they are using a better CPU Cooler and/or thermal paste.
3. The Better Your CPU Cooler, the Better Your CPU Temps
Right now I am using a 360mm AIO cooler. My cooler is quite a bit better than the stock cooler that came with my processor and, as such, I expect to see lower CPU temperatures from my system than someone else who is using the stock cooler will see.
However, there are also system builders out there who have the i7-8700K under an extreme custom-loop water-cooled setup. And, those builders will be getting lower temperatures than I am.
So, it’s important to factor in what CPU cooler you have before determining whether or not your temperatures are appropriate or not.
And, the same is true for the thermal paste you are using. Generally speaking, the stock thermal paste that comes applied on Intel’s stock coolers is not going to give as good of heat transfer as a high-end thermal compound will and, as a result, the stock thermal paste will produce higher CPU temperatures.
So, be sure that if you are comparing your temperatures with others who have the same processor as you, that you are taking into consideration the cooler your are using and the quality of the thermal paste that you have applied.
4. A Better Case With Higher Airflow Will Mean Better CPU Temps
Another thing to consider in determining whether or not your temperatures are appropriate or not is the amount of airflow you are getting in your case.
You may have an identical processor and CPU cooler combination as someone else, but you may be getting higher CPU temperatures because that someone else has a better case that is pushing more air over their processor.
So, again, if someone is posting that they are getting better temperatures than you, be sure that you are considering the fact that they could have a setup that allows for more airflow (and, thus, lower temperatures.)
5. Overclocking is Going to Produce Higher Temperatures
Another factor that you should be aware of when determining your processor’s temperatures, is overclocking.
Overclocking is the act of setting your CPU to run faster than it runs at stock settings. The faster you run it, the hotter it will get.
Of course, that extra heat can be offset by better cooling.
However, if you have overclocked your processor, you are going to have to look at your CPU temperatures with that in mind. You won’t want to compare your overclocked CPU’s temperatures to the temperatures that someone else who has the same CPU running at stock speeds is getting.
Max CPU Temperatures – How Hot is Too Hot
I’ve basically run you through the gauntlet of a number of things to consider if you are monitoring your processor’s temperatures and trying to determine whether they are higher than they should be.
Perhaps that was a bit more information than you came for. So, with that in mind, let’s take a step back and let’s determine whether or not your CPU is running extremely hot.
If you have an Intel processor, that’s actually a pretty easy task to do, as Intel provides the maximum operating temperatures of their processors on their website.
If you have an AMD processor, figuring out what the maximum operating temperature is is a bit more difficult. That is another scenario where you have to search and see what others are getting.
But, let’s take a look at Intel’s maximum operating temperatures to give you some more insight on the matter.
TJunction (TJ Max) or Max Temperature
Intel defines TJunction (TJ Max) as “the maximum temperature allowed at the processor die.” When most modern processors hit their TJunction (TJ Max) or maximum temperature, the CPU will throttle and slow down so as to prevent the chip from going over that maximum temperature.
Up until the processor hits that maximum temperature, for the most part, it will run as expected (unless it runs at a level close to its TJ Max for extended periods of time.)
So, ultimately, if your processor is running close to its maximum allowed operating temperature, it is fine for the time being. Over the long run, it will wear down faster, but for the short term, you aren’t going to blow your processor (and your system) up if it is operating close to its maximum temperature.
However, if your processor is consistently operating near its maximum operating temperature while under load, that could be a sign that something is wrong.
The good news about an Intel processor’s maximum temperature is that, unlike determining a processor’s ideal idle and under-load temperatures, each Intel processor has a clearly defined maximum operating temperature that can be found on Intel’s website.
So, the good news is that, if you have an Intel CPU, you finally have a concrete number to work with.
Simply go to your CPU’s specification sheet on the manufacturer’s website and check and see what your processor’s maximum operating temperature is.
For my i7-8700K, the TJunction (TJ Max) is 100-degrees Celsius. That means that as long as my processor stays under 100-degrees Celsius, it should be fine for the short term.
However, for the health of my processor and my system, I’d prefer that my processor operated at temperatures far below that number.
Again, while getting close to that number is okay in a one-time situation, continually operating close to it is going to shorten the life of your processor.
So, perhaps the easiest way to tell if your Intel CPU is, in fact, running too hot, is to monitor how close it runs to the maximum operating temperature when it is under load.
The closer it runs to the maximum operating temp (on a consistent basis), the more cause for concern you should have. And, if its continually reaching levels close to the TJ Max, there is likely something wrong (whether that be an incorrectly installed CPU cooler, poor air flow, or old thermal paste, etc.)
AMD’s Max Temps Aren’t Specificated
What if you have an AMD processor? How can you check and see if it’s operating at too high of a temperature?
Well, unfortunately, AMD doesn’t provide a specific maximum operating temperature for their processors. If you want to see what I mean, Google ‘Ryzen 5 5900X max temp’.
What you’ll find is a bunch of people guessing what those processor’s maximum temperatures are, and nobody really knowing 100% for sure what number specific AMD CPUs will start to throttle at.
But there is typically a general consensus temperature range on when throttling will occur on a given AMD processor. And, so, after Googling to find that range (you’ll have to sort through forum posts and reviews and see what temperature levels others are seeing), you can use it in the same manner that you can use Intel’s TJ Max specification.
If your AMD CPU is consistently operating at temperatures near that maximum range, then there could possibly be something wrong.
How to Fix High CPU Temps
We have already discussed a few different ways that you can improve your processor’s temperatures. We outlined all of the different factors that contribute to what temperatures your processor’s cores run at.
So, now, I’ll give you a quick list of ways that you can improve your CPU’s operating temperatures, with some accompanying resources…
- Re-install your CPU cooler
- Use better thermal paste
- Buy a better CPU cooler
- Buy a better case
- Reconfigure your case fans for better air flow
- Add more case fans
- Clean out your computer
- Delid your CPU (for extreme users who want high overclocks)
Applying any (or all) of these tips should help give you more optimal temperatures for your CPU.
If you have a laptop, your only real options are to get a laptop cooler or to get a new laptop.
Wrapping it Up: What Having ‘Good CPU Temps’ Really Means…
Let me finish this up by saying…
For most users, there is no need to try and push your processor to operating at extremely low temperatures.
Yes, theoretically, the cooler your processor’s cores run, the better.
Where having really good CPU core temperatures matters most is when you are planning on overclocking your processor. In the simplest of definitions, the cooler you can get your processor to run, the higher you can overclock it.
If you have no plan on overclocking your processor, then as long as your processor runs at an average (or even slightly above average) temperature while under load, then that’s completely fine.
Though, you might not get as many years out of your system as someone who uses better cooling. But, since you’ll likely upgrade your system within 4-5 years, you probably won’t miss the added lifespan that better cooling offers.
So, in other words, if you landed on this article because you are freaking out that your i7-11700K (as an example) is running at 70-degrees Celsius when playing PUBG, and Joe Bob the extreme PC builder’s CPU is at 65-degrees Celsius when running PUBG, that doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with your system.
It just means that Joe Bob the extreme PC builder has taken their cooling to the… well… extreme. And, your “normal” temperature only looks hot in comparison, when, in fact, it is actually fine.
So, the bottom line is that you shouldn’t freak out if your CPU’s core temps aren’t extremely low. You should only freak out if your CPU’s core temps are extremely high. And, with the information in this guide, I think you’ll have a better idea of how to figure that out.
Filed Under: CPU Cooler, Gaming CPU, PC HardwareSours: https://techguided.com/safe-cpu-temp/
Idle, Load and Max CPU Temperatures
What is a normal and safe CPU temperature range? Join us as we reveal Intel and AMD CPU temps during idle, normal and maximum load.
All temperatures listed on this page are for CPUs running at default (non-overclocked) speeds with stock coolers. To give you a better understanding of Intel and AMD CPU operating temps, we have included their temperatures at different usage levels:
- Idle Temperature - Computer idling at Windows desktop (no open windows or programs)
- Load Temperature - Computer under heavy use (heavy gaming, video editing, stress tests)
- Max Temperature - Highest safe CPU temperature (as stated by Intel or AMD)
Running your CPU near its max temperature for long periods will affect its performance and may shorten its lifespan. Once most CPUs hit 90 to 100°C, they will begin throttling (lowering their clock speeds) to avoid overheating. If temperatures rise further, the CPU will shut itself down to avoid permanent damage.
We recommend that you measure the temperatures for your own CPU and compare them with the values below - Click here to learn how to check CPU temps.
Intel CPU Temps - Coffee Lake Refresh
30 to 40°C
60 to 72°C
28 to 35°C
55 to 75°C
30 to 40°C
60 to 80°C
*Core i5-9600K and Core i7-9700K aren't bundled with Intel stock coolers. To obtain their idle and normal temperature range, we combined temperature readings from a budget cooler (Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo) and high end cooler (Noctua NH-D15).
Intel CPU Temps - Coffee Lake
29 to 40°C
56 to 69°C
25 to 37°C
55 to 67°C
26 to 38°C
52 to 75°C
*Core i7-8700K isn't bundled with an Intel stock cooler. To obtain its idle and normal temperature range, we combined temperature readings from a budget cooler (Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo) and high end cooler (Noctua NH-D15).
Intel CPU Temps - Kaby Lake
25 to 33°C
45 to 60°C
25 to 35°C
45 to 65°C
25 to 35°C
50 to 70°C
*Core i3-7350K, Core i5-7600K and Core i7-7700K aren't bundled with Intel stock coolers. To obtain their idle and normal temperature range, we combined temperature readings from a budget air cooler (Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo) and high end liquid cooler (Corsair H100i v2).
Intel CPU Temps - Skylake
30 to 35°C
48 to 68°C
24 to 28°C
42 to 52°C
26 to 35°C
53 to 70°C
*Core i5-6600K and Core i7-6700K aren't bundled with Intel stock coolers. To obtain their idle and normal temperature range, we combined temperature readings from a budget air cooler (Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo) and high end liquid cooler (Corsair H100i GTX).
Intel CPU Temps - Haswell Refresh
31 to 39°C
57 to 70°C
32 to 40°C
60 to 72°C
32 to 39°C
60 to 80°C
Intel CPU Temps - Haswell
34 to 38°C
50 to 61°C
28 to 35°C
47 to 60°C
34 to 39°C
55 to 65°C
Intel CPU Temps - Ivy Bridge
28 to 35°C
50 to 60°C
28 to 35°C
50 to 62°C
30 to 40°C
55 to 65°C
Intel CPU Temps - Sandy Bridge
30 to 37°C
50 to 62°C
35 to 41°C
55 to 65°C
32 to 40°C
47 to 60°C
Other Factors That Affect Your CPU Temperature Range
Even with default clock speeds and stock coolers, there are still other factors that will affect your normal CPU temperature:
Ambient room temperatures can affect CPU temps by 5 to 10°C. As a rough gauge, 1°C rise in room temperature = 1 to 1.5°C rise in CPU temps. That's why experienced hardware reviewers and overclockers will factor in their ambient room temperature when taking temperature readings.
Computer Case Cooling
A CPU can run 8 to 10°C cooler in a spacious computer case with excellent ventilation vs a small, cramped case filled with dust bunnies. Here's how to check if your computer case is doing a proper job of keeping the CPU cool:
Measure the temperature of your CPU with its side panels removed (see image below):
Close the computer case (put back the side panels) and check its temperature again. If the average CPU temperatures rises more than 5°C when the case is closed, then your computer case lacks adequate cooling. You'll need to organize your computer cables, get more (or better) case fans and consider using a modular power supply to minimize clutter.
We know what you're probably thinking at this point... "Why don't I just leave the side panels open or go all out for an open air rig?"
While this method will indeed lower temperatures in the short run, dust will quickly clog up your heat sinks and fans (leading to even high temps than before). Therefore it only works if you're prepared to clean your heat sinks and fans every two to four weeks. In fact, a good computer case with directed air flow and pressure difference will run even cooler when closed.
CPU Build Quality
Due to their complex manufacturing process, even CPUs of the same model and batch can have notable differences in quality. While defective CPUs are discarded and inferior ones are rebadged, there is still a quality difference in those that make it past factory inspections.
Getting a high quality CPU from a store is a matter of luck (which is why overclockers get so excited when they chance upon a CPU of exceptional quality). All things being equal, a high quality CPU will run cooler and overclock better than a typical sample.
How to Monitor Your CPU Temperature
Checking your system's CPU temperature is similar to checking your car's oil: You don't need to do it daily, but it's something to keep an eye on every few months, especially if you regularly strain your system with higher loads like you'll do with the Best CPUs for Gaming.
Luckily, checking your CPU temperature is pretty easy and doesn't require you to open up your PC and stick a thermometer inside. Instead, every CPU comes with digital thermal sensors built-in, so all you need is a bit of software to read their measurements.
Below we'll break down what a healthy range of temperatures is for a CPU, how to check your CPU temperature and what to do if your CPU's temperatures are too high.
What's a Good CPU Temperature?
When the CPU is idle, or not being used by any program, a healthy temperature is anything under or around 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). Under higher load, such as when playing a game, rendering a video, or other intensive tasks, your CPU consumes more power and, thus, runs at a higher temperature. This is more important than idle temperatures (assuming idle temps are fine) and you'll want to periodically monitor your CPU temperature under load to ensure it's adequately cooled during such conditions.
Under load, you want your CPU to ideally stay under 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit), though some CPUs may run hotter when they're in ultrabooks, gaming laptops, or small-form-factor (SFF) computers. You have some wiggle room to creep past 80 degrees Celsius, but anything above 95 degrees Celsius (203 degrees Fahrenheit) is critical. At this point, some CPUs will begin throttling, meaning the clock speed will slow down to ensure it doesn't overheat, and your PC may turn off.
More advanced users who want the utmost confidence that their CPU can handle aggressive workloads should stress test their CPU to 100% using a program like Prime95 or AIDA64 . When running such a stress test, keep a close eye on the temperatures, using the tools mentioned below, and back off once they reach too high a number, i.e. anything above 95 degrees Celsius. We consider an ideal stress test to be one hour long, though your maximum temperature will likely level off after 10-15 minutes.
How to Monitor Your CPU's Temperature
Checking your CPU temperature is as easy as firing up a monitoring program and using it to read out the value. Examples of these programs are HWMonitor, Core Temp, or NZXT's CAM. These three are just a few examples of many, and for the purpose of this how-to we'll show you how NZXT's CAM and Core Temp work because we have found that these two are the easiest to use for casual purposes.
CAM is developed by PC case, power supply and CPU cooler manufacturer NZXT. While it's intended to be used with their product, it works really well as a casual monitoring tool even if you don't own any NZXT hardware.
Once installed, CAM offers a well-presented user interface (UI). The first block features the CPU's status, which shows the load, temperature, clock speed and cooler fan speed. You can click on this block to access further details, as shown in the image below.
As you can see, the current temperature of this system's CPU is 41 degrees Celsius, which is a healthy idle temperature.
CAM also has an overlay, which automatically turns on when you enter a game when CAM is running. This overlay can show you your CPU's status while in-game, providing you with load temperature measurements.
You can also use the Core Temp tool to monitor the temperatures, which is a simpler tool that works with a more basic UI. Just be sure to untick the freeware in the installation menu first.
As you can see, this CPU has been running at a temperature of 46 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 75 degrees Celsius (167 degrees Fahrenheit) and is, therefore, running at a normal temperature. The stress test temperature was achieved by running Prime95 for about 30 minutes, though the CPU hit its maximum temperature of 75 degrees Celsius within 10 minutes.
With Core Temp, the best way to monitor your temperature while gaming is to just have a good session, and then check back in with the program to see what the maximum recorded temperature is. Again, if this figure is at or beyond 95 degrees, you should be concerned. Anything between 80 and 95 degrees may have room for improvement.
What Should I Do if my CPU Temperature Is too High?
If under load your CPU temperature is exceeding 80 degrees Celsius, you should check your system to ensure the CPU's cooling is adequate.
Here's a checklist of things to look for:
- Is your PC clean and free of dust (including radiator)?
- Are all your PC's fan's spinning under load?
- How old is your PC?
- When was the last time you applied fresh thermal paste between your CPU and CPU cooler? If it's been over three years, consider re-applying the thermal paste.
- Does your model CPU cooler specify a higher cooling capacity than your CPU's rated TDP?
- Are you using a SFF PC, too small of a CPU cooler or a laptop?
For SFF PCs and laptops, it's possible that there's minimal cooling, as the device was never intended to be used under high loads for extended periods of time. For example, most laptops come with very compact cooling solutions that work well for short term performance bursts but need to slow down during extended gaming sessions to stay below the shut-off threshold. Gaming laptops are often bulky because they're packed with extensive cooling systems.
If you are using a full-size gaming PC, however, and think your cooling should be adequate, you may want to re-apply thermal paste to your CPU. Most thermal paste's performance seriously degrades after about three years. Applying fresh paste and cleaning the system from dust can offer much better cooling power and significantly better performance. This applies both to pre-built and custom-built PCs.
Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.
What Temperature Should CPU Be And What is Normal Temperature?
When your PC exceeds the normal CPU temp range, there’s no need to panic. Instead, you can just use the following tips and tricks to reduce CPU temp before damage occurs. Then, you can game and create to your heart’s content without worrying about damaging your system. Here’s what you need to know.
There are cooling systems available for maintaining ideal CPU temperatures these days. Fans and heatsinks are the most common. There are also soft cooling solutions and liquid cooling methods available, with the latter the most preferred by gamers.
You can also invest in one of those industrial computer enclosures; these units are built with several fans, heat sinks and plenum chambers plus it was designed to keep your computer dust-free.
Maintaining optimal CPU temperatures is as important as retaining a virus- and malware-free computer. For a desktop computer that runs effectively, it is best that you take these tips to heart.
Consider using any of those monitoring applications mentioned in this article. You can also check out various cooling systems that will suit your computer usage.
Whether you are looking at your idle CPU temp or its performance under heavy load, you can expect temperature readings to rise when airflow is lacking. Your fans must properly move hot air out of the case while drawing cooler air inside to reduce CPU temps.
Unfortunately, if anything blocks airflow at either side of the tower, then you’re in trouble. So, check the placement of your PC to make sure its fans are completely unobstructed. If not, then move it to a more open area and check your temps again to see if it made a difference.
Clean Out the Dust Bunnies
As the fans operate, they tend to draw a lot of dust inside, which clings to the blades and piles up. The dust accumulation then makes it difficult for the fans to spin at the right speed. If any pet hair is in the mix, the combo could even block most of the vents, keeping air from properly circulating.
To keep this problem at bay, plan to clean all the dust off your fans at least once a month. You can blow out the fans with compressed air as long as you take care to keep the can upright while spraying. Also, since the dust is liable to spray all over the room, take the tower into the garage or other dry open area before cleaning it out.
If even your idle CPU temp consistently exceeds the norm, you might not have enough fans circulating air through your PC tower. Unfortunately, if you’re already maxed out, then you’ll have to get a bigger case before adding more fans.
When buying a new tower, go beyond checking its exterior dimensions to looking at how many fans it can use. Also, check the fan sizes and their location inside the case. Ideally, you want a case with 120mm or bigger fans along the front, back, and top. Side-mounted fans are welcome a bonus.
When installing fans in your case, their position matters greatly when it comes to maintaining a normal CPU temp. If they are not arranged in the right way, hot air could get trapped inside, driving up the operating temperature of all your hardware.
The fan at the front should suck in air from the room to cool everything down. If you have side fans, they should also draw in cool air. The fans at the back and top, on the other hand, should act as exhaust ports that push hot air out of the tower.
Your computer fans run at a set speed right out of the box, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave them chugging along at that rate. Instead, you can actually boost your fan speeds using software controls if they are connected to the motherboard. If they are attached directly to the power supply, however, you’ll need a hardware fan controller to make the changes.
If you use the Windows 10 operating system, you can set the fan speed through the BIOS. Otherwise, you might want to use a third-party fan control program, like SpeedFan. Either way, only change the fan speed percentage by 5 to 10 percent at a time to gradually reduce CPU temp.
Although it might seem like it makes sense to maximize airflow by opening up your case, that move tends to have the opposite effect. If you want your fans to do the heavy lifting, you need to keep the case closed at all times.
By keeping a tight lid on the tower, you create a direct route for the continuous flow of cool air to follow. Plus, the fans can effectively route hot air out of the tower and away from your hardware to maintain normal CPU temp.
Master Cable Management
Cable management is a difficult thing to master, but it is well worth the effort if you want to reduce CPU temps to the ideal range. When your cables are running wild through the tower, they are blocking proper airflow and driving up temperatures.
So, take the time to route them neatly along the case, keeping them well out of the way of the rest of the hardware. Your PC will not only look truly fantastic, but it will run at the optimal temperature as well.
Replace the Thermal Paste
A thin layer of thermal paste lies between your CPU and its cooler to help keep temperatures down. When properly applied and in good condition, the paste helps dissipate heat generated by the CPU, helping the cooler keep temps in the normal range. Over time, however, the paste can dry out, ruining its heat dissipating qualities.
Thankfully, when that happens, you can just open up your case, remove the cooler, and apply a new coat of thermal paste. During the reapplication process, gently scrub away all the old paste with a bit of isopropyl alcohol on a lint-free rag. Then, apply the new coat in an X-shape before fitting the CPU cooler back in place.
Verify CPU Cooler Placement
If you reapply the thermal paste and still have problems, your cooler could be seated incorrectly on the CPU. The heatsinks can only operate correctly when sitting directly against the CPU and its layer of paste.
If there’s any airflow at all between the two, your CPU temp will shoot out of the normal range. You can check by opening up your computer and taking a close look between the cooler and CPU. If you’re unsure, just remove and reinstall the cooler using a fresh application of thermal paste.
Although CPUs do not generally get hotter with age, their processing power can struggle to keep up as the years go by. New video games and other software programs tend to keep up with the abilities of all the newest hardware, making older systems struggle to keep up with demand. As the CPU pushes itself to its limits, temperatures are likely to rise, leaving you wondering just how to cool things off a bit.
Unfortunately, the likely answer is with a CPU upgrade that brings your PC up to date. Your processing speed can then keep up with the software’s demands, helping reduce CPU temp to the right level.
Adjust the Power Load
If you cannot swing a new CPU right now, that’s okay. Instead, you can reduce its maximize power load to keep it from overexerting itself. Then, it won’t try to burn itself out while running your preferred software programs, but performance could lag a bit.
In any case, you can make this change and see what happens, and then reverse it later if you’re not happy with the result. Depending on your operating system, you’ll likely need to move through the control panel to find the advanced power settings. From there, you can reduce CPU temp by moving the maximum processor state to 80 percent instead of 100 percent.
When it comes to reducing hardware temperature, your CPU cooler is the first chance at getting rid of all that heat. If it’s not up for the job, then everything has to work double time to make up for it.
So, if you still have the stock CPU cooler or equivalent, consider upgrading to a bigger model. Before jumping in feet first and buying the biggest cooler you can afford, remember to check if it will fit in your case. If not, then a tower upgrade is in order before you can make the jump.
Consider Water Cooling
If you have minimal space for gigantic heatsinks on an air cooler, then you might want to go with water cooling instead. You will still need room to mount the radiator, but the water-cooled models don’t demand as much space right above the motherboard.
As an added benefit, water cooling is quieter than air plus offer tons more cooling power when you buy a mid-range model and on up. They are quite pricey, however, demanding a good chunk of money to effectively reduce CPU temp ranges in your PC.
If your computer is suddenly displaying an idle CPU temp that’s far outside the norm, you could have a virus problem on your hands. When your PC is infected with viruses, the malware uses up your processing power and potentially overloads your CPU. The internal temp then increases in kind, leaving you wondering what’s got into your computer.
Thankfully, you can simply run a quick virus scan to find and remove the malware infecting your system. You may want to run scans using multiple programs if you don’t find any viruses with the first one. Start with your normal antivirus program, and then scan again with a program like Malwarebytes to see what you can find.
Skip the Urge to Overclock
Overclocking is all fun and games until normal CPU temps keep climbing ever upwards. If your CPU gets too hot, it will throttle its performance down anyway, so it’s wise to maintain a good balance. Plus, if it gets too hot, damage could occur, making it necessary to replace your CPU if not your motherboard and other important components as well.
For that reason, if you ever have to reduce CPU temp to prevent throttling and damage, skip the urge to overclock for the time being. From there, you can figure out why overclocking is causing overheating issues or see if something else is the culprit. In the meantime, running your PC at the normal rate will help protect your components as they operate at the ideal CPU temp.
It is crucial to keep your computer free from dust, dirt and other debris since they can clog your desktop’s insides and lead to overheating.
Clean your PC regularly with compressed air to remove dirt and dust buildup on the fans inside.
Humid, hot air can also affect your PC’s system and cause increased power consumption. It is recommended that you keep your PC away from enclosed areas and direct sunlight for sufficient airflow.
Make sure that your CPU has a fan that will pull air into it and another fan to drive air out. These fans should be parallel with the system, so the air that is pulled into the covered space is guided towards the CPU’s case while the fan driving the air out is actually eliminating heated air leaking out of the computer.
By taking any, or all, of the above steps, you can reduce CPU temperature and keep your PC in great condition over the years. You can then enjoy all your games and other software programs without worry about causing damage to your processor and other vital hardware components.
Idle temp cpu
On behalf of Tom's Moderator Team, welcome aboard!
The problem you've described is very common. Aside from a properly mounted and functioning CPU cooler, factors include ambient temperature, and how different users define the term "idle".
Just so you know, the International Standard for "normal" ambient (room) temperature is 22°C or 72°F. Obviously, for every degree ambient is above normal, so will be your idle and load Core temperatures.
The definition of "idle" is minimum activity at 1% CPU Utilization. If "idle" is really idle, then with your Cooler Master 410P and normal ambient temperature, the Cores should idle at about 2 Watts on a 3rd generation processor, with Core temperatures below 30 °C in a well ventilated case, just as you mentioned. Here's how idle power consumption (Watts) should look:
Low idle power consumption produces low Core temperatures.
If "SpeedStep", also called EIST (Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology), is disabled in BIOS, or Windows Power Options is set to “High Performance”, then depending on Vcore and Core speed, idle Power can exceed 30 Watts, which will result in high idle temperatures, especially when combined with high Ambient temperature.
SpeedStep and all "C" States must be enabled in BIOS. Also, if Windows Power Options for "Balanced" or "Power saver" is not set correctly, then SpeedStep will not work ... OR ... if Windows Power Options is set to "High performance", then SpeedStep will not work because Minimum processor state can‘t be set.
To check this, go to Settings > System > Power & sleep > Additional power settings > Change plan setting > Change advanced power settings > Processor power management > Minimum processor state. The default setting is 5%. If it's not, then correct it and click Apply.
If BIOS and Windows are indeed set up properly, then the problem points to excessive software activity. "Idle" means no programs or screensaver running, and off line. No Dropbox or Folding or SETI or "tray-trash" running in the background, and just 1 or 2% CPU Utilizationunder the "Performance" tab in Windows Task Manager. Here's how idle should look:
If you don't have low CPU Utilization at idle, then your processor can't reach low Core temperatures.
Check the "Process", "Startup" and "Services" tabs in Windows Task Manager to find unnecessary and excessive software activity. Often, users encounter the problem you described due to software which was installed or a Windows Update that coincides with when the problem was first noticed.
Once again, welcome aboard!
Click to expand...Sours: https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/cpu-idle-temps.3645819/
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