Whenever you’re running graphically intensive applications on your computer, you may notice the temperature getting a little hot under the hood. As more electricity or processing power is required for a CPU to operate, it tends to get hotter. In most cases, it’s completely normal for the CPU to get a little hot. In fact, temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius are frequently acceptable. However, it’s important we understand if our CPU is overheating or not. We’ll show you how to check CPU temperature in order to make sure that it stays within a safe range.
What Is Considered A “Safe” CPU Temperature?
Unfortunately, it’s not immediately obvious as to whether or not your current CPU’s temperature is unsafe or not. However, if you know your CPU’s maximum operating temperature you can then decide if your CPU is overheating. This is the highest temperature at which a CPU or GPU can operate at full capacity. This value varies from system to system, but the latest processors tend to have a standard max operating temperature at 100 degrees Celsius. So it important to check CPU temperature and maintain it below the max temperature.
As a rule of thumb under heavy loads such as gaming or designing, your temperature should be about 10-15 degrees less than the max temperature. When your system is idle, it should be 30-40 degrees lower.
Most computers modern-day computers are packed with Intel processors. If you want to find out your max operating temperature, search for your processor on the Intel’s ARK (Automated Relational Knowledgebase). Just select the “Processors” tab and find your processor or use the search bar. When you reach the specifications page, look for the “Package Specifications” subheading. The T-junction temperature is “the maximum temperature allowed at the processor”, in other words, the maximum operating temperature.
Why Does Your CPU’s Temperature Increase?
There are several reasons as to why your CPU may be overheating. It may be a minor issue or a possible hardware malfunction. We’ve listed some of the common reasons below:
- Heavy Loads: Let’s say your computer is running graphically intensive applications such as financial models, 3-D games, or CAD software. This will cause your CPU to use more power and heat up as a result. In a lot of cases, your CPU will automatically reduce its clocking frequency to reduce the temperature. In that case, you’ll notice a huge frame rate or performance drop in the application you’re running.
- Airflow Issues: A computer may have a sealed casing, but you may not realize the amount of dust that collects on the inside over time. As time passes, air vents become clogged and prevent natural cooling. You can keep your computer’s vents dust and debris free using a handy can of compressed air.
- Cooler Failure: The most common cooling method used for CPU’s are mechanical fans. Fans can wear out over time and can reduce its cooling effect. The best option here is to have a professional replace it for you or chip in for a liquid cooler if you’ve got some cash to spare.
If you are worried, then here are some of the best tools to check CPU temperature and manage them easily.
Best Tools to Check CPU Temperature
It’s actually very easy to check your CPU’s temperature with the vast amount of tools out there. Below we’ve listed some of the best applications that will display your CPU’s temperature accurately.
1. MSI Afterburner
MSI Afterburner is often used by gamers to overclock their CPU to maximize gaming performance. Hence, it’s also one of the best tools to check CPU temperature. The CPU temperature is displayed right when you open up the application. MSI Afterburner also lets you set your custom fan profile, allowing you to see your cooling effects over time graphically.
Speccy is an excellent way to check your system’s temperature. It displays all of the important temperature details for your CPU, Motherboard, Graphics Cards and Hard Drives.
Clicking on the temperature icon will bring up a real-time temperature monitoring graph. Speccy is also great software to learn more about your computer’s specifications. Clicking on the main tabs towards the left of the interface will open detailed specifications for each major hardware component.
3. Open Hardware Monitor
Open Hardware Monitor is one of the best solutions to get all of your computer’s statistics in one place. This software displays your CPU’s and GPU’s temperature and the voltages being used on the computer. Moreover, you can even know how fast your computer’s fans are spinning. It helps you keep an eye on all your system’s temperatures.
If you expand your CPU’s tab within the application, it will display the temperature for each and every core of your CPU. You can also add the temperature to your system tray by right-clicking the core temp and selecting “Add to tray”. Now your system’s temperature will be readily available on your Windows taskbar.
4. Core Temp
Core Temp has a relatively simple to use interface and gets right to the point of displaying your CPU’s temperature. You can see the temperature changing in real-time as your workload changes. Similar to Open Hardware, it’s capable of displaying the temperature of each individual core and processor. Additionally, you can also view the maximum prescribed temperature for each core as well as the percentage load acting upon it. If you want an application solely for temperature monitoring, this is the one to use.
We hope by now you know how to check your CPU temperature. Ensuring your computer is operating at a safe temperature is important for the CPU’s health and longevity. If you notice an abnormally high CPU temperature, make sure you shut off your computer and have a professional technician take a look. Cheers!