Is your computer's CPU too hot? If your PC starts to shut down spontaneously, crashes or slows down during intense tasks, overheating may be the problem. Keeping track of CPU temperatures is crucial when you are overclocking your PC processor.
Strangely, Windows offers no way to check CPU temperature. You can browse the system BIOS to find the information, but it is very complicated to identify a simple sensor reading. The good news is that there are several free programs that make it easy to view the temperature of your processor.
How to check CPU temperature
The fastest and easiest way to check CPU temperature is to use the Core Temp program. Be aware during the installation! Like many free services, it tries to install bloatware unless you uncheck a few boxes during the installation.
Once installed, open Core Temp to view the current state of your CPU, including an average temperature reading at the bottom of the window. If you would like even more details, click the button. Show hidden cones system tray located on the right edge of the Windows taskbar. You will see a list of temperatures for each individual CPU core in your computer.
The Core Temp Settings menu lets you adjust exactly what you see in the system tray and how you see it, but the default setting makes it easy to check for overheating or expected CPU performance.
Core Temp is not the only option. HWInfo is a detailed system monitoring tool that provides deep details about every piece of your PC hardware. If you choose to run it in sensors only mode, scroll down to the CPU section – the dedicated section, not the CPU temperature portion of the motherboard list – reveals the current times and other minute details.
NZXT Cam software is another popular option with a diverse skill set. Its interface is easier to read at a glance than most other monitoring tools, and the program shows all sorts of useful information about your CPU, graphics card, memory and storage. Cam also includes in-game FPS overlay and overclocking tools, among other features. You can use NZXT's Cam mobile apps to keep track of your software when away from your PC as well.
Open Hardware Monitor and SpeedFan are other well-regarded monitoring tools that can track system information. You have options! But by checking your computer's CPU temperature, Core Temp's direct focus cannot be overcome.
Finally, note that if you are running an AMD Ryzen system, including third generation models like Ryzen 9 3900X or Ryzen 5 3600X that we crown the best gaming processor for most people, you might see two different CPU temperatures readings. . You want to read "Tdie" depending on how the program you are using displays the information. a measure of the actual heat in the data. The alternative Tctl reading is the control temperature reported to your cooling system and sometimes includes a temperature shift to ensure universal fan speed behavior between the various Ryzen chips. Any of the above programs that list a single temperature account for offset j.
What is the best temperature for your CPU?
Maximum supported temperature varies from processor to processor. Most free monitoring software mentioned above lists the information as Tj. Max. This means temperature junction or the highest operating temperature of the hardware. If you do not see the information for any reason, search the CPU World website for your CPU model number to find the information. All programs listed above display your processor model number, making it easy to locate.
But this is the maximum temperature – the point at which your processor panics and shuts down to prevent damage. Running regularly anywhere near hot is bad for the long term life of your hardware. Instead, follow this general rule regarding CPU temperatures under load.
- Below 60 C: You're doing great!
- From 60 C to 70 C: It's still working fine, but getting a little warmer. Consider dusting your PC if CPU temperatures keep rising over time.
- From 70 C to 80 C: It is hotter than you want to run unless you are pressing an overclock. If not, check that your fans are running and that there are no rabbits obstructing the system airflow.
- From 80 C to 90 C: We are now too hot for long term comfort. Check for broken fans or accumulated dust on the hardware, and if you are overclocking, reset the settings – especially the voltage if you have adjusted it. A notable exception: Sometimes we see the most powerful laptop processors hit the low 80s during gaming sessions when connected, and at that point they start to slow down. This is expected, but if temperatures exceed 85 C, worry.
- Over 90 C: Danger!
How to lower CPU temperature
If you regularly encounter high CPU temperatures, there are some steps you can take to try to correct the problem.
First, clean your PC. High CPU temperatures are usually caused by years of dust and dirt accumulated inside a PC, clogging the fans and various crucial areas. Local hardware stores often charge exorbitant prices to extract all that dirt, but you can buy a specific spray bottle for removal for about $ 8 from Amazon. PCWorld's guide to cleaning your PC can guide you through the process. While you're at it, make sure all your fans are working properly and that none of your PC's air vents are blocked.
I hope this solves the problem. Otherwise, more intensive steps will be required. The thermal paste that transfers heat from the CPU to the cooler may have dried up if you have had the PC for a few years. This can cause temperature spikes. Removing the old thermal pulp with alcohol and a new application layer can help lower temperatures in large quantities.
If all this doesn't help, your cooling solution may simply not be able to keep up with your CPU's heat output, especially if you're pairing a standard or modest third-party cooler with high-end chips – and doubly if you're doing it. overclocking Buying a new CPU cooler may be in order.
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 is a solid and affordable air cooler. With its larger heatsink and fan, a solid step from AMD and Intel CPU coolers. Rising in size and price, the Noctua NH-D14 is one of the most effective air coolers that has ever hit the streets, but its large size may block memory access or may not even fit in smaller cases.
Closed-circuit liquid cooling solutions (CLCs) provide much lower temperatures than air coolers, with minimal hassle and easy installation. The EVGA 120mm unit is an excellent basic CLC, but if you plan on overclocking, consider switching to a larger 240mm radiator model like the EVGA CLC 240. All of this metal and extra fans can accommodate even fiercer overclocks. Several brands are available, but we are using EVGA's closed loop cooler in PCWorld's powerful dedicated video card testing system for excellent results.