How Hot Should My CPU Be At Safe Temperatures?

How Hot Should My CPU Be At Safe Temperatures?

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Whether you’ve built a new gaming rig or want to check up on your old trusted machine, monitoring your CPU’s temperatures is always a good idea. But, monitoring your processor’s temperatures will be useless if you don’t know the optimal temperature range it should be operating at.

So, this detailed guide explains safe CPU temp and how you can determine whether your processor is operating within the safe range.  This article will also explain how to check your system’s normal temperature range. So without further ado, let’s dive right in. 

The Quick Answer – What Is Your Safe CPU Temp?

Every CPU is designed to operate at slightly different temperature ranges. Therefore, there’s no size fit all solution to determine a particular safe CPU temp range. Still, generally, experts consider the following temperature range (whether you are using AMD or Intel processor) a serious cause for concern: 

  • >45 degrees Celsius – Safe Idle Cpu Temp
  • >95 – 100 degrees Celsius – Safe Full-load CPU Temp

If your CPU regularly hits these upper-temperature limits, you need to investigate the cause. However, as we said before, this is just a generalization. To better understand whether your CPU temperature is acceptable or not, read on. 

How To Check CPU Temp

How To Check CPU Temp

There are a few ways to check your CPU’s core temperature. For instance, you can find it out through your motherboard BIOS settings. Remember, though. It will take just your CPU idle temp. Also, it will be higher when the system is idling in windows. BIOS boots your processor using higher voltage to ensure proper initialization. 

Using third-party software is a better way to read your CPU temperature at both idle and full load. There are several CPU temperature monitor tools, such as: 

  • Core Temp
  • MSI Afterburner
  • HWMonitor
  • SolarWinds CPU Load Monitor
  • Open Hardware Monitor

To give you some idea, I will be using Core Temp to check my CPU’s temperature:

As you can see in the screenshot above, I am using an Intel core i7 3720QM processor. It’s a quad-core processor, and you can see the individual temperature on each of the four cores. When I took this screenshot, my processor’s cores were running at an average of about 52 degrees celsius (which is a bit on the higher side). 

You can also see that my processor’s load is less than 5%, which means it is currently “idle.” So, my CPU temperature is idling at about 52 degrees Celsius. 

To check your temperature under a heavy load, you have to stress test your system with the help of a benchmarking tool. There are several great benchmarking (or stress-testing) tools in the market. While there are lots of disagreements about which one’s the best, you can try any one of them mentioned below: 

  • PCMark10
  • Burnin Test
  • HeavyLoad
  • Intel Extreme Tuning Utility

You Know Your CPU’s Normal Temp at Idle And Under Load – What’s Next?

Once you have your CPU’s ideal and stress test numbers, the next step is determining whether they’re normal. But, there’s one problem! 

Intel and AMD don’t provide specific numbers for what they consider “normal.” In fact, you cannot even find that information on the internet because there is no normal. Several factors influence the temperature of the system’s CPU cores, and if Intel or AMD offered a one-size-fits-all solution, it would cause more harm than good. 

Therefore, the only way to determine your CPU’s “normal” temperature is by comparing temperatures from people who use the same processor, with the same components, and for the same purpose. Online forums where similar users hang out are a good place to start. 

5 Factors That Determine Your Processor’s Temperature

Factors That Determine Your Processor’s Temperature

1. Processor

A newer Intel Core i7 will run at a very different core temperature than an older model of Intel Core i3 – both while idling and under load. Likewise, an AMD Ryzen 9 will run at a very different temperature than an AMD Ryzen 5 – both while idling and under load. 

Similarly, a Core i7 processor in an older laptop will run at a very different temperature than the same processor when used in a desktop version. Therefore, the first thing to remember is to never compare your CPU temperature with someone using a completely different processor. 

2. Room Temperature

The next thing you should consider is the room or ambient temperature. Suppose you’ve built a new gaming rig with an Intel Core i7-12700K and notice it’s idling at 34 degrees Celsius.

It makes you wonder why your CPU is running at about 3 degrees higher than someone you saw on Youtube whose computer was running the same processor at about 31 degrees Celsius. 

One possible reason can be a different room temperature. Your room temperature may be higher than their room temperature. And that room temp difference is causing your CPU to run at a higher temperature. 

Therefore, consider room temperature before you get your panties in a bunch. 

3. CPU Cooling Mechanism

There are 2 main things to consider when it comes to CPU Cooling mechanisms: 

CPU Cooler and Thermal Paste.

The better your CPU cooler, the better your CPU temperatures will be. If you are using a stock cooler (that comes with the CPU), your CPU will likely be running at a higher temperature than someone using a custom-loop water cooling setup. 

The same holds for a thermal paste. Usually, the stock thermal paste (already applied to your CPU) doesn’t give as good a heat transfer as a high-quality thermal compound. Scrapping the old paste off and reapplying a new one can also improve your core temperatures if you are using an old system. 

Therefore, consider the CPU cooler and thermal paste you’re using if you want to compare temperatures. 

4. A Better CPU Case

A better case with a higher airflow will lead to much better CPU temperatures. It will push more air over your CPU, leading to better cooling. So, you may have a similar processor and cooler combo as someone else, but you may get higher CPU temps because they are using a better case. 

5. Overclocking

Are you overclocking your CPU? It’s a process of setting up your CPU to run faster than normal. And when your CPU runs faster, it produces more heat. 

Of course, you can offset this extra heat by better cooling. However, if you are overclocking your CPU, you have to look at the temperatures in the same context. 

Don’t compare your overclocked CPU temperatures to someone’s normal CPU temperatures. 

Max CPU Temperatures – How Hot Is Too Hot (Quick Answer)

If you are running an Intel CPU, you’re in luck. You can easily find the max safe CPU temp for every Intel chip on the official intel website.

But, figuring out the max temperature can be a bit challenging if you use an AMD processor. In that case, you must search online to find out what others are getting and compare the numbers

So, if your Intel or AMD CPU consistently hits those higher numbers, something may be wrong, and you need to fix the high CPU temperatures. 

How To Lower CPU Temp

Below are some quick tips to help you fix high CPU temp and bring it down: 

  • Lower your usage
  • Change your system settings
  • Clean your system
  • Get a better case 
  • Add more fans
  • Get a better CPU Cooler
  • Reconfigure your Cooler fans for better airflow
  • Use a better thermal paste

Safe CPU Temp While Gaming

Well, it depends on various factors. When you are gaming, your system is running at full load. Therefore, consider the max temperature limit of your CPU. 

Generally, most Intel CPUs are designed with a max operating temperature of 100 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, Ryzen chips have a TJ max range of up to 110 degrees Celsius. So, if your CPU temperature fluctuates under this range, it can be considered “safe.” 

Wrapping It Up

We hope this guide gave you a better understanding of what safe CPU temperature is for you. So, don’t freak out if your processor’s core temp isn’t low when comparing it with someone else. It’s only a cause of concern when your core temperatures are too high compared to a similar use case. Thank you for reading.