When computers overheat it is typically due to the central processing unit (CPU) being too hot. This can happen for a number of reasons such as lack of ventilation, dust or malfunctioning parts. If you begin to notice that your computer is hotter than normal, you will want to know how to check your CPU temp.
Why Would You Need to Check CPU Temp?
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). Measuring CPU Temperature By CMOS Setup: There is also another method to check your CPU temperature i.e though the ” motherboard setup ”. In motherboard setup you will have an option like ” System Health ” Or ” PC Health Status ” Or ” Sensors ” Or something similar based on the manufacturer. Being a programmer at heart, I set out to search for a way to measure the CPU temperature through software. A quick Google search shows you that you can run the vcgencmd measuretemp command. Now that the topic of checking the Raspberry PI CPU temperature piqued my interest, my curiosity led me to research a bit further.
The CPU is responsible for completing the instructions received from the hardware and software. When it’s too hot it can cause considerable damage to your device. It’s good practice to periodically check your CPU temp to ensure you aren’t inflicting any unnecessary harm on your device.
Your computer may be too hot because you’re overclocking your CPU. Overclocking is when you modify your processor to achieve higher performance than it was originally made for. This can cause your CPU’s temp to increase because it is being forced to work harder than the manufacturer intended.
If you own a thin computer, then you might notice it gets hot faster than other computers. Manufacturers have done away with fans on some new, smaller laptops. Though thin laptops may not have fans, they still have the same powerful processors which can overheat. Owners of these thin computers usually need to buy exterior accessories to cool their computers.
After using your device for many years, there may be dust buildup that stops the fans from cooling the CPU. Keeping your computer clean from dust can help extend its life by years. Perform regular checks on your computer’s parts to ensure the fans are clean. They may even need replacement parts to run more smoothly.
In addition to dirty or worn down parts, old computers run a higher risk of acquiring malware that can corrupt your device and steal your data. Download Panda Security’s free antivirus on your device to clean up any potential threats.
Sometimes a crash or shutdown has nothing to do with your software and hardware. It is the computer trying to protect itself. When a device has been running too hot for too long, your computer will turn itself off to prevent any further or long-term damage.
You may also notice that as your computer’s programs slow down when the CPU gets hotter. When you have a lot of information on your computer, the processor has to work harder to keep up with all of the information and it heats up faster than normal.
Decluttering your computer can help if you want to make your computer faster. You can do this by freeing up space on your RAM, hard disk, deleting old files and removing unnecessary programs.
How to Find the CPU Temp Manually
There are a couple of ways that you can manually check CPU. If you are a Windows user, you may be wondering how to check CPU temp on Windows 10.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to check this, so you will have to opt to check your basic input-output system (BIOS). The BIOS is located on the motherboard and is the first software that starts when you power on your computer. It’s responsible for making sure all of the hardware in the device turns on and runs properly.
The BIOS can be found in computers from decades ago and is slowly being phased out. Many new PC’s operate with the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) software. This new software runs much faster and has fewer limitations. You can check your BIOS/UEFI software when you reboot your computer. As your computer restarts it will give you a designated key to access your processor settings (typically: F12, F2, ESC or DEL).
How to check BIOS/UEFI from advanced start menu in windows 10:
Step 1: Go to Settings in the taskbar.
Step 2: Scroll to Update & Security.
Step 3: Select Recovery in the side panel.
Step 4: Hit Restart now under Advanced startup.
Step 5: Select troubleshoot from reboot screen.
Step 6: Select Advanced options.
Step 7: Click UEFI Firmware Settings.
Step 8: Click Restart to confirm.
From here you’ll be taken to a screen where you can find what your CPU temp is under the PC Health Status or System Hardware Monitor.
How to Find the CPU Temp With An App: Core Temp
If you are looking for a fast way to check your CPU temp, it can be done quickly by downloading apps. There are apps to check CPU temp on both Windows and Mac devices. One of the most accessible ways to monitor the temperature of all your computer’s processors is with the Core Temp app.
Follow these steps to check CPU temperature with Core Temp:
Step 1: Open the application from your desktop.
Step 2: Locate the temperatures of your processors at the bottom of the widget.
Step 3: Maneuver to the bottom of your taskbar and select “show hidden icons” to quickly access core temps.
If you are looking to check CPU temp for macOS then you can download the Fanny Widget that allows you to monitor your fans and CPU temp right from your menu bar. For more control, you can even download SpeedFan, which allows you to manually control the speeds of your fans. For gamers and those wishing to access more information, you can download HWMonitor for a more detailed layout.
What’s the Best CPU Temp for Your Computer?
To keep your computer in the best possible shape, it is ideal that you keep your temps under 60°C. Anything under this temperature and your computer should be able to perform its best without inflicting damage to your computer.
If you find that your computer is consistently sitting between 60°C and 80°C, then it’s probably time for a cleaning. Check to make sure your fans are running properly and not hindered by dust.
Make sure that your processor is not reaching temperatures over 90°C. This will cause serious damage to your computer. If CPU temperature is high, look into replacing fans and reverting any overclocking adjustments you might have made.
5 Tips for Keeping Your CPU Temp Down
Keeping your computer free from any internal harm and external damage is the best formula for a long-lasting device. Try some of these tips and techniques to keep all of your parts in top shape:
1. Clean Your PC
There are a few ways to keep the inside and outside of your computer clean. You can use a dust rag and a disposable compressed air duster to keep debris off of the interior and exterior. You can also open the casing to carefully vacuum around the fans and other hardware components.
2. Replace Your Thermal Paste
There are times when an overheating issue can be easily solved by removing the old layer of thermal paste and adding a new one. This is what transfers the heat from your CPU to the cooler, and when it dries up your CPU temp can increase.
3. Purchase a New CPU Cooler
If you are still having trouble cooling down your computer, it might be time for some new fans with a new cooler. You can easily install a water cooling solution in addition to your fans, or even in place of them.
4. Use a Laptop Stand
An effective way to increase airflow and protect your device is to use a laptop stand. A hard and flat surface is the best way to keep your laptop free from suffocating. Laptop stands also hold your computer at the optimal angle for staying cool and user performance.
5. Keep Your Laptop Malware Free
Malware is software written for the purposes of harming you and your device. Malware can be used by governments to attack other foreign government systems. It can be used to spy on personal information, destroy files, make threats and send you advertisements. Installing antivirus software is the most effective way to keep your hard work and personal information secure.
If you have an old computer that is constantly running too hot, it might be time to perform some of these basic checks. Consistent monitoring of CPU temps can prevent early retirement of your computer. Unfortunately, if you cannot seem to lower the temperature no matter what you do, then it might be time for new parts or even a new computer.
Sources: Chron Howtogeek Computerhope Hardwaresecrets
Is your CPU overheating? Learn how to check CPU temperatures and discover which is the best CPU temperature software that you can download for free.
Difference Between CPU Temp and Core Temp
Checking CPU temperature is supposed a straightforward affair, but the varying definitions of CPU temps have confused many people (and techies). But no worries we're here to explain everything in plain English and clear the air once and for all:
CPU Temperature = Tcase
Tcase is CPU temperature measurement taken from the center of the CPU's topsurface (heat spreader). This temperature is measured by a diode embedded between the CPU cores.
When Intel, AMD and tech articles mention 'CPU temperature', they are referring to Tcase (unless otherwise stated).
In short, Tcase is the only temperature that most computer users should bother with (unless you intend to overclock heavily). It is useful for determining your CPU's idle temperature, normal temperature and maximum temperature.
Core Temperature = Tjunction
Tjunction (also known as TJ) is the CPU core temperature, measured by a digital thermal sensor DTS located within each CPU core.
While Tjunction is of little concern to most people, serious overclockers do need to pay attention to their CPU's Tjunction Max (or TJ Max). Tjunction Max is the highest temperature a CPU will tolerate before it throttles (lower its clock speed to prevent overheating).
Therefore the goal of a hardcore overclocker is to push a CPU's speed as far as possible without going over its Tjunction Max. However, we do not recommend this practice as running a CPU at such high temperatures will shorten its lifespan over time.
What is the Best CPU Temperature Software?
The good news is that there are a handful of excellent CPU temp software that you can download for free: Core Temp, HWMonitor, Real Temp and SpeedFan.
Among these popular freeware, we find HWMonitor to be the best CPU temp software for most people due to the following reasons:
- It measures actual CPU temperature (Tcase) - This makes its results simple to understand and compare. On the other hand, Core Temp and Real Temp measures Tjunction, which can be confusing to novice users who are learning how to check CPU temperature.
- It produces consistent and accurate temperature readings - While SpeedFan measures Tcase as well, its users have reported inaccurate readings for certain CPU models.
- It's an all-in-one temperature monitoring software - Besides checking CPU temperature, you can also monitor the temperatures of your hard drives and graphics cards as well.
If you're intending to overclock your CPU past the maximum safe temperature recommended by Intel or AMD, then we suggest Real Temp instead. With two calibration points (Tjunction Max and Tjunction Idle), it is the most accurate CPU temp software for measuring core temps.
Measure Processor Temperature App
How to Check CPU Temperature in Windows
1. Download and install HWMonitor.
2. Restart your computer and leave it to idle at Windows desktop for 20 minutes (to give time for CPU temps to stabilize).
3. Open the HWMonitor program to check CPU temperature:
4. Your idle CPU temperatures will be listed under Core #0, Core #1, Core #2 and Core #3 (outlined in red above). If your CPU has just two physical cores, the software will only display Core #0 and Core #1.
Now that we have our idle temperatures, let's find out what is your maximum CPU temperature. To do that, we'll need Prime95, a torture test that will push your CPU to its limit so we can record its highest operating temperature.
5. Download and install Prime95.
6. Open Prime95 > Choose 'Small FFTs (see image below) > Click OK
7. After running Prime95 for 20 minutes, open HWMonitor again to check CPU temperature. Take note of your Core #0, Core #1, (Core #2 and Core #3) temperatures - These readings will indicate your maximum CPU temperature.
Running Prime95 for 20 minutes is more than sufficient for checking CPU temperatures. To test your CPU's long term stability, you should leave Prime95 on for 12 to 24 hours.
Recommended Motherboard CPU Combos
Budget Computer: AMD Athlon 3000G CPU + Gigabyte B450M DS3H Motherboard
Mid Range Computer: AMD Ryzen 5 3400G CPU + Gigabyte B450M Aorus M Motherboard
Gaming Computer: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU + Asus AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus Motherboard
Home Theater PC: AMD Ryzen 3 3200G CPU + Gigabyte B450 I Aorus Pro Wi-Fi Motherboard
Processor Temperature Monitoring
- Recommended Motherboard CPU Combos
- AMD CPU Socket Types
- How to Check CPU Temperature
- Intel CPU Temperatures - Idle, Load, Max Temps
- How to Apply CPU Thermal Grease
- How to Install a CPU