CPU Over Heating


What is a normal CPU temperature?

It really depends on the model and make of your CPU, the best place for you to consult will be the manufacturer document for maximum temperature. For example Intel core i5 for socket 1156 maximum temperature is 99 C0, however this does not mean you can run the CPU at 99 C0 instead most motherboard will cut the power to the CPU at around 90 C0, consider this as safe working capacity. So what is the best temperature for your CPU?

This usually ranges between minimum and maximum temperature and an average temperature. Modern second, third and fourth generation CPU’s temperature at Idle range around between 40 C0 and 50 C0 using standard fan and a heat sink, the temperature increases with increase in clock speed. However it should not hit the maximum safe working temperature.

If your CPU temperature is close to the maximum safe working temperature even when your PC is not doing anything this could be result of any of the following reasons:

  • CPU FAN is not installed properly
  • CPU FAN speed is slow due to its age, dust etc.
  • Silicon compound between the heat sink and the CPU is dried
  • Your computer casing does not have enough exhaust fan and or holes
  • Your power supply FAN is not working or degraded. If there are no other FAN in the tower Power supply FAN is the only FAN that works as exhaust to get rid of the heat.
  • Your CPU may be over clocking


If your CPU is heating up more than it should your CPU may get a permanent damage, or degraded performance. In some cases if your motherboard has safety mechanism fitted your compute will shut off as if you have unplugged the power to save CPU from a a permanent damage.

How to Check CPU temperature?

You can check your CPU’s temperature from BIOS. Most BIOS display the current CPU temperature. Alternatively you can download and install CPU utility onto your computer to check current temperature for your CPU. My favourite utility is core temp.

How to test CPU for Performance

To find out how your CPU’s temperature will reacts with the increase in load, you can use combination of two utilities core temp for temperature and Heavy Load to run stress test, both of these utilities are freeware. You will need to run both utilities at the same time. When you run the stress test your CPU temperature will start to go up and if you run this test for 15 minutes you will have fair idea how far your CPU temperature will go at 100 % load.

Thermal compound for computer CPU
Thermal compound for computer CPU


If your CPU is running hotter than it should or you would like to just improve the performance of your PC by keeping it cool you can apply the following tips:

  • Clean dust using compressed air.
  • Make sure your computer’s power supply is clean and the fan is working.
  • Remove heat sink from your process clean processes and heat sink surface with alcohol wipe, apply good quality silicon paste/ thermal compound on process and place the heat sink back on.
  • Make sure the heat sink is connected with the motherboard properly.
  • Replace your standard heat sink with better quality one.
Standard heat sink and fan
Standard heat sink and fan
Good heat sink and fan
Good heat sink and fan

Finally run the test again for your computer temperature to compare the difference. Last but not least it is common to believe that room temperature effect computer, it does have a minor effect but room temperature usually stay below 60 C0 and therefore it cannot cause your process to fail.