The processor (or processor) is the brain of your computer, so it is essential that it functions correctly and without problems. Under stress, the processor temperature may start to heat up, in which case your PC may start to slow down, crash and – in the long run – the processor may die.
So what is the temperature too high for your processor? What temperature should it be? The operating temperature of the processor should ideally be between 30 ° C and 40 ° C, with some going up to 70 ° C and 80 ° C. Anything above, especially in the 90 ° C area, and you ask a limitation and a failure. Here you will learn how to identify the causes and solutions of an overheating processor.
How to Monitor Your Processor Temperature
Checking the temperature of your processor is very easy. If you are using Windows, Speccy is a great diagnostic tool that tells you everything about your PC including processor temperature. MSI Afterburner is another great tool for monitoring your CPU and GPU temperatures.
Mac users can type Cat, which doesn’t go into as much detail as Speccy, but shows up as a widget in your notification center for easy access to your CPU and fan stats.
Linux fans can check the temperature of their CPU using the psensor tool.
Identify and reduce high CPU usage
Once you’ve confirmed that you do have an overheating processor, it’s time to try to identify the cause. Potential issues can lie on the software or hardware side of your PC, so there is still a lot to be addressed.
It’s easier to get started with software solutions, so one of the first things you can do in Windows 10 is to press Ctrl + Offset + Esc and see if your CPU usage is unusually high. Weaker CPUs can often be under great strain from certain Windows processes and services, and we’ve noted a list of common fixes for high CPU usage in Windows 10. We also have a similar guide on how which Linux users can reduce high CPU usage. .
Too much dust
Cleaning your computer can do wonders for temperature gauges. If your fan speed seems too high, you may need to open your PC and clean it.
Too much dust can clog the fans and heat sink fins, but luckily cleaning the inside of your computer is easy:
Ground yourself by touching metal to prevent electric shock to parts of the computer. Using compressed air from a distance of 6 inches, remove dust accumulations from the fan blades, power supply, motherboard and all other components. For hard-to-reach areas, use a cotton swab dipped in> 90% isopropyl alcohol.
Heatsink improperly installed
If you applied thermal grease and your processor temperature does not drop after a few days after the brief break-in period, your heat sink may be improperly installed.
When this occurs, the heat sink does not fully contact the processor, which can cause overheating.
To resolve this issue, simply remove the heat sink and reapply it to the processor. Make sure it is aligned with the mounting points around the perimeter of the processor and lock it in place with a screwdriver or via tabs, depending on your heat sink.
Invest in a new CPU heatsink / cooler
A CPU cooler keeps your chip cool by drawing heat from the CPU to the baseplate / heat pipes.
The heat passes from gas to liquid through the condenser and cools down through the radiator fins and fan. This “cooled liquid”, or cooling liquid, goes back down through the evaporator to be able to be reused.
The whole process essentially reuses the same heat that was originally generated by the processor. So if your CPU cooler / heatsink is outdated, the reuse of that heat will not be cooled.
If you’re interested in learning more, check out our guide on how to choose the right CPU cooler for your PC.
Reapply thermal paste
Thermal paste fills the spaces between a CPU processor and the heat sink and contributes to efficient heat transfer.
Running a processor without thermal paste is like driving a car without oil. And what happens when you ignore the obvious warning signs, like a check engine light? Instant engine failure.
Here is a quick guide on how to apply thermal grease to a processor:
- To check if your CPU needs new thermal grease, locate the heat sink and remove it from the processor. Wipe off any excess paste and squeeze a pea-sized amount of paste onto the processor. Put the heat sink back on the processor (which will distribute the paste evenly outward) and monitor the temperature for a few days using Speccy.
A severe malware infection will make your processor work harder and your computer will run at a snail’s pace.
Some common malware infections that cause CPU temperature to spike include:
- Viruses (system infectors, file infectors and macro)
- Trojans (backdoor, rootkit, exploit, among others)
- Worms (e-mail, internet, network)
Malware that uses a lot of resources tends to create high CPU temperatures and noisy fans; notable examples are the Bitcoin Miner viruses (Otorun, Kolab, BTMine).
We took a yearly review of Windows Defender and found it to be just as good as the best third-party antivirus software, but if you want a lightweight tool to add an extra layer of security, on top of that, Malwarebytes is a favorite here at MTE.
Overclocking is the process of increasing the processor clock speed / clock rate through the BIOS setting, which increases the overall performance of your computer.
But at a low price: overclocking = more CPU heat generation = higher temperature
This is not always the case, however. If you invest in a good heatsink / CPU cooler setup, your CPU should stay cool all the time.
But if you overclock excessively with a below average cooling system, the CPU will overheat, slow down and may cause the system to crash. We mentioned MSI Afterburner earlier, which is also overclocking software. Here is our overclocking guide for the tool, which also shows how to stop overclocking.
Hopefully your PC is fine now, but it can also be affected by questionable Windows 10 updates. Check out our guide to the latest Windows 10 update issues and how to fix them. Another essential health check is your hard drive, and we also have you covered to monitor the status of your SSD or HDD.
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