The temperature of your computer’s CPU is one of the most sure sign ways to diagnose your computer’s health. As with most electronics, the rule of thumb if that cooler is better.
In this article we will be looking at some of the ways you can check CPU Temperature on your computer We won’t directly be getting our hands dirty with your motherboard’s built-in diagnostic tool (via the BIOS). We will instead be starting with a couple of tools that will let you check your CPU’s temperature without having to restart your computer. So let’s get going!
Table of Contents:
Checking the CPU Temperature using Open Hardware Monitor
The Open Hardware Monitor is an open source program that lets you measure a number of things, including the CPU temperature of your computer. It is free to download and it lets you diagnose your hardware without having to restart the computer or having to install the application. It supports most hardware monitoring chips found in modern motherboards and it is compatible with most operating systems including 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 8.1 / 10 and any x86 based Linux operating systems.
Follow these steps:
- In the browser of your choice, go to Open Hardware Monitor.
- Click on the “Download Open Hardware Monitor” button. You will be redirected to a new page. Click on the “Download Now” button.
- Unzip the downloaded file. Navigate the “OpenHardwareMonitor” folder and open the OpenHardwareMonitor application.
- You will be presented with a measurement of your CPU temperature among a number of other factors like fan speeds, voltages, load and clock speeds. You can compare these readings to the recommended limits provided in your system’s documentation.
Using Intel XTU to measure CPU Temperature
If you own an Intel processor, the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility tool is probably the best tool to get details about your system and its hardware. The XTU’s monitoring functions is however a secondary tool and its primary function is as Intel’s official overclocking application. That means you can also use this tool to tweak CPU settings, graphics and RAM. The only reason we’ve listed Intel XTU after Open Hardware Monitor is because it requires you to restart your computer.
To check your CPU temperature using Intel XTU, follow these steps:
- Download the tool from Intel’s download center.
- Once you’ve downloaded the installer, install the application by following the on-screen instructions in the Installer window.
- You will have to restart your system to open the Intel XTU application. At the lower panel of the window, you will find the CPU temperature listed as the package temperature.
Checking the CPU Temperature in the BIOS
If all else fails, or maybe if you don’t want any third-party application on your computer, you can also rely on the BIOS to give you a measure of your CPU’s Temperature. BIOS (or Basic Input-Output System) is a sort of a basic menu that lets you change the basic settings of your computer.
To check your CPU temperature using BIOS, follow these steps:
- Restart your system. When your computer reboots, press “F2” (or “F10” or “Del” in some systems) to access BIOS. (In most cases, the right key will be displayed in the screen with the Manufacturer’s logo.)
- Once you’re in BIOS, you will have to navigate through the sections to find the section that lists the CPU temperature. Now BIOS programs will differ in the way they look based on the version and the build of the motherboard. But in most versions, the temperature is usually listed in the section named “H/W Monitor”. (Alternatively, look for sections named “Status”, “PC Health” etc.)
- You should find the CPU Temperature listed there along with a number of other hardware/system measurements such as CPU Fan speed.
At this point, it is worth discussing AMD processors for a bit. The less common of the two most popular brand of processors in the market, AMD processors vary from Intel processors in several significant factors.
In the context of this article, AMD processors will report two different types of temperatures. One is the CPU Temperature, and the other is Core Temperature. This isn’t the case with most Intel processors so it could easily confuse some readers. To put it simply, CPU Temperature is the real temperature measured by the sensor inside your CPU’s core. Core Temperature on the other hand is an arbitrary scale that only mimics an actual temperature sensor.
But the Core Temperature is actually the more useful of the two. The thing you need to remember is that at lower temperatures “CPU Temperature” gives a more accurate measurement than “Core Temperature”. At higher temperatures (i.e., when it actually matters), its the other way round.
How Hot Is Too Hot?
So now that you’ve determined the CPU temperature of your system, how do you know if it’s within the safe limit? We’ve made this convenient chart to help you with just that. This will serve as a rough replacement for the guidance provided by the system documentation that came along with your computer.
- Under 60° C: This is the safe range. You’re good!
- Between 60° C to 70° C: You’re still within the safe range and you don’t need to worry about overheating just yet. You may consider dusting the insides of your computer.
- Between 70° C to 80° C: If your CPU is overclocked, this could still technically be considered within the safe range. If not, you may want to dust the insides of your system. They could be blocking the air-flow.
- Between 80° C to 90° C: Your system is clearly overheating now. You may want to check for faulty fans and just to be safe, if you’ve overclocked your system you may want to tune tat down a but. CPU temperatures can reach this level when you’re running high-performance programs (such as video games), if you’re on a system that lacks dedicated cooling systems (as in a regular laptop).
- Over 90° C: You’re in the danger zone and you may want to consult a professional for help.
Cooling down your CPU’s temperature
We would like to conclude this article by looking at some of the ways you could cool down your CPU’s temperature.
The first thing you need to do is clean the insides of your computer. Usually, over time, dust or grime accumulate inside the computer which hampers sufficient air-flow. You should regularly clean the insides of your computer to prevent this.
If that doesn’t solve your problem, the problem could be more serious. Check to see if any of the fans are broken. If that’s the case, you will have to replace it. Or perhaps the thermal paste responsible for transferring heat from your CPU to the cooler could have dried out. If that’s the case you can rub the old layer out with some alcohol and then apply a fresh layer.
But everybody knows that prevention is always better than cure. Here are some preventive measures to avoid overheating of your computer’s CPU.
The first and the most important thing you need to consider is the case of your PC. If you’re looking to build an overclocked/high-performance system, you should get a case that can handle that. There are cases that come with great cooling mechanisms and those that only offer average solutions. Check out our list of the best water cooled cases and the best open-air cases for 2019.
Even if you’re not looking to build a heavy water-cooled system, you must at least invest in a decent fan. Check out our list of the best PC fans.
So that was an article on how to check the CPU temperature of your computer. We ended with a discussion on how to keep your CPU temperature in check.
Hope you found this article useful.
You might also be interested in our guide on building the ultimate custom water cooling rigs.