The processor needs to run at an optimal temperature for it to work effectively, if the CPU is too hot then it won’t work effectively and there are mechanisms to prevent this from happening. Typically when the application is CPU intensive the temperature of the CPU will rise, so when you’re just browsing the internet there is no need for your CPU to be at 90C.
If the temperatures get too high, then the CPU will activate mechanisms to prevent it from getting any hotter. Hot CPUs will typically underperform, this is due to something called thermal throttling, this is when the CPU will reduce the clock speed to reduce the temperatures. Any hotter and the CPU will initiate an automatic shutdown, this is necessary to prevent heat-induced damages.
Answer: A safe CPU will operate no hotter than 75-80C, any hotter than you will encounter issues such as degraded performance. To maintain low temperatures when operating CPU-intensive applications, you must have sufficient cooling to dissipate heat effectively. CPU-intensive applications such as streaming, video editing, and 3D modelling will increase the CPU temperatures.
Safe CPU Temperature – How Hot Should A CPU Be?
It all depends on what applications you’re running, if you’re just browsing the internet or your PC is essentially idle, then your CPU shouldn’t operate hotter than 30C. If you happen to be playing games or video editing, then your CPU will be operating at very high usages, typically close to 100%, this will cause it to operate at high temperatures. With high usage, we recommend the CPU to run at 75C, any hotter and the performance will degrade.
This is assuming you’re on a desktop, laptops typically have different temperature ranges, this is due to them not having the cooling capacity of a PC.
If you’re gaming on a laptop, the temperatures should not exceed 85C, this usually means playing in a cool room. Gaming laptops can reach temperatures up to 90C, this is due to the insufficient cooling they receive.
As you can see, the temperature your CPU operates at can be a big deal, this is why coolers such as air coolers and AIO coolers exist.
Depending on your situation, either can provide sufficient cooling, air coolers such as the Noctua NHD15 can provide insane amounts of cooling, you should never run into thermal issues with it. A 240MM AIO cooler should also be sufficient for cooling a typical desktop CPU.
Safe Temperature For Intel CPUs
Intel CPUs are hot running chips, this is partly due to the large TDP requirements, and the high clock speeds they offer.
If you’re CPU is on the higher end of things, then the CPU will likely run hotter, so I9s will run hotter than I5s or I3s.
This is because I9 processors will come with more cores, and higher clock speeds, this all contributes to the generation of heat in a processor.
- I9 12th Generation – The Alder lake I9 processors will run cooler on average compared to the previous generation of I9s which is the I9 11th generation chips.
- I7 12th Generation – The Alder lake I7 processors will also run cooler than their 11th generation counterparts.
- I5 12th Generation – Alder Lake I5 processors shares the same thermal improvements with the I7 and the I9, so it seems like the 12th generation chips are all around better thermally.
- I9 11th Generation – Run hot, they reach above 100C at max load, you will need a beefy cooler to keep the I9 11th gen chips cool
- I7 11th Generation – Runs hotter than the 12th generation counterpart, so you will need a beefier CPU cooler to achieve acceptable temperatures
- I5 11th Generation – Is able to peak at 80C with is 10 degrees hotter than the 12th generation I5 processor.
|Intel Core I9 12th Generation||79-90C|
|Intel Core I7 12th Generation||65-85C|
|Intel Core I5 12th Generation||55-70C|
|Intel Core I9 11th Generation||80-100C|
|Intel Core I7 11th Generation||70-85C|
|Intel Core I5 11th Generation||60-80C|
|Intel Core I9 10th Generation||69-93C|
|Intel Core I7 10th Generation||75-80C|
|Intel Core I5 10th Generation||73-78C|
Safe Temperature For Ryzen CPUs
Ryzen is known to run cooler than Intel processors, and they generally have lower TDPs, so it’s not as hard to keep things cool regarding a Ryzen processor.
This is mostly due to the overall lower clock speeds, the clock speed has an exponential effect on temperature, so that plays a huge role.
- Ryzen 9 5th Generation – Compared to its Intel counterpart, it runs pretty cool, but compared to the previous 3rd gen Rzyen 9s, they get pretty hot.
- Ryzen 7 5th Generation – The Ryzen 7 5th Generation chips are similar in temperatures to the Ryzen 7 3rd gen chips, but still slightly higher.
- Ryzen 5 5th Generation – The Ryzen 5 5th generation chips will run pretty cool with a peak average temperature of 67C, cooler than its 3rd gen counterpart.
- Ryzen 9 3rd Generation – The Ryzen 9 3rd generation chips will run at a peak temperature of 78C which isn’t too bad, you won’t need a beefy cooler to keep things cool.
- Ryzen 7 3rd Generation – Will run slightly cooler than the 5th generation counterpart with a max temperature of 76C.
- Ryzen 5 3rd Generation – Also runs pretty cool, but they run slightly hotter than the Ryzen 5 5th generation chips.
|CPU/Processor||Average Temperature Range|
|Ryzen 9 5th Generation||70-86C|
|Ryzen 7 5th Generation||65-82C|
|Ryzen 5 5th Generation||55-67C|
|Ryzen 9 3rd Generation||65-78C|
|Ryzen 7 3rd Generation||65-76C|
|Ryzen 5 3rd Generation||55-70C|
Laptop CPU Temperature – Is It Hot?
Yes, laptop processors do run hotter than their desktop counterparts, this is because laptops lack the cooling equipment of a fully built desktop system.
Laptop processors vary significantly more though, you have laptop CPUs more focused towards lower temperatures, and CPUs focused more to performance.
And with AMD, you have processors with the ‘U’ suffix which stands for ultra low voltage, lower voltages generally mean lower temperatures, this is why undervolting is popular.
Laptop CPUs with the ‘U’ or ‘Y’ suffix are mobile efficient meaning they will consume less power and run cooler, but this comes at a cost.
Mobile efficient/power efficient processors don’t run as fast as higher performing laptop CPUs, they usually have the ‘H’ suffix standing for high performance.
Do CPUs Have A Temperature Limit?
Heat is the main cause for failing components as it can cause components to expand and contract in the heating and cooling process. Over time, this will damage the components rendering them useless.
This is why it’s important to maintain decent operational temperatures so you do not incur heat damage to any of your components. With CPUs, you will usually install a CPU cooler with a layer of thermal paste to effectively dissipate the heat from it.
CPUs do in fact have a temperature limit, this can be seen by mechanisms such as thermal throttling and automatic shutdowns. With Intel CPUs, if you exceed 80C, then the CPU will typically clock down to reduce the temperatures.
Exceeding this temperature will result in the CPU shutting the PC down as this is the only way to reduce the temperatures. Exceeding 80C isn’t always a bad sign as CPU-intensive applications can do this.
AMD CPUs also have mechanisms to prevent heat damage from incurring, but it isn’t stated like it is with Intel CPUs. AMD processors will typically start to thermal throttle at around 95C, this is quite hot for a processor.
If the CPU continues to get hotter, then the Ryzen CPU will shut the P down at around 100C. You should aim to maintain low thermals by implementing airflow systems.
How To Reduce CPU Temperature?
Tips To Reduce CPU Temps:
- Adding a fresh layer of thermal paste
- Cleaning any blocked vents
- Undervolting the CPU
- Replacing any broken cooling equipment (fans, pumps)
- Removing any malware
There are plenty of ways you can reduce the CPUs temperature, this usually involves applying proper cooling solutions to it.
A hot CPU can be solved by simply replacing the thermal paste, this can drastically reduce temperatures if the thermal paste has become quite old and dry.
Removing dust from the system can also drastically increase airflow which will reduce the thermals of the CPU.
Replacing the stock cooler is a great way to reduce the temperature of the CPU, this is because stock coolers can be quite ineffective.
Purchasing a decent AIO or AIR cooler can drastically improve the thermals of the CPU.
CPU coolers such as the Noctua NHD15 is monstrous air cooler that rivals even the best AIO coolers. If you’re looking for an AIO cooler, then a 240MM or a 280MM is recommended, a 120-140MM AIO isn’t worth it.
Sometimes, simple solutions such as opening the window or giving your PC breathing room can improve the temperatures, this is because the temperature of the surrounding space of your PC case influences it’s thermals.
If your room is hot, which is usually the case in summer, then opening the windows can reduce temperatures. Placing your PC near a window can also help.
What Is The Lifespan Of A CPU?
But if you take good care of the CPU, then it should last up to 20 years, this is because CPUs do not have any moving parts that can fail.
At an atomic level, the CPU will eventually fail, but this is an extremely long process that is practically impossible to measure.
The lifespan of CPUs is so long, there is no point worrying about their lifespan if you take good care of them.
Users that overclock and apply voltages that are not safe will have their CPUs lifespan severely diminished.
The overclocking process can be safe if you know what you’re doing, if you are certain you can increase the clock speeds without modifying the voltages, then it’s a win-win situation.
The CPU has a lifespan that can rival RAM, so this means the CPU will likely fail long after you’re ready to upgrade.
Components such as the GPU and the motherboard will fail before the CPU. 20 years is an extremely long time, there is no way you will use the same CPU 20 years later as it will be extremely outdated.
Also Read: CPU Lifespan
The verdict is when you’re running CPU-intensive applications, anything hotter than 75-80C can be a problem, this is due to thermal throttling. If you can reduce the thermals during CPU-intensive applications, not only will the lifespan improve, but the performance will also. If you’re just browsing, then the CPU should not exceed anything hotter than 30C if you have a decent cooling solution installed.