Normal CPU Temperature While Gaming and Idle - Tech Edged (2022)

CPUs are mainly driven by incremental steps in electrical energy in order to execute computational processes as their instructions required. This ramping up and down of power draw generates heat leading to higher CPU temperatures. As such, the higher the workload, the higher the power, and the more heat that accumulates. But so long as the installed cooler can stabilize the CPU’s temperature during this operation, it will continue to run within its optimal performance settings. In this article, we will discuss normal CPU temperature ranges while gaming and idle.

What is CPU temperature?

CPU temperature is the calculation of heat energy on the entire processor die. Normally there are sensors installed on the die (inside the integrated heat spreader) to measure it. But there are also instances where external (motherboard) thermometers double-check the values. Unlike GPUs, there is no hotspot value, since a CPU is compact enough to have more or less uniform temperature readings throughout its embedded chips. The standard unit when measuring CPU temperature would be in degrees Celsius (°C).

Why is CPU temperature important?

CPU temperature is important because it establishes the thermal performance limits of the hardware. Which is typically referred to as the Tj max or maximum junction temperature of the processor. As a self-protection mechanism, the CPU is built to throttle itself down whenever it reaches or goes beyond the Tj max. This is to prevent permanent damage caused by overheating.

Therefore, the goal is to keep CPU temperatures at a considerably cool rate to maintain its performance levels. In fact, on some occasions, the lower the temperature, the better the performance. Ryzen’s Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) feature, for example, theoretically attempts to squeeze every last bit of performance (within the CPU’s design limits) at every degree of temperature that the CPU cooler can spare.

Normal CPU Temperature While Gaming and Idle - Tech Edged (1)

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What is a normal CPU temp while gaming?

A normal CPU temperature range while gaming usually hovers around 65° to 78°C (149° to 172.4°F). This is if the cooler matches the required (real-world) TDP limits of the CPU. In cases of less optimal thermodynamics, CPU temperatures can reach upwards of 80°C or even greater. Though, higher CPU temperature values should only represent very brief spikes and not be sustained.

By official specification, CPU temperatures are still technically allowed to reach upwards of 80°C or even greater. But this is often not considered normal. Because sustained CPU temperatures well above 80°C are too hot which is when the risk of thermally throttling down, overheating, and the effects of slow heat degradation become substantial.

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The CPU should always be matched properly with a cooler capable of effectively handling computationally demanding workloads. This will provide wider performance headroom while gaming.

Table of normal CPU temp while gaming

Excellent Normal Abnormal Average
Gaming (60-70% load) 60 °C 65-78 °C 85+ °C 74 °C

What is a normal idle CPU temp?

A good and normal idle CPU temperature range is around 35 to 50°C. A CPU should typically not exceed temperatures of 45-50°C when idle. Anything significantly higher is considered abnormal.

By our definition, a CPU is considered idle when it has a utilization percentage of less than 10%. At this level, a sufficiently modern CPU is barely using any power for any complex processes. It is simply running background tasks or very simple apps.

Though idle CPU temperatures may spike above 50+°C (104+°F) occasionally, the CPU is far from any concern that is related to heat generation. Your biggest concern is if the idle CPU temperature values are abnormally sustained above 50+°C.

Table of normal idle CPU temp

Excellent Normal Abnormal Average
Idle (10% lower) 30 °C below 35-50 °C 50+ °C 36 °C

What causes high CPU temperatures?

More cores and threads – CPUs with a higher number of physical and logical cores tend to require more energy to use, and thus generate more heat when it ramps performance levels upward.

Drawn power too high (via base design) – certain architectures, like Intel’s 11th Gen Rocket Lake, are designed to simply extend the performance life of their aging 14nm process designs. As such, higher-tier processors (Core i9 11900K, Core i7 11700K) under this category tend to eat up a lot of power and therefore, generate lots of heat as well.

Drawn power too high (via overclocking) – overclocking CPUs feed way more power into the hardware in an attempt to match the high clock frequency a user sets. This generates a tremendous amount of heat, often requiring the use of heavy, double-fan tower coolers, or 240/360-rad AIO coolers on modern processors.

Incorrect thermal paste/thermal pad configuration – CPUs might show abnormal temperature values if the cooling contacts are not applied properly, or are too old. The integrated heat spreader (IHS) will not be able to complete the contact surface for dissipating heat efficiently.

Mismatched cooler – the CPU may also suffer from abnormally high temperatures when the cooler just isn’t designed to cool a specific tier of CPUs. For example, single-fan tower coolers are typically built to handle CPUs that draw about 65 to 100 watts of power. Beyond that, abnormal readings usually show up.

(Video) Safe PC Temperatures as Fast As Possible

Bad case airflow – extra heat is accumulated if the case itself does not provide enough airflow to dissipate the heat blown away by the CPU cooler. This could easily raise the default load temperatures by almost 5 to 10 degrees Celsius (+9 °F) if not addressed properly.

Normal CPU Temperature While Gaming and Idle - Tech Edged (2)

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How to check (and monitor) CPU Temperature?

To check and monitor CPU temps, you can use these recommended diagnostic and benchmarking software:

Core Temp – a very simple CPU monitoring app that lets you observe CPU temperature from the taskbar.

GPU-Z – mostly functions as a GPU monitoring tool, but you can actually scroll down its metrics graphs to see CPU performance as well.

HWInfo64 – an application for listing computer parts, with quantitative measurements available in real-time. Under the CPU section, which is usually right at the top, the temperature values are shown in two different categories.

Piriform Speccy – Similar in basic design, but much simpler than HWInfo64. The summary section only lists the CPU name, clock frequency, process node, and temperature. Check the dedicated CPU section for more real-time details.

MSI Afterburner – A widely used app for optimizing GPU performance, but you can actually scroll down its metrics graphs to see CPU performance as well.

(Video) Ideal CPU Temperature Ranges

RivaTuner Statistics Server – comes with MSI Afterburner. Benchmark is provided as an overlay, and for the CPU, you can either show individual core temperatures, or a single package.

How to prevent your CPU from overheating?

Use a PC case with good airflow – Lots of fresh cool air should flow through your components regularly by using mesh cases, making sure that the direction has one flow.

Use good quality speed-adjustable case fans – better RPM means more air flowing in, but do note the level of noise as speeds really ramp up. In particular, a CPU cooler’s flow direction must be in sync with the flow direction of the main exhaust fan. It also helps quite considerably if the main exhaust fan behind has an equal or slightly higher airflow rate than the CPU cooler (use PWM for best results).

Clean dust from PC regularly – compressed-air cans are an easy way to prevent dust from accumulating inside the PC. Recommended to do every two weeks, or at least every month to save the compressed-air can for much longer. Electric blowers are usually overkill unless doing deep cleaning sessions (for cases not maintained for an extended period of time), though you can still use them if you want to.

Make the ambient temperature as cool as possible – any method of shifting/manipulating ambient room temperature will naturally also cause CPU temps to change accordingly. Using aircon, for example, or playing games on colder, rainy days.

How to lower CPU temperature?

Apply more aggressive fan curves – you can go to your motherboard’s BIOS to tweak the CPU’s fan settings:

  • Make sure to select the correct fan header on the motherboard where the main CPU cooler is connected.
  • Manually edit the curve by adjusting the points to whatever temperature and fan speed percentage you see fit.
  • You can also automatically do so by selecting a sort of ‘Performance’ or ‘Maximum’ option on your BIOS (depends on the motherboard, and may not be the best option depending on your cooling setup).

Use a more robust cooler – installing a better cooler designed for higher TDP values may be the only thing that you need for an instant solution. Here are a few pointers:

  • Stock Intel coolers from 10th Gen and later are only meant for Core i3 processors (at stock boost frequencies).
  • Stock AMD coolers are only meant for Ryzen 5 processors when using stock frequencies. (limited PBO)
  • Effective single-fan tower coolers like the Vetroo V5 or Snowman T4 are mainly designed for Ryzen 5 and Core i5 CPUs. However, they can also be somewhat used for Ryzen 7 or Core i7 CPUs at stock frequencies, at the cost of increased RPM and noise.
  • Competitive dual-fan tower coolers today like the Arctic Esports Duo 34 or Scythe Fuma 2 are robust enough that they can cool 125+ watt TDP CPUs like modern Core i7 processors.
  • 240 and 360-rad AIO coolers are still your best option if you want a combination of very low temperatures and very low fan noise. They are also the only effective options once you hit the 200+ watt TDP range (overclocked high-end CPUs).

Set power limits – tweak the power drawn so that just enough is always used whenever possible. This is similar to undervolting, only you are simply setting a maximum wattage value on the CPU instead of voltage per frequency curve. Follow the steps provided by your particular manufacturer for this method. For example, Intel users can use Intel Extreme Utility (XTU) to set power limits.

Use the CPU’s stock frequencies – less recommended from a product category standpoint, but can be a temporary measure until better cooling solutions are found. If you have a K-SKU Intel CPU for example, you may just simply run it at default boosting frequencies rather than overclocking it to both save power and reduce heat generated.

Manually throttle down the CPU – less recommended, but usable in more extreme situations. Disable CPU features one by one in the BIOS. For example, you can lower boost frequencies, or disable certain cores. This will lower the default power draw, thus lowering temperatures.

Normal CPU Temperature While Gaming and Idle - Tech Edged (3)

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(Video) Lower Your CPU Temps While Gaming And Maintain Performance!

Final Thoughts

CPU temperatures are pretty much the bread and butter of performance allowance metrics for PC enthusiasts. It is simpler compared to balancing GPU temperature, but also quite complex, given the higher number of factors that users can change, swap, or tweak by default.

Although, even if the temperature is always related to a computer’s potential performance, CPUs are a tad bit more resilient. You can get away with at least five or ten more degrees, give and take, and it still won’t cause a significant degradation impact on the chip.

As such, the only real priority that you have with them heat-wise is to prevent thermal throttling, something quite easily achievable by just staying far away from the Tj max value by at least 25 degrees Celsius (+45 °F) or so.

CPU Temperature FAQs

What is a good CPU temp?

Good CPU temperatures on standard gaming workloads are supposed to be around 65 to 75°C (149° to 167°F). Around 83°C (180°F) is still somewhat acceptable-ish, so long as the workload is of a pure CPU-intensive type (graphics rendering, software compiling, etc.).

What temp should my CPU be?

The temperature of your CPU should align perfectly with the heat dissipation tier of its cooler. Consider checking for potential issues if the cooler cannot maintain room temperatures during idle, 60 to 70°C (140° to 158°F) degrees during gaming, and more than 75+°C (167+°F) to under 84-°C (183-°F) under max loads.

Why is my CPU temp so high?

This can be a combination of factors. But if the CPU itself is still operating normally, the most likely culprit would either be the subpar cooler performance or incorrect/inadequate thermal paste application.

How hot can a CPU get?

The CPU can get to around the mid-80 degree Celsius before it becomes too dangerously close to thermal throttling (Tj max value). Even before then it is usually not recommended to keep temperatures this high by just gaming alone.

FAQs

What should my CPU temp be while playing a game? ›

A CPU temperature of between 142° F and 164° F (61° C and 73° C) is considered normal during gaming.

Is 90 degrees Celsius hot for a CPU while gaming? ›

Overclocking temperatures could in theory go as high as 90°C while still being 'safe', and the max temperature for many CPUs is listed in the 105-110°C range. But for long-term use, you're much better off keeping things below 80°C in general and only pushing up to 85°C at the most.

Is 70 degrees hot for a CPU while gaming? ›

Core temperatures in the mid 70's are safe.

Is 70 degrees Celsius hot for a CPU? ›

Is 70 Degrees Hot For A CPU? Up to 70 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Fahrenheit) is fine. Your computer will perform at the best of its ability. However, everything over 70 degrees Celsius can start causing problems.

What's a bad CPU temp? ›

Cooler temps, in general, are better when it comes to PC hardware. Temperatures between 160°F (70°C) to 195°F (90°C) may be a cause for concern. Anywhere above that range? Your hardware is under serious stress at over 195°F (90°C).

What is a good idle CPU temp? ›

The safest or the best idle temperature range in CPUs to aim for is from 86° to 113° F (30° to 45° C). Slightly higher temperatures (+5°) are also considered safe. Beyond the 45° mark, you should consider tweaking the system and improving the cooling. Anything below that is generally safe.

Should CPU be at 100 degrees while gaming? ›

Yes, it's normal. The i7-9750h has a max temp of 100°C. And if you playing games, it won't take long before reaching that temperature as laptops usually have the worse cooling system. Normal, but not necessarily good, depending on how long the OP might want to keep their laptop.

Is it OK for my CPU to run at 100? ›

CPUs are designed to run safely at 100% CPU utilization. However, you'll want to avoid these situations whenever they cause perceptible slowness in games.

Is 95 degrees too hot for CPU? ›

If your CPU briefly just so happens to hit 95°, it isn't going to cause catastrophic failure, but if it is around 95° frequently or for long periods of time, this is very, very bad. 85° should be the limit, and you really should not go above that.

Is 60C CPU idle safe? ›

You would definitely notice if your CPU was running at 60C idle. Your games would practically be unplayable/your computer would shut down as soon as you launched a game.

How can I tell if my CPU is overheating? ›

Symptoms of overheating
  1. System boots up but shuts down automatically after a short period of time.
  2. Reported CPU operating frequency is less than expected.
  3. Evidence of CPU throttling.
  4. General slowness of system.
  5. CPU/system fan noise is excessive.

Will 80 degrees damage a CPU? ›

If you are hovering around 70 to 80 degrees Celsius, some would say that it is generally safe. While it is a little bit safe, it is already near the danger levels of overheating as going close to 90 degrees while gaming can get your CPU damaged over time.

Is 65C too hot for CPU? ›

No 65C or 70C shouldn't hurt it at all really unless it is there 24/7. However, if you start reaching those temps it is a pretty good indicator that you are having some sort of cooling problem that needs to be fixed before damage does occur. ie prolonged excursions over 70C even higher temps etc.

Is 100 degrees Celsius hot for a CPU? ›

Running at 100 C is the absolute max temp for this CPU as specified by Intel. An I9 consumes a LOT of power(not to mention the GPU). There should be a lot of heat being exhausted. The hotter the CPU runs, the shorter its life.

Is 60c too hot for CPU? ›

That's perfectly fine. Have a look at this Intel Temperature Guide.

How long does thermal paste last? ›

Although high-end compounds can maintain efficacy up to 7 years after installation, manufacturers recommend removing any thermal paste from your CPU's heat-spreader and CPU Cooler every 2-3 years to be on the safe side.

What is good CPU and GPU temp? ›

The optimal CPU and GPU temperatures for gaming should not be beyond 35◦C. It should operate on an average of 21◦C to 32◦C.

What are good CPU and GPU temps gaming? ›

The Optimal CPU & GPU Temperature While Gaming. On average, the CPU temperature when you are in game should be kept from 75 to 80 Celsius (about 167~176 Fahrenheit), so the optimal CPU temperature should not exceed 80 Celsius (176 Fahrenheit).

Is 40c good for CPU idle? ›

No, that is a pretty good temperature. 38C is about the lowest you will normally see on a CPU running Windows (due to background tasks). A 100% load temperature in the low 60s C is also good. If the CPU temperature gets too high (over 72C) it is running too hot.

Is 50 degrees Celsius hot for a CPU idle? ›

Hope this helps! 10yr Yeah, 50 C idle is normal for laptops. During gaming, it's not uncommon to get above 70 C, so you really have nothing to worry about as long as you keep the vents clean from dust.

Is 50c idle good CPU? ›

Is 50c idle, dangerous? No it's not and it's pretty normal for really high draw / performance / core count CPUs to idle near this, even with decent cooling set ups.

IS 80 C hot for CPU while gaming? ›

If you are hovering around 70 to 80 degrees Celsius, some would say that it is generally safe. While it is a little bit safe, it is already near the danger levels of overheating as going close to 90 degrees while gaming can get your CPU damaged over time.

Is 85 degrees hot for CPU while gaming? ›

While 85c isn't too dangerous it's still kinda hot. Hitting 85C in Prime95 isn't bad with that cooler.

Is 50 Celsius hot for a CPU? ›

Hope this helps! 10yr Yeah, 50 C idle is normal for laptops. During gaming, it's not uncommon to get above 70 C, so you really have nothing to worry about as long as you keep the vents clean from dust.

Is 100 degrees Celsius hot for a CPU? ›

Running at 100 C is the absolute max temp for this CPU as specified by Intel. An I9 consumes a LOT of power(not to mention the GPU). There should be a lot of heat being exhausted. The hotter the CPU runs, the shorter its life.

Is 80c too hot for CPU? ›

80c. under 100% usage is ok. The processor will monitor it's temperature and will slow down or shut off if it detects a dangerous temperature. That is around 100c.

Is 60 degrees Celsius hot for a CPU idle? ›

To answer OP, 50/60 degrees is pretty hot for idle on that processor. It won't kill it, but its lifespan will certainly be a lot shorter than if it was at 30/40. Lifespan is not really effected by high temperature.

Is 78c OK for CPU? ›

so here's the nominal operating range for Core temperature: Core temperatures above 85°C are not recommended. Core temperatures below 80°C are ideal. Core temperatures increase and decrease with ambient (room) temperature.

Is 85C OK for CPU? ›

CPU's can easily run @ 85C-87C. Once you get over 90C+, thats when you start seeing the CPU throttling slightly, but even @ those temps its completely fine. Just make sure you turn on the fan @ turbo while you're gaming.

Is 65C too hot for CPU? ›

No 65C or 70C shouldn't hurt it at all really unless it is there 24/7. However, if you start reaching those temps it is a pretty good indicator that you are having some sort of cooling problem that needs to be fixed before damage does occur. ie prolonged excursions over 70C even higher temps etc.

What are good temps for CPU and GPU? ›

The ideal temperature for a CPU while gaming is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature for a GPU while gaming is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

How hot can a CPU get before it shuts down? ›

Above 80 degrees C (176 degrees F) is too hot and could cause damage to your computer if you run it for a sustained period. Beyond this, you should shut down your PC and let it completely cool down.

Is 50c idle normal? ›

Is 50c idle, dangerous? No it's not and it's pretty normal for really high draw / performance / core count CPUs to idle near this, even with decent cooling set ups.

How do I lower my CPU temp? ›

  1. Lower Your CPU Usage. ...
  2. Clean Out Your Computer. ...
  3. Reapply Thermal Paste. ...
  4. If You Have Bad Cable Management, Fix It. ...
  5. Upgrade Your CPU Cooler. ...
  6. Add More Case Fans to Your System (or Reconfigure Them) ...
  7. Upgrade Your PC Case. ...
  8. Speed Up Your Existing Fans.
15 Sept 2022

How do I check my CPU health? ›

Check your device performance and health in Windows Security
  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type Windows Security, and then select it from the results.
  2. Select Device performance & health to view the Health report.

What happens if my CPU is at 100c? ›

If your CPU overheats, your PC will randomly slow down, shut down, or worse. Although there are a variety of reasons your CPU is overheating, in most cases, it is due to an airflow or ventilation issue. Never ignore an overheating CPU as it will cause more issues as time goes on.

Is 95 degrees too hot for CPU? ›

If your CPU briefly just so happens to hit 95°, it isn't going to cause catastrophic failure, but if it is around 95° frequently or for long periods of time, this is very, very bad. 85° should be the limit, and you really should not go above that.

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