What temperature should my processor be running at?

Computer CPUDepending on the processor, the manufacturer, how fast it runs, where the sensor is located, and what programs it is currently running determines the temperature of what the processor should be. However, this document should give you a general idea of what the processor should be running at as well as what is acceptable and what is not.

The majority of today's desktop processors should not exceed temperatures of 95C and most run between 70-90C. Below are some charts of many of the processors and their average temperatures. Keep in mind this is only to give our users a general idea of what their processor should be running at. If you believe your computer is running to hot, you may want to skip to the bottom of this document for additional details on how to get exact information about what your processor should be running at.

Processors Average temperature
AMD Athlon 90C - 95C
AMD Athlon64 65C - 70C
AMD Athlon64 Mobile 95C - 100C
AMD Athlon MP 90C - 95C
AMD Athlon XP 85C - 90C
AMD Duron 85C - 95C
AMD Opteron 65C - 71C
AMD Sempron 90C - 95C
AMD K5 60C - 70C
AMD K6 65C - 70C
AMD K6 Mobile 80C - 85C
AMD K7 Thunderbird 70C - 95C
Intel Pentium II 65C - 75C
Intel Pentium III 60C - 85C
Intel Celeron 67C - 85C
Intel Pentium Mobile 100C
Intel Pentium Pro 80C - 85C

How will I know if my processor is running too hot?

If a processor gets too hot you will notice one or more of the below situations. Often these issues will be encountered when running programs or especially when playing an advanced game.

  1. Computer runs much slower
  2. Computer restarts often
  3. Computer randomly turns off

Continuing to use a computer that has a processor that is exceeding its temperature will reduce the life expectancy of the processor.

Note: It is possible that with some computer configurations that the thermal sensors may not be positioned in an optimal location, causing the temperature to be reported cooler or hotter than it actually is. If your temperature is close to exceeding the maximum temperature or you are experiencing the above issues, you may want to continue reading the below recommendations for getting your computer cooler.

What can I do to get my processor cooler?

The cooler the processor runs the more performance you are going to get out of it. Therefore, If you are looking to overclock your processor or if it is getting too hot, you may need to consider any or all of the below recommendations.

  1. Keep the computer clean - Over time dust, dirt, and hair can build up and prevent air from getting in or out of the case. Make sure your computer case and ventilation is cleaned.
  2. Improve computer's environment - Make sure the computer is running in a good location. The computer should not be in an enclosed space such as a drawer or cabinet unless there is plenty of ventilation such as the back of the drawer or cabinet is removed. The computer should not be in a tight space, there should be at least a two-inch space on both sides of the computer as well as in the front and back of the computer.
  3. Verify fans - Make sure all fans in the computer are properly working. Some motherboards and computers have fan monitors that displays the RPM of each of the major fans in the computer and if they are operating properly. Otherwise, you need to check each of the fans and look for any spinning issues or listen for any abnormal noises to determine if the fans are properly working.
  4. Thermal paste - If the processor or fan has been replaced or worked on it may be necessary to clean off and then re-apply the thermal paste that helps transfer the heat away from the processor.
  5. More fans - Consider installing additional fans into the computer. Almost all computers will come included with a heatsink and fan, as well as a case fan. However, most cases have the availability to install a second case fan that can help bring in additional air and help keep the computer cool. Computer enthusiasts and many overclockers may also create their own air ducts with fans to help bring in additional air or take out more of the hot air.
  6. Better fans - Many computers and processors will come with cheap fans to help bring down the overall cost of the computer. Installing improved fans or heatsinks that can move the heat away from the processor better and faster can keep the processor cool.
  7. Alternative solutions - More advanced users or users who are overclocking may also want to consider alternative solutions such as water cooled solutions to keep their processors cool.

My computer displays the temperature in Fahrenheit and not Celsius

Visit our JavaScript Celsius to Fahrenheit converter to convert a Celsius value into Fahrenheit.

Third-party information

For more specific information about the processor you are running, you need to either consult your product documentation, the processor's specification, or visit Chris Hare's Processor Electrical Specification page.

Additional information