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What Temp Should My CPU Be While Gaming? – Normal, Idle & Safe Temperature Range Guide

by  Jone -  Last Updated On 21st April 2021

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Year after year, game developers release triple-A games that offer the best gaming experience. However, many gamers know that modern games can also push the limits of their hardware.

A common problem that gamers are familiar with is heat buildup – specifically in the CPU, the central processing unit. The CPU, also known as the processor, is typically considered the brain of the computer. It does executive functions and all logical instructions have to go through the CPU.

Just like any electrical device or component, the CPU accumulates heat when it is being overworked. CPU heat buildup can be expected since the CPU was designed to handle only certain levels of heat. However, what temperature is too much? In this article, we’ll discuss what temp your CPU should be when you’re gaming.

What Temp Should My CPU Be While Gaming?

Gamers and PC builders know that when it comes to CPUs, there are two big names in the industry today: Intel Core and AMD Ryzen. For the longest time, Intel Core CPUs were the only way to go but when AMD released their Ryzen series CPUs, they became a strong contender.

First of all, why is heat such a big problem for CPUs?

CPUs are designed to operate at a specific current induced by a low voltage. However, heat lowers the electrical resistance of objects, which then increases the current. All the interactions between heat and the microscopic components of a CPU lead to them slowing down.

When the computer is idle (i.e. not doing heavy workloads like gaming and editing), the CPU temperatures should not exceed around 40-45°C. This range is perfectly acceptable for idle CPUs regardless of whether the CPU is an Intel Core or an AMD Ryzen.

For gaming, the acceptable temperatures are a little more complicated. Many people believe that for Intel Core CPUs, the temperatures should not exceed 80-85°C. On the other hand, AMD Ryzen CPU temperatures should not exceed around 70°C.

However, temperatures exceeding the ranges listed can possibly be still okay since CPU manufacturers declare that the CPUs can handle temps of around 95-100°C. Leaning towards the safe side, a common understanding among gamers and PC enthusiasts is that the CPU temps should not be a concern as long as they do not exceed 80°C flat.

Staying on the safe side when it comes to CPU temperatures is highly recommended because while the CPU temperature can be read at a certain temperature, that does not necessarily mean that all the cores in the CPU have that temperature.

For example, if your CPU is throttling at 90°C, then it is possible to have individual cores or components in the CPU to either be higher or lower than 90°C. That uncertainty means that it is significantly better to be cautious and keep CPU temperatures from exceeding 80°C.

Ways to Track Your CPU Temps

Since CPU temperatures can affect computer performance, there are different ways to read and monitor CPU temps.

1. Use the Motherboard BIOS

The first method for checking the CPU temperature is to use the motherboard BIOS. The motherboard BIOS is like a low-level operating system that comes installed in the motherboard – the part of the computer where every other component connects to.

Once the different components are connected to the motherboard, the motherboard then uses its pre-installed firmware to instruct the different components on how to work together. As a low-level operating system, the motherboard BIOS can be accessed to control, override, and monitor certain functions and features.

There are different factors that are involved in accessing a computer’s motherboard BIOS. However, there are many steps that overlap. Thus, accessing the motherboard BIOS is the same in many computers.

One way to access the motherboard BIOS is to rapidly press a specific key during startup. Many motherboard manufacturers make this key the “delete,” “F2,” or the “F12” key. Some motherboard manufacturers will display the necessary key during bootup but check the motherboard manual to be sure..

However, this step is only ideal for computers that start up with enough time for you to press the BIOS key. Some computers boot so fast that they can no longer recognize when the BIOS key is being pressed.

Another way to access the motherboard BIOS is through the Windows 10 Advanced Start Menu. This can be navigated through Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Restart Now. This will then prompt your computer to reboot and start up in the Advanced Start Menu.

From this menu, go ahead and click Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > UEFI Firmware Settings > Restart. This will then prompt the computer to reboot once more and start up in the motherboard BIOS.

For people running Linux, things are significantly easier as they can access their motherboard BIOS by typing in “sudo systemctl reboot –firmware” at the command prompt.

Once the motherboard BIOS is accessed, the individual can then navigate the BIOS software to check the CPU temperature.

2. Use Manufacturer Software

While checking the BIOS might be a little complicated for some people, it is the only way to check the CPU temperatures without having to download and install new software. However, if downloading and installing new software is not a concern, then you can simply go to the official website of their CPU manufacturer and download utilities software.

For Intel Core CPU users, you can download Intel Extreme Tuning Utility. For AMD Ryzen CPU users, go ahead and download Ryzen Master Utility. Once these software are downloaded and installed, use them to monitor the CPU temperatures.

3. Use Third-Party Software

Manufacturer software such as Intel Extreme Tuning Utility and Ryzen Master Utility are pretty sufficient. However, there are certain reasons why some people would prefer to use third party software – software that were developed by other people with no connections to the original manufacturers.

There are many different third-party software that a person can download and install to check and monitor their CPU temps. Some of the popular ones that are highly recommended include HWMonitor, OpenHardwareMonitor, Core Temp, and AIDA64.

How to Deal with High CPU Temperature

We’ve discussed how hot your CPUs can be and how to track their temps. Since computer performance is associated with CPU temperature, there are active ways that you can actually control and deal with your CPU temps.

We’ve discussed how hot your CPUs can be and how to track their temps. Since computer performance is associated with CPU temperature, there are active ways that you can actually control and deal with your CPU temps.

Have Adequate Airflow

Airflow is a major factor that affects the temperature of the CPU and all the other components inside the tower. Many gamers put a lot of fans, especially RGB ones, on their cases but having a lot of fans does not necessarily mean you have good airflow right away.

Good airflow means that enough air is flowing through the case – this means that enough air is going in and out. It is important to check the fans and the direction of the airflow to make sure that the PC is getting enough fresh air. While air coming in does help cool off the CPU and the other components, air going out is necessary to bring out the warmer air.

Another thing to look out for to get adequate airflow is proper cable management.

Understandably, some people avoid cable management because the work involved is tedious. However, cable management offers numerous benefits.

First, cable management makes things easier to troubleshoot in the future since the cables are properly organized.

Second, a PC with proper cable management is undeniably more aesthetic to look at. Lastly, proper cable management can actually help with the airflow. Many cases with improperly managed cables have cables causing blockages for the airflow.

This is why it is important to make sure that the cables inside the case are not blocking off the fans or inadvertently blocking the path of the airflow.

Spring Cleaning

Yes, the inside of your PC does require cleaning too. Dust buildup is another big issue that can contribute to heat accumulation inside the PC.

As mentioned before, proper PC ownership includes making sure that your PC has adequate airflow. However, airflow comes with dust. While PCs usually have dust screens to prevent dust from coming in, it’s an inevitable phenomenon.

As the air flows in, it carries dust which eventually settles into a fine layer on top of the PC components. This layer of dust will eventually prevent sufficient heat transfer between the components and the air. This is especially problematic for heat sinks which are specifically designed to collect the heat off of other components to release into the air.

Conclusion

High CPU temperatures are sometimes expected when playing heavy games, but gamers should make sure that their CPU temps should not be too high. Although a lot of numbers were mentioned, a very helpful general rule of thumb would be to keep the CPU below 80°C.

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