A CPU’s temperature is one of the most crucial aspects of its life. Overheating for a prolonged amount of time may not only age the CPU faster but also potentially damage it. Luckily, most modern CPUs have enough intricacies to spot overheating threats and terminate processes or restart altogether.
Bad casing and cooling may be one of the leading causes of higher CPU temperatures. Still, intensive applications like video games will likely make even the coolest machines sweat a little. Regardless of how high-end your cooling solutions are, your processor’s temperature is bound to increase by at least 10-20 degrees Celsius.
This is because of the increased heat the CPU produces while performing faster to process the games’ graphics and mechanism.
The answer to this question would have been more straightforward, but with the variety of CPU architectures and cooling solutions, one cannot consider a specific temperature safe or dangerous.
Therefore, while a temperature of 90 degrees Celsius or higher is usually considered the red zone for a processor, recent high-end processors like the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X are made to function at higher temperatures, with even a temperature as high as 95 degrees Celsius falling into the normal range. At the same time, specific low-end CPUs with insufficient cooling would struggle at even a temperature of around 60 degrees Celsius.
Regardless, almost every CPU’s maximum temperature limit is 100 degrees Celsius, and anything above that would either result in a shutdown or thermal throttling.
Is Thermal Throttling Dangerous?
While the term itself may seem alarming at face value, thermal throttling itself is not dangerous at all. It does, however, occur when the processor itself is on the brink of danger.
Intel and AMD use thermal throttling for their processors as a defense mechanism against CPU overheating. As soon as the processor exceeds the max temperature, thermal throttling immediately reduces its power to prevent it from producing further heat.
Even if things go out of hand during thermal throttling, it counters that by causing an automatic shutdown.
Thermal throttling itself does not affect the CPU’s lifespan and protects it from further reduction of its lifespan. The process does not come at the expense of any other component either, and it allows you to use the PC unless the temperatures are entirely out of control.
Should You Continue Using PC During Thermal Throttling?
However, just because thermal throttling may not endanger the CPU does not mean you should continue using your PC during it. Besides, there is no point in using a PC during it either because the performance will stutter a lot, and video games will fail to attain playable frame rates.
So, while using a PC in a thermal throttling state is possible, doing so is useless and underperforming and is okay only for minimal processes.
What is The Best CPU Temperature?
As discussed above, it is hard to determine a single ‘best’ range for a CPU’s temperature due to many CPUs dealing with temperature in their unique ways. Still, it is ideal to have stable CPU temperatures because higher temperatures can also prominently reduce the CPU’s lifespan.
Intensive tasks like gaming will also pressurize other components due to the underperformance of the CPU, especially the GPU. This may also cause the fans to run at a higher RPM, which creates a noisy experience.
But if we were to speak for the average processor, the healthy temperature range for a CPU while gaming lies between 50°C and 75°C.
Remember that CPUs like the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X and the Intel Core i9 are made to perform at higher temperatures, so a temperature around 90°C is quite normal for them, but for most of the other processors, it’s considered a lifespan-affecting temperature range.
Average CPU Temperature Range While Gaming
Here is a list of some of the most popular modern processors alongside their average temperature while gaming, based on benchmarks and user reviews. As it turns out, 90 degrees Celsius is an ideal temperature for some high-end processors, especially the Intel Core i9 processors.
Average AMD CPU Temperature
|AMD Ryzen 5 5th Gen||50°C – 65°C|
|AMD Ryzen 7 5th Gen||65°C – 80°C|
|AMD Ryzen 9 5th Gen||60°C – 82°C|
|AMD Ryzen 5 3rd Gen||55°C – 70°C|
|AMD Ryzen 7 3rd Gen||60°C – 75°C|
|AMD Ryzen 9 3rd Gen||65°C – 78°C|
Average Intel CPU Temperature
|Intel 12th Gen Core i3||45°C – 75°C|
|Intel 12th Gen Core i5||50°C – 75°C|
|Intel 12th Gen Core i7||60°C – 87°C|
|Intel 12th Gen Core i9||70°C – 95°C|
|Intel 11th Gen Core i7||70°C – 85°C|
|Intel 11th Gen Core i9||80°C – 100°C|
How to Improve Your CPU’s Temperature
The most important part of keeping your CPU’s temperature around its best range is to know what temperature the specific CPU operates the best at. With that known, if your CPU’s temperature does not fall into the same range, it is recommended to counter and reduce the processor’s heat production.
Effective Ways of Reducing CPU Temperature
Here are some great ways to reduce the temperature of your CPU while gaming.
- Adjust existing case fans and cooler to fit the CPU’s needs. Not only should you adjust the fans’ RPM, but you should also try repositioning them and changing their curve.
- Get additional case fans. If the temperature only slightly exceeds the recommended temperature range, it is recommended to add a fan or two for further cooling. Older fans that have lost their performance should also be replaced.
- Upgrade the cooler. Most stock coolers are good enough to make things functional, but with stronger CPUs, specialized coolers are essential.
- Replace the thermal paste every 2-3 years. The older and dried paste will fail to counter the CPU’s heat. Dried thermal paste is also one of the leading causes of thermal throttling.
So, while 90°C is typically an unsafe temperature range, high-end modern CPUs like the Intel Core i9-12900K and the Ryzen 9 7950X are made to perform at higher temperatures.