CPU Maximum Temperatures

ivybridgeFollowing on from our cooling article we look at CPU maximum temperatures. Even though we use fans,  heatsinks and even more elaborate cooling techniques  CPU temperatures can still raise quite high if they are being used at full power for a long period of time. Using CPU’s at high temperatures can cause system crashes in the short term and in the long term cause the life of your CPU to be greatly reduced. In extreme cases your CPU could burn out or melt onto the motherboard. This usually happens when a fan breaks down and goes unnoticed. Today’s motherboards come with temperature monitoring software and hardware which actually shuts the computer off if the CPU temperature gets too hot. Even these however are not 100% fail proof. The only way to be sure is to check your fans and other cooling equipment regularly and also use CPU thermometers to check your CPU temperature is stable and not raising over time. CPU’s have a rated maximum temperature sometimes called a critical temperature or will be describe as the maximum case temperature. What this boils down to (quick pun :} ) is what the manufacturer states is the maximum temperature the CPU will operate at. This is not to say you want your CPU to operate at this temperature as it will be borderline between working and burning out. Always try to keep at least 20C below this value if you can. Below is a table showing you the CPU maximum temperatures for most of the processors we use today.

Please be aware that as faster models are released even under the same name the thermal requirements may change. this table is meant for a guide only. Critical temperature is often referred as Critical Case temperature as CPU core temperatures are difficult to report accurately.

Some of the CPU’s below have varying critical temperatures depending on the model, these are represented by a range of values in the table below.

CPU Critical Temperature
AMD CPU’s
 Athlon 64 (Clawhammer) 70°C
Athlon 64 (Newcastle) 70°C
Athlon 64 (Venice) 65°C
Athlon 64 (Sledgehammer) 70°C
Athlon 64 (Winchester) 65°C
Athlon 64 (San Diego) 63°C
Athlon 64 (Orleans) 69°C
Athlon 64 (Lima 3500/3800) 65°C
Athlon 64 X2 (Manchester) 65°C
Athlon 64 X2 (Toledo) 65°C
Athlon 64 X2 (Windsor) 63°C – 78°C (model dependant)
Athlon 64 X2 (Brisbane) 62°C – 78°C (model dependant)
Athlon 64 X2 (Kuma) 70°C
Athlon II X2 (Regor) 72°C – 81°C (model dependant)
Athlon II X3 (Rana)  71°C – 75°C (model dependant)
Athlon II X4 (Propus)   70°C – 72°C (model dependant)
Phenom (Agena) 70°C
Phenom X3 (Toliman) 70°C
Phenom X4 (Agena) (61°C – 9100e, 9750, 9850) 70°C 
Phenom II X2 (Castillo) 70°C
Phenom II X3 (Heka) 72°C
Phenom II X4 (Daneb) (920/940) 62°C
Phenom II X4 (Daneb)  62°C – 71°C (model dependant)
Phenom II X6 (Thuban)  62°C / 71°C (model dependant)
Intel CPU’s
Intel Core 2 Duo (Conroe E4300, E4400, E6300, E6400) 61.4°C
Intel Core 2 Duo (Conroe E4500, E4600, E4700) 73.3°C
Intel Core 2 Duo (Conroe E6320, E6420, E6540, E6550, E6600, E6700, E6750, E6850) 60.1°C
Intel Core 2 Duo (Wolfdale) 72.4°C
Mobile Core 2 Duo 100°C
Intel Core 2 Extreme (Conroe) 60.4°C
Intel Core 2 Extreme (Kentsfield Q6700) 71°C
Intel Core 2 Extreme (Kentsfield Q6600) 62.2°C
Intel Core 2 Extreme (Kentsfield QX6700, QX6850) 64.5°C
Intel Core 2 Extreme (Kentsfield QX6800) 54.8°C
Intel Core 2 Extreme (Yorkfiled Q9300, Q9450, Q9550) 71.4°C
Intel Core 2 Extreme (Yorkfield QX9650) 64.5°C
Intel Core 2 Extreme (Yorkfield QX9770) 55.5°C
Intel Core 2 Extreme (Hypertown QX9775) 63°C
Intel Itanium 2 below 1Ghz 66°C
Intel Itanium 2 1Ghz – 1.6Ghz 83°C
Intel Core i3 (Clarkdale) 72.6°C
Intel Core i3 (Sandy-Bridge) 65°C – 69°C (model dependant)
Intel Core i3 (IvyBridge) 65°C
Intel Core i3 (Haswell) 66°C – 72°C (model dependant)
Intel Core i5 (Clarkdale) 72.6°C
Intel Core i5 (Clarkdale) (Model 661) 69.8°C
Intel Core i5 (Lynfield) 72.7°C
Intel Core i5 (Lynfield) (Model 750s) 68.9°C
Intel Core i5 (Sandy-Bridge) 69°C – 73°C
Intel Core i5 (IvyBridge) 67.4°C – 69.1°C (model dependant)
Intel Core i5 (Haswell) 72°C
Intel Core i7 (Lynfield) 69°C – 73°C (model dependant)
Intel Core i7 (Bloomfield) 67.9°C
Intel Core i7 (Gulftown) 67.9°C
Intel Core i7 (Sandy-Bridge) 72.6°C
Intel Core i7 (IvyBridge) 67.4°C – 69.8°C (model dependant)
Intel Core i7 (Haswell) 72°C
Intel Core i7 (IvyBridge E) 66.8°C
Intel Core i7 (Haswell E) 66.8°C
Intel Core i7 Extreme (Bloomfield) 67.9°C
Celeron (Sandybridge) 65.5°C – 69.1°C (model dependant)
Celeron (Ivy Bridge) 65.3°C
Celeron (Haswell, BGA 1364) 100°C
Celeron (Haswell, Socket 1150) 64.4°C – 72°C (model dependant)
Pentium (Clarkdale) 72.6°C
Pentium (SandyBridge) 65°C – 69.1°C
Pentium (Ivy Bridge) 64.3°C
Pentium (Haswell) 64.4°C – 72°C (model dependant)

Previously we did have a video here showing what would happen if an incorrectly seated heatsink / fan was in your system or if for any other reason your cooling broke down. The video showed an older CPU literally burning out and setting alight. We feel this video is no longer of importance as it is now virtually impossible for modern CPU’s to have this problem. There are many fail safes in place that mean CPU’s shut down well before the type of heat required to set them on fire can occur. However this does not mean that your CPU wont get damaged by overheating. It may not set in to flames but long term excessive heat will cause system anomalies and also lower the life expectancy of your processor.

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