Before asking "Is this too hot?"

By Vehementi ยท 166 replies
Jun 22, 2004
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  1. If you came into this forum going to ask this question, please read this first...

    In only the direst of situations is any component of your computer under any thermal danger.
    Examples include if you lived at all close to the equator, used stock cooling, the equivalent, or less, and run your 1.4GHz Athlon Thunderbird at full load all day long. (Most modern CPUs have thermal safeguards, if not all). And generally if the ambient temperature of the room your computer is inside exceeds the point in which you start sweating after prolonged inhabitance. This can be easily fixed by opening a window. Sounds like a few people here should try it (since it's the first step in getting out more) :D

    The universal relatively safe temperature that your processor (undoubtedly your hottest component), Intel or AMD, Pentium or Athlon whatever should run under is...

    (drumroll please)

    60 degrees Celcius or 140 degrees Fahrenheit

    Even if you exceed this once in a while it would be OK, but if it was me I would look into cooling it down. Now granted 50C sounds alot safer and more comfortable to me, you can't always keep it around there without spending some extra money. And you can't always spend some extra money ;)

    There are simply too many posts asking this same exact question. It was the same way with the Overclocking thread. If I was a moderator I would make this post a READ, delete the violating posts, and shoot the violators a PM with a warning about following the stickies :blackeye:

    Thank you for your time everyone. I do hope I won't have to answer another question about this.
  2. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    Actually, according to all the documentation I havbe read, anything under 70c is "safe" but safe isn't always good, especially since it isn't the steady high temp that causes most stability problems, it is the fluctuation of the temps. The most common cause of this fluctuation is shutting off the machine. When you shut down, all the components that get hot tend to cool off(I know its hard to believe but its true) This is usually a big factor in thermal failures. Not saying it is necessarily bad to shut down your machine, just using it as a good example of the heat and cool cycle which is more deadly than a constant 70+ temp reading.
  3. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    That is something I forgot to mention, but the thread was aimed at the newbies who always ask if their processor/case is too hot.

    Much thanks for bringing that up, though.
  4. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    This is now sticky to the icky.:p
  5. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Also, for every 10 deg C rise in temps, component life is halfed (for semiconductors), though I've never known a cpu to wear out. They become obsolete long before they are likely to fail due to wear and tear. Thermal noise also increases with temp, so your cpu will operate more reliably if the temps are kept low.

    All this is theoretical, and in practice, if you keep the temps below the recommended safe limit, then everything will be fine for the usable lifespan of a typical PC (say 10 yrs).

    A hot case is very bad for hard drives, which have a typical life expectancy of around 5 years under 'normal' conditions.
  6. bushwhacker

    bushwhacker TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 783

    MMM. that confuse me, StormBringer... Yes, it is safe if you re running a system under 70c, but PC MODDER magazine (Mad Modder wrote the article) AMD can running up to 95c?

    I am curious, I know anything above 70c is not safe but why AMD told the consumer that some of AMD can capable to run in 95c. :eek:

    Can you tell me each of AMD kind in maxmium temp (AMD athlon, XP <non-barton and Barton chip>, AMD 64 chip, AMD FX51 and 53)?

    Same goes to P4.

    <<TS Special Forces or Editor May edit this!>>
  7. NeonShadow

    NeonShadow TS Rookie

    Alright. Reading this answered one of my all time questions that I keep forgetting. My pc is running right now at.... 82.0 F. I would believe that is good. Hopefully. Good Sticky! :D
  8. deizel

    deizel TS Rookie

    Okay, so if Half-Life 2 crashes with 'memory cannot be "read"' errors, and I am getting the BSOD saying 'IRQL_IS_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL' whilst trying to install windows, then proceed to my BIOS and upon checking my CPU temperature, it is idling 76C/168F, whilst my mobo is at 22C/71F... does this mean my AMD Athlon XP 3000+ is definetely too hot and causing the problems?

    Apologies if i sound daft asking, but I just want to make sure first...

    My Western Digital Caviar 120GB hard drive recently failed after 14 months, I have tried each Samsung 512MB dimm by itself, removing Audigy 2 and switching to onboard sound (a7n8x), and swapping my GeForce FX 5200 for a ATI 9800 Pro, but the problems seem neverending since this my recent hd failure, and installing hl2. :blackeye:

    Thanks in advance. d.
  9. sosuke

    sosuke TS Rookie

    does the same 60C temp apply to video cards and RAM?
  10. MarcFOnline

    MarcFOnline TS Rookie Posts: 74

    For video cards and RAM, your motherboard/case temp ("ambient") is the one to look out for there. I'd say as long as your ambient temperature is about 35 C or below, you don't have anything to worry about with your video card and RAM. (RAM is right there in the motherboard, and any video cards that are powerful enough to create heat issues have their own built-in fans.)

    Depending on your processor and video card, you'd probably be fine with higher temps than 35, but if you have a newer Athlon or an Intel P4 (especially Prescott) system, you'll want to keep those case temps well below that -- those processors can run 15 to 30 degrees above ambient.

    I'm not sure what the critical temps are for video cards or RAM, but I'm sure you could find that under "thermal specifications" at the manufacturer's web site.

    Hope that helps!
  11. Ea$Y

    Ea$Y TS Rookie Posts: 60

    A good case (aluminum prefered) - a few intake fans - a few exhaust fans - A duct mod (to exhaust hot cpu air out) - if u feel creative a top exhaust port and an intake port next to the pci and agp slots - A fan contol device such as a rheobus (baybus) so you can control fan speeds when you are gaming /idle- A good aftermarket gpu cooler so u can squeeze a few extra fps outta the vid card. In addition pick up a nice heatsink/fan for the cpu.

    This is coming from an X-heat obsessed junkie. If your case temp exceeds ambient (room temp) you may want to look into getting a few of the above mentioned items. As far as chip temps are concerned each chip will differ by a varience depending on the processes and hardware config you are running.
    Somebody mentioned that if you are worried about your chip lasting for years keep your temps down - most of us upgrade once a year or every other year - so who cares about the temps really as long as they do not exceed operating temps set out by manufacturers specs by much there is also a +- tolerance in terms of tempature.

    My 2 cents cheers

    PRELUDiCON TS Rookie

    Can someone tell me what are the positives/negatives of leaving the case side panel off?

    I use MBM5 and had the panel off all day, when I got home I checked the highest/lowest temps.... I couldn't believe the CPU temp actually dropped as low as 24c :O !!

    The case was off because I went about 'fabricating' [butchering:knock:] a CPU duct... fixed a mesh screen on there and everything... but it doesnt' seem to make much difference... maybe a degree or two.

    Kinda scratched up the panel a bit too so as a 'solution', I covered it with a big piece of super-thin vinyl...wondering if the vinyl is actually thermally counter productive??? Like not letting heat dissipate through the metal as easily??

    I have a P4 average ambient temp [case temp] is 38c ... and the CPU has reached 52c before under stress [believe that was the highest ever]...

    MOBO is ASUS P4P800 Deluxe.

    Any comments welcome.

  13. lordx

    lordx TS Rookie Posts: 33

    AMD is very thankfull when you burn your cpu.....'cause u need to buy new one.....Business is Business and Business is Good!
  14. goodson

    goodson TS Rookie

    I just read in a tech bulletin today that the error message you posted indicates bad ram chip. I see you mentioned testing them individually, but maybe tyhey are both toaasted. Good Luck!
  15. Ea$Y

    Ea$Y TS Rookie Posts: 60


    I dont think there are many negative aspects in refrence to leaving the side of your case off except maybe a dust buildup. If you are doin maintenance to the case its ok to leave it off for a while but dust and dirt particles in the air will cling to components. Motherboards especially. Excessive dust could possibly cause a short on the board. The vinyl u attached to the case I cant comment on- maybe it could cause the metal or aluminum to sweat although i cant say for sure. As long as you have a few intake fans and a few exhaust fans and hardware such as a bay/rheo bus to control the speed of the fans you should be ok. If it were me if leave the side closed. I have seen some gunk buildup between the fins of cpu heatsinks and northbridge coolers that would make grown men cry lol. My case is a lian-li full aluminum tower. So even in the summer its fairly cool. These cases are fairly expensive but worth the investment if you would like to maintain a constant temperature from within the case to prevent the hardware from overheating.

    Cheers - hope this helps

    PRELUDiCON TS Rookie

    Thanks for the reply!

    Umm... It's a metal case, not aluminum :( ... and the average case temp, as I mentioned, is around 40c...

    My friend has a CoolerMaster aluminum case and his average case temp is only 30c :O !!

    ANd no, I don't have all those fans...

    All stock only! ... just the one exhaust fan in the back ... and now the 'fabricated' cpu exhaust duct lol ...

    I have no idea how/where to place any other fans...intake or exhaust...

    not like there is alot of room in there to play with .... mind pointing me in the right direction with regards to adding all of these 'few' exhaust and 'few' intake fans ?? :D

  17. Ea$Y

    Ea$Y TS Rookie Posts: 60

    40 degreees Farenheight or 5 degrees celcious give or take a degree
    Not too bad Especially from a steel gauge case. If i am correct in my metallurgy- The best dissipation of heat comes from gold or platinum (but who can afford/want ) a gold case Next we have copper -but copper has a tendancy to produce a lot of oxides when exposed to moisture and ambient air. The next logical choice would be aluminum -most high performance cases are made of aluminum. Cost to performance ratio. Aluminum is a non ferous metal which means that it contains little to no iron and holds no magnetic charge. (which is fantastic news for static sensitive ic's :p ) For those who disagree - Research Ampere's Law and Magnetic Field Density. Iron is also a wonderful conductor of heat. Next we have steel which is unfortunately on the bottom of the food chain so to speak. If you want to lower case temps u will need to invest in a aluminum case period. No matter how many intake fans or ducts u put in a steel case to cool it down- the fans are only sucking air from your room at its current temperature- So the temp inside the case cannot be lower then room temp. Adding hot hardware to the mix will also heat up the case as well. Everyone will have an opinion on what the correct configuration for placement of fans in order to get maximum airflow and heat exhaust to and from the case. You will also be restricted in how many fans you can place in the case by the number of physical intake and exhaust ports u may have.

    My configuration is as follows.
    2x 80 mm intake in the front bottom of the case.
    1x 120 mm intake in the side blowing directly on the pci/agp area of the mobo.
    1x 120 mm exhaust directly above the cpu fan and agp/pci area of the mobo.
    2x 80 mm exhaust inb the back of the case (on above and 1 below the pwr supply)

    The 120 mm exhaust fan above the cpu and agp/pci is there to exhaust any heat from those hot areas. Heat rises - encourage it.

    I also have a rheobus which is a device to control the voltage output which in turn controls the speed of the fans. What type of fans you choose is up to you.
    I have had both cheap and expensive fans. I have never noticed a difference in performance. I have never had a fan fizz out on me. (knock on wood)

  18. pizzada

    pizzada TS Booster Posts: 72

    I read on a board somewhere recently that this guy used mouse pads to line the inside of his case to suppress all the noise from all the fans he had going.....
    my question is, would this be counter productive, as it insulates the case except at the fan ports......or is it a practical idea ?

    And with the need for all these fans for cooling there any other practical noise pollution solution ? :rolleyes:
  19. Ea$Y

    Ea$Y TS Rookie Posts: 60

    LOL - sounds like a fun project- I dont know how much it would work though. But who knows lol. I found this sound dampener

    - Its from a canadian site in my city but im sure you can find it on the net or a cpmparable product somewhere. I havent used it yet - but it has been on the market for a while. I am used to the low resonance hum of my case so sound dosent bother me. As they say with great performance comes great noise levels - or something like that :D

  20. pizzada

    pizzada TS Booster Posts: 72

    LOL,,,as a self-confessed 'X-heat obsessed junkie.' you might be cautious about any 'fun little projects', as they start out that way......HeHe :D

    So, having said that, here is a neat little article I found when out trolling' around out there on sound proofing your PC:,1558,506,00.asp

  21. Ea$Y

    Ea$Y TS Rookie Posts: 60

    O... thas a nice link.
    Thanks pizzada - nice info. I used to be heat obsesed too lol.
    Well maybe im in denial lol. Yep ..projects that i still have nightmares about today started out small :D
  22. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    Right now, my overclocked Athlon 2500+ runs at 159F/ 71C constant. It's been very stable. I have 4 fans in the case. 1 blowing in, 3 out. Plus I have a very large CPU fan with a large heatsink. I never shut my computer off and I have my HD's power down after 15 mins.

    Haven't had any problems. Even ran doom 3 - no probs. Athlons run HOT!
  23. Ea$Y

    Ea$Y TS Rookie Posts: 60

    That seems a little hot for that chip- it should be 60 F underload or less (as far as i can remember) depending on the cooling intake/exhaust and case metal.
    Most thoroughbred amd chips run much cooler then some intel - due to the wattage and power requirements of intel. We know that More watts/power = more heat. Im not sure of the exact numbers but I can get them for you if you are interested in reading. The older generation thunderbird series were notoriously hot. What kind of cpu cooler do you have?
    Copper core or aluminum? Did you apply the thermal past correctly? What type of paste did you use?

    Ok talk to you later
  24. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    It's an Athlon XP 2500+. I have arctic silver plus a very large & oversized cooling fan. I'm going to replace it shortly with a 3200+ XP Athlon, I'll probably buy an athlon heat shim.
  25. Ea$Y

    Ea$Y TS Rookie Posts: 60

    Ah ok
    Nice chip.
    I use the arctic silver 5 as well.
    What is the material of the cpu cooler?
    I bought the thermaltake extreme volcano 12 - its solid copper with a lot of cooling fins it keeps my chip pretty cool even under load.


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