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CPU Heating Problem

By steezasu · 13 replies
Dec 4, 2005
  1. Hey,

    I just recently built my first computer and have been having problems left and right. I have worked through many and am down to just two.
    First and foremost-

    My CPU is overheating dramatically. It is an Intel P4 2.8Ghz (Prescott I think, but I am not sure). Immediately after boot the temperature is anywhere b/t 57-61 oC (At least within the time I boot and the time it takes to enter BIOS and check). I have two case fans (120mm and 80mm) running, plus the heatsink fan for the CPU. The fan for the CPU runs at about 2636 RPM's (The case fans don't plug into mobo). I do not know if that is the speed it is supposed to be running at, or the fan isn't getting enough power. One curious detail.. The BIOS is what is telling me the CPU is at 61o, however the monitoring software that came with the mobo says 44o. I'm not sure which is giving me the bad read, either way the temp is too high.

    I do have a few thoughts:

    First, I had to remove the heatsink a few times while installing the CPU, mainly to reposition the legs on the heatsink so they could lock into place. I've read that the thermal tape that was on the bottom may become damaged from that. Should I go out and get a paste and reapply?


    Second, the CPU fan just isn't spinning fast enough. Could it be a problem with the PSU if that is the case?

    Any help on the matter is appreciated, I would like to be able to fix this so that I can leave my computer on overnight and download without risking destroying the CPU.



    P.S. If I can fix this then only one more simple problem to go!!!!
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    First we need to know if your temps are 61c or 44c.

    If your idle temp is at 44c, then this is not bad at all. But 61c idle is a bit on the toasty side. Since it is your BIOS that is saying 61c I'd believe that one over the monitoring soft, but still, let's get one more opinion to be sure.

    Try this one:

    But regardless, if I were you I would probably get some good thermal paste (arctic silver is a good one) and reseat your CPU. That thermal pad that comes with the CPU/heatsink retail isn't bad, but it is only supposed to be used ONCE. If you remove the heatsink once, then I would assume the pad is toast, especially if you used it for a while before breaking the seal.

    Hope this helps!
  3. Aezel

    Aezel TS Rookie

    I had the same problem when I built my new system early this year. My temps were even higher than yours; during the summer when the ambient temp went above 30°C, my cpu (P4 3.4) went all the way up to 80°C and over!
    But my system was stable so I didn't really mind.

    About the temp monitoring, from what i read online when i was researching the problem, I was told that the Bios monitor displays the temps slightly higher than they really are.
    And besides that, i have three different software monitors and they all give the lower temps. The Asus Ai Booster that came with the mobo, Speedfan that DonNagual already suggested and Everest Home which also diagnoses lots of other system specs.

    I agree with DonNaugal that u should start by getting Arctic Silver thermal paste.
    Which cpu cooler are u using? If u consider buying another one i can recommend the Zalman CNPS9500, not the cheapest but it cools very very well and improves the air flow through your case due to the horizontal mounting.

    I recently rebuilt my system in a bigger case (CM Stacker) with a new -better cooling- PSU, 2 extra fans and the new Zalman cooler and my temps have dropped dramatically. At 20° ambient the full load temp doesn't exceed 35° and it idles at 20°.
    Of course these are a lot of changes at the same time which u probably are not willing to make. But if you still think your cpu is running too hot after applying Arctic Silver 5 and maybe installing a better cpu cooler, you might want to consider adding an extra exhaust fan in the top of your case. To get rid of the hot air that gets stuck at the top of the case.
    But i'm getting carried away here :p.

    Let us know how things work out :).
  4. steezasu

    steezasu TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Got another opinion

    I downloaded the SpeedFan program Don suggested and it read out 44oC for my CPU as well. I suppose that is probably the correct value. It still worries me a bit because the manual that came with the CPU says "in order for this product to operate within thermal specifications, an internal ambient temperature of 38oC or lower is required." I first assumed that it was talking about the CPU temp but I suppose at second glance it could mean my overall system temp (which is 31oC). Do you guys know which one it is? A friend of mine who built his last two systems says that keeping my CPU at or below 38oC is fairly unreasonable but I'd like to know what temp you guys are keeping it at (unless you have 30 fans and a watercooling system ;) ).

    So anyways, I'm just going to assume I'm running at 44-47 oC for the time being. It may be acceptable, but I think I'm going to go out and get some new thermal paste just to be safe. Also, could you guys recommend a good solvent to remove the old paste from the CPU and heatsink when I get it?

    Thanks a lot for all your help,


    P.S. - Can I assume that the current temp is safe enough to let my computer run all night?
  5. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    I don't think this is referring to EITHER your system or the CPU. I think it is referring to the temperature of the air inside your case, not the temp of the CPU or the chipset (at least that is how I have always understood ambient temperature to mean).

    I am not too familiar with prescott CPUs, but from what I have heard they do run a little on the warm side so perhaps 38c would be an aggressive goal.

    I think that those temps are fine for a prescott core. Wait and get a second opinion just to be sure.

    As long as your temps are not going any higher, I'd say you're safe.
  6. Aezel

    Aezel TS Rookie

    High purity alcohol, which u can buy at any drug store.
    I use Akasa TIM-clean for removing thermal pads and silver based thermal grease. It works much better on Arctic Silver than the alcohol so if u plan on buying Arctic Silver you might as well get this solvent while your at it.
  7. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Too high? No, they aren't actually.

    Both temperatures are well within operating limits. But I agree, 61° C is pretty warm. And by older processor standards from several years ago, it's rediculously hot! :hotbounce

    But you'll be fine at 61° C. I wouldn't be concerned about it if is while you're computer is "at load" for a bit. But if it boots at that temperature, that tells me you have a very poor cooling solution. Maybe look into getting a new heatsink/fan?

    BIOSes can misreport temps too. Sometimes BIOS udpates can fix this... providing it is incorrect.
  8. steezasu

    steezasu TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ordered Some Paste

    Well, I just ordered some new paste from newegg and it should be here in a few days. I'll get some alcohol when it gets here. How careful do I have to be that alcohol doesn't roll off the top to under the CPU (It wil be removed with the contact cover on while I'm cleaning, of course), or is it something that's not a huge deal?

    Another question I have, is there some program I can get that simulate a full load for the processor so I can check its temps during full load? I know that it goes up a bit while playing the Sims2 but if I minimize and check the temps it already begins to go down so I'm not sure exactly how hot its getting.



    P.S - Completely unrelated, but is it safe to reverse an IDE ribbon cable and switch the end that gets plugged into the mobo connector to the one that goes into the device?
  9. Aezel

    Aezel TS Rookie

    You should apply the alcohol onto a clean dry cloth and then wipe the surface clean (multiple times). Don't apply the alcohol directly to the cpu.
    And u don't even have to remove the cpu if u do it this way.

    For testing temps at full load u could try downloading 3dMark03 or 3dMark05. Run those benchmarks a few times consecutively and u'll have a good idea about load temps.
    However, 3dMark runs at full screen mode (at least the free version does) so you only have a peek at the temps in between tests when the screen switches back to the desktop for a brief second. I use dual display (2 screens) so I just drag the monitoring program to the other screen but I think u should be able to read the temps in between the tests as well. Just watch closely :p.

    Maybe someone else has a better solution for this.
  10. steezasu

    steezasu TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Applied new paste, temps higher!


    I got the Arctic Silver Ceramique for my CPU, and after applying it, my temps are even higher than before! It gets up to about 83 while I'm playing America's Army. What happened? Did I just apply the grease wrong and should I reapply? Or does it just take a little bit for the grease to form a seal or something?

    Please let me know, this is kinda scary I don't want to have messed up my comp worse

  11. wheaties1187

    wheaties1187 TS Rookie

    if you put it on too thick that could be a problem. use as little as you can as long as it still covers the entire surface.

    also, as far as testing goes.. Prime95 is a great stresstester that i found from these forums. the torture test will definately let you know the highest temp. but i wouldn't run it until you get your idle temps down first. good luck.
  12. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    83c is danger level. You'll want to stop using your computer right away.

    Is the heatsink fan spinning?
    Are you sure you have the heatsink seated correctly on the CPU?
    Are you sure you are getting accurate temp readings?

    If you are uncertain, you should probably take your computer into a pro at this point. It sounds like you are at risk of doing some serious damage.
  13. Wee_Mee

    Wee_Mee TS Rookie

    little advice

    ok i had this same problem be careful at 80+ you could damage your motherboard beyound repair !!!!!!! :hotbounce so dont use it untill you do these steps.
    1 use someones elses comp to check on net about youe fan is it good does it have alot of people going this is total rubbish !!!! if so buy a better one go for 5 star fans its only way you can be sure.
    2 never use pads i always here about how much they suck and i have tryed them silver paste is alot better if you put it on right.
    ok to put paste on i do this put a very thin amount on and spread it all over it i would say all you need is 1/8 of a mm worth thats hhow little just enoth so u cant see the silver of the processor best way to spread is a piece of cardboard IMO , also once you add fan let it rest for mabye 10 mins -1 hour i found this helped me a bit in one of my computer set ups.
    3 ok this is best way to test ya comp for overheating motherboard monitor has a built in program that lets you ruin programs ie games and takes readings of ya heat pattens as its doing it alot better then benchmarking software IMO so try that you can get motherboard monitor at this site you might not find ya motherboard on there but i find some times just selecting a same make of board on it can get it to work if not do what the others said hope this helps ya
  14. osram

    osram TS Rookie Posts: 47

    well around 60 degrees celsius sounds acceptable to me.

    i would recommend everest home as one of the guys in this thread told you already.. it displays about 4-5 different temperatures for cpu mobo etc. you find those under the "sensor" mark.

    my cpu i now running at about 80 degrees when i am on my desktop, but i have only one vent and its even by the graphicscard.. not near cpu area. there is a spire heatsink/vent running at about 2100rpm.

    i need to place 2 more vents right near the cpu for sure.. as the PSU has about 2500rpm 14cm vent and should be enuff too.

    nevertheless i was still playing max payne 2 for a couple of hours without any crash.

    id be very happy with 60 degree cpu temperatures.. you are maybe worrying too much ;)
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