Motherboard Temperature High: How to troubleshoot and fix

Have you noticed that your motherboard has been overheating lately? Here’s all you need to know about motherboard overheating and how to fix it. 

An overheating computer is always a cause for concern. Heat kills. So when your motherboard starts overheating, you must find a way to cool it down. 

But why is your motherboard temperature high? And what steps can you take to reduce it? In this guide, we’ll go over the many different causes of overheating as well as their solutions. 

So without any further ado, let’s get started!

motherboard close up
Close up view of a motherboard

If your motherboard temperature is going beyond 80 degrees Celsius, then it is too high. You can reduce the temperature of the motherboard by updating the BIOS or by cleaning out the fans. In some cases, you may need to replace old hardware to fix the high temperature.

Motherboard Temperature High: What does this mean

How does it impact your computer?

Is your motherboard temperature high? If your motherboard temperature is above 80 C, then your motherboard temperature is too high. And if you don’t fix it, this will lead to damage to your equipment. You’re also risking lowering the efficiency of the processor and reducing its operating speed. 

What is a safe temperature?

Ideally, the temperature should stay between 20 degrees C to 80 degrees C range for motherboards. It’s normal for the motherboard to run hotter when you’re using it, especially if you’re using some intensive programs. 

Motherboard Temperature High: How to Find Out Temperature

Is your motherboard temperature high? Here’s how to find out:

  1. Hardware Monitor

The best way to estimate the motherboard temperature is to get a hardware monitor. This is software that provides information regarding all hardware equipment, including the CPU. Hardware monitors will show you the current CPU temperature. 

And some will even show you the temperature of each core. The best part is that many hardware monitors show other temperature-related hardware, such as fan speed. This gives you an idea of where you stand and how hot your CPU is getting. 

  1. HW Monitor

If you want to try the best hardware monitor, then HW Monitor is a good choice. It’s a hardware monitoring software that can read your PC’s main health sensors. These are the sensors that monitor things like voltage, fan speed, and temperature. 

The monitor is compatible with most modern ICs (integrated circuits) and sensors, including most Winbond ICs. It tells you all about the CPU’s overall temperature, the temperature of the individual cores, and even that of the hard drives. 

  1. Speccy

Speccy is another hardware monitor that’s all about sensing and reporting. This hardware monitor is a lot more sophisticated and features general information about your system. You also get detailed information about clock speeds, RAM usage, and of course, the CPU temperature. It shows you the average motherboard temperature plus the temperature of the individual cores. 

Related Read: Normal CPU Temp While Gaming: How hot is too hot?

Motherboard Temperature High: What to do

Not sure how to reduce the motherboard temperature? Here’s what you can do:

  1. Clean Fans

The first thing to check is the fan. Here’s how:

  • Remove the back panel of your laptop or tower cover of your PC. 
  • Take a good look at the fans and determine whether they’re dirty or not. 
  • You can either clean them with compressed air or a vacuum. Wiping them down with a cloth may be tricky. 
  • To ensure you get all the dust out, soak a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and wipe the blades. 
  1. Proper Ventilation

Next, you want to ensure the computer is getting proper ventilation. 

  • Open up any windows and doors to let the hot air out.
  • Ensure that nothing is blocking the vents. For instance, if your PC is against a wall or you use your laptop on your lap, you could be blocking the vents. 
  • Clean out the vents every once in a while. 
  • Avoid overcrowding in the room as this will heat it faster. 
  1. Replace Parts

Sometimes, the problem is with the hardware itself. In that case, you’ll want to replace the hardware parts. 

  • Your first suspect should be the fan. It’s pretty easy to replace. 
  • The next likely culprit is the ventilation duct on your PC or laptop. More often than not, you can find an exact replacement online. 
  • Also, consider swapping out your HDD for an SSD, as it produces less heat. 
  • Switch to a lower wattage power supply. 
  • Consider replacing the graphics card as well if the issue persists. 
  1. Thermal Paste

If your computer is quite old, then it’s most likely that the thermal paste has solidified. 

  • Remove the tower case or the back panel of your laptop. 
  • Check all the places you applied thermal paste. If the system was pre-built, look for thermal paste under the heat sinks. 
  • If the thermal paste (a silver paste) is still there and feels wet to the touch, then it’s perfect. Otherwise, you’ll need to re-apply the paste. 
  1. Update BIOS

An outdated BIOS can also cause your system to overheat. Here’s how to check for BIOS updates:

  • Press Start and, in the search bar, type “cmd” and open Command Prompt.
  • Type “wmic bios get smbiosbiosversion”. This will show you your current UEFI or BIOS version. 
  • Check this against the list of updated BIOS versions on your motherboard’s official site. 
  1. Cooling Pads

Buying a cooling pad for your laptop is a great way to reduce its motherboard temperature. These pads raise the laptop from your lap, freeing up the air vents. They also have fans that direct heat away from the laptop. The problem with laptops is that they primarily rely on passive cooling. But with cooling pads, you can actively cool your laptop. 

  1. Disable Overclocking

Another way to cool down your motherboard is to disable overclocking. Here’s how to disable overclocking:

  • Go to Start > Settings > Update and Security > Recovery > Advanced Startup. 
  • Once your PC restarts, select Troubleshoot.
  • Click on Advanced options. 
  • Click on UEFI Firmware Settings. 
  • Choose Restart. 
  • Your computer will restart and open up the BIOS interface. 
  • Go to Performance > Overclocking. 
  • Disable overclocking. 
  • Save the changes you made to the BIOS and restart your PC. 

If you’re a visual learner, here’s a quick video guide on fixing an overheating motherboard

Motherboard Temperature High: Common Reasons

Why is your motherboard temperature high all of a sudden? Here are a few common reasons:

Overclocking

Overclocking is the most common cause of high motherboard temperatures. Overclocking means increasing the clock rate of a CPU component so that it runs faster. In most cases, overclocking is enabled by default and is only turned on when you need that extra power. 

Simple actions like web browsing and video streaming won’t trigger overclocking. But more intensive apps and games may. Hence, it may help to disable overclocking from the BIOS. 

Bad ventilation

One of the most common causes of a high motherboard temperature is bad ventilation. Do you have the vents on your PC at the back? And is it set up against a wall? Or do you use your laptop on your lap or your bed? These things can block off ventilation. 

Room temperature

Ambient room temperature also makes a difference. If you live in a hot climate, then your motherboard will get hotter. Or if your computer is placed right below a window that gets a lot of sunlight, it will heat up. 

The best way to manage room temperature is to get a thermostat or an air conditioner and run it when the computer gets hot. 

Dust/dirt

Dust getting stuck in the vents and the fans are the next most common cause of an overheating motherboard. With time, the vents on your PC or laptop will become clogged. And eventually, this will lead to bad airflow. 

Dust on the fans can also hinder proper fan operation. Other obstructions may prevent the fan from moving properly and can slow down the fan. It’s a good idea to regularly clean the vents and the fan with compressed air or a vacuum. 

Voltage settings are off

Often, your voltage settings may be off, and you may be consuming more power than needed. This will result in an overheating motherboard. You can easily adjust power settings in your computer’s control panel. You’ll find power-saving settings that will reduce the CPU’s speed to conserve power and heat. 

Loose heatsinks

Heatsinks are crucial for dissipating heat from the CPU to the ventilation ducts. However, if the heatsinks have come loose somehow, then this could be causing the computer to overheat. Loose heatsinks are often the result of improper screwing. If you find a heatsink has come loose, you should tighten it or remove it and reinstall it. 

Faulty fan

If your fan is not working correctly, then your computer will start to overheat. Overheating is caused by a fan that is either not turning on or running at slower speeds. Obstructions, as well as internal electrical damage, can cause the fan to slow down. Additionally, certain fan settings might be putting a cap on the fan’s speed.

Related Read: CPU OPT vs CPU FAN: Which header should you use?

Bad power supply

Power supplies are essential not just to provide adequate power but to protect against electrical hazards. If your power supply has gone well beyond its recommended lifespan, then you should replace it. A bad power supply may lead to power surges, overvoltage, and overcurrent, all of which damage your equipment. 

Additionally, too much voltage will cause the components to get hotter. This is especially true for bigger discrete components soldered on the motherboard. 

BIOS isn’t updated

An outdated BIOS is more often than not the root cause of an overheating motherboard. Keeping the BIOS updated ensures that you will always have the latest software. The BIOS is responsible for managing power consumption and overclocking. Therefore, switching to an updated BIOS might solve any issues that the outdated BIOS may have been creating. 

Manufacturer defect

Although uncommon, there could be a manufacturing defect on the motherboard that causes it to overheat. This is especially the case if you buy a bargain motherboard that’s not from an original seller. Copycats will try to replicate motherboards from big companies and either sell them as the real thing or under a different name. Either way, there can be manufacturing flaws even on original motherboards from big companies. 

Bad sensor data

Lastly, there could be something wrong with your sensors. Perhaps the motherboard is overheating but the motherboard temperature sensor isn’t working right. As such, it can’t communicate to the relevant regulator. Or perhaps the motherboard isn’t overheating and your hardware monitor is showing the wrong data. Either way, a full sensor replacement may be necessary. 

Optimal Motherboard Temperature

If you’re wondering, “How hot should my motherboard be?” then here are some ranges to give you an idea.

While idle

A good motherboard temp range is between 20 and 80 degrees Celsius. In Fahrenheit, that’s about 68 to 176 degrees. This is the ideal range, and anything beyond this range risks damaging the equipment. When the computer is idle, it will usually run at around 50 C (122 F). But this depends on how many processes you have running in the background.

While gaming

When gaming, it’s not rare for your computer to heat up faster than when it’s idle. This is nothing to worry about, so long as the temperature doesn’t go beyond 60 C. The temperature may go as high as 80 C, but that’s usually when you’re overclocking. Typically, the temperature shouldn’t rise beyond this threshold regardless of how intensive the game is.

Normal tasks

During routine tasks like browsing or scrolling, the temperature should not exceed 50 degrees Celsius. This is because browsing and other tasks are relatively easy on the CPU and shouldn’t cause it to overheat. If your computer is overheating regardless, then there is an underlying issue that needs to be solved. 

Signs Of Motherboard Failure

How do you know that your motherboard has started to fail and that you should buy a new one? Here are a few symptoms of motherboard failure:

  • You can see signs of physical damage like marks and burns. 
  • Your computer frequently freezes or glitches. 
  • The computer is not recognizing particular hardware that it used to recognize before. 
  • With time, you’ve noticed that your system has started to slow down. 
  • You keep getting the Blue Screen of Death. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I fix the high temperature on my motherboard?

There are numerous ways you can go about fixing that. The easiest fix is to clean out the vents and remove any obstructions of the vents and the fans. You can also try updating the BIOS or adjusting the power settings. Ultimately, however, you might need to open up the case and replace some parts or reapply the thermal paste.

What is a bad temperature for a motherboard?

When it’s idle, the motherboard temperature should never be above 50 degrees Celsius. And when doing intensive tasks like gaming, the temperature should never exceed 80 C. 

Is 80C too hot for motherboard?

80 C is just the maximum limit for a healthy motherboard temperature. If your computer is reaching 80 C or close to that, then yes, it’s a cause for concern. Even most high-intensity games will only heat a healthy motherboard to 60 C or 70 C. 

How do I stop my motherboard from overheating?

There are several methods you can try. Remove obstacles in the way of the vents and the fans. Swap out the HDD for an SSD. Check the system settings and make sure that you’re not using more power than necessary. Sometimes, a bad power supply can lead to overheating too. 

Conclusion

An overheating motherboard puts us into a panic, and rightfully so. High Motherboard temperatures often indicate motherboard failure or an outdated BIOS. And sometimes, the problem can be even more severe, such as hardware failure. 

Why is your motherboard temperature high? Now you know all about common issues and how to solve them. In the future, to help you keep track of the motherboard temperature, use a hardware monitor like HW monitor or Speccy.

And that’s it for how to fix an overheating motherboard! If you have any queries, feel free to drop them down in the comments below.

About Jess

Hello, I'm Jess and I take care of all of the imagery we use here at Spacehop. Although I'm not as tech savvy as some of the other here, I have worked in HR for several years, so you'll probably hear me imparting some of my wisdom here on occasion.

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