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

Is your computer lagging or rebooting whenever you try to play games? Then you might have overheating issues. For that reason, you should know what is a normal CPU temp while gaming. In this article, you will find out the best CPU temperatures while gaming, what is causing overheating, and how to deal with it. 

Normal CPU Temp While Gaming

On average, a normal CPU temperature while gaming is between 142°F and 164°F (61°C and 73°C). A CPU temperature can go up while gaming. Even though each processor has its own normal CPU’s temp range, this range is acceptable for most CPUs. Either way, a CPU temp while gaming should not go over 176°F (80°C). 

Gaming PC with multiple case fans
Gaming PC with multiple case fans

Normal CPU Temperature While Gaming

Normal CPU temp while gaming ranges between 142°F and 164°F (61°C and 73°C). This is true for most CPUs. However, some processors can handle higher temperatures. 

Optimal CPU Temp

In the table below, we can see that the normal range of temperature differentiates from model to model of the processor. Some manufacturers invest more time into resolving this issue, and some don’t. 

Even two processors from the same manufacturer can have different temperature ranges. For example, the difference between AMD Sempron and AMD Phenom X4 is about 60°F. 

ProcessorNormal Range (°F)Normal Range (°C)
Intel Pentium Pro  165.2°F – 186.8°F74°C – 86°C
Intel Pentium II147.2°F – 167°F64°C – 75°C
Intel Pentium III140°F – 185°F60°C – 85°C
Intel Pentium 4111°F – 149°F44°C – 65°C
Intel Pentium Mobile158°F – 185°F70°C – 85°C
Intel Core 2 Duo113°F – 131°F45°C – 55°C
Intel Celeron149°F – 185°F65°C – 85°C
Intel Core i3122°F – 140°F50°C – 60°C
Intel Core i5122°F – 145.4°F50°C – 63°C
Intel Core i7122°F – 150.8°F50°C – 66°C
AMD A6113°F – 134.6°F45°C – 57°C
AMD A10122°F – 140°F50°C – 60°C
AMD Athlon185°F – 203°F85°C – 95°C
AMD Athlon 64113°F – 140°F45°C – 60°C
AMD Athlon 64 X2113°F – 131°F45°C – 55°C
AMD Athlon 64 Mobile176°F – 194°F80°C – 90°C
AMD Athlon FX113°F – 140°F45°C – 60°C
AMD Athlon II X4122°F – 140°F50°C – 60°C
AMD Athlon MP185°F – 203°F85°C – 95°C
AMD Athlon XP176°F – 194°F80°C – 90°C
AMD Duron185°F – 203°F85°C – 95°C
AMD K5140°F – 158°F60°C – 70°C
AMD K6140°F – 158°F60°C – 70°C
AMD K6 Mobile167°F – 185°F75°C – 85°C
AMD K7 Thunderbird158°F – 203°F70°C – 95°C
AMD Opteron149°F – 159.8°F65°C – 71°C
AMD Phenom II X6113°F – 131°F45°C – 55°C
AMD Phenom X3122°F – 140°F50°C – 60°C
AMD Phenom X4122°F – 140°F50°C – 60°C
AMD Sempron185°F – 203°F85°C – 95°C
Average141.61°F – 164.18 °F60.89°C – 73.43°C

Temp For Laptops

Laptops look more stylish if they are thin. But thin laptops are challenged with overheating because they have little space to put fans. As a result, their fans run all the time, and they can heat up very quickly. 

The laptop’s temperature should be around 140°F (60°C) when idle. When in use, the acceptable temperature is between 180°F and 190°F (between 82°C and 88°C). The temperature should not go over this limit.

What Causes Your CPU to Get Hot

Heavy Load on the Processor

Higher than average CPU usage can cause a high CPU temperature. Some programs or games require a lot of processing power. Usually, those are editing programs, high-resolution games, and video and photo convertors. 

Keep in mind that autostart programs can cause high CPU usage because they work in the background. And, even an internet browser could cause high CPU usage. 

Central Processing Unit
Central Processing Unit

Poor Ventilation 

If you want your computer to work properly, it must have a cool airflow. This depends heavily on the case you use. It is always a good idea to invest some money in a good case with good fans. This can help you lower the CPU temperature significantly. 

Dust 

As you can imagine, dust can find its way into our computer cases, no matter how good they are. When it gets inside the case, it can cause a lot of issues if you don’t remove it occasionally. 

Dust can attach to computer components. It can get inside the fans, making it harder to cool the CPU because the cool air can’t reach it. If dust builds up a lot, then the fans could stop spinning altogether

For that reason, you should clean the dust every once in a while. You can use a vacuum cleaner to extract as much dust from the case. Or you can take the case outside and blow it out with compressed air. 

Clogged Vents

The vents on the back of your computer case can also cause overheating problems. If they are clogged, they can obstruct the fans from blowing out hot air. Always check the back of your computer to see if something is blocking the vents. 

Improper Cable Management

Even though you might think that cable management is just about aesthetics, it is much more than that. If you do proper cable management, it could help your computer to manage the internal temperature better. 

When there’s improper cable management, it could block the airflow. It means that the computer will not be able to reduce the hot air from the system. Additionally, if it is summer or hot weather in general, your CPU temperature could go very high. 

Overclocking

Overclocking basically means pushing the hardware over its limits. Every processor has clock speeds set by the manufacturer. However, you could push your processor to work over these limits by overclocking. The main downside to this practice is that the processor will overheat fast. 

Combine overclocking with other issues such as dust, poor airflow, or poor cable management, and your CPU’s temperature will go through the roof. For that reason, you have to be careful when overclocking, especially because the damage is usually not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. 

Poor RAM

If you have faulty RAM or poor quality RAM, it could cause your CPU to overheat. Sometimes the problem is not in RAM but in RAM modules.

So, if you have more than one RAM stick, make sure that they are all properly inserted. You can also take one by one out of their modules to check if they are the ones causing trouble. When your CPU starts to overheat with a certain RAM stick inserted, then it’s time to replace it. 

Virus

When a computer virus settles in your computer, it can make a mess, including overheating. Therefore, you should check your computer for trojans or malware and defend yourself from them. 

You can use anti-virus software and be careful while online. That means do not open suspicious websites or emails. Also, make sure your installed apps are up to date. 

Signs Your CPU is Overheating

Computer Reboots Itself

When a computer reboots itself, it means something is not working properly. And one of the issues could be overheating. It can happen any time, when you play a game or when a computer is idle. 

Overheating Alarm

Many computers have an overheating alarm. It is a built-in feature, and once the temperature goes up, you hear a beep or other warning sound. 

Computer Fans Kicking On

Fans in your computer make a sound when trying to lower the temperature. But if the fans are constantly spinning, it could be a sign of overheating. So, turn down your music or TV and listen to your computer for a little while. 

Excessive Lagging

When you use your computer for a while, you probably know how it works. If it starts to act unusual when you run demanding programs, it might be a sign of overheating. Excessive lagging is annoying, but it happens for a reason. 

Strange Noises Coming From The Computer

Sometimes, the computer warns you of the temperature being high by scraping or squealing. For that reason, it is important to listen to how your computer works for a while, especially if it’s lagging. 

Warped Plastic on Your Computer

When the computer emits a lot of heat, the plastic on the edges of the case becomes warped. Therefore, remember to check the physical state of the case, as well. 

Computer Emitting a Lot of Heat

Lastly, an indicator of high CPU temperature is your computer emitting a lot of heat. You can place your hand near it to feel whether it emits heat or not. If that is the case, your CPU temperature is increasing. 

How to Check CPU Temp While Gaming

MSI Afterburner

MSI Afterburner is a tool that, among other things, can help you monitor your computer. You can see the live changes made to your components, such as clock speed, temperature, FPS, etc. Therefore, you can see exactly how much load there is on your computer while you are gaming. 

Ryzen Master Utility

AMD Ryzen Master, besides the overclocking features, also allows you insight into system parameters, such as speed and CPU temperature. It provides real-time information as well as the average and peak readings. 

However, it is important to emphasize that Ryzen Master Utility doesn’t support other CPUs. You can only read info from Ryzen CPUs. 

Extreme Tuning Utility

Just like the Ryzen utility, the Extreme Tuning Utility is used for overclocking and monitoring. You can access data such as temperature. 

It can monitor the temperatures and alert you when the system reaches a critical level. Once it reaches the limit, the process of thermal throttling reduces CPU performance until it reaches lower temperatures. 

How to Lower CPU Temperature

Apply Thermal Paste

Anytime you notice your CPU temperature going up, then it is time to consider changing the thermal paste. Also, if you are removing your cooler, you should replace the thermal paste. In general, you should replace thermal paste every two or three years. 

Ample Computer Ventilation

Provide your computer with plenty of airflow if you want to avoid overheating. You can do that by investing in the computer case. The bare minimum is one exhaust fan and one intake fan to allow airflow in the case. 

Keep in mind that the surroundings are important, as well. So, the room you keep your computer in should have an optimal temperature. You could install an air conditioner to lower the temperature. Also, avoid placing the computer case right next to the wall because there will not be enough space for airflow.  

Reducing CPU Usage

High usage causes high CPU temperature. You can try running demanding programs one at a time. Also, you can scan through autostart programs and turn off this option for programs you don’t use or use less frequently.

CPU Cooler

You can always get a CPU cooler. These coolers come in two designs – an open-air fan and a blower fan. 

An open-air fan takes the air above the fans and then blows it to the sides. This type of cooler is fast and quiet. A blower fan blows the air on the rear vents. The downside is that they are loud and slow. 

Either way, you should ensure that there is enough airflow in the case itself. It means that there are no obstructions such as a lot of cables around. 

Close Unused Apps

Every once in a while, you should browse through all of your installed apps. Maybe there are a lot of unnecessary apps or apps you don’t use anymore. You can close them if they work in the background or even remove them from your computer. 

Software Running in the Background

Some programs are running in the background even if you are not using them. So, they can receive or send notifications or run updates. You can browse through the settings of your computer. There is a list of background apps, and there you can turn them on or off. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 70 degrees Celsius hot for a CPU while gaming?

It is acceptable for most CPUs. However, 70 degrees is still close to the upper limit temperature for CPUs. Therefore, you should be careful. You could check if anything is blocking the fans on your case or if the cables are interfering with the cooling fans in the computer case. 

Is 90 degrees Celsius hot for a CPU while gaming?

Yes. For most CPUs, 90 degrees is way over the upper limit. Only a few CPUs, such as AMD Athlon MP or AMD K7 Thunderbird, can handle temperatures over 90 degrees. However, even for these CPUs, this temperature is risky. Therefore, check the airflow in your case and see if the air coolers are doing what they should. Otherwise, you could be facing damage to your computer parts. 

Is 80C too hot for CPU?

Absolutely. There are a certain number of processors that can tolerate this temperature. However, it is their upper limit, and you should do something to lower the temperature. Check if you perhaps have a virus on your computer, clean the dust inside the case, ensure proper cable management, and avoid overclocking. 

IS 45 C OK for CPU?

Yes. This is a completely acceptable and normal temperature for all CPUs. Actually, it is the lower limit in the normal range of the CPUs. If the temperature goes over the limit, there will be indicators. The computer will lag a lot, reboot itself, and you will hear overheating alarms or weird noises coming from your computer. You can always use specialized tools to monitor CPU temperature. 

Conclusion

Unfortunately, overheating is a common issue today. For that reason, you should know the normal CPU temp while gaming. Try to keep the CPU temperature between 142°F and 164°F (61°C and 73°C) since this is the average range for most processors today. However, you should check the recommendations for your specific CPU model. 

There are several things you could do to lower CPU temperature. The room you keep the computer in shouldn’t be too warm. You should also allow good airflow in the case by doing proper cable management, getting a good ventilation system, cleaning the dust regularly, and checking if there are any obstacles to computer fans.

Were you successful in keeping your CPU’s temp in the normal range while gaming? Let us know in the comments. 

About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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