Is 80°C too hot for a CPU?

Is 80°C too hot for a CPU? Let’s find out

Updated: March 17, 2023 2:21 PM

A CPU converts electricity into heat when it is working, causing it to heat up. If your CPU reaches 80°C, you’re probably worried about overheating. In this article we explain: Is 80°C too hot for a CPU? We’ll also share with you effective ways to monitor and control your CPU temps, so read on if that’s what you’re looking for.

Now reading: How to stress test CPU and RAM

What is a good CPU temperature for gaming?

Ideal CPU temperatures are quite subjective and you’ll get a different answer depending on who you ask.

But in general, most hardware experts agree that your CPU should have an idle temperature of less than 50°C and a maximum temperature of less than 80°C during resource-intensive activities such as video editing and file extraction.

That puts 80C firmly at the upper end of what is typically considered acceptable.

Is 80°C too hot?

A CPU temperature of 80°C in workloads that push your CPU to its limits – file extraction, video editing, or basically anything that uses your CPU at 100% – is okay.

It could be better, but running at 80°C for a long time is fine. You don’t need to take any steps to lower your CPU temperature in this case, but we still recommend doing so, and we’ll share some of those steps with you in a moment.

A CPU temperature of 80°C during idle is of course pretty bad. Such a temperature almost guarantees that something is wrong with your cooling solution. The likely culprits here are:

  • No thermal paste on the IHS.
  • A layer of plastic film between the heatsinks of the IHS and the CPU cooler. This plastic film is applied to many coolers and must be removed manually. Forgetting this is a common beginner’s mistake.
  • CPU fan not spinning at all, or some other major defect in the CPU cooler.

Check all of these potential problems as they can be a fairly easy fix, as is the case 99% of the time.

CPU temperature while gaming

Now let’s talk about a CPU temperature of 80°C while gaming – and this is where it gets interesting.

You see, depending on the capabilities of your CPU and the resource requirements of the games you normally use, a temperature of 80°C may be okay or slightly problematic.

For example, if you get a temperature of 80°C while playing an undemanding title on a high-end CPU, you will see much higher temperatures in workloads that can use all of your processors. Most games only use a few cores completely. In this scenario, you want to take proactive steps to lower your CPU temps.

Conversely, if you get a temperature of 80°C while playing a very demanding title on an entry-level quad-core, your processor is probably operating at or near its limit, and a temperature of 80°C is about the highest temperature. You will see it.

Here’s more information about the optimal CPU and GPU temperatures when gaming.

What temperature is too high for a CPU?

A temperature above 80°C is certainly sub-optimal and should be avoided, although this will not cause any problems in the short term.

A temperature of 90°C will cause most consumer-class processors to thermal throttling, meaning they will lower their clock speed to reduce heat generation and prevent further temperature rises.

A temperature of 95°C causes Ryzen CPUs to automatically shut down to prevent long-term damage. This is a built-in protection mechanism in all modern CPUs. Core CPUs shut down at 105°C.

How to lower CPU temperature

Check out our in-depth guide on lowering CPU temperatures for detailed, step-by-step instructions.

For now, here’s a summary:

  • Clean the dust in your PC case.
  • Improve internal airflow by adding more fans, cleaning existing fans, and making sure all fans are operating at their intended speed.
  • Paste your CPU again. This is especially effective if you haven’t done it for a while, as the thermal compound dries up over time.
  • Suppress your CPU.
  • This one is self-explanatory, but you should also disable any overclocking.
  • Invest in a better CPU cooler.
  • Set custom fan curves in your motherboard’s BIOS.

Last word

In short, keeping CPU temperatures as low as possible is critical to ensuring the health and longevity of your CPU. High temperatures can cause the CPU to degrade faster, which can lead to performance issues, crashes, and even permanent damage to the processor.

Excessive heat can also affect other hardware components, such as the motherboard and memory modules. By maintaining low temperatures, you can prevent thermal throttling, ensure stable performance, and extend the life of your CPU.

Therefore, it is essential to regularly monitor CPU temperatures and use appropriate cooling solutions to prevent excessive heat build-up. This way you protect your hardware investment and ensure optimal system performance for years to come.

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