Keeping an eye on your PC’s internal temperatures is hugely important – especially for those that like to dabble in the art of overclocking. A CPU that runs at a high temperature can not only have huge knock-on effects on your system’s performance but can also reduce the lifespan of your hardware exponentially. For that reason, monitoring your CPU temperature is hugely important in both gaming and workstation PCs.
Fortunately, there are a number of great CPU monitoring tools out there that help you keep track of your CPU temperatures. In the following article, we’ll be listing what we believe are the best free CPU monitor tools currently available.
So, with plenty to get through, let’s waste no further time and dive straight into it!
The Best CPU Temp Monitor Tools In 2021
HWMonitor is a great tool that gives users the versatility to not only check their CPU temperatures but also allows them to monitor a whole host of other hardware features too. With this easy-to-use tool, you’ll be able to check your GPU temps, your fan speeds, storage devices, and a tonne of other hardware outputs too. So, if you want a very simple and effective monitoring tool, HWMonitor is a great place to start.
2. Core Temp
Core Temp is a stripped-back monitoring tool that does exactly what it says on the tin – monitors your CPU temperatures. The user-friendly CPU temp monitor is extremely basic and doesn’t offer any external hardware options. However, it does offer you everything you need to accurately monitor your CPU temperatures – including individual core temps and power consumption too.
For many, this is the go-to CPU monitor tool, offering a straightforward design that gets the job done.
3. Open Hardware Monitor
Open Hardware Monitor is pretty similar to HWMonitor, offering similar features and monitoring options. Unlike Core Temp, Open Hardware Monitor offers a bunch of additional monitoring features, including clock speeds, load, and power consumption to name but a few. You can also keep eye on your GPU as well, with temps, load, fan speed, and clock speed on offer.
Open Hardware Monitor is a great alternative for those that don’t fancy using HWMonitor, bringing plenty of versatility to the table.
4. Speed Fan
If you’re a fan of the old-school retro styling, Speed Fan might be the CPU temperature monitor for you. Despite it having a fairly basic design, it offers some pretty advanced features – for monitoring software anyway. Users will be able to set fan speeds based on the temperature of their CPU, enabling them to set a more efficient fan pattern than what you’d get out of the box.
As with all these CPU temp monitors, you can also check CPU temp, GPU temp, and overall system temp with Speed Fan.
5. Real Temp
Like Core Temp, Real Temp only provides monitoring figures for the CPU. With an easy-to-understand design, you can easily use this CPU temp monitor for quickly checking your internal CPU temp. Unlike other tools, Real Temp gives you a minimum and maximum readout of your CPU temps, allowing you to easily compare different scenarios.
A unique feature of this tool is its ability to display how far away from TJ Max your CPU is – the max temp your CPU can reach before throttling starts to occur.
6. CPU Thermometer
Up next is CPU Thermometer, an extremely simple CPU temperature monitor which does exactly what it says on the tin. It offers a style that is very similar to HWMonitor and Open Hardware Monitor. However, it doesn’t come with the functionality of GPU temp measurements.
Like some of the other CPU-only temp monitor tools in this guide, CPU Thermometer gives you clock speeds, CPU core temps, load percentages, and overall power consumption too.
Speccy is the first CPU monitoring tool on this list that leans more towards a complete PC utilize rather than just CPU/GPU monitoring. Using Speccy allows you to not only monitor the temperatures of your hardware but it also gives you a thorough rundown of the PC’s hardware specifications.
For those looking to sell their PC, this could be a great way to display what your PC has from a hardware standpoint. Furthermore, with a great visual display, it’s easy to read temps whenever you’re monitoring your CPU/GPU.
8 Aida64 Extreme
Aida64 is the complete benchmarking and monitoring tool. It offers up excellent functionality, including hardware monitoring, built-in benchmarking tools, stress tests, diagnostics, and a whole host of other features too.
Whilst Aida64 Extreme is the most versatile in this list, it’s also the only tool that isn’t free. That’s right, this will cost you a premium – however, for that premium, you get unrivaled functionality.
9. MSI Afterburner
Last, but not least, is MSI Afterburner. Most people will have heard of MSI’s monitoring tool, but for those that haven’t, it’s an excellent tool that goes far beyond monitoring your hardware’s temperature. Most people, including ourselves, use MSI Afterburner to benchmark PC hardware in games. However, with a number of additional features, MSI Afterburner offers an all-round benchmarking suite.
How To Monitor CPU Temperatures
Now that we’ve opened your eyes to the best CPU temperature monitoring tools out there, we’re going to quickly explain how to read your CPU temps.
Luckily, using any of the tools from the list above couldn’t be easier. Each offers an easy-to-use design that is incredibly self-intuitive. For the most part, all you have to do is download the application, click install, and load the tool up.
Most will display the CPU temps as you open the tool. Other’s may require a few simple clicks, but either way, they’re all incredibly easy to use.
Why Do We Need To Monitor Computer Temperatures?
Well, a lot of the time we actually don’t and many will only start to check the temperatures when they are facing performance issues or have installed a new component.
Before we look at the different computer temperature monitor tools, let’s take a quick look at what can cause a computer to overheat in the first place.
Modern CPUs, whether it’s AMD or Intel, can take a lot of heat before you start to see your component degrade. Despite this, you should still adequately cool your CPU and that is why most come with a stock cooler (apart from high TDP CPUs). If your cooler isn’t powerful enough for your CPU, this can cause the temps to rise higher than you would normally like. Another reason could be that you didn’t install your cooler properly, leaving gaps, and making the cooler less effective. The main issue that usually causes CPU temps to rise is old or poorly applied thermal paste.
Whatever the reason, monitoring your CPU temps will keep you in the know when things get too heated.
The graphics card is most likely your highest TDP component, meaning your GPU probably outputs the most heat. Aftermarket GPUs come with one, two, and three fans, to adequately dissipate the heat they produce and actively cool down the card.
Most high-end graphics cards use passive cooling to give you the best of both worlds from an acoustic and cooling perspective. This means the fans on your card will only start to spin when the CPU reaches a certain temperature. Graphics cards run hot, so don’t worry, but they do have their limits so monitoring their temperatures with a tool is a wise decision.
Dust build-up is an inevitable part of PCs. To this date, there is no way of stopping dust from getting inside and that is bad news for your components as they clog fans and heatsinks, making them less efficient and compromising airflow.
There are loads of different CPU temperature monitor tools out there and most of them work really well. Keeping track of your system’s health should be high on your list of priorities as a healthy system will stop you from having to shell out on a new expensive replacement.
Most of these tools will give you a great bit of insight into what is going on with individual components and could be the early warning you need to save a CPU or GPU from overheating.