Optimal CPU/GPU Temperature for Gaming

High Ambient Temperature

Whiiiiiiiiiirrrr~!!

I know I suck but at least I’m close to replicating the sound of your computer fans...

Ok, what I’m trying to say here is that hearing the computer fans go kamikaze is a sign that your components are heating up - and it’s not a good sign!

Either you get the dreaded BSOD or damage your hardware components for good. No matter the case, you’re putting your computer at great risk.

So, what’s the best solution? How to address the problem?

Know the optimal CPU/GPU temperature for gaming, track the temps, and do necessary actions before things go south. Read on as we have everything covered in detail below.

What Temperature Should My PC Parts be While Gaming?

There is no definite or right answer to this question.

Here’s why:

Each CPU and GPU is specifically manufactured and designed to run perfectly within a specific temperature range. Regardless, today’s acceptable CPU and GPU temperature thresholds are significantly lower than how they were in the past few years.

That being said…

what’s the approximate temperature that’s acceptable for your CPU and GPU?

Ideal CPU Temperature While Gaming

No matter if you have an AMD or an Intel processor, temperature thresholds vary greatly. Nonetheless, today’s optimal CPU temperature for gaming should not exceed 35°C and should run between 21°-32°C on average.

Refer to the table below showing both Intel and AMD processors along with their average temperatures.

Intel ProcessorAverage Temperature
Intel Pentium Pro74°C - 86°C
Intel Pentium II64°C - 75°C
Intel Pentium III60°C - 85°C
Intel Pentium 444°C - 65°C
Intel Pentium Mobile70°C - 85°C
Intel Core 2 Duo45°C - 55°C
Intel Celeron65°C - 85°C
Intel Core i350°C - 60°C
Intel Core i550°C - 63°C
Intel Core i750°C - 66°C
AMD ProcessorAverage Temperature
AMD A645°C - 57°C
AMD A1050°C - 60°C
AMD Athlon85°C - 95°C
AMD Athlon 6445°C - 60°C
AMD Athlon 64 X245°C - 55°C
AMD Athlon 64 Mobile80°C - 90°C
AMD Athlon FX45°C - 60°C
AMD Athlon II X450°C - 60°C
AMD Athlon MP85°C - 95°C
AMD Athlon XP80°C - 90°C
AMD Duron85°C - 95°C
AMD K560°C - 70°C
AMD K660°C - 70°C
AMD K6 Mobile75°C - 85°C
AMD K7 Thunderbird70°C - 95°C
AMD Opteron65°C - 71°C
AMD Phenom II X645°C - 55°C
AMD Phenom X350°C - 60°C
AMD Phenom X450°C - 60°C
AMD Sempron85°C - 95°C

What Can Be Done to Cool Your Processor?

If you are certain your processor is running too hot based on the table, then consider taking necessary steps on reducing CPU temperatures or…

...change the thermals.

We’ll cover more about how to correctly change the thermals and effective ways to track and address CPU and GPU temperature problems in detail shortly.

Ideal GPU Temperature While Gaming

Nvidia and AMD are the 2 big companies that manufacture today’s GPUs.

Unlike CPUs, average GPU temperatures range greatly since they are manufactured with different cooling solutions.

This is one factor why it makes it hard to come up with an average GPU temperature. We’ll talk about these cooling solutions in a bit.

Though temperatures vary greatly from one graphics card to the next, they usually are capped at around 95°C. But similar to CPUs, the optimal GPU temperature for gaming shouldn’t go over 85°C even when they are under heavy load.

2 Types of GPU Air-Cooling Solutions

  • Blower Fan - also known as the “reference card”, takes the air from inside the case and blow it out through the rear vents on the back of the GPU card.
Blower fan

This is great to prevent the buildup of heat inside your case but they are louder, performs 5% slower, and about 5°C hotter compared to the open-air cooling solution.

  • Open-Air - takes air from above the fans and blows it out to the sides.
Open-Air

Though it may perform 5% faster and it’s 5°C cooler than the blower fan, you run the risk of BSOD and damaging (melting) other hardware inside in the long run due to extreme heat.

Get these only and only if you have enough number of cooling fans that can right away expel hot air from inside the case.

Going on, smart fan technology is yet another factor that affects a GPU’s temperature.

Fans usually sit idle until temperatures reach 30°C to 40°C. The main purpose is to greatly reduce the noise and power consumption when the card is not under heavy load.

Ways to Track the CPU/GPU Temperature when Gaming

Before you can make necessary actions to address the temperature problems, track the temperatures of your hardware first.

There are a handful of ways but we’ll include the simplest and the most reliable method based on what we use and tried through the years.

While it’s possible to check the temperatures via BIOS, it’s quite a hassle to restart the system just to check the temperatures This is why we skipped to the easy and straightforward ways for your convenience

CPU/GPU Utilities

Large companies such as AMD, Nvidia, Intel, MSI, and more, have their own utilities that you can use to check your CPU and GPU temperatures and do more.

For CPUs:

Ryzen Master Utility (AMD) and Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (Intel) are some. This provides you with just about everything you need to see CPU temperatures and even do easy overclocking.

For GPUs:

The Nvidia Control Panel (Nvidia GPUs) and the AMD Catalyst Control Center (AMD GPUs) are what we recommend. Everything from the functionalities and temperature monitoring is included.

On the other hand, you can also download utilities made by hardware manufacturers such as MSI Afterburner, Gigabyte Aorus Graphics Engine, Asus GPU Tweak, and more.

We also recommend OpenHardwareMonitor and SpeedFan when tracking both CPU and GPU temperatures. Not only that these are free but also easy to use. It automatically detects your hardware and returns you with temperatures, fan speeds, voltage, load, and more.

How to Deal with High CPU/GPU Temperatures?

Before you follow our how to lower GPU temperatures and how to reduce CPU temperatures guideline, make sure you know what causes the rise in temperature first.

Below are among the common reasons why CPU/GPU temperatures skyrocket:

Dust

If you haven’t cleaned your system unit for months now, get a compressed air can and blow the dust off. Oh, and don’t forget to wear a mask! You don’t want to inhale those specks of dust, yikes!

high cpu - gpu temp dust

Poor Cable Management

Temperatures can easily skyrocket if you have an open-air GPU. Now pair that with a system unit with poor cable management, no exhaust fans, and you have a candidate place where Diablo II’s Baal could dwell in.

Poor Cable Management

Poor Airflow/Lack of Fans

Investing in fans is one way to see improvements in your CPU and GPU temperatures. Four or at least three fans should be enough (2 in / 2 out or 1 in / 2 out) to see improvements.

Poor Airflow-Lack of Fans

High Ambient Temperature

This is one of the major problems people face during summer months or those living in the tropics.

While it’s true that there’s not much you can do about it, running your fans at optimal speeds sure does wonders.

Get a better cooling system if it’s unable to keep up with the heat generated by your CPU or GPU. A water cooling system is also advised.

High Ambient Temperature

Change Thermal Paste

If you haven’t bothered changing your CPU and GPU thermals since you got them 6 months or so ago, chances are it’s time you change them.

Before changing the thermals, learn how to correctly apply thermal paste to CPU or GPU to avoid problems at the end of the day.

Read more: 5 Best Thermal Pastes of 2018

Final Words

While it’s true that there’s no one definite answer to “what’s the optimal CPU/GPU temperature for gaming?”, there’s always a way to keep them low.

Now you know the average optimal CPU/GPU temperature for gaming, it’s time you track your CPU and GPUs temperatures with the tools we personally recommend and simply follow our guidelines to stay in the safe zone.

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