[SOLVED] CPU Heating and Thermal Throttling

May 29, 2020
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Hello everyone,

Recently I have started to face a very strange behavior from my CPU. My Intel 4790K shows spikes in clock speed and CPU usage every few secs. I can see that most of the background process sits at 0% usage but still my usage changes from 3-6-12-14-19 and keeps repeating this process. I observed this scenario with one 2-3tabs in Microsoft edge + task manager + HWMonitor running together.

Also, I tried to do a stress test to see if my CPU cooler is doing its job or not. after 1 min the Intel extreme utility interface shows thermal throttling is YES in orange color with 98C temp in HWmonitor. I am not facing any crash issues and my CPU usage stays on average of 55-65% and temps at75C-80C while playing most of the AAA games. My ideal temps sit between 36-42C at 30C room temp. My question is should I be worried about this thermal throttle warning? My guess was that the cooler needs to be cleaned. I cleaned my cabinet, fans, and cooler, applied fresh thermal paste (came with cooler itself), installed it correctly (it's fitting correctly and tight, CPU fan is working in PWM mode and I can hear minor sound from the CPU fan when tI keep the case open during the stress test.

Note - I am not overclocking

My Specs -

Asus Z97A
Intel 4790K
Zotac 2060 Super
16GB (8x8) Corsair Vengence 1600mz DDR3
Cooler Master Master Box (with 6 case fan with Push and Pull config)
CPU Cooler - Antec C400 Galacial C400 Glacial (antec.com)
Corsair 650watts PSU
Samsung Evo SSD 250GB
Transcends SSD 250 GB
WD Blue 1TB

What should I do in this case? Are my situation looks normal to you guys or I should take some steps to fix this? Any help will be highly appreciated.
Thank You

 

CompuTronix

Intel Master
Moderator
Tapogam,

The i7-4790K is still an excellent Quad Core processor, even by today's standards.

Thermal "spikes" are completely normal and expected, since Core temperatures respond directly to workloads. When workloads spike, Core temperatures also spike. No workloads, no spikes. Any software activity produces workloads (Utilization) and thermal spikes. But as Windows is unceasingly grinding away in the background running multitudes of Processes and Services, the number of which Microsoft seems to increase with almost every update, not to mention running unnecessary "Tray Trash" in the background, if you reduce the quantity of Processes, Services and Startup programs, then spiking will also be reduced.

Moreover, is "idle" really idle ? The definition of idle is 1% CPU Utilization in Windows Task Manager, which does not include "one 2-3 tabs in Microsoft edge + task manager + HWMonitor running together". That's not idle; it's instead a light workload, which you stated runs "from 3-6-12-14-19 and keeps repeating".

Since "Throttle" temperature (Tj Max) for the 88 Watt TDP i7-4790K is 100°C, your screenshot shows that you are indeed reaching Throttle temperature, and also shows that you're reaching 100% TDP.

Antec's website for your C400 Glacial 120mm CPU cooler shows images with mounting hardware for AMD sockets, however, it also shows backplates for Intel mountings, which includes "push-pins" that are notoriously suspect for causing temperature issues due to poor contact pressure between the cooler and the CPU. Also, your ambient temperature, which the International Standard for "normal" room temperature is 22°C or 72°F, is quite high at 30°C for operating computer equipment, and is contributing to your high Core temperatures.

Nonetheless, if the cooler is properly and securely mounted, it's obvious that you shouldn't be reaching Throttle temperature at TDP with your cooler.

Clean the cooler and very carefully, and with attention to detail, remount the cooler using a fresh application of paste. Be absolutely certain that the cooler and push-pins are completely and securely seated. If Core temperatures are still high under the same test conditions, then it's entirely likely that Intel's paste between the underside of the IHS and the surface of the Die has lost its thermal bond, which happens in older processors over time due to thermal cycling. The solution in this instance is delidding, which can reduce Core temperatures by 20°C.

CT :sol:
 

CompuTronix

Intel Master
Moderator
Tapogam,

The i7-4790K is still an excellent Quad Core processor, even by today's standards.

Thermal "spikes" are completely normal and expected, since Core temperatures respond directly to workloads. When workloads spike, Core temperatures also spike. No workloads, no spikes. Any software activity produces workloads (Utilization) and thermal spikes. But as Windows is unceasingly grinding away in the background running multitudes of Processes and Services, the number of which Microsoft seems to increase with almost every update, not to mention running unnecessary "Tray Trash" in the background, if you reduce the quantity of Processes, Services and Startup programs, then spiking will also be reduced.

Moreover, is "idle" really idle ? The definition of idle is 1% CPU Utilization in Windows Task Manager, which does not include "one 2-3 tabs in Microsoft edge + task manager + HWMonitor running together". That's not idle; it's instead a light workload, which you stated runs "from 3-6-12-14-19 and keeps repeating".

Since "Throttle" temperature (Tj Max) for the 88 Watt TDP i7-4790K is 100°C, your screenshot shows that you are indeed reaching Throttle temperature, and also shows that you're reaching 100% TDP.

Antec's website for your C400 Glacial 120mm CPU cooler shows images with mounting hardware for AMD sockets, however, it also shows backplates for Intel mountings, which includes "push-pins" that are notoriously suspect for causing temperature issues due to poor contact pressure between the cooler and the CPU. Also, your ambient temperature, which the International Standard for "normal" room temperature is 22°C or 72°F, is quite high at 30°C for operating computer equipment, and is contributing to your high Core temperatures.

Nonetheless, if the cooler is properly and securely mounted, it's obvious that you shouldn't be reaching Throttle temperature at TDP with your cooler.

Clean the cooler and very carefully, and with attention to detail, remount the cooler using a fresh application of paste. Be absolutely certain that the cooler and push-pins are completely and securely seated. If Core temperatures are still high under the same test conditions, then it's entirely likely that Intel's paste between the underside of the IHS and the surface of the Die has lost its thermal bond, which happens in older processors over time due to thermal cycling. The solution in this instance is delidding, which can reduce Core temperatures by 20°C.

CT :sol:
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
The C400 is one of the better 120mm budget options, beating out the Hyper212 and coming in just under Cryorig H7 performance, so you definitely could have done much worse in choice.

That said, it's still a budget cooler, and isn't going to handle a 4790k that's topping out TDP all that well in certain applications like Intel Extreme Utility stress tests, since that puts a artificial 130ish% load on the cpu, driving temps much higher than normal usage would normally see. With a 100% load, you'd be looking at 90w going to that 140w cooler, but the artificial 130ish% stress is more like that 90w acting as 125w going to that 140w cooler instead. It's why you are a hairs breath away from reaching TjMax temps.

It's kinda like tossing a little bit of NOS into your motor and wondering why your valves are glowing cherry red and there's steam coming from the radiator cap.

If you are going to stress test for temps, I'd suggest using Prime95 v26.6 or if a newer version disable AVX. Use Small (not smallest) fft test as that's a 100% load, basically what you'd expect as a worst case scenario for gaming ± a few °C.

I find delidding to be an absolute last resort, and it's not something to play with if it makes you nervous or unsure. Video's make it look easy, but the easiest thing to do is make a mistake and you are out of a cpu. If you are unsure, have someone who Can do it, and do it right, do it for you. It's cheaper on you to pay for it, and let them replace the cpu if it goes wrong.

A cpu at idle in a decent airflow case usually runs @ 10°C ± above room ambient. If you are at @ 38°C average, with a 30°C ambient, you are right on the money good, for idle temps. That, however, will affect load temps slightly, you are starting out higher to begin with, your temp Delta is smaller, so load ranges for medium-high loads like AAA games are going to be a bit above average. The only way around that being a more efficient cooler, not necessarily a bigger cooler.
 
Last edited:
May 29, 2020
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Take away from all the answers is to upgrade to a better cooler and explore delidding if possible. Thank you all for your valuable opinions. I really appreciate this.
 

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