[SOLVED] Is my cpu temperature safe?

Sep 21, 2021
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I recently installed the Open Hardware Monitor program, my CPU temperature goes up to 80 degrees Celsius after two minutes of stress with the CPU Z program. Is this dangerous for the CPU?
My system specifications:
Q9400 95W
4GB DDR3 1333MHz
GALAXY 8400 GS 1GB
BIOSTAR G41D3C
Stock heatsin - Handmade fan

EDIT: The temperature in idle is between 45-53 ° C
 
Last edited:

CompuTronix

Intel Master
Moderator
You have quite an old CPU, from 2008. However, 80C is fine, since at 90C you'll see thermal throttle at 100C is either shut down or CPU burns up.

If i were you, i'd look towards lowering the load temps. 80C is the line, at which point most CPUs should not pass. Yours should not pass 71.5C, which is safe temp according to Intel. Above that, you're looking lasting damage.
Aeacus,

Respectfully, this information is incorrect. Please bear with me while I clarify, because after all is said and done, our common goal is to give the community correct information so our Members and visiting readers do not become misinformed.

Tj Max or "Throttle" temperature is 100°C for the Core 2 Quad Q9400.

As you pointed out, you posted the value of "71.5" (which is actually 71.4) based on Intel's "Tcase" Thermal Specification, which can be found on Intel's "Product Specifications" Website - Q9400 link https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/35365/intel-core2-quad-processor-q9400-6m-cache-2-66-ghz-1333-mhz-fsb.html

For your i5-6600K, Intel's website also shows the Tcase Thermal Specification, which is 64°C - https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/88191/intel-core-i56600k-processor-6m-cache-up-to-3-90-ghz.html - however, we both know that doesn't make any sense. Since your 6600K and the 7600K are essentially identical processors, then why does Intel's website show the thermal spec as 64°C for the 6600K but then shows 100°C for the 7600K ??? Because the 6600K spec is "Tcase" while the 7600K spec is "Tjunction". The processor's "Generation" determines which spec Intel shows on their website.

Don't feel singled out, because since 2006, millions of users have been misled by Tcase, which continues to be a HUGE source of confusion. This Thread is yet another example.

While there are not just one, but TWO thermal specifications for desktop processors shown on Intel's Datasheets (Tcase AND Tjunction), Intel's Website shows only Tcase for Core 2 and Core i processors through 6th Gen, OR only Tjunction for Core i processors from 7th Gen through 11th Gen. Yet the 11th Generation Flagship i9-11900K has a Tcase spec in the Datasheets.

Tcase is a factory only temperature measurement using a laboratory "thermocouple" sensor embedded in the center of the external surface of the IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader) where the cooler is seated. Since retail processors do not have this sensor, users can NOT monitor IHS temperature, which is Tcase, and is why there's no software to do so. Instead, the utilities we all use monitor "Core" temperatures, which is where heat originates deep within the Cores at the transistor "Junctions"; thus the term "Tjunction". So ... Tcase is NOT Core temperature ... it's IHS temperature that we can NOT monitor.

Moreover, because Laptop (Mobile) processors don't have an IHS, the cooler is seated directly on the CPU silicon Die, which is why they don't have a Tcase specification; only Tjunction. More correctly, Tjunction (Temperature Junction Maximum) is called "Tj Max" which is commonly known as "Throttle" temperature. Intel has never updated the Thermal Specifications on their Website for older Desktop processors from Tcase to Tjunction, so the confusion continues to this day.

What the Website does not tell you is that Intel's intended purpose for providing Tcase specifications is primarily for developers of aftermarket coolers. So from Core 2 processors in 2006 to today's latest Core i processors, the limiting Thermal Specification has always been Tj Max; not Tcase. For end users, this means Tcase is irrelevant.

There are illustrations and a detailed explanation in my Intel CPU Temperature Guide 2021. I suggest that you give it a read, especially Section 7 - Specifications and Temperature.

SinaTPB,

On behalf of Tom's Moderator Team, welcome aboard!

Like the vast majority of Intel's Desktop processors, "Throttle" temperature for your Q9400 is 100°C. However, the consensus among well informed and highly experienced reviewers, system builders and expert overclockers, is that it's prudent to observe a reasonable thermal margin below Throttle temperature for ultimate stability, performance and longevity. So regardless of environmental conditions, hardware configurations, software workloads or any other variables, Core temperatures above 85°C are not recommended.

Here's the nominal operating range for Core temperature:

Core temperatures below 80°C are ideal.



At the top of each of our Forums are "Sticky" Threads which are information resources that are permanently "stuck" in place so they're always available for everyone's benefit. We encourage our Members and readers to check out the Stickies, as they often contain the information you seek, which can save you time searching for answers from potentially poorly informed sources.

If you look at the Sticky Threads at the top of the CPUs Forum where you posted your Thread, you'll see the Intel CPU Temperature Guide 2021. If you'd like to learn how to properly test thermal performance, then please give it a read, or just simply click on the link in my signature. However, not to pop your bubble, but CPU-Z > Bench > Stress CPU is only about an 80% TDP workload. Understand that % TDP workload and % CPU Utilization represent completely different values. See Section 11 - Thermal Test Basics in the Temperature Guide.

Once again, welcome aboard!

CT :sol:
 

Aeacus

Glorious
Ambassador
You have quite an old CPU, from 2008. However, 80C is fine, since at 90C you'll see thermal throttle at 100C is either shut down or CPU burns up.

Still, it would be ideal that the lower the temps are - the better.
E.g i have i5-6600K with 26C idle and 55C under load (during Cinebench R15 benching), with good mid-sized CPU cooler.

If i were you, i'd look towards lowering the load temps. 80C is the line, at which point most CPUs should not pass. Yours should not pass 71.5C, which is safe temp according to Intel. Above that, you're looking lasting damage.

Stock heatsink
With that, you won't be expecting any lower temps.

Handmade fan
What?

Why?
 
Sep 21, 2021
10
0
10
0
You have quite an old CPU, from 2008. However, 80C is fine, since at 90C you'll see thermal throttle at 100C is either shut down or CPU burns up.

Still, it would be ideal that the lower the temps are - the better.
E.g i have i5-6600K with 26C idle and 55C under load (during Cinebench R15 benching), with good mid-sized CPU cooler.

If i were you, i'd look towards lowering the load temps. 80C is the line, at which point most CPUs should not pass. Yours should not pass 71.5C, which is safe temp according to Intel. Above that, you're looking lasting damage.



With that, you won't be expecting any lower temps.



What?

Why?
Thanks.

So should I look for a better cooler? For example, Alta 7, Ice Edge FS Mini or GAMMAX200T?



I use a handmade fan because it works about 10-15% better than a fan stock.
 
Last edited:

CompuTronix

Intel Master
Moderator
You have quite an old CPU, from 2008. However, 80C is fine, since at 90C you'll see thermal throttle at 100C is either shut down or CPU burns up.

If i were you, i'd look towards lowering the load temps. 80C is the line, at which point most CPUs should not pass. Yours should not pass 71.5C, which is safe temp according to Intel. Above that, you're looking lasting damage.
Aeacus,

Respectfully, this information is incorrect. Please bear with me while I clarify, because after all is said and done, our common goal is to give the community correct information so our Members and visiting readers do not become misinformed.

Tj Max or "Throttle" temperature is 100°C for the Core 2 Quad Q9400.

As you pointed out, you posted the value of "71.5" (which is actually 71.4) based on Intel's "Tcase" Thermal Specification, which can be found on Intel's "Product Specifications" Website - Q9400 link https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/35365/intel-core2-quad-processor-q9400-6m-cache-2-66-ghz-1333-mhz-fsb.html

For your i5-6600K, Intel's website also shows the Tcase Thermal Specification, which is 64°C - https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/88191/intel-core-i56600k-processor-6m-cache-up-to-3-90-ghz.html - however, we both know that doesn't make any sense. Since your 6600K and the 7600K are essentially identical processors, then why does Intel's website show the thermal spec as 64°C for the 6600K but then shows 100°C for the 7600K ??? Because the 6600K spec is "Tcase" while the 7600K spec is "Tjunction". The processor's "Generation" determines which spec Intel shows on their website.

Don't feel singled out, because since 2006, millions of users have been misled by Tcase, which continues to be a HUGE source of confusion. This Thread is yet another example.

While there are not just one, but TWO thermal specifications for desktop processors shown on Intel's Datasheets (Tcase AND Tjunction), Intel's Website shows only Tcase for Core 2 and Core i processors through 6th Gen, OR only Tjunction for Core i processors from 7th Gen through 11th Gen. Yet the 11th Generation Flagship i9-11900K has a Tcase spec in the Datasheets.

Tcase is a factory only temperature measurement using a laboratory "thermocouple" sensor embedded in the center of the external surface of the IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader) where the cooler is seated. Since retail processors do not have this sensor, users can NOT monitor IHS temperature, which is Tcase, and is why there's no software to do so. Instead, the utilities we all use monitor "Core" temperatures, which is where heat originates deep within the Cores at the transistor "Junctions"; thus the term "Tjunction". So ... Tcase is NOT Core temperature ... it's IHS temperature that we can NOT monitor.

Moreover, because Laptop (Mobile) processors don't have an IHS, the cooler is seated directly on the CPU silicon Die, which is why they don't have a Tcase specification; only Tjunction. More correctly, Tjunction (Temperature Junction Maximum) is called "Tj Max" which is commonly known as "Throttle" temperature. Intel has never updated the Thermal Specifications on their Website for older Desktop processors from Tcase to Tjunction, so the confusion continues to this day.

What the Website does not tell you is that Intel's intended purpose for providing Tcase specifications is primarily for developers of aftermarket coolers. So from Core 2 processors in 2006 to today's latest Core i processors, the limiting Thermal Specification has always been Tj Max; not Tcase. For end users, this means Tcase is irrelevant.

There are illustrations and a detailed explanation in my Intel CPU Temperature Guide 2021. I suggest that you give it a read, especially Section 7 - Specifications and Temperature.

SinaTPB,

On behalf of Tom's Moderator Team, welcome aboard!

Like the vast majority of Intel's Desktop processors, "Throttle" temperature for your Q9400 is 100°C. However, the consensus among well informed and highly experienced reviewers, system builders and expert overclockers, is that it's prudent to observe a reasonable thermal margin below Throttle temperature for ultimate stability, performance and longevity. So regardless of environmental conditions, hardware configurations, software workloads or any other variables, Core temperatures above 85°C are not recommended.

Here's the nominal operating range for Core temperature:

Core temperatures below 80°C are ideal.



At the top of each of our Forums are "Sticky" Threads which are information resources that are permanently "stuck" in place so they're always available for everyone's benefit. We encourage our Members and readers to check out the Stickies, as they often contain the information you seek, which can save you time searching for answers from potentially poorly informed sources.

If you look at the Sticky Threads at the top of the CPUs Forum where you posted your Thread, you'll see the Intel CPU Temperature Guide 2021. If you'd like to learn how to properly test thermal performance, then please give it a read, or just simply click on the link in my signature. However, not to pop your bubble, but CPU-Z > Bench > Stress CPU is only about an 80% TDP workload. Understand that % TDP workload and % CPU Utilization represent completely different values. See Section 11 - Thermal Test Basics in the Temperature Guide.

Once again, welcome aboard!

CT :sol:
 

Aeacus

Glorious
Ambassador
What the Website does not tell you is that Intel's intended purpose for providing Tcase specifications is primarily for developers of aftermarket coolers. So from Core 2 processors in 2006 to today's Core i processors, the limiting Thermal Specification has always been Tj Max; not Tcase. For end users, this means Tcase is irrelevant.
Thank you for your clarification.

Moving forwards, i won't talk about Tcase anymore since it's irrelevant.

Also, like you pointed out, it's best to use the single scope for all CPUs when it comes to temps.
I prefer to use the 80C/90C/100C margins, as i explained above. Meaning anything up to 80C is safe, 80C to 90C is worrying part and 90C to 100C is thermal throttle/ PC shutting itself down to save CPU. (In the past, years ago, i managed to get 102C out of my Athlon II X2 250 CPU and it was a good learning experience. Luckily, the CPU still works and powers my old AMD build.) :sweatsmile:

On behalf of Tom's Moderator Team, welcome aboard!
I get a feeling that you're saying this like i was promoted to Ambassador few days ago, while funnily enough, i've been Ambassador (and Herald before that) since Aug '17. ;) I just haven't been that active lately (real life stuff and all that).

So should I look for a better cooler?
Yes, if you want lower CPU temps.

Alta 7 isn't any much better than your current cooler, so, no point wasting money on that.
Ice Edge Mini FS is better and you can go for that, for some lower temps.
Gammax 200T is the best of the three and if your CPU case has the 131mm clearance for it, you'll get best cooling and most temp reduction with it.

But the lowest temps you can get, is with Noctua NH-D14, if you have 160mm CPU clearance in your PC case (it also supports LGA775 socket, that you have):
specs: https://noctua.at/en/nh-d14/specification
amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002VKVZ1A

I use a handmade fan because it works about 10-15% better than a fan stock.
I wonder, better as in how?
Less noise? Lower CPU temps? Lower power consumption? Higher airflow? Better static pressure? Nice eyecandy (RGB)?
And how you can tell the 10-15% improvement?
 

CompuTronix

Intel Master
Moderator
I get a feeling that you're saying this like i was promoted to Ambassador few days ago, while funnily enough, i've been Ambassador (and Herald before that) since Aug '17. ;) I just haven't been that active lately (real life stuff and all that).
If you re-read my post, you can see that my "welcome" was clearly directed at SinaTPB. Your tenure as an Ambassador is already well established.

CT :sol:
 
Sep 21, 2021
10
0
10
0
Thank you for your clarification.

Moving forwards, i won't talk about Tcase anymore since it's irrelevant.

Also, like you pointed out, it's best to use the single scope for all CPUs when it comes to temps.
I prefer to use the 80C/90C/100C margins, as i explained above. Meaning anything up to 80C is safe, 80C to 90C is worrying part and 90C to 100C is thermal throttle/ PC shutting itself down to save CPU. (In the past, years ago, i managed to get 102C out of my Athlon II X2 250 CPU and it was a good learning experience. Luckily, the CPU still works and powers my old AMD build.) :sweatsmile:



I get a feeling that you're saying this like i was promoted to Ambassador few days ago, while funnily enough, i've been Ambassador (and Herald before that) since Aug '17. ;) I just haven't been that active lately (real life stuff and all that).



Yes, if you want lower CPU temps.

Alta 7 isn't any much better than your current cooler, so, no point wasting money on that.
Ice Edge Mini FS is better and you can go for that, for some lower temps.
Gammax 200T is the best of the three and if your CPU case has the 131mm clearance for it, you'll get best cooling and most temp reduction with it.

But the lowest temps you can get, is with Noctua NH-D14, if you have 160mm CPU clearance in your PC case (it also supports LGA775 socket, that you have):
specs: https://noctua.at/en/nh-d14/specification
amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002VKVZ1A



I wonder, better as in how?
Less noise? Lower CPU temps? Lower power consumption? Higher airflow? Better static pressure? Nice eyecandy (RGB)?
And how you can tell the 10-15% improvement?
The maximum cooling I can get is gammaxx 200t


Less noise and more temperature reduction. I'm not sure I just said a few percent, but it lowered the temperature much better than the fan stock
 

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