[SOLVED] Should I consider a CPU cooler? Gaming temps average in the 70s, but the maximum values differ between Ryzen Master and HWInfo

Jun 29, 2020
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I am trying to understand the general guidelines of when someone should consider a third-party CPU cooler. My research has led me to understand that temps greater than 80 C are bad, but I can't figure out if that applies for a sustained average temp or for a maximum temp. This matters to me because, depending on the school of thought and the software used, I am either already over the line and need a better cooler, or I'm close but still OK with what I have. I want to make sure I am protecting my investment.

The following values were recorded while playing a AAA game at 50 FPS, 1440p, ultra settings, for about an hour.

Additional Info:
  • Model: Ryzen 5 3600
  • Cooler: stock (AMD Wraith)
  • Overclock: none (but based on the readings below, I believe that CPB must be enabled though I have not checked the BIOS settings for it yet)
  • Case/Fans: Corsair 465x with 6 LL series fans (3 front intake, 2 top exhaust, 1 rear exhaust)
  • Ambient Temp: low 70s F (~22 C)
  • GPU was at or near 99% utilization the whole time with an average temp in the mid-high 70s. Sapphire Nitro+ 5700 XT at stock settings.
Ryzen MasterHWInfo64 (sensor)
Gaming (Utilization 30%-50%, per Radeon Overlay)
-​
-​
Average Templow 70s C70 C (Tdie); 74 C (CPU Package)
Max Temp78 C86 C (Tdie); 88C (CPU Package)
Average Speed (avg. all 6 cores)2.603 Ghz4.039 Ghz (Core X Clock perf #n/n)*
Max Speed (avg. all 6 cores)4.091 Ghz4.192 Ghz (Core X Clock perf #n/n)*
Idle (Utilization <10%, per Radeon Overlay)
-​
-​
Average Templow 50s C57 C (Tdie); 65 C (CPU Package)
Max Temp67 C72 C (Tdie); 74 C (CPU Package)
Average Speed (avg. all 6 cores)985 Mhz4.021 Ghz (Core X Clock perf #n/n)*
Max Speed (avg. all 6 cores)3.95 Ghz4.192 Ghz (Core X Clock perf #n/n)*

*Note: I'm probably not using the correct speed values from HWInfo, since the max value never changes even when I reset the sensors, but I put it here so that someone can enlighten me.

So, back to the original question. Common wisdom guides us to keep CPU temps below 80 C, but does that mean max temps or average temps? If it's for average temps, I'm cutting it a little close but I'm fine. If it's for max temps, I might be in trouble, depending on which software I believe in.

A few follow up questions:
  • If CPB is enabled, is the slight OC it gives worth it, or should I just turn it off to save myself a few degrees?
  • Which software is more reliable?
  • Regarding HWInfo specifically, which CPU temp sensor is the more important one to keep an eye on?
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
It means max temps.

And you will not keep temps below 80°C running the stock cooler, no matter what model that is. Even with a better Wraith model, it doesn't matter, because you'll be using a higher TDP CPU if you have one. You NEED aftermarket cooling if you want to use PBO.

I would recommend that for now, you go into the BIOS and disable Precision boost overdrive (PBO/PBO2). You can leave the default precision boost/XFR2 enabled.

Also, make sure you have the latest chipset driver installed. This one:

https://www.amd.com/en/support/chipsets/amd-socket-am4/b550

Then make sure that the Ryzen balanced power plan is selected in the Windows power settings. In the advanced settings for that power plan, make sure that the minimum processor power state is set to 8%.

In the BIOS, make sure all of the following are set.

Cool N Quiet - Enabled
Core CPPC - Enabled
CPPC preferred cores - Enabled
Advanced C-states or Global C-states - Enabled


Installing a much better aftermarket cooling option, even one of the smaller 140mm single finstack air coolers, would go a long, LONG way towards correcting your thermal issues, as well as any "cycling" up and down that the cooler fan is doing which is pretty common on these systems with the wraith coolers AND being able to enable PBO for the gains offered by that as well.
 

Phaaze88

Splendid
Ambassador
My research has led me to understand that temps greater than 80 C are bad, but I can't figure out if that applies for a sustained average temp or for a maximum temp.
The 80s is not bad to the machine that is the cpu, but bad to people - because we're machines, right?
:LOL:

Ryzen Master is more accurate, so use that.

This is amusing, to be honest. You're the first in the last 2-3 months I've read NOT having any serious thermal issues with their Ryzen cpu running on the stock cooler. How about that...
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
It means max temps.

And you will not keep temps below 80°C running the stock cooler, no matter what model that is. Even with a better Wraith model, it doesn't matter, because you'll be using a higher TDP CPU if you have one. You NEED aftermarket cooling if you want to use PBO.

I would recommend that for now, you go into the BIOS and disable Precision boost overdrive (PBO/PBO2). You can leave the default precision boost/XFR2 enabled.

Also, make sure you have the latest chipset driver installed. This one:

https://www.amd.com/en/support/chipsets/amd-socket-am4/b550

Then make sure that the Ryzen balanced power plan is selected in the Windows power settings. In the advanced settings for that power plan, make sure that the minimum processor power state is set to 8%.

In the BIOS, make sure all of the following are set.

Cool N Quiet - Enabled
Core CPPC - Enabled
CPPC preferred cores - Enabled
Advanced C-states or Global C-states - Enabled


Installing a much better aftermarket cooling option, even one of the smaller 140mm single finstack air coolers, would go a long, LONG way towards correcting your thermal issues, as well as any "cycling" up and down that the cooler fan is doing which is pretty common on these systems with the wraith coolers AND being able to enable PBO for the gains offered by that as well.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
This is amusing, to be honest. You're the first in the last 2-3 months I've read NOT having any serious thermal issues with their Ryzen cpu running on the stock cooler. How about that...
Eh, if HWinfo says package temp is 88°C, I'd be inclined to believe it is. And if it is, then it's not within recommended spec and it's almost certain that it's not maintaining any boost profiles adequately or normally. I think they are having the same problem as everybody else to be honest. I think the only difference is that they are feeding the CPU cooler more ambient air than most these people are because they seem to have a much better case cooling configuration than what we are normally seeing most of these entry level Ryzen systems with.
 
Jun 29, 2020
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It means max temps.

And you will not keep temps below 80°C running the stock cooler, no matter what model that is. Even with a better Wraith model, it doesn't matter, because you'll be using a higher TDP CPU if you have one. You NEED aftermarket cooling if you want to use PBO.

I would recommend that for now, you go into the BIOS and disable Precision boost overdrive (PBO/PBO2). You can leave the default precision boost/XFR2 enabled.

Also, make sure you have the latest chipset driver installed. This one:

https://www.amd.com/en/support/chipsets/amd-socket-am4/b550

Then make sure that the Ryzen balanced power plan is selected in the Windows power settings. In the advanced settings for that power plan, make sure that the minimum processor power state is set to 8%.

In the BIOS, make sure all of the following are set.

Cool N Quiet - Enabled
Core CPPC - Enabled
CPPC preferred cores - Enabled
Advanced C-states or Global C-states - Enabled


Installing a much better aftermarket cooling option, even one of the smaller 140mm single finstack air coolers, would go a long, LONG way towards correcting your thermal issues, as well as any "cycling" up and down that the cooler fan is doing which is pretty common on these systems with the wraith coolers AND being able to enable PBO for the gains offered by that as well.

@Darkbreeze Thank you so much for the detailed reply. I was able to follow some of your advice (disabled PBO, enabled CPPC, enabled Global C-states) but I had some questions about the rest:
  • I couldn't find these BIOS settings:
    • Cool N Quiet
    • CPPC Preferred Cores
  • The driver link is for a B550 chipset, whereas I have an X570 motherboard (Asus Tuf Gaming Plus). I used the Asus Armory Crate software to check driveres and it says I have no updates.
  • I don't have any Ryzen power settings, only default Windows ones (I have "Balanced" selected)
I will be monitoring temps tonight with the few settings I was able to change and will report back.

I would also be interested to know if you have any coolers you recommend - air or AiO. Regarding air coolers, the only thing that concerns me is that I have tall RAM (Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB), so I might have to go with something a little more low profile like the Noctua U12S - would that be sufficient?
 
Jun 29, 2020
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OK here are the results with PBO disabled, CPPC enabled, Global C-states enabled:

Ryzen MasterHWInfo64
Gaming
-​
-​
Average Templow 70s C71 C (Tdie); 75 C (CPU Package)
Max Temp78 C83 C (Tdie); 84 C (CPU Package)
Average Speed2.70 Ghz4.03 Ghz
Max Speed4.00 Ghz4.19 Ghz
Idle
-​
-​
Average Temphigh 50s - low 60s C57 C (Tdie); 65 C (CPU Package)
Max Temp69 C74 C (Tdie); 79 C (CPU Package)
Average Speed1.34 Ghz4.36 Ghz
Max Speed4.00 Ghz4.19 Ghz

While gaming, I see a few degrees were saved, while idle temps remained about the same. In game, I lost some frames (I estimate I averaged low 40s during that last session, as opposed to low 50s yesterday). Speed doesnt seem to have changed much.

I think at this point my best bet is to just get a cooler and set the BIOS settings back to default. I don't think the mild temperature savings are worth the decrease in performance - especially when I consider newer games coming out, like Cyberpunk, I want all the performance I paid for.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Idle temps are irrelevant, in ALL cases, with ALL processors, UNLESS maximum temps are not able to be kept within spec under a full load. THEN, idle temps MIGHT matter but only as an indicator that something might be wrong. Bad paste job, mounting hardware broken, not secured or loose, or overly tight, poor cooling configuration or lack of case airflow, CPU cooler fan wrong direction.

Getting a better cooler is definitely a good idea.

Below is my list of preferred CPU AIR coolers, also known as Heatsink fans (HSF).

Do not look here for recommendations on water/liquid cooling solutions. There are none to be found.

A good air cooler works just as well for most applications. There are very few instances I can think of where an AIO will work better than a good air cooler, and even fewer where an AIO will outperform an air cooler if you are willing to buy the right air cooler and then level up by adding some even higher end fans to it.

Loops leak. Heatsinks don't. Pumps fail, FAR more often and usually with far worse consequences, than fans do.

And unlike a heatsink fan assembly, when your pump fails for 99% of AIO coolers, you will be replacing the whole thing, for another 100+ dollars, rather than just a 25 dollar investment for the failure of a fan. Especially since I've rarely seen dual fan coolers have both fans fail at the same time, but even if you factor in two fan failures that's still only about fifty bucks compared to the 100+ it will cost to replace an AIO with a failed pump. And you WILL have a failed pump on most AIO coolers within three years of purchase. Seeing one last longer than five years is possible, but it is not particularly common and we often, very often, see them fail at around the 3 year mark. Sometimes much sooner.

Pump quality and longevity is an area that needs GREAT improvement before AIO coolers will become a primary recommendation for me.

I see a lot of AIO coolers leak and damage hardware as well.

Certainly there are situations where an AIO is called for, or even preferred, but those are MOSTLY aesthetic considerations, because let's face it, a build with an AIO or custom loop generally "looks" a lot cleaner than one that has a big heatsink taking up half the real estate inside your case. When that is the case, I have recommendations for those as well, but I don't offer them unless somebody is specifically asking to go that route.[/B]

They are basically listed in order of preference, from top to bottom. To some degree that preference is based on known performance on similarly overclocked configurations, but not entirely. There are likely a couple of units that are placed closer to the top not because they offer purely better performance than another cooler which is below it, but potentially due to a variety of reasons.

One model might be placed higher than another with the same or similar performance, but has quieter or higher quality fans. It may have the same performance but a better warranty. Long term quality may be higher. It may be less expensive in some cases. Maybe it performs slightly worse, but has quieter fans and a better "fan pitch". Some fans with equal decibel levels do not "sound" like they are the same as the specific pitch heard from one fan might be less annoying than another.

In any case, these are not "tiered" and are not a 100% be all, end all ranking. They are simply MY preference when looking at coolers for a build or when making recommendations. Often, which HSF gets chosen depends on what is on this list and fits the budget or is priced right at the time due to a sale or rebate. Hopefully it will help you and you can rest assured that every cooler listed here is a model that to some degree or other is generally a quality unit which is a lot more likely to be worth the money spent on it than on many other models out there that might look to be a similarly worthwhile investment.

Certainly there are a great many other very good coolers out there, but these are models which are usually available to most anybody building a system or looking for a cooler, regardless of what part of the world they might live in. As always, professional reviews are usually an absolutely essential part of the process of finding a cooler so if you are looking at a model not listed here, I would highly recommend looking at at least two or three professional reviews first.

If you cannot find two reviews of any given cooler, it is likely either too new to have been reviewed yet or it sucked, and nobody wanted to buy one in order to review it plus the manufacturer refused to send samples out to the sites that perform reviews because they knew it would likely get bad publicity.

IMO, nobody out there is making better fans, overall, than Noctua, followed pretty closely by Thermalright. So if you intend to match case fans to the same brand on your HSF, those are pretty hard to beat. Of course, Corsair has it's Maglev fans, and those are pretty damn good too, but they tend to be more expensive than what are in my opinion better fans by these other two, so while they are good products they don't have the same noise characteristics and are probably better suited for configurations where sheer brute force is preferred over low noise that still gives good performance. Also, as with most fan models out there, don't look at the specifications for the non-RGB Maglev fan models and think that you'll be getting the same specs on any RGB versions, because you won't. Fans with RGB tend to sacrifice both maximum CFM and static pressure for the right to stuff the RGB electronics under the hood.


Noctua NH-D14 (Replace stock fans with NF-A14 industrialPPC 2000rpm)
Noctua NH-D15/D15 SE-AM4
Noctua NH-D14 (With original fans)
Thermalright Silver arrow IB-E Extreme
Phanteks PH-TC14PE (BK,BL, OR or RD)
Cryorig R1 Ultimate or Universal
Thermalright Legrand Macho RT
Thermalright Macho X2
Deepcool Assassin III
Thermalright Macho rev. C
Thermalright Macho rev.B
Thermalright ARO-M14G (Ryzen only)
Thermalright Macho direct
Deepcool Assassin II
Be Quiet Dark rock Pro 4
Noctua NH-U14S
Thermalright true spirit 140 Direct
FSP Windale 6
Scythe Ninja 5
Scythe Mugen max
Scythe Mugen 5 rev.B
BeQuiet dark rock (3 or 4)
Thermalright Macho SBM
Cryorig H5
Noctua NH-U12S
Arctic freezer 34 eSports Duo
Phanteks PH-TC14S
Phanteks PH-TC12DX (Any)
Cryorig H7
Deepcool Gammaxx 400
Cooler Master Hyper 212 (EVO, X, RGB. I'd only EVER recommend this cooler if NO other good aftermarket models are available to you.)



It may not be obvious, but is probably worth mentioning, that not all cooler models will fit all CPU sockets as aftermarket coolers generally require an adapter intended for use with that socket. Some coolers that fit an AMD platform might not fit a later AMD platform, or an Intel platform. Often these coolers come with adapters for multiple types of platforms but be sure to verify that a specific cooler WILL work with your platform before purchasing one and finding out later that it will not.
 
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