What is considered too hot for a CPU?


Oct 4, 2008
Looking to test the limits of my Core i-7 940 2.93ghz processor. I have it currently overclocked at 3.42ghz. When gaming for hours it will reach 48c. What is considered too hot so I know where the limit is. Here are my specs, thanks.

Thermaltake Spedo Advance Tower
Asus PT6 Mobo
Intel Core i-7 940 OC'd @ 3.4ghz
V8 Cooler Master CPU Cooler
6GB Kingston HyperX Memory
2 X 500GB Seagate Barracuda's in Raid 0
Sapphire Radeon 4870 X2 2GB Oc'd 785/975
1200W Thermaltake PSU
SB Xtreme Gamer X-FI Sound Card
Creative SB 7.1 Surround Speaker System


Intel Master

Although Intel still doesn't show a value for Thermal Specification in their Processor Spec Finder - http://processorfinder.intel.com/details.aspx?sSpec=SLBCK - for any of the three Core i7 variants (920, 940, 965), the most informed opinions are that i7's share the same Thermal Specification as the new "S" series Core 2 Quads, such as the Q9550S.

From the Core 2 Quad and Duo Temperature Guide - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/221745-29-core-quad-temperature-guide

Section 6: Scale

Scale 1: Quad
Q9550S: Tcase Max 76c, Stepping E0, TDP 65W, Idle 16W
Q9400S: Tcase Max 76c, Stepping R0, TDP 65W, Idle 16W
Q8200S: Tcase Max 76c, Stepping R0, TDP 65W, Idle 16W

--75--/--80--80--80--80-- Hot
--70--/--75--75--75--75-- Warm
--65--/--70--70--70--70-- Safe
--25--/--30--30--30--30-- Cool

Tcase = CPU Temperature
Tjunction = Core Temperature

During the coming weeks, I will be updating the Guide, which will become the "Core i7 and Core 2 Temperature Guide", and will include the latest information for Core i7 temperatures. For the present, since Core i7 and Core 2 Quad CPU and Core temperatures function identically, if you'd like to learn how temperatures work, and how to test, calibrate and monitor CPU and Core temperatures, then check out the Guide.

Hope this helps,

Comp :sol:


Jul 26, 2008
Personally, I don't like to see a load temp over 60C, some people are comfortable with the CPU hitting 70C or higher.

I guess if I knew I'd replace the thing within 2 years I wouldn't mind higher temps. It all depends on what you are trying to do.
I have a similar question on the amd side. I have looked at the specs for the AMD x4 940 which I have been happily overclocking with some good results. However I am very concerned about thermals.
Here is the page I will refer to, which is located on AMD's website.
"February 2009 AMD Family 10h Desktop Processor
Power and Thermal Data Sheet".


From the looks of this page, it appears the thermal specification for my Phenom II is 52-60 C for max ambient temperature, while the max core temp appears to be 70C.
If anyone can verify this for me it would be greatly appreciated.

So far I have been able to OC the processor to 3.8 GHZ. I am using a Biostar 790GX A2+ mobo and a Cool-it Domino ACS cooling system. This is also my first foray into water cooling.

When I reach 3.5 ghz, I need to apply 1.3750 v to achieve stability. This results in my processor idling core @ 41C. Maxing all cores I have a load temp of 51C which is what I was comncerned about. Ambient only goes as high as 36C.

At 3.8 Ghz, I am applying 1.45V for stability, and it is solid. Not much change in temp, 42-43C idle and maxed out I get 53C. Which was scaring me. Ambient temp at no time has climbed above 40C.

I was hoping to run 24/7 at 3.8, but as I mentioned the thermals seem high. I should note that all this is done at medium speed setting on the domino, it cools extremely well on high but easily drowns out the video card, or even nearby conversation. However I will put it on high when I head north of 3.8 ghz.

Any advice would be great!


Mar 24, 2014

Run AMD overdrive and look at the thermal margin, if you are in the thermal margin then it should be safe ;)