Minimum/Maximum operating temperatures

Minimum and Maximum operating temperatures specify the range of temperatures in which the CPU is guaranteed to function. It is not recommended to operate the CPUs at temperatures lower than the minimum and higher than the maximum operating temperature. Higher CPU temperature could be an indication of broken or inadequate fan/heatsink, or poor airflow inside of the computer case. In the former case, pro-longed operation at close to the maximum temperatures may cause system instability and shorten the CPU lifespan. Running the processors at temperatures much higher than the maximum operating temperature may permanently damage the CPU. In the latter case (poor case ventilation), poor airflow may also cause higher operating temperature of other system components, such as the motherboard and video card, and may result in shorter lifetime of these components as well.

Modern microprocessors include special features that can throttle or reduce processor frequency when the CPU temperature reaches the maximum, or shutdown the CPU completely when the temperature reaches certain critical value (which is greater than the maximum temperature). If your CPU is consistently running at temperatures close to the maximum, or periodically shuts down by itself, use the following methods to rectify the problem:

  • Verify that there is unrestricted airflow to and from the CPU's heatsink and fan.
  • Move the computer away from other sources of heat, or to colder place.
  • Clean the CPU's heatsink and fan. Also clean other fans that are usually attached to your computer case.
  • Make sure that you use thermal paste when you install the CPU's heatsink.
  • Replace CPU's heatsink/fan with a more powerful one.
  • Add more fans to your case.
  • Replace the computer case with a case, that provides better airflow and more extensive cooling capabilities.
Last modified: 15 Oct 2013
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