overheating CPU only during gameplay

Hopefully somebody can help me on this one because it's driving me nuts. A couple of months ago I bought an E-VGA Geforce 7600 GT. Everything seemed fine until I heard the mobo alarm for overheating go off. When I checked the Smart Guardian temp monitor program that comes with my motherboard it had the CPU reaching over 70 C. The "pwm" and "sys" which I would assume is my mobo and system temps) read 51C and 31C, respectively.

I thought that maybe my stock Intel heatsink was dusty so I took a look inside and sure enough, it was clogged with dust. I cleaned it and applied some Artic Silver. I still had the same problem. So, I got an Artic Silver Freezer 7 Pro to replace the stock heatsink and fan (I made sure to remove the thermal paste that came with the heatsink). Again, I am having the same problem and it can reach as high as 80C.

My CPU overheats ONLY when I play games. I checked the temps in the BIOS and they reached as high as 61C during bootup but never really got higher than that. My video card is not overheating as it never goes past 61C during gameplay (or maybe that's too hot?). I'm stumped. I dont know if its due to the graphics card or maybe the case it too hot or what. Any help on this is much appreciated. My specs below:

Abit IG-80 Mobo Intel Grantsdale-G i915G chipset
Intel P4 540J, 3200 MHz processor
256 MB E-VGA GeForce 7600 GT
1 GB PC3200 DDR SDRAM (2x512 MB)
550W Just PC (USA) Inc. PSU Model JPC-550C-12V
Western Digital 186 GB IDE Hard Drive
Creative SB Live 24-bit Sound Card

My temps during gameplay (Guild wars mostly):
CPU: 78C
PWM: 51C
SYS: 31C
GPU: 61C

My temps at idle:
CPU: 37C
PWM: 33C
SYS: 30C
GPU: 48C
4 answers Last reply
More about overheating gameplay
  1. Try running a cpu benchmark program. If your cpu doesn't overheat, then it's probably a ventilation problem with the extra heat from your graphics card. In which case, try it with your case open - if the problem goes away, then add another exhaust fan (if possible), or by a different case. Had a similar problem using an older desktop (horizontal) case with a 7800GS - Even cases a couple years old are not designed for the heat of todays GPUs.
  2. Tried SISSoftware Sandra 2002 standard CPU benchmark and my CPU heated up to almost 70C. I keep thinking its what you said about the ventilation thing but could the PSU be a problem? I'm not a technical whiz or anything but I've heard that the CPU can overheat due to not getting enough power. I've checked my voltages with my Smart Guardian program and I get the following during idle:

    VCore: 1.23
    3.3V: 3.28
    +12V: 11.52 (gets as low as 11.20 during gameplay when the CPU gets to 80C)
    5v: 4.94

    Is this something I should be worried about? Thanks again for the help.
  3. In general, assuming normal room temperature and about 50% load, flucuations should be around:
    3.3v: 3.2-3.6
    5v: 4.85-5.15
    12v: 11.75-12.25

    I'm not an expert on power supplies, but you are correct about your 12v being way too low, even at idle. 550w should be plenty for your system, but some of the generic PSUs are rated at minimum (refrigerated) temperatures. In any case, I would change your PSU to one made by Antec or PC Power & Cooling.

    One other thing to check: Make sure your Graphics card is on its own line. They can draw alot of power, so make sure it isn't sharing the rail with other components.
  4. My friend had the same problem with an old Prescott like yours.
    His CPU was HOT while doing some intensive tasks but nothing dangerous, the fan was just way too loud.

    He had a Radeon x700 Pro and when he decided to upgrade his video card to a x1800xl, he ended with a worse framerate... I found out that he had cut 5$ on the price of his computer (not a single fan inside) and now with the new videocard blowing hot air inside the P4 was throttling a LOT.
    with throttlewhatch I found that he had an average of 45% cpu throttle LOL

    Now his case isn't inside his desk anymore and he has at least a fan inside and everything is fine!
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