X2 4600+ temps + clock speed weirdness

I've had this Athlon X2 4600+ (socket AM2) for a while now (a year and half or so) and it's done me well so far, but just recently I've started to get a bit more aware of temperatures of things as I dabbled in overclocking, although only my graphics card at the moment. CPU is running at stock with stock cooling.

I had World of Warcraft running for a good hour (as well as numerous other programs such as IMs, Firefox, Ventrilo..) or so and decided to check my CPU temp with SpeedFan and found it was running at an average of 50C on load, with a brief moment of running at 54C. That little fire icon next to temps in speedfan always makes me uncomfortable, and looking at AMD's website, it says the max temps for this processor are somewhere between 55 and 70C. Does this mean I should start looking at some cooling solutions? Maybe reapply thermal paste? It's never gone higher than that, but I don't really know just what's safe for this thing, and google searches and other things haven't told me enough to calm my nerves.

Also, another curious thing happened recently, I think when I booted it a day or so ago. Things were running unusually sluggish, and I checked my system information to find that the processor had somehow gone from 2.4Ghz to 1.5Ghz. Restarting the computer didn't change this, but going into the CMOS and reloading default settings did. Was this a temperature thing, or might it have been caused by something else? It's happened once before when I booted the computer after it had been off all night, and I think I did the same thing to remedy it. This system is typically used to being on all the time, and I've just recently started shutting it down at night to conserve power.
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More about 4600 temps clock speed weirdness
  1. The reduction in clockspeed is due to AMD's power saving feature, 'Cool & Quiet'. It reduces voltage and the cpu multiplier. When you reset your BIOS settings you most likely disabled the function.

    At load, the cpu will resume full speed.

    Reapplying paste after a few years is always a good idea. Clean out your rig and eliminate any dust that has accumulated on the heatsink. Make sure your case has adequate air flow.

    I'm not a big fan of 'SpeedFan'. 50c at load is not so bad if ventilation is not top notch. Try this to verify your temps ...

  2. The temps that program are giving me seem a lot more sane. SpeedFan tells me I'm idling at about 35C for one core and 33 for the other. Hwmonitor is telling me I've got 27C and 32C respectively. Running FurMark, the benchmark I like to use puts the CPU up to about 43-45C at most after running it for a few minutes. Tests in the past have shown me most of my hardware hovers around a certain temperature after about 10-30 minutes of that kind of activity.

    I think I'm okay, as long as I'm not reaching upwards of about 60C from what I've read.
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