Before I run off on my own and change some settings and probably fry something, thought I should ask the experts first.
I overclocked my i7 to 3.6ghz, I'm using a Scythe Mugen 2 cooler in a Cool Master ATX tower. When it's idle the core(s) temp sits around 40C-44C. When it's under load, for example running a few virtual servers it's up around 67C-76C. The air coming out of my tower is very cool, I can touch the heatsink and that is cool as well.
Is this acceptable? Also, are my readings accurate? I would think my heatsink would be fairly warm at these temps.
It could take quite awhile for the heat to saturate the heatsink. The heatsink needs to be as cool as possible to keep temps down. Huge metal fins + big fan blowing cold air over them, isn't going to warm up in a hurry!
I don't like going over 70C myself, but opinions vary. If I was at that temp I'd try reseating the heatsink with some Arctic Silver 5, if that didn't work, I'd look for better cooling options (higher ranking air cooler or a water cooler). Easiest and cheapest would be just to back off the overclock/voltage a bit.
I imagine it'd get hotter if you ran the Prime95 torture test on Small FFT mode. I'd try that, using a program to observe the core temperatures as it runs. Stop if it breaks 80C.
I have a similar setup, AsRock x58 Extreme and a scythe mugen 2. After a couple of remounts, I get mid 70's running prime 95 which I don't even think is that great. I would definately try remounting. And yes, I know it is a huge pain in the arse with that cooler. I followed the artic silver directions to the T (line and squish method).
I remounted it, it seemed like there was alot of thermal compound on it, too much actually so I took a tiny bit off...remounted it and I'm still getting 90C when running Prime95 without it being overclocked! There is still some caked on there...
I'm going to clean it off, purchase some of that Artic Silver 5 compound, and try the remount again