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Stock Intel i7 cooler temps

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Last response: in Overclocking
November 2, 2009 6:51:43 PM

I'm running my overclocked i7 920 at 3.66Mhz and 1.2V. Idle average is about 42C standby and 70-80C under load. This is with the stock Intel cooler and the fan running around 1400RPM. Can I just go with this setup and not worry about it or should I try to get a better cooler to lower those temps? Someone said, at around 80C the chip won't last as long.


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a b K Overclocking
November 3, 2009 5:59:55 AM

You definitely need a more powerful cooler. Ideally, the CPU should never operate at temperatures above 70C, and at 80C you're already asking for it.
November 3, 2009 6:32:25 AM

dbeaty2 said:
I'm running my overclocked i7 920 at 3.66Mhz and 1.2V. Idle average is about 42C standby and 70-80C under load. This is with the stock Intel cooler and the fan running around 1400RPM. Can I just go with this setup and not worry about it or should I try to get a better cooler to lower those temps? Someone said, at around 80C the chip won't last as long.


"Shoulda had a V8"

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a c 149 K Overclocking
November 4, 2009 7:02:54 PM

evongugg said:
Not over 67.9º please:

evongugg is exactly correct, however, some clarification is needed.

Since temperatures are all about specifications, it's very important to be specific, otherwise the topic makes about as much sense as trying to compare apples-to-oranges thermal fruit salad in a blender. :pt1cable:  For everyone's benefit, I am once again posting the following information. My objective is to assure that enthusiasts understand Intel's specifications, standards and test methods, so they can better decide how to apply and manage their overclocking options.

From Intel's Processor Spec Finder -

All Core i7 9xx variants:

Vcore Max 1.375v
Tcase Max (CPU temperature) 68c (rounded off from 67.9c)
Tjunction (Core temperature) 73c

From the Core i7 and Core 2 Temperature Guide -

"Section 1: Introduction

Core i and Core 2 processors have 2 different types of temperature sensors; a CPU case (not computer case) Thermal Diode centered under the Cores, and Digital Thermal Sensors located on each Core. The case Thermal Diode measures Tcase (Temperature case), which is CPU temperature, and the Digital Thermal Sensors measure Tjunction (Temperature junction), which is Core temperature. Since these sensors measure 2 distinct thermal levels, there is a 5c temperature difference between them, which is Tcase to Tjunction Gradient. Core i7’s / i5’s and Core 2 Quad’s have 1 Tcase and 4 Tjunction sensors, while Core 2 Duo's have 1 Tcase and 2 Tjunction sensors ...

... The monitoring utilities provided by motherboard manufacturers monitor CPU temperature, while some popular freeware utilities monitor Core temperatures ... Real Temp ... is recommended for users interested in monitoring Core temperatures only ... SpeedFan monitors Tcase (CPU temperature) and Tjunction (Core temperature) ... "

The Thermal Specification shown in Intel's Processor Spec Finder is Tcase Max (CPU) not Tjunction (Core), which is a very common misconception among most enthusiasts. Since there's a 5c gradient between the CPU sensor and the Core sensors, (shown in the following Intel document) - - just add 5c to the value shown in the Spec Finder to determine the corresponding Core temperature, which is 73c for all Core i7 9xx variants.

Intel's second and frequently misunderstood Thermal Specification, Tjunction Max, (100c for all Core i variants) applies to overtemp protection such as Throttle and Shutdown, so you don't toast your transistors. As such, any i7 Core temperatures which exceed 73c should be considered "overtemp". Further, when specifications are exceeded, then processor degradation becomes a concern, which is explained in the following AnandTech article -

Prime95 Small FFT's is the Standard for processor thermal testing, because it's a steady-state 100% workload which yields steady-state temperatures, whereas Blend (the default torture test) is a memory cyclic workload which yields fluctuating processor temperatures. Small FFT's will reach 97% thermal saturation within 7 to 8 minutes, so a 10 minute test is adequate. Thermal testing should be conducted as close as possible to 22c (72f) Standard ambient, with case covers removed, the computer clear of any desk enclosures, and all fans at 100% RPM to eliminate cooling variables, and to produce consistent and repeatable results for comparisons. If the Gradient between CPU temperature and "mean" (average) Core temperature is not ~ 5c, then BIOS is incorrectly coded. CPU temperature and Core temperatures can be individually calibrated in SpeedFan by following the Calibrations Section in the Temperature Guide.

OCCT and Burn Test (reminiscent of TAT) use LinPack, which shows thermal signatures that resemble the ups and downs of a bad day on the stock market, and cycle between light workloads, through test segments which spray all processor registers with all one's, (100% thermal load, which equates to 115% workload), and can push an overclocked i7 at Vcore Max 1.375 with HT enabled, right on past Tcase Max to ring the Tjunction Max bell like a fire alarm! :o 

Since there are very few applications or games that will spike, let alone sustain processor workloads beyond 70% to 85%, utilities which load all registers with all one's are not representative of real-world computing. While these utilities are certainly very useful for stability testing, they are inappropriate for thermal testing. The 3DMark benches are excellent for stability testing, as are applications for ripping and encoding.

To make sense of CPU temperature and Core temperature, compare them to a 4 cylinder car that has 5 temperature guages; 4 of the guages are cyclinder head temperatures (closest to the heat source), and the 5th guage is the overall engine temperature, which is 5c lower than the other guages, and is the temperature guage with which we're all familiar. We know that red-line for the i7 9xx is 68c (Tcase Max) on the engine temp guage and 73c (Tjunction) on the cylinder head temp guages, but if we push the engine too hard and peg all the guages, (95c Tcase overtemp / 100c Tjunction Max) then the engine will shut down.

If you'd like to learn more about processor temperatures, then just click on the link in my signature.

Hope this helps,

Comp :sol: 
November 4, 2009 9:24:10 PM

Wow, thanks for that answer. I did start reading your article but, it seemed to go beyond what I was doing as an enthusiast. But I now understand the specs for CPU temp tcase and CPU core temp tjunction. I will be going back to stock speed until I improve my cooling ability. Here's the everest of a 10 minute run with the stock cooler. Over max core TJunction specs.

In my test, I did not have the case covers off, as sugested.

November 4, 2009 9:31:50 PM

-1 for 81C on core 1.. ouch..
November 9, 2009 11:33:20 PM

I took your advice and installed a CPU cooler. I chose the Cogage TRUE spirit based on reviews. It took me about 30 minutes to install and take the motherboard out. There is a plastic cover over the heatsink base and it IS mirror smooth. I read someone had to lap his, but this was totally smooth AFAIC. Fit's in my case just fine. Door fan is still fitting with unit installed.

Then I had to go online on how to mount the fan properly, with the airflow blowing in across the fins.

I got the Thermalright bolt through kit to replace the plastic pin kit that comes with this unit.

After install I ran some tests. Here's stock LGA 1366 at 2.66 MHZ and under load AFTER installing the TRUE:

and this is with BCLK set to 180 at 3.66 MHZ Overclocking the ASUS P6T Bios under load with the TRUE:

Quite the difference from the stock INTEL cooler results I reported before here:

Thanks for everyone on this board who posts info and helps. I learned enough to convince myself I should build this system. I found the best opinions and directions on what and how right here. So thanks, your words and time do make some great systems come to life. :D 

a c 149 K Overclocking
November 9, 2009 11:47:26 PM

You're very welcome. Glad we could help! :sol: