Q9300 CPU Temperature Question

Hi everyone. I just built my own desktop with a boxed Intel Q9300 processor. I removed the thermal grease that was on the heat sink and applied Arctic Silver Céramique to the CPU heat spreader. After I installed the heat sink, I felt that the pins were not secure, so I lifted it up and installed it again.

Now CPUID HWMonitor shows that the core temperature is around 50-55 degrees Celsius idle (for all four cores) and 60-70 degrees when I am running CPU-intensive programs. I wonder if these temperatures are too higher.

Is it a serious problem that I did not re-apply the thermal grease? Do you recommend that I reinstall the CPU heat sink?

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More about q9300 temperature question
  1. Yes, as a Q9550 can idle at 25-27c (albeit in a room @14c ambient) your temps are a little on the high side.
  2. Yeah, it's running too hot.

    If you look up your CPU on the Intel site, it shows a max temp of 71.4c.

    For reference, my Q8200 overclocked to 3.3ghz idles at 35-39c and with a 3-hour, 100% prime95 load hit 49-56c...using RealTemp, which I've read is best for monitoring quads. This is with an XigmaTek s1283 cooler, Arctic Silver 5 paste and the screw type bracket instead of the push mounting pins.
  3. Thanks for all of your comments!


    I removed the CPU, cleaned the thermal grease off the heat spreader and the heat sink, then reapplied thermal grease and reinstalled the CPU.

    However, the temperature reading from CPUID HWMonitor remained unchanged (~50 degrees Celsius idle). On the other hand, I noticed in BIOS (motherboard is ASUS P5Q SE2) that there was a built-in CPU temperature monitor, and it consistently showed 25-30 degrees. I also installed the ASUS PC PROBE II software that came with the motherboard, and it also consistently showed 25-30 degrees.

    How come the different monitors show different temperatures? Which one(s) should I trust?
  4. Real Temp 2.70 readings:

    Intel Quad Q9300 2006.69MHz
    Core Temperature (C): 41 41 41 36
    Distance to TJ Max: 54 54 54 59

    When I click on "Test Sensors", I received these movements: 10 7 12 13

    The result page states that "a difference greater than 3 is a warning sign that the sensor moving the least amount is getting stuck."

    Does this mean Sensor #2 is stuck? If so, What should I do?
  5. Another piece of information that I found:

    Thermal Specification: 71.4°C

    If you click on Thermal Specification, a pop-up window explains that this is Tj Max (if I'm not mistaken). Real Temp has TJ Max at 95°C. What's going on here?
  6. Unless you are willing to go through the RMA process, I'd suggest trying an aftermarket cooler and for its price\performance you can't go far wrong with an Arctic Freezer Pro 7 IMHO.
  7. defragme said:
    Another piece of information that I found:

    Thermal Specification: 71.4°C

    If you click on Thermal Specification, a pop-up window explains that this is Tj Max (if I'm not mistaken). Real Temp has TJ Max at 95°C. What's going on here?

    Oh, you found that info? I thought I posted it...

    It's complicated. I read part of a guide on one forum and it has to do with case temp, core temp, processor temp, yada yada.

    I would just go into your BIOS and set the restart or shutdown temp at 70c. Quads are hot, even these 45nm models. I would buy a better heatsink though.
  8. I'm sorry, Noya. I meant to say I found the bit about thermal specification = TJ Max. It was you who gave me the link (Thanks!)

    I'll take a look at the BIOS as you suggested.
  9. Hi there, I run my Q9300 OC'd to 3.5Ghz most of the time.
    I'm currently using all 4 cores to encode a video as I type this at approx 90% each.

    Using Speedfan I'm reading 55-65 degrees on the individual core readings and 53 on the CPU reading.

    At idle I'm way below that, then again I'm using a Scythe Ninja Cu and MX-2 thermal compount, so should be a wee bit better than the stock cooler.
  10. a suggestion would be to take the Vcore in the BIOS off of auto and set it to the stock voltage settings (im not sure of the V number, although it should be relatively easy to find).

    i believe that the high temps are caused by too high a voltage setting due to it being set to auto.
  11. My VCore is at 1.13V. I don't think it is high.

    I read this guide (http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/221745-29-core-quad-temperature-guide) and got the following scale from Section 6:

    Scale 2: Quad
    Q9300: Tcase Max 71c, Stepping M1, TDP 95W, Idle 16W

    --70--/--75--75--75--75-- Hot
    --65--/--70--70--70--70-- Warm
    --60--/--65--65--65--65-- Safe
    --25--/--30--30--30--30-- Cool

    I then set TJ Max in Real Temp to 76 (71+5) degrees Celsius. Now the core temperatures are ~25. I know I have not calibrated everything carefully, but the readings are well within the safe limit. Does this mean I am in the clear?
  12. And if a warning light light comes on, remove the bulb. ;)
  13. Well, I want to be careful not to fix something that's not broken. Given the different temperature readings I've got, plus the many different opinions I've seen on the web about this issue, I am not sure that there is a problem.

    Certainly I will buy a good expensive heat sink when I want to overclock the CPU, but at the moment, I just need one that works within the reasonable temperature limit.
  14. Noya said:
    It's complicated. I read part of a guide on one forum and it has to do with case temp, core temp, processor temp, yada yada.

    Yes, thanks to Intel, temperatures are complicated. Also, thank you for the glowing review! I'm the engineer who wrote the "yada, yada": Core 2 Quad and Duo Temperature Guide - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/221745-29-core-quad-temperature-guide

    If you'd taken the time to read the entire Guide, then you'd have an understanding of the differences between Tcase (CPU temperature) and Tjunction (Core Temperature), and how to calibrate your temperatures, as well as how these temperatures apply to monitoring utilities.


    You posted the following:

    Another piece of information that I found:

    Thermal Specification: 71.4°C

    If you click on Thermal Specification, a pop-up window explains that this is Tj Max (if I'm not mistaken). Real Temp has TJ Max at 95°C. What's going on here?

    Sorry, but you've misinterpreted Intel's Thermal Specification. The temperature shown in Intel's Processor Spec Finder is Tcase (CPU Temperature), not Tjuinction (Core Temperature), which is a very common misconception among many users. From the Guide:

    Section 1: Introduction

    Core 2 Quad and Duo 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. C2Q's have 1 Tcase and 4 Tjunction sensors, while C2D's have 1 Tcase and 2 Tjunction sensors. Uncalibrated default temperatures are rarely accurate.

    Intel provides complete specifications for Tcase (CPU temperature), but only partial specifications for Tjunction (Core temperature), which has caused much confusion and debate in the overclocking community concerning test methods, temperature monitoring utilities and accuracy. The monitoring utilities provided by motherboard manufacturers monitor CPU temperature, while some popular freeware utilities monitor Core temperatures...

    SpeedFan monitors Tcase (CPU temperature) and Tjunction (Core temperature), which can be calibrated for each sensor, while also providing a full compliment of peripheral temperatures, voltages and fan speeds...

    Section 3: Interpretation

    (<>) The first part of the spec refers to a single measuring point on the Integrated Heat Spreader (IHS). Since a thermocouple is embedded in the IHS for Intel laboratory testing only, CPU temperature is instead measured using a Thermal Diode centered under the Cores. Maximum case temperature (Tcase Max) is determined by Spec#. The CPU case Thermal Diode is how Tcase is measured, and is the CPU temperature displayed in BIOS and SpeedFan.

    Tcase Max is a specification, Tcase is a temperature.

    (><) The second part of the spec refers to mobile processors without Integrated Heat Spreaders (IHS). Although desktop processors have an IHS, both variants measure the hot spots on each Core using Digital Thermal Sensors (DTS). Maximum junction temperatures (Tjunction Max) are determined by Intel factory Calibrations. The Digital Thermal Sensors are how Tjunction is measured, and are the Core temperatures displayed in SpeedFan.

    Tjunction Max is a specification, Tjunction is a temperature.

    Section 4: sensors are located on the hot spots of each Core. Most of the heat dissipates from the top of the Cores through the Integrated Heat Spreader and CPU cooler to air inside the computer. Some of the heat dissipates from the bottom of the Cores through the CPU case, which creates a 5c thermal Gradient toward the center of the substrate, where the Tcase sensor is located. This heat then dissipates through the socket and motherboard to air inside the computer. Safe and sustainable temperatures are determined by CPU cooling efficiency, computer case cooling efficiency, Ambient temperature, Vcore, clock speed and Load.

    Tjunction is higher than Tcase.

    Tcase is higher than Ambient.

    Section 6: indicates CPU substrate temperature only, it is not used for Throttle or Shutdown activation, however, as Tcase Max will be exceeded before Tjunction Max is reached, Tcase Max is always the limiting thermal specification...

    Scale 2: Quad
    Q9x50: Tcase Max 71c, Stepping E0, TDP 95W, Idle 16W
    Q9x50: Tcase Max 71c, Stepping C1, TDP 95W, Idle 16W
    Q9400: Tcase Max 71c, Stepping R0, TDP 95W, Idle 16W
    Q9300: Tcase Max 71c, Stepping M1, TDP 95W, Idle 16W<--Q9300
    Q8x00: Tcase Max 71c, Stepping R0, TDP 95W, Idle 16W
    Q8200: Tcase Max 71c, Stepping M1, TDP 95W, Idle 16W
    Q6x00: Tcase Max 71c, Stepping G0, TDP 95W, Idle 16W

    --70--/--75--75--75--75-- Hot
    --65--/--70--70--70--70-- Warm
    --60--/--65--65--65--65-- Safe
    --25--/--30--30--30--30-- Cool


    As I've shown, there's a 5c Gradient between CPU temperarture and Core temperatures. and if you read the Guide thoroughly, you'll also understand that BIOS temperature is CPU temperature, which functions independently from Core temperatures.

    Comp :sol:
  15. defragme said:
    I then set TJ Max in Real Temp to 76 (71+5) degrees Celsius. Now the core temperatures are ~25. I know I have not calibrated everything carefully, but the readings are well within the safe limit. Does this mean I am in the clear?
    Based upon your original misinterpretation, you've now miscalibrated your Core temperatures. If you prefer using Real Temp, then download version 2.90 RC5 from the first post on the Real Temp thread over at XtremeSystems - http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=179044

    Real Temp 2.7 uses Tjunction Max 95c, while 2.9 uses 100c. Because I developed a calibration procedure for SpeedFan based on Intel's documented 5c Gradient between Tcase and Tjunction, I don't need to use Intel's confusing Tjunction Max values to achieve accuracy, which is why there are no Tjunction Max values in my Guide.

    Intel has stated that due to sensor non-linearity and slope error variables, actual Tjunction Max values differ from core to core, and processor to processor within the same model and stepping. This is why Tjunction Max values are round numbers such as 85c or 100c, while Tcase Max values are exact values to the tenths of a degree, such as 71.4c.

    When calibrated, the true Tjunction Max values for your Q9300 may be anywhere from 96c to 99c per individual core.

    Comp :sol:
  16. SpeedFan shows a CPU temperature (TCase?) of ~25 degrees Celsius and core temperatures (Tjunction?) of ~45-50 degrees.
    Real Temp 2.90 also shows core temperatures of ~45-50 degrees.

    If there is only a 5c gradient between Tcase and Tjunction, what explains the dramatic 20 degrees difference here?
  17. Because Tcase and Tjunction simply need to be calibrated. From the Guide:

    Section 5: Findings

    (C) Tcase and Tjunction are both acquired from Thermal Diodes. Tcase and Tjunction analog to digital (A to D) conversions are executed by separate devices in different locations. BIOS Calibrations from motherboard manufacturers, Factory Calibrations from Intel, and popular temperature utilities are frequently inaccurate.

    Section 15: Troubleshooting

    (C) Any hardware and / or software may misreport Tcase and / or Tjunction temps.

    (D) BIOS updates will affect the accuracy of Tcase, but will have no affect on Tjunction.

    (G) Ambient and Vcore are the most dominant Variables affecting temperatures.

    Are you running the latest BIOS, and what is your ambient?
  18. OK, I have some worries with my Q9300. First off, it's stock, built into my Dell Precision M4400 (laptop). That makes cooling mods (and actually overclocking mods) extremely difficult, if not impossible -- except possibly for an external lappy cooler, but they're cumbersome at best.

    Basically, I see some pretty high heat at idle. RealTemp 2.90 (with default settings, where TJ Max is set to 100C) shows the cores at 43-47C (again, idle). The Dell fan runs at a low speed constantly to achieve that. Ambient temps (room) are about 21-22C. GPU Temp shows at 58C idling (not happy about that either). I can't actually run a "calibration", because the instructions in the guide don't really apply for a laptop.

    I have also run SpeedFan 4.37 and it shows same core temps (within 1deg).

    If I try to run Prime95, Small FFTs, in less than 60sec all cores go above 80C. As per the referenced guide, Section 7-E, this is a "bad thing" if I am to assume that the chart quoted above (and found in the guide) is correct that 75C is considered "Hot". I have not let it run past 80C, and therefore one minute, because I'm worried about this heat. The Dell increases fan speed to high during that time (allowing BIOS to control it), but it's not enough to cope.

    So what am I to think? Is there some kind of curve/chart that shows "safe" max core temp over time? For example, maybe it's OK to hit 85C for < 1min at a time, but sustained operation might say 75C for max 30 min?

    I'll be honest in saying that I'm still confused as to what the max temp is for this chip. Above it says 96C, the RealTemp TJ Max is set to 100C, and the "Hot" chart in the guide says 75C! When should alarm bells go off???


    PS: If anyone here maintains SpeedFan, that thing is primarily blank for my laptop, and during startup it throws an error to its log saying "DELL Support Enabling has been disabled", probably partly because I tried enabling it in the options, but why? The name of the option says "Use this function only on Dell notebooks" -- that would seem to apply!
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