Optimal CPU Temps

Greetings everyone! I just built my very first rig not too long ago and had a question concerning optimal CPU temperature. What temperture is best at idle vs. moderate load vs. full load? My Asus Suite II onboard temperature sensor currently pits me at 44-45°C under idle conditions. Putting moderate strain on the system (Playstation emulator, Photoshop, Soundforge) causes the temperature to briefly spike to 52°C upon activation, but then returns to 45°C. I do not use a liquid cooling system (see specs below) and only use one fan attached to the heat sink (it can support two 120 mm fans for push and pull; the current fan installed pulls heat from the sink and out the case back). Motherboard temps read 32°C, which sounds reasonable to me.

Any advice you guys can offer would be much appreciated.

System Specs
Processor: I7-3930K
CPU Fan: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (w/ 120 mm fan)
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver CMQ2-2.7G Céramique 2 Tri-Linear Ceramic Thermal Compound (applied via the "pea method") - OEM
Power Supply: Corsair 850W
Motherboard: Asus P9X79 Pro
RAM: G.Skill 4x4 gb, 1600 MHz, quad channel
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti, 2 gb, Twin Frozr cooling fans
Case: Thermaltake Chaser Mk-1
OS: Windows 8, 64-bit, OEM
10 answers Last reply
More about optimal cpu temps
  1. The core temp at idle should be around 30C, depending on your ambient temp.

    Download something like Core Temp to check your temps.
  2. ihog said:
    The core temp at idle should be around 30C, depending on your ambient temp.

    Download something like Core Temp to check your temps.

    Thanks for the suggestion. I'll give this a shot and report my findings. Is this monitoring program in any way better than the stock sensor suite supplied with the motherboard?
  3. In my opinion, yes. Most are.
  4. ihog said:
    In my opinion, yes. Most are.

    Ok, here are my results. Your program appears to show slightly higher temps. Overall, is my system running at safe parameters?


  5. Idle temperatures are of little concern. Load temperatures are most important. Run Prime95 Small FFT's, which is the standard for thermal testing, and is a steady-state 100% workload that yields steady temperatures. Since thermal saturation is reached within 7 to 8 minutes, a 10 minute test is adequate. Post your results including Ambient.

    Intel's spec's for the i7 3930K:

    Standard Ambient 22C
    Tcase (CPU Temperature) 66C
    Tcase to Tjunction Offset + 5C
    Tjunction (Core Temperature) 71C
    Tj Max (Shutdown Temperature) 91C

    Hope this helps,

    Comp :sol:
  6. Thank you for the suggestion CompuTronix, I'll try it later tonight. I should note that I am not quite comfortable playing with voltages/"serious" overclocking yet. Should I run Prime95 using the stock/factory setting?
  7. You can use Prime95 Small FFT's for thermal testing, whether at stock default settings, or overclocked.
  8. Ok, here is what I got after a minute of use; I cut it short due to the high temps I saw listed. Should I have run it the full length of time you suggested or was I right to cut it short? Room temperature is 21°C.

    http://i1289.photobucket.com/albums/b507/wallsofy2j/CoreTemp-MAXLOAD_zps4026456f.png" class="img lazy">
  9. I did a little more experimenting today, and got some improved results. Just to make sure there was nothing wrong with my installation, I reinstalled my CPU fan with fresh paste (using the "pea/single drop" method), made sure the 120 mm fan attached to the heat sink was properly aligned, etc. Once again, I was getting the ~50°C idle temps listed by Core Temp (and the single 45°C temp listed by my Asus Suite II temp monitor).

    I played around with my fan settings in Asus Suite II and got some better results. My CPU fan speed was initially running at ~900-1000 rpm; increasing the speed to 1400 rpm dropped the Core Temp readings to 46/44/41/44/45/43, while the Asus Suite II reading was 38°C.

    So with that, do you think placing another 120 mm fan on the other side of my heat sink for a push-pull setup will further drop the temperature more (or at least maintain the 35-40°C sweet spot while using less power or spinning at lower rpm)? Or are there any other suggestions that may be better?
  10. I don't see your response. See my attempted Prime95 results 3 posts above, and let me know what precautions/preparations I should make (if any) before giving it another try.
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