How to Monitor your Processor, Graphic Card and Hard Drive TempWritten by: Yamadron
Published on: Aug-04 16:55
From time to time GD like to bring you tutorials about how you can get the best from your computer hardware. This one is brought to you by our long-time member and advanced hardware expert, Yamadron.
The tutorial will help you understand how to monitor temperatures in your PC of various components...
High Temperature is the sworn enemy for electronics. When Temperature increases, there is a physical process which happens inside the transistors. All electronics components are made of transistors. The basic transistors have 2 poles, a positively charged pole and negatively charged pole. When current passes through these poles, you get power and the transistor starts to operate generating heat, still ambiguous?
Anyway, the place between these two poles is called a Junction like Road junctions. As more current passes (Demand), the junction becomes more active as positive charges go to the negative side and vice versa, thus temperature increases. Each transistor has its own thermal properties. Should you exceed this temperature, a partial permanent irreversible damage occurs. This damage is called the Point of No Return. On this level, Graphics cards have millions, if not billions of transistors implemented. So imagine the huge amount of heat dissipated.
What is the Point of No Return?
This appellation is not common among electronics. There is another name of it which is called “Tj Max” standing for “Temperature Junction Max” which is the Maximum temperature that transistor can withstand before that irreversible damage occurs.
Do all electronics have the same TJ Max?
No, each transistor is created be doping different materials like Aluminum, Boron, Silicon, Germanium and other materials. This temperature is dependent on the manufacturing process itself and only manufactures can tell you about it.
So, how can I monitor these temps?
We will need 2 tools here. An application called “RivaTuner” and its Windows gadget.
RivaTuner - RivaTuner Windows Sidebar Gadget RealTemp Plugin
To install RealTemp Plugin, Unzip and copy the attached files into your RivaTuner/PlugIns/Monitoring directory and the rest should be easy
How to run RivaTuner at the startup and close it to tray?
Start RivaTuner -> Go to the “Settings” Tab above beside “General”, “Power User”, etc. Check both “Send to Tray on close” and “Run on startup via Startup Registry key” The Gadget contains an “Instruction” tab which will help setup everything correctly.
How to determine your hardware TJ Max?
Intel Desktop CPUs - Intel Notebook CPUs -AMD Desktop CPUs -AMD Desktop CPUs
Nvidia Desktop GPUs
Nvidia Notebook GPUs: 100~105 °C
AMD Desktop GPUs: No specification sheet available
AMD Notebook GPUs: 100 °C
We would start installing RivaTuner and its gadget tool. You can modify the GUI as you want in the gadget. You can add Voltage monitors, Fan RPM monitors, GPU clocks, CPU clocks, etc…
CAUTION: THIS TOOL IS VERY POWERFUL. IT CAN BE USED FOR TWEAKING YOUR GRAPHIC CARD VOLTAGES, SETTINGS, MONITORING AND OVERCLOCKING AS WELL (VIA POWER USER TAB). I AM NOT REPSONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMGE IF YOU HAVE DONE SOMETHING NOT MENTIONED IN THIS TUTORIAL. YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT WITH THE GADGET.
Configuring Graphic Card Temperatures:
You will see this window while the Gadget is giving you an Error.
- Click on the rectangle beside “Customize” in the “Target Adaptor” Box and choose the late icon “Hardware Monitoring”
Click on “Record”. Now the Gadget should display some info about your Graphic card including the Graphic Card Temp
If you would like to only include Temperatures in this monitor,
Click on “Setup” and uncheck the following:
If you have an ATi Card and you can see no temperatures,
Click on “Setup” -> “Plugins” and Check both the “LM63” and “LM89” and “ADT7473” at the above of the list.
Configuring Processor Temperatures:
Click on “Setup” -> “Plugins” and Check “RTCore” then OK.
- Scroll the “Sources” in the “Data Sources” box the whole way down, You will see 4 portions for the RTCore plugin:
Core Temperature (Per Core 0, 1, 2,…): The current Temperature (The Lower the better) Distance TJ Max (Per Core): The Difference between Current Temperature and the Temp TJ Max. (The Higher the Better) Load: Current CPU Load Frequency: Current CPU Clock
By Default all options checked. However, if you want to keep the Gadget just to monitor Temperatures, uncheck both “Load” and “Frequency”. But it is your own call.
N.B: You can sort the values as you want by clicking and holding the left mouse button then moving up and down.
Configuring Hard Disk Drive Temperatures:
Click on “Setup” -> “Plugins” and Check “SMART” then OK.
By Default All Hard Disks are checked. You could have more than Hard Disks. They will be numbered as HDD0, HDD1, etc..
Now after everything is set. You should be having something like this:
As you can see, the Monitor GUI is a little bit dull. Why don’t we pimp it a little it and colorize it. I would go with the next color scheme as a guide; however, you can define yours. But just listen from the experts.
Green: Very Good/Idle Temperature Yellow: Normal /Gaming Little load Temperature Orange: High /Gaming/ Heavy Load Temperature (No worries but take care) Red: Critical Temperature(You better improve your cooling quickly and don’t wait till auto-shutdown)
The color scheme range varies from hardware to another due to the difference in the manufacturing process and either if this components are for desktops or notebooks. Notebook components can withstand more heat than desktops’ due to the low air ventilation and weaker cooling methods. I will define these ranges according to my laptop specs; however, I will mention how to do so for others as well.
Adjusting Graphic Card Temperature Bars:
We are now done with RivaTuner, now let’s go to the gadget, hover over the gadget, and click on the “wrench” icon and that what would you see:
Now click on the “Advanced” Tab above, then Select “Core Temperature”
N.B: The blue box is a preview of the settings
Now on the “Customize Display” Box, Click on the listbox beside “Display Style”. Select any of the choices but it should include the word “bar”, thus we can use the above color scheme.
Now check the temperature bar colors at the bottom and as you can see I set up the temps according to my usual temperatures, but there is how it goes:
N.B: Most Nvidia cards have a TJ Max of 105 and ATi’s have a TJ Max of 100. However, the new keplers have a little bit less than 105. Around 95~100. I don’t know honestly about the new ATI.
“Max” Value will have the Tj Max value for your specific hardware. “Limit 3” Value is usually 5 °C less than the “Max”. However, I like to increase it to 10 °C (15 in my case) to be at the safe side. Most components – if not all - now have auto-Thermal Protection circuit which auto-shutdown your computer immediately if this temperature is reached. “Limit 2” Value is around 25~30 °C less than the “Max” value. “Limit 1” Value is around 45~60 °C less than the “Max” value and for an obvious reason that is the range that most cards lay into while gaming. “Min” value could be left as it is. The value from the “Min” to the (“Limit 1” – 1 degree) is your idle temperature.
- As you can see, all these ranges are very rough. I am very comfortable with these ranges, but the decision is up to you to change them. The values may be altered a little bit with other cards like 570 GTX which have a TJ Max of 97 °C.
N.B: You could use the “Copy” and “Paste” option to copy the same form to other modifications for the next parts (CPU and HDD)
Adjusting Processor Temperature Bars:
- Now select one of the choices which have “YYYY - CoreX”. X refer to the number of the threads actually and not the number of the cores. You can find a 4core processor with 8 CoreX references (Core0 ~ Core7), while YYYY refers to the CPU number.
- Select the same Display Style of bars.
- For this step, TJ Max varies widely among different CPUs. Notebook’s processors can handle up to 100~105 °C, while Desktop’s varies between 60 to 70 °C (may be a little bit more or less; e.g 72.4 or 69.1 °C)
- Mine is 105 °C.
- Do the copy and paste procedure for the X number of Cores.
(Very handy feature)
Adjusting Hard Disk Drive Bars:
Do the same for the hard disk drives; select “HDDX Temperature” where “X” is the number of the hard disk and chose an option with “bar” in the “Display Style”.
For Hard Disk Drives. Your temperature should never go beyond 60 °C. This temperature is very critical for your HDD health. I set up the temperatures like this.
Do the copy and paste procedure for the X number of HDDs.
Finally mine looks like this (some changes)
N.B: You can use EVGA Precision or MSI Afterburner to monitor your temperature while gaming. I will show you how in a separate tutorial.