Up For Debate - How hot should your CPU and GPU run while gaming?

Written by Neil Soutter on Sat, Nov 9, 2019 11:05 AM

We all talk about this quite a lot, but the answer is not always obvious. When you build a new PC, get all the bits in the right place, string up your wires and pop in your lovely shiny GPU and CPUs, then flick that ON switch, you hold your breath. Will the PC fry itself for some reason? 

Phew it didnt. Well our next question is normally...

What temperature is the new computer’s CPU and GPU idling at and what is considered a normal idle temperature for a processor or graphics card?

The answers to this are numerous and influenced by a myriad of variables from your general geographic climate all the way through to have you got water cooling or aftermarket air cooling solutions or perhaps you are using a manufacturer is your hardware from? Is it an AMD or intel CPU or perhaps AMD or Nvidia, in the case of graphics card temperatures.

Another thing we should talk about is, what do you use to gauge the temperatures of the processor and GPU? How are you tracking those temperatures, is it directly from the mobo or Is it a third party temperature monitoring system that you have installed yourself?

We know that the CPU and GPU work at their best when they are not reaching their TJMax, so it is up to us gamers to work out how to lower these temperatures. The other thing to consider is, how much should we care about overheating and how long/how much money should we spend trying to lower these temperatures? Because do they really matter?

Another thing to think about is, if you can get your CPU running cool you could consider overclocking, which is basically you boosting your clock speeds to gain a performance increase over your stock hardware. But if you do overclock the CPU it has an increased temperature and potentially decrease the lifespan of your PC component. The same goes for the graphics card, if you want to overclock it then it might very well cause it to stop working before its normal life expectancy.

Now with all these things to think about, what do we all think is a suitable CPU temp and what do we reckon is a good GPU temperature when just using your PC desktop and perhaps more importantly, whats an acceptable PC hardware temp when you have a demanding game like Red Dead 2 running for a few hours?

Now then laptop hardware will also experience completely different levels of hardware temperatures and its actually this temperature issue that is the cause of a lot of under-performing mobile notebook gaming hardware. So its certainly something to look into before buying a new notebook with a lovely sounding GPU nestled in its slender casing. Because if it runs too hot it might quickly become a pointless bit of hardware after a 20 min intense gaming session.

So its quite a broad question but lets get the comments section going below, where we can all discuss our experiences with GPU and CPU temperatures and what a modern gamer might expect to be reasonable or acceptable for their PC?

Please also share your methods and tools you use to keep down your hardware temperatures and get in and cast your vote on the polls below. It might be that the polls provide too ambiguous an answer because of all the variables mentioned above, but lets see how it goes as a rough guide and then chat about your thoughts on this below.

What would you consider an acceptable GPU temperature while gaming?

What would you consider an acceptable CPU temperature while gaming?

What would you expect a GPU temperature to be while idling?

What would you expect a CPU temperature to be while idling?

Our favourite comments:

Those chips won't die from heat alone before the upgrade cycle, even if that cycle is 5+ years later, so who cares... I let mine fry :D

xquatrox

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21:55 Nov-12-2019

My CPUs never got that hot during gaming... Though maybe it's because I know how hot it gets when I render my 3D models in blender. lol

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11:08 Nov-12-2019

Intel and Amd gives their max temp limits on every cpu on their websites. Those are a good guideline.

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05:06 Nov-12-2019

Hi guys, i know this isnt the place but im considering doing a big upgrade to my pc, i want to replace my motherboard, my CPU for a ryzen 5 2600, (im currently using i53570k) with a gtx 1060 6gb, my question is , is the Ryzen 5 2600 futureproof for like at least 5 years? just like the i5 3570k was in 2012?

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05:14 Nov-14-2019

2700 would be better choice if u looking for 5years but again also depends what u expect from a cpu

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04:53 Nov-12-2019

well im using a laptop And its isn't uncommon for me to be throttled at 90c, like all my previous laptops, but proper ventilation goes a long way (not gaming on the bed)

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04:38 Nov-12-2019

As long you gpu/cpu temps are under 90c you'll be ok, but the cooler the better, like Oc'ing (old days 100c was normal for high end gpu/cpu's) The idle temps are what you need to look at, thats what the components will be at 99% of its life

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21:04 Nov-11-2019

I have a huge watercooler(NZXT Kraken X72 380mm). During pure gaming I rarely go above 45-52c. However, video rendering with my editor easily pushes this number to 60-67c.
GPUwise, I never see above 72c.

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19:52 Nov-10-2019

My GPU goes up to 75ºC and the CPU up to 65ºC while gaming (Intel stock cooler). I live in Amazon rainforest region, here tends to be hot (30-40ºC normally, sometimes higher).

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18:56 Nov-10-2019

its winter now.. iv turned my fans lower when idle just so it kicks a little more heat out into my room.
gpu idles at 45c, doesnt get higher than 70c while gaming
cpu idles at 40c, doesnt get higher than 65c while gaming

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18:34 Nov-11-2019

I feel like this comment violates some law of thermodynamics :)

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04:45 Nov-12-2019

that sounds about right, outside is about 0c =35d, inside is about 15c/60d-30c/86d good open case, my laptop throttles at 90c gpu

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11:16 Nov-12-2019

Well it doesn't work like that. The amount of heat produced shouldn't noticeably change when core temps rise.

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13:30 Nov-10-2019

My GPU never went above 65C oc'd while my CPU never went above 58C at 4.5ghz

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04:50 Nov-12-2019

liar......... lousy 8 core bulldozer at full load @4.5ghz and only 58c yeah right thats unheard of, my 4 core piledriver Apu use to see 80c oced at full load

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13:29 Nov-12-2019

Bulldozer CPUs contrary to popular belief are very chill CPUs. APUs on the other hand get/got very hot.

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16:17 Nov-12-2019

True. Mine very rarely goes above 60, and when it does it's usually because I was lazy and didn't dust out the machine in a couple of months. In most cases it sits around 55 degrees under full load.

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10:07 Nov-10-2019

My first gpu hd4770 died in few months of gaming, I couldn't touch it how hot it was. While gtx 470 was beyond what msi could detect for 2 years and then I oc'd, it ran like that for 2 more years and then I oc'd again and it died in a month

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00:27 Nov-10-2019

The highest my GPU has reached was 81C, and for my CPU 67C, but I'm more comfortable around 75C for GPU and 60C for CPU.


At idle my CPU sits around 35C and my GPU at 40C but only because the fans do not spin below 60C.

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21:48 Nov-09-2019

First it should be stated that neither CPU or GPU will die because they run hot, silicon can take high temperature so even up to 100C or whatever is specified is fine, you might get throttled a bit, but hardware will take care of itself and survive. However those high temperatures are definitely not something that should be desired and good cooling is good to have, with boosting algorithms,...

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21:51 Nov-09-2019

... it can even help you maintain better performance. Since GPU or CPU might boost higher. In any case, under load, anything below 70C is really great, below 80C is good, below 90C is ok, below 100C or max point is where you really should think about better cooler. Though it really depends on hardware, like some graphic cards will already throttle at 70-80C, whatever target is.

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21:54 Nov-09-2019

So based on clocks, you might want to improve your cooling there too. As for idle, 30-40C is about ideal. Though with Ryzen CPUs, they tend to boost high when idle and you might see bit higher temperature there. LIke my 2600X will be around 40-45C and spike to 50C. But it seems like it is jut how it behaves, because under load, it won't go out of control, even under stress test.

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21:56 Nov-09-2019

Though some people on internet will get triggered if you get high temperatures... :-D I do think it went bit overboard with obsession with getting low temperatures in some cases. And sure, it might effect how CPU ages, but if there even is any effect it will be very long term and it is unlikely for most to keep CPU for 10+ years.

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21:47 Nov-09-2019

As I type this my CPU is idle 50C and GPU idle 50C under load both go 70C and I am overclocked on both...

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06:11 Nov-10-2019

There is something wrong with your GPU temperature..., mine is at 32 C when idling and 45 on the CPU.

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06:34 Nov-10-2019

nothing wrong with hes gpu hes fans just doesnt spin up to 60 C

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18:32 Nov-09-2019

I never had under 73 CPU and 83 GPU under gaming load on the desktop. I don't know what cases people use because I have a proper cooled one and running CPU watercooling. But then it may boil down to ambient temperature. I am not bothered with temperature in general, as I am not by sound either. As long as it doesn't throttle, we're good. Idle is 30 CPU and 35 GPU, but why would this even mean anything. When exactly is the computer idle? We're -always- doing something on them.

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18:26 Nov-09-2019

Kinda pointless tbh. Not all cpus/gpus have the same temperature limits

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17:42 Nov-09-2019

ill take up to 70-80C as long as its quiet i dont like excessive noise coming from my PC. 30-40C for idle temps seem perfectly fine for me. Either way as long as it's not throttling or running into some other issue i dont even care about running hotter but to each is own.

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17:22 Nov-09-2019

My cpu is fine under load... but runs at 40-50c idle even though I have a 240mm watercooler on it

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16:51 Nov-09-2019

Regardless of the scenario, I am uncomfortable with the idea with either going above 150F, regardless of the fact they are designed to withstand even higher temperatures.


I still say 48C (120F) is not ice cold by any stretch of the imagination.

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17:24 Nov-09-2019

I agree with 120F not being ice cold.
But not wanting to go above 150F is just being anal about controlling temps :)

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17:56 Nov-09-2019

"But not wanting to go above 150F is just being anal about controlling temps."


I can't help how I feel.

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21:53 Nov-09-2019

Wut? 50'C is too hot for you? That's ice cold in my book (for my parts it would be). Do you underclock and keep you stuff in the fridge to keep the temps that low?

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00:38 Nov-10-2019

Hey to each his own, more power to ya, am not judging!

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08:26 Nov-10-2019

48C is considered ice cold, because if you subtract the 48C from the maximum safe temperature of 95C you get 47C difference, if you are to remove 47C from the 37C human body temperature it's like being at -10C body temperature which is freezing Cold.

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16:10 Nov-09-2019

80/70/50/50 for me - as long as it's relatively quiet, slightly higher-than-average temps are totally acceptable imo

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15:22 Nov-09-2019

My CPU hits around 70c overclocked to 4.7ghz and GPU is around 72-74c with mem reaching 80c, vram around 74c. I think this is fine and I haven't experienced any issues so far.

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