Thermals. It’s something that we all talk about a lot when it comes to PC hardware and gaming but is not exactly always obvious. You build a new PC, you buy all the new parts necessary, put it all together in the right places and plug it all in with the right cables. Then you turn it on and bite your nails, will your PC get fried for some reason?
Okay well in this case it didn’t at least, but the next question is then usually…
What is the temperature of your new PC’s graphics card and processor running at idle? And how hot should your CPU and GPU be running whilst gaming?
Unfortunately, the answers to those questions are varied and influenced by any number of factors including your geographical climate, your PC case, as well as if you have water cooling or whether you use stock cooling solutions. Sometimes even the hardware manufacturer you buy from can influence the temperature your components run at.
Obviously the GPU and CPU will be working at their best when they’re not reaching their maximum temperatures, so it’s up to us to figure out what the exact sweet spot is and how to lower those temps. Lower temperatures also means you have the ability to overclock, allowing your CPU or GPU to reach higher clock speeds and potentially gain even more performance at the cost of increasing their temperature one again.
Another thing we should consider though is how much should we actually care about these components overheating and how much money we should spend trying to lower them? Because in the end does it really matter?
Of course, increased temperatures mean potential damage to your hardware that can reduce its lifespan. Both graphics cards and processors are at risk of dying out before their expected life cycle if they sustain too high temperatures for long periods of time. Overclocking components can result in higher temperatures as well, which can add to that same risk of dying out early.
So with all that said, what do we all think is a suitable temperature for our GPUs and CPUs to run at whilst idle and even whilst gaming? For instance, what would be an acceptable temperature for our GPU when running some of the most demanding games of today for a few hours like Assassins Creed: Valhalla, Red Dead Redemption 2, or even the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077?
Laptops are also a whole other scenario, as they generally suffer the most from high temperatures and overheating. On top of potentially burning the hairs off your legs, this can result in weaker performance in-game, so it’s always something to think about when shopping for a new mobile gaming laptop.
We have some polls below to vote for what you think the expected temperatures for each component at idle and gaming should be. But since this is a pretty broad and open ended question, we encourage you to tell us how you feel in the discussion are below for a more in depth analysis as well as helping out our fellow PC gamers in need.
Lastly, we’d love to hear from you what you use to monitor your hardware temperatures, whether that be some official software you use or a third-party monitoring device? And which one is the best?
This time last year we asked the same question to you guys and got some interesting answers. So with the launch of the new RTX 30 series and Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards as well as the Ryzen 5000 series processors we thought we could bring this topic back up and see how much has changed.
So what do you think? How hot should your CPU and GPU be running whilst gaming? And how hot should each run whilst at idle? What are the biggest factors that contribute to higher temperatures? And what are some effective, low cost ways to keep temps down in a typical household? Let’s debate!