CPU Maximum Temperatures

Following on from the cooling article we look at the maximum temperatures of CPU's. Even though we use fans and heatsinks CPU temperatures can still raise if they are being used at full power for a long period of time. Using CPU's at high temperatures can lower cause system crashes in the short term and in the long term cause the life of your CPU to be greatly reduced. In extreme cases your CPU could burn out or melt onto the motherboard. This usually happens when a fan breaks down and goes unnoticed. Today's motherboards come with temperature monitoring software and hardware which actually shuts the computer off if the CPU temperature gets too hot. Even these however are not 100% fail proof. The only way to be sure is to check your fans and other cooling equipment regularly and also use CPU thermometers to check your CPU temperature is stable and not raising over time. CPU's have a rated maximum temperature sometimes called a critical temperature. What this boils down to (quick pun :} ) is what the manufacturer states is the maximum temperature the CPU will operate at. This is not to say you want your CPU to operate at this temperature as it will be borderline between working and burning out. Always try to keep at least 20C below this value if you can. Below is a table showing you the critical temperatures for most of the CPU's we use today.

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