I've just built a new computer, in which the CPU hits some peak temperatures between 65-85 °C.
I've read this which states:

Your CPU, meanwhile, shouldn't be hotter than 75°C/167°F.

Other than the obvious water cooling and opening the case to let the hot air out, are there any other ways to keep the desktop PC cool?

Keep in mind, it is brand new, so there isn't substantial dust to warrant cleaning out any vents or fans on it.

For clarification, here's an image of the PC with it's case off.

Desktop PC


I'd like to note, that it hits the high temperatures when doing CPU intensive tasks like gaming or various other on screen tasks like programming (This includes various other programs running at the same time causing high use)/rendering.

I'd also like to note that I run a 3 monitor configuration through this setup.

  • Watercooling is the most efficient way to cool the computer. Why don't you want to use it?????
    – nicael
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 7:20
  • @nicael Did you read the question? I stated besides water cooling..... I do plan on water cooling it, but can't do that at this current time.
    – Darren
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 7:20
  • So "watercool the cpu" isn't a valid answer?
    – nicael
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 7:47
  • 8
    Opening the case does NOT help the CPU cool down. If anything it creates heat pockets in the case because the fan cannot effectively pull air from the whole case. I also see there are two big fans near the CPU. Are the air flow directions correct? The fan at the top should be blowing the air down, and the fan in the back should be blowing the air out of the case. The PSU also has a big fan, and that should be also pulling the air out of the case.
    – Nelson
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 9:04
  • 1
    If it's new and you are already having temperature issues you might want to talk to the seller. Commented May 2, 2018 at 9:17

9 Answers 9


Based on your picture: Get a better CPU-Cooler! You already have some case-fans, hence probably already a good air flow. You're CPU-fan looks like a stock one. I had some problems with stock fans as well. I would recommend something like this, with copper conductor plus a fan. scytheScythe Mugen 3 Revision

I suppose you only get 85°C when gaming or doing other resource-heavy operations. I had the exact same problem and got the CPU cooler pictured above. Now my CPU has about 24°C when in normal operation and never goes above 45°C when gaming.

Further recommendations:

There are tons of good CPU coolers. These are just some I heard good things about. But always keep in mind to check, of course, the CPU-socket compatibility and the size of the cooler. If considering one that has a fan I would check it for the spinning speed and loudness (these two things are coherent: high RPM & small fan = loud; low RPM & big fan = quiet; low RPM & small fan = not very effective but quiet; high RPM & big fan = very effective, maybe still quiet). If you're checking one in an online store, reading the customer reviews tells you much about how effective it cools, how loud it is or how easy it is to install it.

Two graphic cards also produce a lot of heat, but they should be able to cool themselves.

  • 1
    Excellent answer, thanks for the information!
    – Darren
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 7:39
  • Thanks for the props! I didn't want to advertise, but I could add some models of CPU cooler if you wish, though you still need to check if it fits in your case, cause the one I mentioned fills mine up pretty good and touches my RAM.
    – Alex
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 7:43
  • That would be great, I was actually going to ask you about recommendations haha! So please feel free to share :)
    – Darren
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 7:44
  • @Kik Thanks for pointing out. I suppose that's clear, because those pastes usually come with the cooler. Also with big CPU coolers, like the one pictured, you'll need to attach a backplate to your motherboard, but all these steps are details. Question is how to keep cool and my answer should be as simple as use CPU cooler.
    – Alex
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 20:41
  • @Darren this answer is good, but it is not very hacky, actually it is the most common and usual way to cool CPU, that is what CPU coolers are made for.
    – vladiz
    Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 18:56

Building computers can be expensive and dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. No CPU that I'm aware of has a higher temperature rating than 75°C. If you're hitting 85°C without overclocking then you're about to destroy your computer.

  • Check that you've used (enough) thermal adhesive between the CPU and the heatsink/fan.

  • Try underclocking the machine. Or at the very least remove the overclocking.

  • I would recommend checking your CMOS settings to automatically control fans.

  • Also check that your fans are all working. From your picture it looks like they are.

  • DON'T reattach the case wall until your heating problems are fixed. Look into a case with wall mounted fans.

  • If you're still having troubles you can either replace the CPU or look into water cooling.

If all else fails look into oil cooling.

  • The Pentium 4-M "had a maximum thermal junction temperature rating of 100 degrees C". (No obvious inline citation for that specific claim, though.)
    – user
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 14:23
  • Lots of computers reach 85 degrees. And you don't really need to know what you're doing either, there's plenty of tutorials and specialized part pickers who'll do most of the dangerous parts for 'ya.
    – Travis
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 18:58
  • The Pentium 4-M is well over a decade old and is based on mobile chips which are designed to run hotter. @Wyatt I'll cite buildcomputers.net/cpu-temperature.html as my reference for max temperatures. It compares several current brands and architectures.
    – Coomie
    Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 1:03

I'd like to point out that @Coomie 's answer has a point worth discussing:

  • Check that you've used (enough) thermal adhesive between the CPU and the heatsink/fan.

Stock coolers often come with too much silver paste for thermal adhesive. A german PC magazine had this funny test about alternative thermal adhesives. Although it was done humourously they conducted real tests.The winner was ketchup and if i remember correctly, 3 out of 5 tested substances scored better than silver paste. The test can be found in German language when searching for video "Pc Games in Gefahr Wärmeleitpaste".

The upside of silver paste is that it's more stable over time. Besides that it's a mediocre heat conductor and only useful to close the gap between CPU and heatsink. A friend of mine recently advised to do some high precision grinding/polishing (he has access to industrial metal working machines (as opposed to hendheld "tools")) to both the CPU and the cooler, but I can't comment on the results.


What damages the motherboard and chips are not the heat so much as change in temperature. Heating and cooling, heating and cooling, breaks down junctions within solid state components due to expansion and contraction. There is such a thing as "thermal runaway" however. As circuits heat up they conduct more which heats up more, etc., until the internals actually melt. It's OK if the machine gets hot, just not too hot. Insure it will shut down if it reaches whatever temperature.

The info URL you provided gives information that may not apply to your machine. The temperature sensor you have may not be accurate. You may be warmer or cooler than what the read out says.

What you might do is hold the fan with your hand, purposely allowing the temperature to run up and see if the machine keeps working OK. Watch the temperature indication rise a little further, then allow the fan to cool it back down. That will provide you a usable operating parameter. Just keep the indication below that from now on.

If you are going to run at high temperatures, do not turn it on and off all the time, but leave it turned on.

  • 1
    Thank you for that! I actually thought damage to the CPU was caused via the excessive use at high load/high temperatures.
    – Darren
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 7:40
  • 1
    @dmcdivitt do you have any references to cite these claims? In particular ...heating and cooling, breaks down junctions within solid state components due to expansion and contraction. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just asking if you have any references you can cite to provide more information about this.
    – MDMoore313
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 16:55
  • 1
    I've been in computers over 40 years and was certified as a customer engineer in the 80's. Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 19:03

Use tin snips to remove the rear exhaust grill.

This comes from Jeff Atwood - StackExchange founder


This worked for me a few years ago with older computers. It was a very hot summer and we had no AC. It got up to 35 C. The computers just stopped working.

We took off the side panels and stood normal ventilators on the floor to blow through the computers. It worked. I suppose it's an OK temporary solution, but of course the side panels are there for a reason, and a ventilator only blows in the one direction, so there would still have been hot spots.


Be aware that only having some case fans would not automatically guarantee a good air flow. Direction, m³/min and such things can vastly influence the effective airflow in a computer case. Also opening of a case can destroy a good airflow.

You can try to visualize your airflow using the smoke of a cigarette:

  1. Open the case if it has no window.
  2. Put transparent plastic foil instead of the opened side to be able to see the smoke.
  3. Hold the burning cigarette outside of one of the fans that blow air INTO the case

Examples of bad fan configuration would be:

  • All fans blowing into the case
  • All fans sucking air out of the case
  • Much more m³/min airflow into the case than outward

I have an ASUS Eee laptop that had heat problems -- one spot in particular kept getting really hot. So I installed a little chimney on that side. Once it started to get warm, the chimney would suck the hot air right out.

Of course, fans is a better option, but there was no way to install a fan inside this case.


Get some ice packs, and rotate them between the computer and your freezer. You will have to make sure condensation isn't getting into the computer, though.

  • 4
    That's just asking for problems.
    – Hobbes
    Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 11:06
  • Noooooooooooooo.
    – Stan
    Commented May 13, 2018 at 22:41
  • @Stan , Hobbes No explanation for what objections you have? Commented May 14, 2018 at 14:41
  • 1
    I have to agree with the down voters, this is a bad idea and WILL result in condensation. It's pretty much impossible in a home setting to not have condensation on very cold things meeting room temperature. Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 17:10

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