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Your Computer is Melting, or is it?

Safe Operating Temperatures for Computer Components

Steve Smith talks about safe operating temperatures for your computer components.

Episode #7-21 released on January 21, 2017

Recently, I was asked, what is a safe operating temperature for a computer. My answer was easily bound to it depends on the components you have installed in your computer. I will clarify the answer with possible ranges, and of course, more details to help you determine your best operating temperature for yourself.

We'll start with components we all have in our computers.

First, the CPU, the safe maximum operating temperature for most CPUs is 75C. Anything below is considered safe. Any good aftermarket CPU fan will keep you well below this, unless you are overclocking.

Secondly, RAM, per some sources, the max safe operating temperature is roughly 85C.

Third, CPU VRM, the voltage regulator modules on mainboards can have a safe operating temperate of anywhere from 75C to 110C. Please consult your manual or manufacture web-site for specific range for your own CPU VRM safe temperature.

Fourth, hard drives, if possible, keep the temperature of your hard drive at 45C or lower. Staying at ambient room temperature is best. This explains why most hard drive cages are usually positioned at the front intake of a computer chassis. Some manufactures accept higher temperatures for safe operation.

Fifth, mainboards, for the most part, all other components on the mainboard will experience safe temperatures at anything from ambient room temperature to anything below 60C.

Sixth, SSDs, safe operating temperature is 44C or under, in most cases, refer to manual or manufacture web-site for specific temperatures in your case. This is based on the Samsung Evo drives that Google Research has examined. Some manufactures claim safe temperatures of up to 70C, before thermal throttling occurs, in this case, Intel drives.

Seventh, the power supplies safe operating temperature is between 85C and 110C, with most 80Plus PSUs being well under that temperature range, especially at idle.

Eighth, your graphics card, operating temperatures will vary widely in this area, meaning you should check your manufactures specifications, however, if you are operating at a temperature on load at or below 85C, you should be fine. Also, consider that GPUs have better fans which will ramp up in speed, and now thermal throttle when the temperature is too high. If your graphics cards are thermal throttling too frequently, consider lowering the quality of the graphics in your game settings, or getting more ventilation for them.

And, your chassis, your computer chassis is immune to most temperature ranges. If the temperature is not high enough to melt parts of the chassis, or the inner components, you are fine. The internal temperature of your chassis should be close to ambient temperature, the lower the temperature in the room, and by extension, the chassis, the cooler the inner components will be.

Finally, if the part has a heat sink, like your CPU, you need thermal paste. Operating temperatures for parts is only a part of the equation, the ability to dissipate the excess heat is another. No one constantly looks at their temperatures, and software that does can have some degree of error in them, especially dynamic ones as I have seen. Having thermal paste, where needed, is essential to the dissipation of heat from various parts. Therefore, GPU chips have thermal paste between the chip and heatsink, why your CPU fan has pre-applied thermal paste for the first install of the CPU cooler, and why all other components on your mainboard, with a heat sink, have thermal paste. End of story.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Dot Net