What is "CPU heating"?
Modern components, and especially the processor, generate considerable amounts of heat - typically 50-60W or more. Power consumption and heat dissipation of an modern CPUs are greatly intensified, so the chip temperature rising up - provoking unstable functioning of the entire system. Random system crashes are natural consequences of the overheating. CPU performance also drops down as well as its heat dissipation, although the mainboard and internal clock-rate generator will keep producing the same clock (for example 3200MHz). Intel claims the resulting frequency can be as low as 30-50% of the nominal, depending on the CPU model.
The temperature of your system can be reduced during idle time by using a software utility such as CpuCOLD. Note that such approaches make no difference to the system temperature when under heavy load (100%), but will extend component life if your computer is frequently left on but idle.
* Average CPU load of an typical PC desktop is below 5%, which means that more than 95% of the time is wasted and turned into the heat!
What is a normal temperature of an modern INTEL/AMD processor?
The temperature of your CPU usually depends upon its speed, voltage, fan, the movement of air through your case and the ambient air temperature. However, a typical CPU temperature as measured by the processor is a 35-55 degrees. The case temperature should be approximately 5-10 degrees above room temperature (or less). You should begin to think about improved cooling if your CPU temperature is 55 degrees Celsius or higher. Maximal temperature depends on CPU manufacturer (usually 60-100 degrees).
Why is my CPU temperature reported hotter in the BIOS/DOS than with my hardware monitor program under Windows/Linux?
Under Windows/Linux support for Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) is provided. One feature of ACPI is the ability to cool the processor in software, by issuing HLT commands during periods of inactivity. As a consequence, the CPU may run at about 30 deg C during idle, but then rise to 45 deg C during load. When the temperature is viewed using the Hardware Monitor screen of the BIOS, ACPI is not running, and hence no software cooling is employed.
Why is my CPU running so hot?
If your CPU temperature is over 70 degrees C you have a cooling problem and should switch your machine off immediately until you have identified why. By far the most common cause of this is the improper heatsink installation (or dead fan).
* Note that disabling ACPI can cause the CPU temperature to increase, as this disables the software CPU cooling functionality of ACPI!