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I have a Dual core processor that get hot while multitasking and using some 'heavy' softwares. How keep it cool without adding additional cooling hardware?

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you could wipe the existing paste off with 99% IPA and a lint free cloth, and use Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste. i've heard that changing to a good paste like that can reduce the temp by a few degrees. But perhaps people may cool a CPU to 35 degrees when it can run ok at 50 degrees. I've had 2 P4s, one that ran at 35, one at about 47-50. Both were fine. So it may not matter so much. Depends on what temp the CPU is meant to run at. –  barlop Nov 9 '10 at 17:59

2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted
  1. Keep it clean. Clean dust off computer parts. Compressed air works great for this.

  2. Good airflow. Make sure your computer has good airflow around the case. Don't pile up stuff around your computer and make sure all air inlets and outlets are free and clear.

  3. Cable management. If your computer has a lot of various cable jammed in it running all over the place, you might take a few minutes and try and clean up the cable organization.

  4. Thermal Paste. If the machine is older and the CPU thermal paste is dirty/dry, it may be worth your efforts to pull the heatsink off the processor and re apply some thermal paste. Make sure to clean off all old thermal paste before applying the new. Not sure if you didn't mind spending a few bucks, but Ryan (in comments) brought up this cheap option.

Does the computer have existing fans in it that can be moved around to better locations? If so, you might be able to figure out a better cooling layout. Are all your current fans currently running ok? Beyond that, it is replacing or adding extra cooling hardware if you want to cool further.

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+1 for good answer. You could also try to underclock the processor, but if you're doing major multitasking and 'heavy' software use that might be counterproductive. ;) –  Shinrai Nov 9 '10 at 17:20
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You mean undervolt. Reducing the clocks wouldn't really reduce the temperature. You may have to reduce the clocks are undervolting to remain stable, but not always. –  Alex Nov 9 '10 at 17:29
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I would add 4. Use good thermal compound to this. A little dab of arctic silver can have noticeable effects over computers that were built with those thermal pads stuck to the heatsink. –  Ryan Gooler Nov 9 '10 at 17:43
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Another easy way to keep your CPU temp down is to reduce the ambient air temperature. Turn your close the heater vents in the room where your computer is located in the Winter and turn the AC up in the Summer. –  ubiquibacon Nov 9 '10 at 17:54
    
does overclocking produce more heat? they say overclocking shortens the life.. On a different note.. There are some apps that send HALT commands to the CPU, but maybe they are more for older CPUs. –  barlop Nov 9 '10 at 17:56

One word: Undervolting

Undervolting reduces the power consumed by the processor by lowering its input voltage to a lower than factory level. Less power = less temperature.

Undervolting does not decrease performance and is completely safe as lowering the voltage cannot harm your hardware. It even increases your battery life, as less power is drained from the battery.

Here is a great guide: http://forum.notebookreview.com/hardware-components-aftermarket-upgrades/235824-undervolting-guide.html

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interesting... the opposite of overclocking. –  KronoS Nov 9 '10 at 17:55
    
Is it for desktop computers? –  LifeH2O Dec 21 '10 at 8:58
    
Yes. There are many guides around the internet and even software which can do it, even though the process of finding the right voltage is not automatic. –  molgar Dec 22 '10 at 9:13

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