I have an AMD Phenom II 960T with 2 cores unlocked for a total of 6 cores. I don't overclock at all. I have a Arctic Cooling ACALP64 Heatsink/Fan installed. I'm currently running ESXi 5.0 so I have to go into the BIOS to read the CPU temperatures, which at idle seem to be in the 71-74C range. To me, this is pretty high, but I cannot find any official temperature ranges that AMD says the CPU can work well within.
There seems to be a lot of questions on superuser and numerous forums around CPU temperatures but no one seems to have a clear consensus as to what the manufacturer temperature ranges are for specific CPUs. I've tried searching through AMDs site to no avail.
At this point, I'd be willing to shut off the 2 extra cores if it keeps the heat down but until I get some sort of tolerance or range for temperature, I have no idea if the CPU is being damaged or not. Can anyone point to a direct source, article, FAQ from AMD that specifically states their CPUs temperature range? Or are CPU temperature ranges so varying that there's no possible baseline? Am I being too paranoid about this? To me, anything over 65C is a bit much and if I'm in the low-mid 70s range with NO VMs running, what can I expect if I have several VMs running?
I tried cleaning off the thermal paste and re-installed the heatsink/fan. The temperature went down to 64C. I wasn't thrilled with that result so I cleaned off the CPU again and used the AMD supplied HSF that came with the CPU and now the temperature is down to 48C. It's not great but it's much better than the 71-74C range from before. I'm not sure what I've learned from this. I guess the ACALP64 is either easy to screw up installing, but I'm not sure how. Maybe it's just a crappy HSF.
I don't put a lot of thermal paste on the CPU. I usually scrape a ton of it off and get a nice thin layer on but this is the first real problem I've ever had with CPU temps and a heatsink/fan.