Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

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.

share|improve this question
That seems high. Check your thermal paste. – user3463 Jun 20 '12 at 21:47
Can't find an official range, but seems a little high - make sure the heat sink is in good contact with the top of the CPU and has good quality thermal compound. A larger HSF may be warranted for using that CPU with 6 cores. Those CPUs do have thermal protection though, so short of ripping the heatsink off while running, you won't cause immediate damage, but obviously a cooler CPU is a longer lived CPU. – Stephanie Jun 20 '12 at 21:47
up vote 5 down vote accepted

this is the only thing I can find that references Phenom processors:

Pages 26 to 59 have the temp data - you'll just have to look at the coding on your processor to find out which one relates to your model.

share|improve this answer
AMD Phenom II 960T is either HD96ZTWFK4DGR or HD96ZTWFGRBOX. The data sheet is too old (September 2010) and does not appear to have this CPU listed. However, it does have other Thuban processors, which use the same core. For 1055T and 1090T, the Tcase Max is 55-62 deg C and Tctl Max is 70 deg C. – netvope Jun 21 '12 at 1:36
Well, this is about the closest I'll get to an official temp range. I may reapply the heatsink/fan and clean off all the thermal paste and start over. – osij2is Jun 21 '12 at 4:39

Well, I've got a Phenom II X6 1100T running on a little Asus M4A785-M, cooled by a Tuniq Tower 120. I see idle temps between 35-40C and load temps around 50C. I'm running all 6 cores open. I would most definitely say you are running hot, to the point where if it were my system, I would break it down start from the socket up again to make sure everything was right. The cooler appears to use stock mounts, so make sure it is moounted flush... it could be that you need to rotate the cooler 180 degrees to make it sit properly in the bracket.

This chart here at Panther Products puts your reading of 71-74C within the critical range for a Thuban Phenom II x6 processor. But they don't provide any links to where they got their information.

share|improve this answer
Yeah, I was expecting the 40C-55C range with all 6 cores. Thanks for the chart. It may not be "proper" official but it's something to unofficially refer to. – osij2is Jun 21 '12 at 4:43

Yes those are very workable temps. Would say they are not particularly good for being idle. What do the temps go up to under load? Those are very safe but i would want to bring them down because if they are at 70 when idle they will increase when under heavy stress.

  • Check your heatsink.
  • Reapply thermal paste if needed.
  • Give all the fans a good clean get dust out of them.
  • Make sure airflow in case is adequate.
share|improve this answer
Good idea for the thermal paste. The fan is brand new and airflow is pretty good. I'm leaning towards the thermal paste but it was pre-applied on the heatsink fan (which is usually adequate). I'll clean it up and reapply and see the temperature. – osij2is Jun 21 '12 at 4:40

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.