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I'm curious about a couple things concerning thermal integrity of a CPU(Intel, AMD, etc) and where the monitoring occurs. Do all CPU's have a thermal sensor or is the sensor located outside the CPU on the board? How are they made compatible with motherboard manufactures? Are these standardized?

Really I'm just sort of ignorant(as question shows) and I'm trying to gain an understanding. I watched a episode of Tekzilla where Patrick mentioned(to a cooling question) that the CPU wouldn't overheat because it would automatically shut down as if it was preset too shut down and I thought this was just something that manufacture programmed the bios to do.

I'm kind of confused and guess I don't know what I thought I did.


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Virtually all CPU's produced this side of the millennium have heat sensors. They are standardized and tend to work well enough that no one really thinks about how they get their information across except hardware manufacturers.

The temperature is monitored in the BIOS, which usually has a setting to control the warning temperature and the shutdown temperature. In the event that this fails and the temperature gets too high, most newer CPU's also have a hardware failsafe called #THERMTRIP, which will initiate an emergency shutdown.


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Thank you this is exactly what I needed to know – kris Jun 6 '13 at 23:14
@kris If this is "exactly what [you] needed to know", you should accept this answer (click the check mark below the downvote arrow). – Paul A. Clayton Jun 9 '13 at 23:52


There are no sensors on most of the older Dell's including your 8200. You would have to use an external monitor with a probe. This used to come up when the 8200's were relatively new and back then the reference was to a Thermatake (brand) external display and sensor probe.

So if I trust the answer on this Dell forum, not all CPUs have a thermal sensor. And going back to the 90s and 80s, I'm pretty sure that we can say "no".

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More recent CPUs do have sensors. This allows Turboboost (which exploits thermal headroom to improve performance by increasing frequency) as well as avoiding damage from failures in the cooling mechanism. ISTR that this started around the time of the Pentium4--which had significant thermal challenges. – Paul A. Clayton Jun 5 '13 at 12:38
Yeah, that answer is flat-out wrong. All P4s have built-in temperature sensors, as did the P3s before them (not sure when it started exactly, probably about the time ACPI became standard in the late 90s). – Stu Jun 5 '13 at 15:28

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