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I am using a core i5 4690k, and I decided it was overclocking time. But, because I don’t have the best cooler in the world, and I have a SFF case, I decided to ramp up the turbo boost frequency so that it won’t run overclocked all the time.

Unfortunately this has led to some problems. I am unsure if it was doing this before I turned up the turbo boost, or if my cooler was just able to handle it, but I started to see notifications from psensor that my CPU temperature was going above 70°C.

I looked at i7z and lscpu, and both seemed to be telling me that my cpu was turboing to 4.1GHz (I set the turbo frequencies to 4.2 for 1 core, 4.1 for 2 cores, etc.) indicating that my CPU was under heavy load. Contrary to this, no applications were running, and the system monitor only stated a use of 0-4% on each core. After more investigating, it seems to run at 4.1GHz the vast majority of the time, while occasionally jumping down to lower frequencies then slowly ramping up again.

Now my question is: Did I do a bad thing by increasing the max turbo speed? is this caused by another setting in the BIOS, like the ones that tell the CPU to slow down when idling? Did my CPU get offended by the notion that it wasn’t good enough for me the way it was?

  • If your CPU temperature is reaching above 70'c at idle, you have a broken cooler or it isn't idle. What clockspeed it's at when idling makes very little difference, it generates no heat while idling either way. – qasdfdsaq Sep 3 '15 at 15:30
  • It isn't idling, but it shouldn't be engaging turbo boost all the time. It idles at about 45-50*C in a warm room. I use a Zalman cnps8900q cooler, so it should be fine. It should be at 3.5GHz instead of 4.1, which is generating more heat. In fact, it should be decreasing it's clock speed because it has no work to do. – Ben Sep 3 '15 at 15:41
  • If it has no work to do, it is idling. The clockspeed is controlled by your OS (within BIOS/CPU preset limits). – qasdfdsaq Sep 3 '15 at 15:43
  • Try doing grep . /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/* to see what the available CPU speeds being reported to the OS are. – qasdfdsaq Sep 3 '15 at 15:48
  • So Mint is telling my CPU to turbo? How do I fix this? Is there a command I can run to set the clock speed manually? If that is the case I could write a script that sets the clock speed based on CPU usage. – Ben Sep 3 '15 at 15:48
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According to qasdfdsaq (thanks dude!) a processor won't heat up if it isn't under load, regardless of the clock speed. And, even if it is running hot, its life span would only decrease if it was some insane temperature, like 110°C, at which point the motherboard would trigger an automatic shutdown. Because of this, Intel CPUs will turbo as long as they are within thermal, power, etc. limits.

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