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Specs:

  • OS: Windows 10 (64-bit)
  • CPU: Intel i7 960 (Bloomfield)
  • Board: ASUS P6X58D-E
  • CPU Cooling: Stock

Problem:

I've noticed an increase in my CPU heat within the last couple of days (wasn't paying much attention to it before this). While playing WoW and streaming the gameplay, my CPU was hitting between 95C-97C. Thinking about how freakishly hot this was (in my experience), I shut everything down, opened her up, got my can of air out, and got rid of all dust I could see. Started her up, things were a bit cooler (85C-92C). I then went through the process of re-applying thermal paste (first time since I assembled this back in 2010). I loaded her up again, and this brought it down to 70C idle and 81C load.

Question:

Seeing that this is still fairly high (in my opinion, feel free to correct me), would I be better of investing in a liquid cooler of some sort (AIO, custom loop) or higher quality air cooler to cool this, or would I be better off waiting until I had the funds (doable soon, end of Q4'15/Q1'16) to purchase a new CPU and Board.

Notes:

  • CPU runs at 44C in BIOS
  • 3 fans in the case; CPU fan runs at about 1800 RPM, exhaust fan runs at about 900RPM, intake fan runs at about 800RPM

closed as primarily opinion-based by DavidPostill, fixer1234, Sathyajith Bhat Oct 4 '15 at 3:27

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • I think 70 is around the maximum safe temperature and it's still extremely high for and idle state. Are you overclocking? Did you increase the voltage? How is the overall temperature inside your case? Do you not have a GPU? – Spokey Sep 28 '15 at 8:56
  • Have you made sure all the fans are working? It is not normal for a CPU to just randomly increase in temperature without some sort of even to cause it. – Ramhound Sep 28 '15 at 10:56
  • @Spokey I'm not overclocking with this CPU. I had trouble even getting a 100MHz OC when I first assembled it, so i decided to scrap the idea. I don't have any temp sensors for inside the case, but Speccy tells me at idle that my board is 33C, and drives are 21C, 27C, 26C. I have a GTX 970 FTW, which idles at 31C. – Zymus Sep 28 '15 at 16:21
  • @Ramhound I have verified that all fans are working. I can't verify the RPM on them, but they seem to be running at the same speed they always have been. I have one input on the front, one exhaust on the back. Again, I don't think something has caused it to suddenly increase. I think it's been steadily increasing for a while, but I haven't noticed it until recently. – Zymus Sep 28 '15 at 16:23
  • I'm assuming the heatsink fan is also working? It seems to be more related to the heatsink now. Do you have any BIOS settings regarding cpu fan speed? Try something like fan speed and read the rpm – Spokey Sep 28 '15 at 16:36
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If the heatsink and fan and thermal paste and case ventilation are all fine and haven't changed, and it was fine in the past, they maybe this is the normal operating temperature for your CPU. 70C idle is crazy high, but more normal if something is keeping it busy. Can you check the CPU temp from the BIOS without starting the OS? Is it still high?

In the bios again, is there any weird going on with the voltage? Weird voltage going to the CPU or CPU fan? Does it show the CPU fan speed? Maybe it's not spinning fast enough. I've seen that before.

If it was running above the max, the CPU should have throttled and eventually shut down, unless it is ancient. Did that happen?

Have you looked up the CPU specs from the manufacturer? What's your max temp?

For example, I have a Q6600 that can go up to 71C: http://ark.intel.com/products/29765/Intel-Core2-Quad-Processor-Q6600-8M-Cache-2_40-GHz-1066-MHz-FSB

  • This is an i7-960. It was release in Q4'09, and I bought it fairly soon after it hit the market. The max temp it lists is 67.9C ark.intel.com/products/37151/…. I'll check if there's anything in the BIOS I can mess with, but I don't believe so. – Zymus Oct 3 '15 at 1:37
  • CPU runs at 44C in BIOS, and I've updated the OP with the RPM of the fans. – Zymus Oct 3 '15 at 1:54
  • I forgot to mention, if there is anything wrong with your PSU, strange things can happen even if the PC is working. – Ryan Babchishin Oct 3 '15 at 2:40
  • My CPU fan speed is about 3350 under load. Yours seems low. Do you have auto speed control enabled? Try to disable it so it's at full speed all the time to see what happens. – Ryan Babchishin Oct 3 '15 at 2:45
  • My BIOS doesn't allow me to set the speed of it. Well, it kind of does. It will give a near-real-time meter of the RPMs, but when I select it, it gives me the options Disabled or XXXXRPM, and if I close the window and open it again, it's a different number. So it looks like it may just be max speed all of the time. Auto speed control was turned off. – Zymus Oct 3 '15 at 2:57

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