PC ComponentsCooling

How To Tell if CPU Is Overheating

Cpu Socket Connector

Are you experiencing lag problems in your PC, or is the computer shutting down unexpectedly? It might be due to CPU overheating! Imagine working for hours on a project, and by the time you wish to save the file, your PC is stuck or shut down suddenly— you might want to throw the computer on the wall, but you must diagnose the problem and solve it calmly. But the question is how to tell if the CPU is overheating and if heat buildup inside the unit is causing these issues? Here it is:

Quick Answer

You can tell if the CPU is overheating from various symptoms that will appear. For example, you might hear the excessive noise from the CPU fans, sluggishness in speed, the PC shutting down unexpectedly, glitches in the fans and cooling system, heat in your room, and overall poor performance. Overheating CPUs will not damage themselves, but the other components inside the unit due to heat buildup can cause harm. 

Some other components can cause heat to come out from the system, such as Graphics Card (GPU), which needs the proper heatsink. Thus, it is recommended to check which component is getting heated up and then move on to the solutions. 

In this article, we’ve listed some easy ways by which you can tell if the CPU is overheating and causing harm to the performance or not. Let’s get started.

Symptoms of CPU Overheating

Time and wear & tear factors can harm the PC’s ability to draw off extra heat and dissipate it to the surroundings. Moreover, if the incorporated cooling system is of poor quality, the heat buildup inside the PC unit can even raise your room’s temperature. Thus, it’s important to know if the CPU is overheating, and here’re some of the symptoms:

Symptom #1: CPU Fans Making Noise

One of the major symptoms of CPU overheating is that the fans will make excessive noise. The reason behind this is the CPU fans won’t run at full throttle all the time. The fans are designed to run at different speeds at different temperatures to save power and reduce the noise when needed. Therefore, the first symptom that can tell you if the CPU is overheating is how fast the CPU fans rotate. 

The noise that fans are creating can tell you about the RPM at which the wings rotate, or you can check by opening the system. Usually, when the CPU overheats, the fans rotate at full speed even when all the applications and programs are closed. 

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Symptom #2: Unexpected Shutdowns

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Another symptom that confirms the CPU overheating issues is the unexpected shutdowns and randomly stuck. Moreover, if your PC or computer has not crashed or shut down unexpectedly for months or years, the issue is at the beginning phase. But do you wonder about the connection between these unexpected shutdowns and CPU overheating? 

The CPUs are designed to immediately turn off the operating system if the temperature rises above the limit to save the components inside the unit. However, it is also said that this is the CPU’s last approach to saving the chips, boards, and wires from melting. 

The minimum temperature that most the CPUs can bear is often 90-degrees Celsius, and anything above can cause harm to the wires and chips. If the computer or PC shuts down unexpectedly, you shouldn’t turn it ON again immediately but wait for it to cool down. If the PC shuts down due to CPU overheating, there’s a possibility that it has already caused any permanent damage to the system.

Symptom #3: Processing Errors 

Process errors and glitches during the task execution are other symptoms of CPU overheating. When the CPU is overheated, it will start functioning abnormally, and you’ll receive errors and glitches during any program execution and while performing tasks. 

Symptom #4: Overall Poor Performance

The machine’s wear and tear indicate that the system is being overheated and quickly losing a life. The PC or computer will not be able to perform tasks that it was doing perfectly a few days ago. Additionally, there is a possibility that the games and programs might load slower than usual. All these situations are proof that the CPU is throttling. 

Now, you might be unaware of the term “CPU Throttle,” but it is when the processor and other components become overheated, the system will restrain the CPU from functioning at its full capacity to reduce the power consumption and heat production— and that’s where the overall performance of a PC is reduced. 

Want to check if the CPU is throttling at a certain point? Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the Task Manager on your PC and go to the “Performance” tab.
    You can open the Task Manager by pressing “Ctrl+Alt+Del”.
  2. Now, open any CPU-intensive application, such as video editing software, and check if the CPU activity touches 100%. You can also check the peaks of the graphs— if there’re several sharp peaks in the next few seconds, the CPU is getting overheated. 
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How to Troubleshoot an Overheated CPU

If the CPU is overheated and your PC is shutting down frequently, it’s time to troubleshoot the problem before any further harm. Here’re some tips and tricks to troubleshoot the CPU overheat problem. 

  • Make sure that the thermal heat insulation of your PC is in place and is compatible with the system that you’re using. 
  • The CPU heatsink must be covered with any protective layer or TIM. 
  • Ensure that the cooling fans work properly and rotate at their full RPM to dissipate heat.
  • Check for the air ventilation (either at the side or the back of the system) to let the heat come out. 
  • If you’ve installed the liquid cooling system, ensure that the system is working efficiently and that there is sufficient thermal interface material (TIM) on the processor. 

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