PC ComponentsCPU

What Temperature Is Good for an Idle CPU?

What Temperature Is Good For An Idle Cpu

We need to understand the CPU’s temperatures before discussing the best temperature an idle CPU should have. The CPU has a lot of transistors, and due to the workload on the CPU, sometimes it gets very hot during operation. If there’s no proper cooling, the CPU performs thermal throttling. This is the process by which a CPU overheating slows down itself. But if the heat is too much, the CPU may heat itself to death.

But note that when the CPU is not stressed with too much workload, the CPU is considered to be idling. So what temperature is best for an idle CPU?

Quick Answer

Normally, the range of temperature your CPU should have is below or around 40 degrees Celsius (or let’s say 20°C higher than ambient temperature). If you have higher values, you must urgently address some cooling issues. 

It is possible to get lower figures for the temperature by using something called liquid cooling. The climate you live in should be considered when using this method to achieve idle temperature (semi-ambient). The temperature surrounding the room of your PC is known as the ambient temperature. 

What Is CPU Idling?

The best case scenario for the temperature of your CPU and PC should be the idling range because no hard work is being done, and not much power is used. But in most cases, the CPUs temperature is not monitored, and sometimes it overheats during operation.  

How Do You Know the Idle Temperature of a CPU?

It’s best to pick software that can monitor the temperature; an example is SpeedFan. If you want to use this software, it’s a straightforward temperature monitoring software that is very light and does the work of a fan controller.

To know your CPU’s temperature, check your core temperatures to be sure everything is working fine, or you should be worried. If you observe that some cores are getting hotter than others (maybe 10 degrees more or higher), this may be a sign that the thermal paste is poorly-applied

How Can You Get a Better Idle CPU Temperature?

The cooling and case airflow are the first two things to check when you have high idle temperatures. But here are the things you need to do to get a better idle CPU temperature.

Positive and Negative Pressure Configuration for Airflow

It is a negative pressure configuration when your exhaust fans are more than intake fans (sometimes not using them). It’s advised you choose a negative pressure configuration if the chassis of your panel is front sealed

Suppose your chassis has an open front panel or a ventilated panel. In that case, you should use a positive pressure configuration (2 or more intake fans constantly outnumber 1 exhaust fan). 

Replace CPU Thermal Paste

The average shelf life of a thermal paste is below 5 years, and if it’s actively used, it doesn’t stay that long. If you have been using your PC for a while and your case’s airflow is fine, then consider replacing the thermal paste of your CPU. Replacing your thermal paste is crucial in maintaining your PC long-term. 

How Frequently Should Thermal Paste Be Replaced?

The first step of any CPU cooling process is thermal paste; when it expires, the thermal conductivity worsens.

Even if you frequently use your PC, replacing your thermal paste too often is not a good idea. But it’s okay if you replace your thermal paste at least once every two or three years, especially if you observe that the temperature of your CPU is higher than it’s supposed to be. 

How To Remove Dried Thermal Paste

Immediately you open your PC and remove your cooler, use some dabs of microfiber and isopropyl alcohol to clean the bottom of your CPU cooler of dried thermal paste and also clean the CPU. Ensure your PC is switched off and unplug it completely before removing the dried thermal paste. If after you have removed the dried thermal paste as it was described above and the situation doesn’t change, you need to upgrade the CPU. 


Ensure that the thermal paste application, CPU cooler, and case cooling are all up to par when handling temperatures of idle CPU.

How Many Fans Does Your PC Desktop Have?

You need to have at least three case fans (1 exhaust fan and 2 intake fans) for the airflow in your chassis not to suffer. If the case cooling is insufficient, it means the fans are either not enough, or they are not at the right places. If the intake fans of your PC are mounted to align with the GPU and CPU, then to help alleviate concerns about airflow, you should add an extra intake fan to the front case. 


The temperature of your CPU plays a large role in how fast or slow your PC works. In this article, you have seen how to know your CPU temperature and how to know if it’s idle. You have also been shown how to configure positive or negative pressure airflow. So always check your CPU temperature and make sure it’s not more than 40 degrees Celsius. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which temperature is the worst for your CPU?

CPUs are generally fine at temperatures up to around 80 to 90 degrees Celsius. But anything above this may cause overheating on your PC. Thermal throttling may be needed at this point to help prevent total damage, but it will reduce the performance of your PC. 

Can overclocking reduce the CPU’s lifespan?

You should not be overclocking when your CPU has very high temperatures. But your GPU or CPU won’t be damaged if it undergoes stable overclocking. 

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