Up For Debate – How hot should your CPU and GPU run while gaming?


We all talk about this quite a lot, but the answer is not always obvious. When you build a new PC, get all the bits in the right place, string up your wires and pop in your lovely shiny GPU and CPUs, then flick that ON switch, you hold your breath. Will the PC fry itself for some reason? 

Phew it didnt. Well our next question is normally…

What temperature is the new computer’s CPU and GPU idling at and what is considered a normal idle temperature for a processor or graphics card?

The answers to this are numerous and influenced by a myriad of variables from your general geographic climate all the way through to have you got water cooling or aftermarket air cooling solutions or perhaps you are using a manufacturer is your hardware from? Is it an AMD or intel CPU or perhaps AMD or Nvidia, in the case of graphics card temperatures.

Another thing we should talk about is, what do you use to gauge the temperatures of the processor and GPU? How are you tracking those temperatures, is it directly from the mobo or Is it a third party temperature monitoring system that you have installed yourself?

We know that the CPU and GPU work at their best when they are not reaching their TJMax, so it is up to us gamers to work out how to lower these temperatures. The other thing to consider is, how much should we care about overheating and how long/how much money should we spend trying to lower these temperatures? Because do they really matter?

Another thing to think about is, if you can get your CPU running cool you could consider overclocking, which is basically you boosting your clock speeds to gain a performance increase over your stock hardware. But if you do overclock the CPU it has an increased temperature and potentially decrease the lifespan of your PC component. The same goes for the graphics card, if you want to overclock it then it might very well cause it to stop working before its normal life expectancy.

Now with all these things to think about, what do we all think is a suitable CPU temp and what do we reckon is a good GPU temperature when just using your PC desktop and perhaps more importantly, whats an acceptable PC hardware temp when you have a demanding game like Red Dead 2 running for a few hours?

Now then laptop hardware will also experience completely different levels of hardware temperatures and its actually this temperature issue that is the cause of a lot of under-performing mobile notebook gaming hardware. So its certainly something to look into before buying a new notebook with a lovely sounding GPU nestled in its slender casing. Because if it runs too hot it might quickly become a pointless bit of hardware after a 20 min intense gaming session.

So its quite a broad question but lets get the comments section going below, where we can all discuss our experiences with GPU and CPU temperatures and what a modern gamer might expect to be reasonable or acceptable for their PC?

Please also share your methods and tools you use to keep down your hardware temperatures and get in and cast your vote on the polls below. It might be that the polls provide too ambiguous an answer because of all the variables mentioned above, but lets see how it goes as a rough guide and then chat about your thoughts on this below.

Our Favorite Comments


“Those chips won’t die from heat alone before the upgrade cycle, even if that cycle is 5+ years later, so who cares… I let mine fry :D”

xquatrox –