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Ever Wonder What Temperature Your CPU is Running At?

There are two groups of users worried about the temperature of their computer: overclockers… and pretty much anybody with a powerful laptop. Those things just cook you! So have you ever wondered exactly what temperature your CPU is running at?

There’s a couple of applications that you can use to monitor the temperature. The one I prefer is Core Temp, just because it’s incredibly lightweight, but if you want some power information you can use Speed Fan instead.

Using Core Temp

After downloading and running the application, it will minimize to your system tray:

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The dialog view gives you a little more information, including the CPU model, etc.

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If you’d like the app to start minimized every time, go to Options \ Settings:

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You can make the application start minimized by checking the “Start minimized” box.

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I’d recommend that you change the read interval from the default of 1000 to the max of 9999. Otherwise the numbers will just blink like crazy in the tray and drive you nuts.

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The System Tray Settings dialog will let you change from one icon per core to a single icon.

Using Speed Fan (Advanced Users)

If you want to see more information, you can use an application called SpeedFan that even lets you control the CPU fan. This application should only be used by more advanced users, since you have to enter information about your motherboard and chipset.

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Note that I grabbed these screenshots off the SpeedFan website since the laptop I’m writing this on doesn’t seem fully supported.

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I do know that this application works, having used it in the past. I’ll write up more about this in a future article, but felt it was important to mention here.

Reducing Temperature

There’s a couple of things you can do once your laptop is seriously overheating.

  • Turn it off, go read a book. It’s been years since you opened one.
  • Open up task manager and figure out which processes are killing your CPU, then stop them.
  • Make sure that you aren’t blocking any of the vents on your computer. There are usually vents on the bottom or side of the laptop.
  • Making the fan run faster should help the computer stay cooler. If SpeedFan doesn’t work for you, your motherboard manufacturer might also include some utilities to tweak the fan speeds.

Got any other ideas for reducing temperature on your computer?

Download SpeedFan from almico.com (advanced users only)

Download Core Temp from alcpu.com

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/2/08

Comments (20)

  1. Mike

    I use Notebook Hardware Control (NHC) from http://www.pbus-167.com/
    It’s not been updated for a while, but its very good.

  2. Aarohan

    When i open the program it gives an error – Tis is not an Intel “Core” Architecture based processor. The program will now shut down.

    I have a Compaq Presario Laptop – Intel Celeron 1.40 Ghz

  3. dk

    Check CoreTemp’s website for supported CPU’s. CoreTemp will generally only support the newer CPUs.

    I suggest speedfan for the older CPUs.

  4. The Geek

    @dk

    That’s a good summary, you are definitely right.

  5. Jamal

    Hi All,

    I have Dell XPS M1530 core2 duo , T7500 , 2.2 Ghz and running windows vista

    downloaded both programs and had them running at same time
    coretemp ; very simple and to the point. temperatures range from 45-55 C since installation
    speedfan : like mentioned above it is for more advanced users
    temperatures run about 20-25 C below that of coretemp ( not sure why ) again running at same time.
    confiugration temp, fan, voltage, … etc. have no readings at all

    just my 2cents

    Great website keep it up

  6. Mike

    Hey Geek, where do you get the Mario Brothers game?

  7. The Geek

    @Mike

    I got the wallpaper from here: http://desktopgaming.com/

  8. Jon

    It is worth noting that Coretemp will not work on Vista 64 because Microsoft decided that it (Vista 64) shouldn’t run any unsigned drivers. There is a workaround though which is detailed on the Coretemp website.

  9. Ronin Vladiamhe

    Though these applications appear to run in real time, can any of them run from a CD/flash drive as a repair tool? Would make a great addition to the tech tools on the flash drive of many techies out there.

  10. Jon

    Coretemp will run off a flash drive but would require Windows to be running, you couldn’t just boot from it.
    If you want to measure your temps and Windows isn’t working most BIOSs have values for CPU and motherboard temps.

  11. Dave

    Why do these applications only show the temperature in Centigrade and not let the user choose Farenheit as an option?

  12. Jamal

    Dave,
    you can convert to Fahrenheit by double clicking the temperature in the system tray, then select options then settings and check the box that says ” show temps in Fahrenheit ” and this is for the coretemp 0.96.1 not sure about the other applications.

  13. David

    Just to update things; current versions of CoreTemp work just fine on x64.

  14. The Geek

    @David

    You are right, CoreTemp does work perfectly on x64 for me.

  15. JonT

    Thanks for the great article. I’ve also noticed a couple of other temp. monitors mentioned above. I am using NHC or Notebook Hardware Control and it has a couple good functions used to optimize your notebook. not really optimize the speed I guess but to change battery settings to conserve power and such. If you want a temp. monitor with extreme simplicity. Try HWMonitor. It does not install and all it does is display the CPU temp. and HDD temp. in a window. It may display more temperatures if it can read them. I’m not sure. Anyway hope this helps and again, great article.

  16. drgonzoo

    very nice things, but i would like to know at which temp i need to run for a fire extinguisher :-)

  17. Dennis

    I think that’s it……the vent on the side of my comp was covered with dust and my comp was freezing more and more. Hope it’s a solution.
    Regards.

  18. richard

    I have noticed that with core temp it does not give the temp that is on the bios for the cpu it seems to give one for the motherboard

  19. GBot

    +1 for CoreTemp. Great lightweight app that works flawlessly on my Vista x64 rig. Wish it would start with Windows without being initially “blocked” though.

  20. Jimz Zamora

    NEED HELP
    I have an HP Compaq Presario Laptop with an Operating System Windows Vista Basic (32-bit) and my computer’s fan is running strange. Even if I’m only using few of my computer’s memory and CPU usage, still, the fan is running fast and I can feel the heat on my Laptop’s bottom part. Is there any software that suits for checking my PC. Thank you very much for the time!

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