Protecting Your PC Against Overheating

For your computer to work correctly, you need to use a CPU cooler that is adequate to the CPU that you have and also apply thermal grease correctly. We have already explored these subjects in our How to Correctly Apply Thermal Grease and How to Correctly Assemble PCs With Pentium 4 Prescott and we recommend that you read them both (the second one only if you have a Pentium 4 Prescott or a Pentium D).

There is a way to protect your PC from overheating through the motherboard setup.

On the motherboard setup you will find one or two options to deal with CPU overheating. You can configure your PC to play an alarm (which sounds like a fire truck; “CPU Warning Temperature” option, see Figure 2) or to shutdown (“CPU Shutdown Temperature” option) whenever the CPU reaches a certain temperature.

If you are going to use these options, be careful to not configure them with a value that is too low, otherwise the PC will make a siren noise or will shutdown even with the computer working inside its normal temperatures. We recommend you to measure your CPU temperature while running a “heavy” program (games, for example) and make the desirable configuration with a value above from the one measured.

Thru this same setup menu you can monitor PC fans, especially the fan from the CPU cooler. You can also configure an alarm to play whenever the fan stops working or to increase the CPU fan according to the CPU temperature. Since the faster the fan spins the more noise it makes, there are users that prefer to configure the CPU fan to rotate at a lower speed if the CPU temperature is working under an acceptable temperature level, making the fan to spin at its full speed only when the CPU is generating more heat, what usually happens when the user is running a “heavy” application, like games.

The number of options present on the motherboard setup varies according to the motherboard model.

What is the maximum temperature your CPU support? Instead of making you looking for and downloading your CPU datasheet, we compiled a series of tables containing the maximum temperatures for the main CPUs present on the market today.


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.