How to Measure a Computer's Internal Temperature

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All computer components run hotter than room temperature. This is a fact of life. The cooler your computer runs, the faster it will be able to work. To mitigate the heat produced by computer internals, sophisticated cooling technologies, including fans, heat sinks and liquid cooling systems are necessary. For people who don't overclock their hardware, monitoring temperatures is an academic exercise. If your computer is showing signs of heat problems, however, such as frequent shutdowns, errors, glitches or lag, check the temperature to make sure it isn't running too hot. The components most likely to overheat are CPUs and graphics cards, though any component can experience heat problems.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Temperature monitoring software
  • Infrared thermometer
  • Case with internal temperature monitors
  • Enter BIOS setup at start-up. To do this, restart your computer. On the splash screen, you'll see something like "Press F8 to enter start-up." The specific key to enter startup will vary depending on your system. It will most likely be an F key or "Delete." There should be a tab for "Hardware Monitoring" or "Health" that will display internal temperatures for key components, usually motherboard and CPU. BIOS is a very low-resource program so temperature readings in BIOS will be lower than they would be when running a high-demand program such as a video game or editing software.

  • Use the temperature monitoring software provided by your device manufacturer. Hardware manufacturers such as Asus and EVGA provide temperature monitoring software. It is usually available on the driver disk that came with the hardware or on their website for the specific device you purchased. These programs often also allow you to control fan speeds.

  • Buy a case with temperature monitors and external temperature displays. Some computer cases come equipped with their own thermometers and a display that allows you to see the internal temperature of your computer. These temperature ratings are usually for an ambient temperature and not the temperature of specific pieces of hardware.

  • Use an infrared thermometer to gauge the temperature of different hardware elements. Remove the side of your case and point the infrared thermometer at the hardware you want to monitor, such as the graphics card.

Tips & Warnings

  • Modern computer components are built to withstand very high and low temperatures. Some graphics cards are rated up to 120 degrees Celsius (248 degrees Fahrenheit). But actually running your card at that temperature for any length of time will drastically shorten its lifespan. In general, cooler is always better.
  • Temperature monitoring software will work only if your system has integrated temperature sensors. Most modern computers do.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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