What Should Be Ideal CPU and GPU Temperatures?

While working in computer technology field, most of us care about the life span of our investments made on hardware units like CPU and GPU. If everything is okay and working in their ideal temperature then these hardware units must last long and even longer than what is promised.

So what should be ideal CPU and GPU temperature of a system?

Experts say lower temperature is always good for long run. But for little higher temperature is fine for shorter span of time. Consumer CPUs and GPUs are designed to perform all kind of tasks thus it limits the single task to be run on fire like load.

Since CPU and GPU both has different tasks the ideal temperate is little different for both. Lets consider one at a time.

CPU: 45 to 50 Degree Celsius


CPU handles all the tasks and it deserves to be more cooler to be efficient.

The the ideal temperate for any CPU should be between 45 to 50 Degree Celsius and we should consider 60 Degree Celsius as the absolute maximum for a long run.

GPU: 35 to 60 Degree Celsius


GPU handles all the graphics calculation and it generates more heat than CPU. That is why many of system (like Gaming Desktop or Laptops, Server Grade Units) has dedicated GPU unit.

The the ideal temperate for any GPU should be between 35 to 50 Degree Celsius; while Gaming 60 Degree Celsius and we should consider 80 to 85 Degree Celsius as the absolute maximum for a long run with very intensive work load.

We should consider dedicated GPU in case of any graphical work, it helps CPU to work less which results in less heat and CPU can utilize its processing power somewhere else.

If your work is very limited to just watching high definition videos, work on office programs or even low level image work; don’t opt for a GPU. Why? because new CPUs are powerful enough to handle all the low level graphics work easily, but in return your system may get hot but that is okay.

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  • Thanks for sharing this valuable information. However I have a doubt on the temperature of my MacBook Pro’s CPU. While exporting clips or watching 4k videos on YouTube makes this gadget burning hot. I once contacted Apple support once; but they said it is normal for such a portable device. Please explain on this issue as you said anything above 60 degree celsius isn’t normal.

    • This article is dedicated for Desktop users primarily. However some modern laptops and ultrabooks are designed differently and their CPUs or GPUs are capable of running under burning hot environments but with limited clock speed. I also use MacBook Pro 2016 model and I am facing similar issues while doing intensive tasks. Such new designs have limited scope for heat sinks or heat spreaders which cools the CPU and GPU and they leverage heat for better portability.

      I would recommend to use your MacBook Pro on flat surface while doing intensive tasks, as there is only limited space for air intake / outflow which may easily get covered while using it on lap.

      • Thanks for the reply Atul, this is helpful.

        I can understand how such a powerful machine is adjusted to smallest form factor. From now I will follow your suggestion of using it on flat table while doing heavy work as I always use my MacBook Pro on lap and I noticed today that this machine has only 2 windows to breath and I always shut that off while using it on lap.