8 Tips How To Lower Your CPU Temperature

You have found your way here because you’ve asked the same question thousands of other readers have also asked us here at PerformancePSU;

How do I lower my CPU temperature?

It is true that many overclockers, PC enthusiasts and PC gamers notice when monitoring CPU temperatures that high temperatures that can sometimes throttle their CPU, reducing its performance when it matters most.

During this short guide, we are going to explore 8 different ways you can reduce your CPU temperature and increase your computer’s cooling efficiency.

8 Tips to Lower Your CPU Temperature

Lowering your CPU temperature is not rocket science.

Following these 8 easy steps to lower your CPU temperature, you can get back to CPU-intensive gaming and tasks in no time at all.

Upgrade Your CPU Cooler

If your computer has a stock heatsink that was bundled with your processor, then you will benefit hugely from a CPU cooler upgrade to help reduce your system temperatures.

Red CPU Cooler
Iconic Zalman CPU Aircooler

There are various options available when purchasing a new CPU cooler. Firstly, you have the most common method of CPU cooling which is Air cooling. Usually, these types of coolers, are big, bulky and have one, two or something, even 4 fans attached. They do their job well for most people – even gamers.

The other accessible CPU cooling method is watercooling, which, either comes in an off-the-shelf all-in-one unit or, you can choose to build a custom watercooling loop yourself.

All-in-one Watercooled PC

Whichever choice you go with, upgrading your CPU heatsink and fan will be the best place to start when looking to increase your cooling efficiency and reduce your CPU temperature.

You might like: Noctua NH-D15 Performance CPU Cooler Review

Use a Latop Cooling Pad

If you’re a laptop user and don’t have a desktop PC then, your options are limited. Using a laptop cooling pad such as one of these will do great to reducing your laptop CPU temperature.

Bora X1 Gaming Laptop Cooling PadBora X1 Gaming Laptop Cooling Pad
Bora X1 Gaming Laptop Cooling Pad

These laptop stands come with fans build directly into the units that help to direct fresh cool across the body of your laptop helping to reduce not just the CPU temperature but the entire laptop system.

Replace the CPU Thermal Paste

The job of CPU thermal paste is to create a good seal between your cooler and the CPU however, over time, that thermal paste can dry out reducing its cooling efficiency.

Dry CPU Thermal Compound on the ProcessorDry CPU Thermal Compound on the Processor
Old CPU Thermal paste has reduced cooling efficiency

Artic Silver 5 CPU Thermal Cooling Compound or ‘AS5’ as it is sometimes abbreviated, is regarded as one of the best thermal pastes for your CPU or other components and is also composed of 99% silver. It’s the only thermal paste we use at PerformancePSU.

Another popular thermal compound on the market is Noctua’s NT-H1 Thermal Compound. While the initial outlay is a little more at $5.47, you get more thermal compound in the tube than Arctic Silver 5, and it performs nearly as well.

Applying new cpu thermal pasteApplying new cpu thermal paste
Fresh CPU Paste on a CPU – Credit: Felix Wong

There are a few upsides to this thermal compound. It does not conduct electricity, unlike AS5, which does (being silver-based); it does not require curing, and it has low viscosity, meaning it does not require spreading like some other well-known brands.

Remove Dust Buildup

Excessive amounts of dust in any computer can be a nightmare for cooling performance. Dust clogs up your fans, stopping them from efficiently moving air and the dust also stops your CPU heatsink fins from effectively dissipating heat. It might seem daunting to open your PC and clean the components, but with a few tips which we will share now, you can get your computer case dust free in no time.

Thick dust in a pc caseThick dust in a pc case

Compressed air is great but it can get a bit expensive (and it’s not great for the environment) – a better solution, which is my personal favourite is the vacuum cleaner with a fluffy sock over the end of it. The sock serves two purposes; The first; stop the vacuum from ripping our your PC components and the other is to stop any damage to your system.

I’ve been using the sock over the vacuum cleaner for well over 20 years and it does an amazing job.

Improve Your PC Case Airflow

Airflow is often a point some people overlook or misunderstand. They often think because they have a top-of-the-line CPU cooler churning away in their case that they are reaching their full cooling potential, but that is not true.

Aircooled pc with custom aio watercoolerAircooled pc with custom aio watercooler
Credit: Newegg

When cooling with air alone, the minimum temperature you can achieve is determined primarily by your ambient case temperature amongst other factors too, but, let’s focus on one point for a second; Your heat sink cannot make something cooler than the air surrounding it aka – your system case temperature.

So, if we cannot cool our components below the temperature inside the computer case, we need to optimise your PC case airflow.

cpu case coolingcpu case cooling
A Perfect example of PC Case air flow

With the fan setup pictured above, We are increasing the rate at which heat is dispelled from the case pumping cold in from the bottom and ‘sucking’ it out of the top. Thus, we are creating a ‘tunnel’ of air that pulls heat away from your components.

If you have your PC fans set up differently from the diagram above, try switching them up and stress-testing your computer, you will be surprised how much more efficiently your heatsink performs.

Improve Cable Management

poor pc cable managementpoor pc cable management

Improving your PC cable management is important for a couple of reasons, first, it improves your computer case airflow, reducing your system’s ambient case temperature and secondly, who doesn’t love a bit good bit of cable management at the end? I do.

Your ambient case temperature is largely responsible for determining how much you can lower your CPU temperature. By tidying up your cables and organizing them, you will help improve your case airflow in turn, lowering your CPU temperature.

Lap your CPU Heatspreader

A perfectly lapped intel CPUA perfectly lapped intel CPU
A Lapped Intel CPU – Credit: Reddit

Another way to increase your cooling capacity is ‘lapping’ your heat sink and CPU heat conductive surfaces. By doing this, you create a smoother contact between the CPU and the heatsink.

Some people have been known to remove even the TIM altogether to ensure maximum cooling power. Still, I don’t recommend that unless you are confident with a craft knife around high-end, delicate PC components.

You can find a guide to lapping your processor or GPU heat sink on PC Authority: Atomic guide to CPU lapping

Delid your CPU

I did a video a long time ago where I delidded the blogs Intel 6700K in an effort to reduce our CPU temperatures drastically that we could try and push for some overclocking world records – we failed but it was a great experience.

While this is a very extreme and risky way to go about reducing your CPU temperatures and is normally reserved for the enthusiast or extreme overclocker, it is a great way to excessively reduce your CPU temperatures.

As a word of caution; Delidding a processor is not always possible. You see, sometimes, manufacturers will solder the heat spreader onto the CPU which, if you try to remove it, will end up in a cracked CPU die and a dead chip. Make sure to do your due diligence beforehand and make sure your CPU can be decided.

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