Is 80+C an acceptable CPU temperature?

Dongs GaloreDongs Galore Registered User regular
Wasn't sure if I should put this in H/A or Moe's, sorry in advance if I have chosen poorly

I've got an i7 2600k CPU. Yesterday, while playing DA2, I got a popup warning that the CPU was over 85 Centigrade. Using Realtemp it seems like the CPU sits around 30-40 C on the desktop, and gets up to 80-85 when in DA2. (Most other games seem a bit lower, but I haven't checked other really high-gfx ones yet. DA2 might just be really poorly optimized)

I've never fiddled with Overclocking or Overvolting (I've been underclocking my GTX 570 very modestly). Google gave a bunch of contradictory answers on various 'clocking forums about what the real optimal temperature is, so I wanted to ask here: Is 80+ Celsius an acceptable temperature for a stock i7 2600k to run under load? I know it isn't a good temperature, but what's the likely consequence if it keeps running that hot? If its bad, how long can I expect to keep running it like that before it dies? I've never monitored the CPU temp before, so I dunno how hot it was running up to now.

I put the rig together about 2 years ago and have been very sloppy about maintaining it since then, so the internals are quite dusty (the case is smaller than it should be and I'm loathe to shift the massive tangle of cables around too much). I'm going out to procure a new can of compressed air to blow off the CPU fan tomorrow, but should I consider reseating the CPU itself, or applying new thermal paste or something?

Dumber question: if the CPU were to burn itself out suddenly, would that damage any of the other internals? Should I backup the Hard Drive, or would my actual data survive?

Any advice is appreciated, thanks.

Dongs Galore on


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    proyebatproyebat GARY WAS HERE ASH IS A LOSERRegistered User regular
    edited March 2013
    A combination of compressed air and reapplying thermal paste after you re-seat the cooler will help drop temps.

    I don't know what cooler you're using, but a properly seated cooler should keep your CPU below 40 degrees Celsius while idling. The question of what is a safe temp is tricky to answer. Intel CPUs have the capability to throttle itself when it reaches a certain temperature. For Sandy Bridge revision processors, they throttle at 98 degrees Celsius. That threshold is called the "Tj Max". Intel also lists another term "Tcase" which indicates what temp the CPU should stay under to get the best lifespan under continous use, even though the CPU will vastly outlive you unless you throw it into a fire. The Tcase for Sandy Bridge is 76C btw.

    proyebat on
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    FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    It's high, and spending 5 minutes with a can of duster would probably drop it by 10C. But it's not going to cause too much damage to the chip at that temp, just shorten it's life a bit.

    If it does die your data will be fine. Though you should be backing up things anyway, hard drives love to suddenly die, and you don't usually get much warning.

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    GriswoldGriswold that's rough, buddyRegistered User regular
    What are you using to measure the CPU temp, if anything?

    I would download CoreTemp or HWMonitor and see what temps you are getting. If you're still above 72C after a thorough dusting, I would probably reseat the cooler with fresh thermal compound.

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