Graphics cards and processors are the two pieces of hardware that produce the most heat inside any PC. How much heat a processor (a GPU, too) can produce depends on its power draw. This is usually correlated to the speed of the CPU.
This is why it is vital to have adequate cooling on a high-end processor. To ensure that your CPU is properly cooled, i.e., running at the right temperature, you will need temperature monitoring software.
The fantastic news is that there are a lot of these sorts of programs available, and we’ve examined nearly all of them to determine which delivers the most accurate temperature information.
Let’s check them out!
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- Highly customizable UIrnSensor readings for Windows trayrnGraph readingrnAdjust TjMAXrnAlert system for any readingrnFrequently updatedrnMost features available in the free version
- Can be overwhelming for the uninitiatedrnRemote monitoring locked under Pro version
HWiNFO may not be as well-known as some other choices in this guide, but it is certainly one of the top CPU temperature monitoring programs available. In fact, it offers monitoring for all computer hardware. And, of course, it is completely free.
Not only does HWiNFO yield detailed temperature readings of the CPU (die, core distance to TjMAX, CCD, CPU package, and more), but it also has information for voltage, clock speed, CPU usage, CPU utility, etc.
Whether you have a Ryzen or an Intel system, HWiNFO will deliver.
A beloved choice for tech fans and well-liked by tech critics (Linus Tech Tips, Gamers Nexus, etc.)
- Easy to setuprnEasy to digest information
- Lack of customizabilityrnNo alert systemrnNot enough data reportsrnMany features locked behind the Pro version
HWMonitor is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, monitoring software out there. It delivers tons of temperature-related information not only on your processor but on other hardware as well.
Every reading picked up from the processor, GPU, HDD, SSD, and motherboard will be shown on HWMonitor.
It is not as comprehensive as HWiNFO, so it is lacking in some aspects, but for those that need only raw temperature data, this is a solid choice.
- CompactrnEase of usernTray icon temperature readingsrnPlugin supportrnOverheat protectionrnCustomizable
- CPU data onlyrnInstallation ad (game bloatware)
Core Temp is a bit different than some of the other software on this list but still very useful.
It may not have some of the fancy features found on HWiNFO or HWMonitor’s Pro version, but it does exactly what you need. It reads the temperature data of every single core on your processor. It also automatically adds readings to the Windows tray.
It’s very easy, small, and user-friendly. One of our top choices if you just require CPU temperature readings.
- Open-source and frequently updatedrnCPU, GPU, SSD, HDD, etc. readingsrnFree remote monitoring
- No temperature alertsrnNo temperature readings in tray icon
Libre Hardware Monitor is a free project influenced by Open Hardware Monitor (more on that later). It has a similar user interface with slight visual adjustments, but it received significant enhancements in terms of platform/processor compatibility.
It is frequently updated to make sure it functions for all users.
It may not have many attributes, but it’s suitable for checking temperatures. It can also display GPU and other hardware information. Libre Hardware Monitor can be used remotely and is free.
- Remote monitoringrnPer-core temperature and clock speed reading
- Likely to be outdated againrnLack of features
Open Hardware Monitor was a great monitoring option for many years until it was abandoned and outdated in 2016. This caused many issues for people running Ryzen systems and newer Intel processors too.
This software wouldn’t have ended up on this list if the developers didn’t start updating it back in 2020.
Today it has full support for Ryzen and Intel processors. It provides temperature, clock speed, and voltage data on all kinds of PC hardware.
A solid pick, but Libre Hardware Monitor is the better pick as it is updated more often.
- CPU, GPU, and RAM BenchmarksrnStress testsrnHuge database to compare temperature, scores, and morernFully customizable sensor panelrnSensor panel supports OSD panels, LCD keyboards (Logitech G15, G19, and Razer’s SwitchBlade LCD)rnSystem tray readingsrnRemote monitoring
- ExpensivernNo free version is availablernOnly a 14-day free trial
Unlike all of the previously mentioned monitoring software, Aida64 Extreme is paid only, and it’s focused on benchmarking.
However, even though Aida64’s primary focus is stress testing, its monitoring support is premium too. They support sensors of almost all processors, GPUs, RAM, or any other PC hardware.
They claim Aida64 has the best accuracy for hardware detection thanks to its huge database of hundreds of thousands of entries.
In other words, you’ll get all kinds of temperature data for your CPU and a benchmark to stress test your CPU for easier diagnosing.
An excellent choice overall, yet quite pricey, considering that many other programs offer comparable performance for free.
- Straight-forward CPU temperature data
- Has not been updated for years/Abandoned softwarernOutdated user interface
SpeedFan is a bit old-fashioned now as its latest version update was in 2015, so it may not endorse present or upcoming CPU platforms.
However, after testing it on a 10th generation Intel CPU and a 3rd gen Ryzen CPU, SpeedFan successfully reported temperature for all cores.
So, at this time, SpeedFan is still useful software for temperature monitoring. But, we still recommend using something a bit more modern to ensure that you get the right temperature reports.
- Regularly updatedrnTrustworthy
- Not really made for temperature monitoringrnMinimal temperature data available
MSI Afterburner is mainly used for overclocking graphics cards, but it does offer some temperature data for the GPU and the CPU too.
You won’t get specific data regarding the temperature of your processor, but at least it is trustworthy software that gets updated regularly.
Common Causes For High CPU Temperature
Above you’ll find some of the best CPU monitoring programs available right now, and luckily, most of them are free.
So, you download one and notice that you have a higher processor temperature than you would like? What might be the cause of such an issue?
These are a few of the common reasons.
- Poorly applied thermal paste
- Dried-up thermal paste
- Bad thermal paste
- Broken AIO pump
- Bad AIO
- Inadequate cooling
For those who struggle to choose between these eight monitoring programs, we suggest using either our top choice, HWiNFO or HWMonitor.
Both provide enough information, are regularly updated, and function perfectly on any platform.