Monitor Processor & GPU Temperature for Desktop & Laptop

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Sometimes it is very important to monitor your computer’s CPU and/or GPU temperature, e.g. if you are overclocking your CPU or if you are worried about your computer’s well being or may be you are just feeling geeky. Whatever be the reason, you can do so by using the following utilities:

1. SpeedFan
(Windows: All versions)
This is a nifty little standalone tool which tells you all  you need to know monitors voltages, fan speeds and temperatures in computers with hardware monitor chips.

Speed Fan

2. Gkrellm (Monitor Temperature in Ubuntu 10.04, work for other *nix too)

This is available with most linux distributions, e.g. in Ubuntu just do: >>sudo apt-get install gkrellm and you have it installed. Make sure that you install lm-sensors (sudo apt-get install lm-sensors) and start/enable it (from services) before you install gkrellm if you want gkrellm to be able to monitor your CPU temperature, also you would need to run this command as root:

$ sudo sensors-detect

Say yes to all questions asked, and restart and your sensors should work. Once the sensors have been detected, you can check the cpu & gpu temperatures from the command line by using the command: sensors SSH to your remote computer and run this command to check the temperature of a computer remotely from command line.

Also Gkrellm is themable and you can make it look very nice by using transparent themes,  for themes you might want to checkout Gnome Look.

3. Notebook Hardware Control (Windows Xp, may be Vista)
This used to be a very useful tool for laptops, but I think it is no longer being developed, but you can give it a try, it might work with Windows 7 as well, but please do it at your own risk.

4. iStat Pro & iStat Menu (Mac)
It allows you to monitor all the vital stats of your mac. iStat Menu, as the name suggests, sits in the menu bar and displays temperatures, network bandwidth, memory, hard disk and CPU usage. You can click on individual items to access detailed information. iStat Pro is a dashboard widget providing all the information at a glance.


These apps may be used with Snow Leopard as well as Leopard. One important note, the GPU temperature of the macbook pro is shown as the Northbridge temperature, as the graphics card is attached at the northbridge.

PS: By the way if you are also wondering what is the ideal range of temperature for the CPUs and GPUs  then let. me share my experience with you. Typically CPUs are happy to be idling in between 30-40 deg C, and Maxing out at full load to 55-60 deg C. If your CPU is idling above 40 deg C without any OCing it might mean that there is poor ventilation. My Core 2 Quad  Q9550 was idling at 45 deg C, it turned out that there wasn’t ample ventilation across the case. I modded one 80mm fan to push air into the case and two fans to take hot air out of the case and the idle temperature dropped to 36-37 deg C. I felt that taking hot air out was more effective than pushing in air from outside in bringing down the temperature.

Now regarding GPU, as long as it is idling below 50 deg C it should be fine. I have used two Nvidia GPUs recently and both of them would idle around 43 deg. I don’t play games so never really maxed them out. But once, I messed up the wires inside my case and it started to block the airflow to the GPU and the temperature soared to 67-70 deg C and it cause the computer to freeze and it just powered off all of a sudden. I touched the card  and it felt very very hot, but clearing the wire mess did fix the problem for me. So be careful if you have a small case like the Shuttle barebones.

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About the Author

has written 346 posts on this blog.

Meditating towards his "nerdvana", lifehacker is a teacher by the day and a nerdy blogger by the night. He lives to learn and yearns to learn living.

2 Comments on “Monitor Processor & GPU Temperature for Desktop & Laptop”

  • Lenovo Desktop wrote on 21 December, 2009, 13:48

    Wow..never thought of these. Thanks for sharing this info.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


  • Rachel Price wrote on 9 May, 2010, 5:10

    The first time that i tried overcloking over a year ago, my CPU got overheated and got fried.`~,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


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