Like most electronic devices, computers generate a lot of heat during operations. The device uses electricity and due to electric resistance within the device, energy is lost through heat.
I won’t go too deep into the science behind heat generation. You are here because you want to know more about how hot a motherboard is supposed to get. So how hot can a motherboard get?
Whether you are just curious about motherboard temperature ranges or have recently experienced very bizarre temperatures, this article will get you up to speed on the temperature at which your motherboard should be operating in.
In the most simplest of answer, a mother typically gets as good as 60 degrees Celsius or 140 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the degree of temperature depends a lot on work load as well as the ambient temperature. In the end, you will get an idea about how hot a motherboard can get.
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Understanding PC Temperature
Computers tend to get hot when they run. Most of the heat is generated by the conductive elements that make up the motherboard. Mostly it’s the CPU that does most of the heat generation.
Compared to a few years ago, modern computers are more heat tolerant. This means that you can use them at a higher temperature than you would an older PC.
This can be attributed to the fact that chips have better architecture, thermal design, better power management, and heatsinks installed.
Heat is generally not a concern when using the component at default settings and with default required cooling mechanism. It only becomes an issue when overclocking or when using the computer in hot ambient temperatures.
As a rule of thumb, to find out the specific heat range for your motherboard, and to understand the effects that can be caused by high temperatures, the best place to start is from the website of the board’s manufacturer.
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How Hot Can a Motherboard Get?
This depends upon the work on the PC.
Under Heavy Load
Given an average room temperature, under heavy load computers tend to get hotter. This can also be made worse if you have overclocked your CPU and it ends up using a lot more power and radiating a lot more heat in return.
In extreme circumstances, the motherboard will often have a certain maximum safe operating temperature.
This will often vary from board to board but a maximum for heavy tasks like gaming should be about 50 to 59 degrees Celsius. Once you get to and go above the 60-degree mark then you know that you are starting to push it.
In other words, YES, the motherboard CAN get hotter than 60 degrees Celsius especially in situation where you have overclocked the components.
Typically, motherboards don’t get as hot as CPUs as the latter can hit an upward of 90 degrees during operations. However, also note that a hot CPU can also raise the board’s temperature.
Typically, motherboards have a temperature threshold that maxes out at about 110 degrees Celsius. If your board is hitting these temperatures, it is probably best to find the cause of the problem as such temperatures can be symptoms of other issues.
Under Light Load
When doing some light work on your computer, temperatures under 50 degrees Celsius are the norm.
With light loads, the CPU consumes less power and hence heat generation across the motherboard stays relatively low.
Causes of High Temperature
For an air-cooled system, cool air supply is vital. If you notice your board getting too hot, you may want to watch out for some of the common things that could be a cause.
Poor ventilation is a common cause of overheating. This can result from poor case construction or having fans that don’t function as expected; possibly due to a heavy buildup of dust or some other mechanical issues.
The second culprit could be overclocking. Overclocking increases the clock speed of your computer but will also result in higher power usage. This will cause higher heat generation, thus making your board hotter.
It is advisable to avoid overclocking if you don’t have a heat management solution that can handle the high temperatures.
The third could be malfunctioning heat sinks. Some motherboards, especially those for heavy duty work, have large heat sinks. If these are damaged, then the management can be compromised.
To remedy high-temperature problems, consider investing in a better cooling system for better air supply to the computer’s heatsink(s). You should also use the computer in a relatively cool room if possible. This can help keep the temperature down. Occasionally cleaning up the computer can also help by reducing the collected dust.
Effects of High Temperature
Sadly, the computer’s performance will be affected and the device itself will implement measures to cool down, including shutting down.
The biggest problem you will face is component degradation due to overheating. Extreme temperatures can end up shortening the expected lifespan of your board, forcing you to replace it sooner.
Effects of Temperature on Motherboards
Of course, each end of the temperature spectrum has its slew of effects that can be detrimental to the life of your system.
Let’s first see what the end of each temperature range can do to your computer.
Very Cold Temperature
Conductors will often perform better at cooler temperatures because low temperatures reduce electrical resistance.
And, since computer components are typically made of conductors, you may get to enjoy the slightly better performance when using your computer in a cool environment as opposed to a hot one.
The problem with cold temperatures is condensation. Beyond a certain point, the moisture that is present in the air will begin to condense and if this happens within your computer then it can become very problematic.
Moisture and electronics don’t go together and you may end up frying the board.
On the flip side, if your room is cold and DRY, it can cause static discharge than also damage the sensitive internal components.
Very High Temperatures
Typical operations where the motherboard temperature is just a little above the general ambient temperature are ideal. However, based on what you’re doing, temperatures may shoot up.
When the temperature reaches or exceeds the T-junction maximum temperature, the processor will take measures to lower its temperature at the expense of performance to prevent overheating.
When this happens, you will notice some performance loss as the processor’s performance is capped by reducing the power supply to the CPU.
According to Intel, processor’s usually handle overheating in one of two ways, either through automatic shutdown in extreme cases or through throttling.
Throttling is when a CPU’s frequency is lowered as a mechanism of controlling overheating or to save power.
If a safe operating temperature cannot be maintained, the computer will shut down. Of course, you don’t want this as you may end up losing unsaved work.
How Hot is Too Hot?
If you check the board manufacturer’s website, you will get a detailed guideline of the optimum temperature ranges for your board.
Nevertheless, you can observe your computer’s temperature throughout a variety of tasks just to see how well it handles.
There are two ways to look at temperature changes.
- When the computer is under heavy load. This is synonymous with when you are running very demanding applications that result in a lot of power usage and therefore high temperatures.
- When the computer is running under a light load. Or when doing some light tasks on your pc that are not too demanding.
Typically for extreme load, your motherboard should be giving a temperature in the range of 60 degree Celcius but again this can vary from PC to PC.
Here we talked in detail about how hot can a motherboard get? Your motherboard needs to be heat tolerant just like your PC. But sometimes, the temperatures it’s exposed to are too high and this can cause problems for your computer.
As a result, manufacturers usually state the ideal operating temperatures for each of their boards. This can serve as a good guide to those wishing to know the specific temperature ranges for their board.
With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that exceeding the limit is problematic. It’s a good thing that there are some simple steps you can take to prevent motherboard overheating.