Your PC motherboard is probably the most important component in your gaming rig. It houses all the other components such as CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage devices to name a few. You may think of it as the foundation on which your gaming rig is built.
But like all PC hardware, motherboard temps are susceptible to overheating, leading to a gradual degradation of the motherboard itself and even going as far as damaging the other components.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to maintain normal motherboard temperature without relying too much on ambient temperature and other hardware. We’ll also talk about the different factors that contribute to an increase in your motherboard’s temperature.
How Hot is Too Hot For Motherboard Temperatures?
Motherboard temperatures may go up and down, depending on the usage. Different components such as the CPU and GPU generate heat in different ways, but the heat dissipation is more or less one and the same for all components inside your rig.
If we were to create a yardstick for ideal motherboard temperatures, we’d be looking at something between 68 degrees and 176 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius to 80 degrees Celsius).
A CPU also has the same range of temperatures as your motherboard’s temperature. GPU temperature may also fall within the same range, depending on usage. Under normal workloads, your temperature should be below 60 degrees Celsius or hit the low 70s. But when you’re gaming, editing a video, or doing something that requires intensive CPU and GPU processing power, you can expect temperatures to reach 80 degrees Celsius, or at least close to it.
Now, there’s a caveat. Your cooling system, such as intake and exhaust fans, might play a factor in determining motherboard temperature. If you’re running a liquid cooling system, then you can expect your rig to hit at least 70 degrees Celsius even when working heavy loads.
What’s Considered Safe Motherboard Temperature?
This might be considered a broad question because different motherboards from different brands will have different temperature ranges, but the discrepancy isn’t that great.
There are two things to look at to determine what a safe motherboard temperature is.
Computer Under Light Use
If you’re just doing non-intensive work like surfing the net, or doing productivity-related tasks, your motherboard temperature hovers between 20 and 50 degrees Celsius. These are considered normal for light use because the motherboard isn’t being overworked, nor are the other components.
Ambient temperature might contribute to some increase in temperature, but not by a lot.
If you have unusually high temperatures going above 50 degrees Celsius when doing light work on your PC, then you might have some computer hardware issues, or you might have a couple of programs making the GPU or CPU work unnecessarily.
A quick troubleshooting session here would involve checking out the case fans and the cooling system itself to ensure that the PC is cooled off properly. If everything is okay at a glance, meaning the intake fans and exhaust fans are working properly or that there are no obstructions that would prevent hot air from coming out of the PC case, then, you might want to double-check software.
Computer Under Intensive Use
When your computer is put to work, like you’re doing a heavy session of gaming or video editing, then your motherboard temperature will increase by up to 80 degrees Celsius. The increase in motherboard temperature is caused by an increase in GPU temperature and CPU temperature.
If you have the latest models for CPUs and GPUs then they are capable of handling higher temperatures past 80 degrees Celsius without throttling.
Throttling is a safety feature found in CPUs and GPUs that prevents them from overheating. When a CPU or GPU is pushed to its limits, meaning all the cores are working, then the temperature will skyrocket. CPUs and GPUs can tolerate high temperatures past their limit, but not for a long time. When they’re about to overheat, the CPU or GPU will intentionally shut some of the cores down to cool off. This goes on for a few minutes, depending on how high the temperatures were, and you’ll notice a massive dip in performance temporarily when this happens.
How Do You Know Your Motherboard Is Overheating?
Now we already discussed safe motherboard temperatures and the range you’re looking at is between 20 degrees Celsius (on idle) and 85 degrees Celsius (under maximum load). But depending on the manufacturer, some motherboards can tolerate higher temps.
We also talked about overheating in the previous paragraph. A video card or processor will overheat when under heavy load and will slow itself down when needed. But how will you know your motherboard’s temperature is too much?
These are the common signs of overheating motherboard and what you can do to prevent it from happening.
The System Keeps Shutting Down For No Reason
If you find your PC randomly shutting down for no reason, especially during idle sessions, then your motherboard temperature is probably higher than normal.
The reason why your motherboard shuts down is because it’s trying to keep temperatures within a normal range, or at least within the safe temperatures that it was built to withstand. If your motherboard doesn’t shut down, then it might throttle its performance to give itself time to cool off.
If this happens more than once every hour, then you’ll probably need to check if there is something that’s preventing hot air from being expelled from the computer case, or if something’s blocking cool air from coming in. You might also want to check if your computer’s fans are functioning as they should.
Blue Screen of Death or BSOD
The notorious Blue Screen of Death or BSOD is another product of an overheating motherboard, and this is often caused by hardware or driver issues.
Your CPU or GPU temperature might also be too hot that it forces itself to shut down in the middle of a full load of work. When this happens, try to give your computer some time to cool off and to go back to whatever it is that you were doing.
If for some reason you still encounter BSOD even when the unit is idle, then you might have issues with your motherboard, processor, or video card.
Unusual Noises or Rattling Inside System Unit
Albeit rare, overheating motherboards might also make random rattling noises and will indicate that there’s a problem with case fans.
When you hear rattling noises, chances are your case fans are either overworked, not working properly, or there’s something that’s dislodged and hitting the fans. Either way, when you hear unusual noises, turn off your PC immediately to determine the cause before you damage other parts.
How Do You Fix High PC Temperatures?
We now know that an overheating motherboard can cause complications, with the worst one being computer failure. You’ll need to end up replacing the entire motherboard and PC parts that were damaged.
To prevent this from happening, we need to go over different ways to prevent overheating.
Check Case Fans Inside
One of the most common causes of overheating is case fans not working properly. You’ll need at least two fans working to maintain airflow and ventilation. One intake fan brings in cool air and one exhaust fan expels hot air out.
When there’s enough air circulating inside the system unit, components are kept within a reasonable temperature range regardless of workload.
Depending on the motherboard manufacturer, overclocking is a solid cause of overheating. Now, some GPUs and CPUs are meant to be overclocked, which means they’ll be able to withstand higher temps than their non-OC counterparts.
Overclocking becomes a problem when there’s not enough airflow inside or if you’re doing more than you should.