Intel® Pentium® 4 Processors
What is the Maximum Operating Temperature for My Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor?

My processor thermal monitoring software or BIOS is reporting that my processor temperature is higher than I expected. How hot can it be to run safely?

The thermal specification that defines the operating condition is called the maximum processor case temperature (Tc). This specification is published in the Pentium® 4 processor datasheets. The thermal specification may vary by processor frequency, stepping, and CPUID. To assist you in knowing the thermal specification of your processor, Intel® Customer Support has created the Product Specifications and Comparisons Web tool.

Special care is required when measuring the processor temperature. The maximum operating temperature specification is called the maximum processor case temperature (Tc). For Pentium 4 processors, the measurement location for Tc is the geometric center on the top surface of the integrated heat spreader (IHS) on the processor. For detailed instruction on how to properly measure Tc, reference the Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor Thermal Design Guides.

The Pentium 4 processor datasheet lists the thermal dissipation specifications of Pentium 4 processors at various operating frequencies. For Pentium 4 processors, the highest frequency processor available will dissipate more power than lower frequencies.

A simple evaluation of the temperature of the air entering the fan heatsink can provide confidence in the system's thermal management. For boxed Intel Pentium 4 processors, the testing point is at the center of the fan hub, approximately 0.3 inches above the fan.

Another reference is found at the Boxed Processor Thermal Management Web site.

There are several potential causes the processor temperature to be higher than expected. Here is one:

No thermal interface material was used between the processor and the heatsink. This is especially critical for the boxed Pentium 4 processor at 3.06 GHz. Unlike previous Pentium 4 processors in the 478-pin package, the thermal solution for this processors requires the use of Thermally Conductive Compound that is included in the plastic package that contains the installation manual.

Another source for thermal issues is improper installation and it is a good practise to reinstall and insure the fan/heatsink are properly seated.

This applies to:

Intel® Pentium® 4 Processors

Solution ID: CS-030107
Last Modified: 17-Nov-2014
Date Created: 18-Jan-2009
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