Overheating Symptoms and Troubleshooting for Intel® Boxed Processors





These troubleshooting tips are intended for build-your-own PC systems using Intel® Boxed Processors. If your PC is an OEM system from a computer manufacturer such as Acer, ASUS, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, or Lenovo, we recommend that you contact the manufacturer if you're experiencing any overheating issues.

Intel Boxed Processors

Symptoms of overheating

  • System boots up but shuts down automatically after a short period of time.
  • Reported CPU operating frequency is less than expected.
  • Evidence of CPU throttling.
  • General slowness of system.
  • CPU/system fan noise is excessive.

Troubleshooting wizard (Recommended)

You can use the  Processor Troubleshooting Wizard to help you troubleshoot your issue or review the troubleshooting tips below.

Troubleshooting tips

Click or the topic for details:

For a new system build, or an existing system that was modified:

Check the thermal solution

When choosing a thermal solution (Fan Heatsink) for your system, you will need to consider two factors: The socket (LGA) and the TDP (wattage). There could be other factors to consider, but as a baseline you need to consider these two factors:

  1. Look up the socket (LGA) information for the Fan heatsink to make sure it is compatible with the processor's supported socket and the motherboard.
  2. Look up the Processor Base Power (previously known as TDP) on the processors' product page (ark.intel.com) and make sure that the Fan Heatsink TDP value (wattage) is equal to or higher than the Processor Base Power (previously known as TDP).
Note  For CPU/iGfx high intense usages (such as gaming), make sure the thermal solution meets (or better, exceeds) the processor base power (or TDP) needs. Refer to  How to Choose Thermal Solutions for Intel® Core™ Boxed Desktop Processor
Check the thermal solution installation
  • Ensure that the CPU thermal solution being used is compatible and correct for the specific CPU. If you're using a non -Intel cooling solution, make sure that it's validated to work based on the processor’s thermal specification. Refer to product specification page.
  • Verify that any protective layer over the CPU heatsink thermal interface material (TIM) was removed.
  • Verify proper installation of the processor thermal solution. Ensure all anchors are uniformly fastened. Make sure the thermal solution is not bumping into any other components on the motherboard. For standard fan heat sink refer to Resetting Boxed Intel® Processor Fan Heatsink Push Pins.
  • For other thermal solutions such as liquid cooling solutions, refer to the vendor instructions on how to install. Note that for liquid cooling, you must ensure that the pump cable and radiator fans are plugged into appropriate board headers.
  • Make sure to apply the right amount of thermal interface material (TIM) on the processor.
Check fan operation and status
  • Verify proper installation of the thermal solution fan power connection.
  • Verify CPU fan impeller isn't blocked and nothing is preventing it from spinning.
  • Verify that fan inlet isn't obstructed by other components or cabling so that proper air intake is prevented.
  • For more details on fan issues, refer to Troubleshooting Fan Issues with Intel® Boxed Processors.
Check air ventilation
  • Verify that chassis internal airflow is adequate.
  • Verify system cabling or other components aren't obstructing system air flow.
  • Verify that general airflow rate and direction are correct. If using multiple system fans, verify that overall system intake and exhaust is balanced.
  • For an evacuated system configuration (fans blowing outward), ensure proper inlet venting.
  • For pressurized system configuration (fans blowing inward), ensure proper outlet venting.
Load BIOS default/or Update BIOS
  • Try to load the default BIOS setting in your system.
  • Or, try to update the BIOS.
  • Note: You may wish to note the current BIOS settings before resetting the BIOS.

For an existing system with no changes made:

Check for any dust on the fans
  • Check to see if there's an excessive build-up of dust in the system on all the fans, primarily the processor's heatsink fan. If there is, clean it.
  • Check to make sure that the intake vents and exhaust vents are clear of dust and lint.
Check fan operation
Undo any recent changes

See if anything has changed around the system. Undo any recent changes that might have caused the overheating problem.

Check the thermal interface materials
  • Inspect for any failures of processor's heatsink mechanical retention.
  • Inspect for broken components from a drop or shock event, or similar cause.
  • Inspect for CPU heatsink thermal interface material (TIM) degradation.
  • If using CPU liquid cooling, check for pump failure, visible leaks, or fluid loss.
  • Note: Inspection procedure and maintenance potential will vary by manufacturer.
Load BIOS default/or Update BIOS
  • Try to load the default BIOS setting in your system.
  • Or, try to update the BIOS.
  • Note: You may wish to note the current BIOS settings before resetting the BIOS.


If you followed all the overheating preventable tips and your system has an appropriate thermal solution, but your system is still overheating, contact your motherboard vendor in case they have set some overclocking settings in the BIOS as default.

  • Intel® Processors have built-in thermal protection. If the processor gets too hot, the built-in protection shuts down the processor. If your computer isn't overclocked, and is running under the design specifications, the built-in protection can help prevent damage to your system.
  • If you use third-party software to measure the temperature or the BIOS readings, contact the software vendor to ensure the software is validated to work with your processor.


Related topics
Frequently Asked Questions about Intel® Processor Temperature
Is It Bad If My Intel® Processor Frequently Approaches or Reaches Its Maximum Temperature?
Frequently Asked Questions about Warranty for Intel® Processors