Frequently Asked Questions about Temperature for Intel® Desktop and Mobile Processors

Last Reviewed: 22-May-2017
Article ID: 000005597

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What is Tcase vs. Tjunction?

These terms are related to processor temperature for desktop and mobile systems based on Intel® Processors. To allow optimal system operation and long-term reliability, the processor must not exceed the maximum case temperature specifications as defined by the applicable thermal profile.

Tcase is the temperature measurement using a thermocouple embedded in the center of the heat spreader. This initial measurement is done at the factory. Post-manufacturing, Tcase is calibrated by the BIOS, through a reading delivered by a diode between and below the cores.

Tjunction is synonymous with core temperatures, and calculated based on the output from the Digital Thermal Sensor (DTS) using the formula Tjunction = (Tjunction Max – DTS output). Tjunction Max (Tj Max) is also referred to as TCC Activation Temperature in certain processor datasheets.

Why does Intel provide the Tcase specification for desktop processors and the Tjunction specification for mobile processors?Mobile processors do not have an integrated heat spreader like desktop processors. This is the reason why the mobile thermal specification refers to Tjunction Max instead of Tcase Max.
What does Tcase Max and Tjunction Max mean?

Tcase Max is the maximum temperature that the Tcase sensor should reach. Both Tcase and the thermal specification information can be found on the Intel web site.

Tjunction Max is the maximum temperature the cores can reach before thermal throttling is activated. Thermal throttling happens when the processor exceeds the maximum temperature. The processor shuts itself off in order to prevent permanent damage. Tjunction Max (Tj Max) is also referred to as TCC Activation Temperature in certain processor datasheets.

What should I do if my desktop board BIOS is reporting a high temperature for my processor?Intel provides a diode between and below the cores with a reading calibrated by the BIOS. This reading can vary greatly between BIOS versions and BIOS vendors. Contact your point of purchase if you purchased your computer from a computer manufacturer.
Does my third-party application report accurate temperatures for my processor?Most third-party applications are reporting the processor temperature fairly accurately. Because reports can sometimes show erroneous data, download Intel® Processor Diagnostic Tool to test if your processor is working correctly.
Does Intel provide temperature ranges for each processor?

Intel does not provide temperature ranges for each processor, as it varies by processor. You can find the thermal specifications for a processor at Intel® Core™ Processor technical documentation.

As an alternative option, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Intel product information page.
  2. Select Desktop Products or Mobile Products.
  3. Select the processor family from the list provided.
  4. Click the processor name located in the Product Name column.
  5. Under Quick Links, click Download Datasheet.
Where can I find more information if I think my computer is overheating and how can I prevent overheating?

Below are links to documents that address overheating and prevention of overheating.

How do I know if my computer is overheating?
What do I do if my computer is overheating?
How to apply Thermal Interface Material (TIM)

Related topics
Diagnostic and performance tools
Processor Installation Center

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