Your CPU is absolutely integral to your system. The tiny little component generates quite a bit of heat, but to combat this, CPUs are often equipped with thermal paste and a CPU fan mounted to it. Without thermal paste, heat has a harder time transferring itself from the CPU to the CPU fan; thermal paste helps move it along. Afterwards, the CPU fan blows the heat out.
At least, that’s the best case scenario. Luckily, there are dozens of tools that will happily monitor the temperature of your CPU and most measure the temperature of the whole system as well. You’ll find many of them are free, but more importantly, you’ll find each program offers something different from one another. You can find one that offers great amounts of detail like AIDA64 Extreme or compact ones with a single purpose like CPU Thermometer.
Here are 7 Best CPU Temperature Monitors for Windows.
1. CPU Thermometer
Starting off with the bare minimum, CPU Thermometer corners the exact reason you’re here: it simply monitors your CPU temperature. That’s it. If you were looking for bells and whistles, CPU Thermometer doesn’t come with any. Well, you can change the temperature values from Fahrenheit and Celsius if you’re looking to make all of America collectively gasp.
CPU Thermometer doesn’t seem like much, but when all you need is a CPU temperature readout, you can’t go wrong with simplicity. In this case, less is more. And to top it off, CPU Thermometer is free.
2. Real Temp
Real Temp is another simplistic CPU temperature monitor, not as bare-bones as CPU Thermometer, but still coming out as an easy choice for Intel processors, specifically single core, dual core, quad core, i5, and i7 Intel processors.
While keeping true to the easy-to-use mentality, Real Temp gauges your processor’s temperature, with precision, in real time. If you’re an Intel user and you’re suspicious that your processor is giving you heating issues, fire up Real Temp to lay that worry to rest, or use the information to decide if you’ll need a replacement, upgrade or your PC serviced. It helps that Real Temp can also give you the maximum temperature your processor is experiencing.
Furthermore, when you are testing for temperatures, oftentimes you’ll use programs–like video games–to give your processor something to work on. This is important because Real Temp offers an alarm as one of its features. If the temperature of your processor gets too hot, Real Temp will let you know. If you’re familiar with your processor’s expected output, and the tests show further evidence of problems, this data can be invaluable.
Now things are starting to pick up. HWMonitor, developed by CPUID, adds yet another layer of features while still keeping to an easy-to-use interface without overwhelming the user.
HWMonitor does more than spout your CPU’s temperature. It gives you temperatures of your entire system–motherboard, your hard drive, even your graphics card (if you have one), including their minimum values and maximum values.
HWMonitor gives you more of a reason to use it by giving you the value of your computer’s voltage, minimum value, and maximum value for each. On top of that, you even get the value of your fan’s RPM or revolutions per minute.
What this boils down for the user is a tidy tool that gives the user an opportunity to monitor each part of their system in real time. For example, if your CPU is heating up more often lately, using HWMonitor’s interface you could get the answer to why by checking the other components. One scenario could lead you to discover your CPU fan running much slower than normal. And that is only one example. Its use expands further when you consider you also have information on your processor cores, clock speeds, and system memory.
HWMonitor is a great monitoring tool for the price they’re asking, too. For a one-time, low cost value of “free,” you could buy HWMonitor for yourself. Yes, it’s completely free.
4. AIDA64 Extreme
Breaking the trend of free system tools is AIDA64 Extreme. However, that isn’t entirely true. AIDA64 does offer a free version, but it’ll only last for 30 days and during those 30 days you’ll only have limited functionality. Don’t let its price tag scare you. You’ll see why.
AIDA64 Extreme lives up to its name by offering an incredibly extensive breakdown of more than just your hardware components. It truly does go extreme on detailing a comprehensive list of each individual component, even something smaller like DIrectX. AIDA64 Extreme is equipped with stress testing options by using combinations for different scenarios.
It isn’t surprising the layer of features AIDA64 Extreme offers. It is a benchmarking tool after all. Not to mention its advertisement doesn’t just appeal to the average PC user, but expands for commercial use as well. You can see why a trunkload of features would be advantageous, considering its business edition comes with even more features than AIDA64 Extreme, its cheapest and more personal edition.
With all its bells and whistles, AIDA64 Extreme still manages to keep its interface easy-to-use and most importantly, clean and tidy.
If you’re looking for a CPU temperature monitor with style, look no further than Rainmeter. As far as performance, Rainmeter does its job like any other CPU temperature monitor on here. However, its gimmick comes in the form of “skins.”
When you first use Rainmeter, its default skin is nothing more than a CPU and RAM usage monitor. Once you start tacking on different skins, that’s when its use starts to grow. If you want to monitor your CPU temperature, then you’ll need to install a skin.
Rainmeter is still a great CPU temperature monitor if you’re looking to have your more important components on display at all times. Not to mention, it’s free as well.
6. Open Hardware Monitor
Open Hardware Monitor takes a page out of HWMonitor’s book and offers much of the same features with a splash of its own (water not included).
Open Hardware Monitor does its job and then some with readouts for fan speeds, voltage, clock speeds, and of course, temperatures for CPUs and GPUs. While it does the same as HWMonitor, what HWMonitor doesn’t do is offer you a few customization options like renaming and hiding values. And it still does it all for free.
CPU-Z is last, but certainly not the least. CPU-Z feels more like an amalgamation of three different CPU temperature monitors.
First, it has fairly extensive knowledge on several components your system harbors like CPU, caches, your mainboard, memory, SPD (Serial Presence Detect), and your GPU. So, in that way, CPU-Z is nearly on par with HWMonitor or Open Hardware Monitor.
Second, CPU-Z also has benchmarking tests for CPU single thread and CPU multithread. So, in that way, CPU-Z has a splash of AIDA64 Extreme, but not as extensive.
Lastly, CPU-Z has its own tricks by offering tools to update your BIOS and Drivers. The best part about CPU-Z is it’s free.
Any of these tools can properly monitor your CPU temperature. That doesn’t mean you can’t get a little more while you’re at it.
If you’re looking for something small, single purpose, then CPU Thermometer is your best choice.
For those needing something big, robust and full of information, the AIDA64 family of products is perfect for personal and business use. Everything else is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
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