During summers (but not only), it’s worth remembering that extremely high temperatures will definitely affect the performance of your laptop or PC, but don’t worry, because today’s article is about the best CPU temp monitors. The first CPU temp monitor was invented by an unsung hero to help prevent excessive heat from damaging essential components of one’s PC.
This type of app constantly monitors the temperature not only for your CPU, but for your GPU, hard disk/SSD, motherboard, etc. by checking their sensors, including temperature, voltage, and fan speed, and it delivers instant information in regard to the overall health of the system.
A CPU temp monitor is extremely important if you’re not lucky enough to own a high-tech water cooling case, so if you’re into gaming, you’d better make sure that your system doesn’t suffer from excessive heat. And CPU temp monitors are the only way to achieve that; moreover, the best CPU temp monitor will give you options to solve at least some of your system’s critical “heat-related” problems by allowing you to modify various parameters, such as the speed of your CPU/GPU fan, so you mitigate the overheating issue as quickly as possible.
Moreover, if you’re into overclocking, knowing how to choose a good tool to monitor your system’s temperature is a crucial detail provided you want to be in this racket for a long time. By the way, check out this article if you want to make sure your present cooling solution will not disappoint you during this summer’s hottest days, you’ll thank us later.
To make it real easy for our users, the best CPU temp monitor will allow you to set your CPU speed, it will show the CPU’s current internal voltage, it will monitor the temperature on all cores, will display the GPU temp, will allow you to customize the CPU’s min/max speed, will allow you to automatically shut down the system in case of overheating, and, finally, will offer a portable solution just in case.
Now let’s take an honest look at some of the best CPU temp monitors on the market today, right after a short commercial break.
Best CPU Temp Monitors
The Best Windows-Only CPU Temp Monitor
We’ll start with HWMonitor, which makes for classic hardware monitor software that’s capable of reading not only your CPU temperature but the PC’s main health sensors, i.e. GPU temp, voltages and fans. In this regard, HWMonitor is relatively advanced, and the latest update is capable of handling the vast majority of sensor chips, including ITE® IT87 series, most Winbond® ICs, and more.
The same goes for on-die thermal sensors on modern CPUs, HDD/SSD temperatures via SMART, and obviously, GPU temperatures. There are two versions of the software to choose from: the freebie and the extended PRO version, yet both are well designed and easy to use, with an emphasis on simplicity and minimalism.
Since HWMonitor can record (and keep logs) of all your hardware metrics in real-time, you’ll end up with an educated estimation on the overall health of your machine, which comes handy in a multitude of scenarios, ranging from day-to-day maintenance to diagnostics, etc. The main difference between the free version and the Pro is that the latter allows remote monitoring for up to 20 connections, has an improved user interface, and adds graph generation. The remote monitoring thing means that you can supervise multiple machines in a list view, and next to each PC you can see the Value, Min, and Max temps of the main hardware components.
However, if you require more advanced features, like temp warning alarm or fan speed control, you’ll have to look somewhere else.
- Real-time monitoring of CPU, HDD, CPU, MoBo temps
- Free version available, the Pro version allows you to monitor multiple machines remotely
- Very simple and intuitive user interface
- Lacks advanced features
- Windows-only deal
Open Hardware Monitor
The Best CPU and GPU Temp Monitor For Linux OS
Looking for an extremely simple and lightweight temperature monitoring solution? Well, you’ve just found it. Enter Open Hardware Monitor, an open-source and absolutely free software designed by a bunch of nice folks to monitor everything there is to monitor in your computer: fan speeds, temp sensors, CPU load, CPU voltages, and clock speeds.
Be advised: just like the HWMonitor presented above, Open Hardware is just a “silent partner” of sorts, or, to put it bluntly, it’s a “look but don’t touch” kind of a deal. So yeah, it’s free and cool and everything, but you can’t do much more other than “monitor the situation”, as in you can’t adjust fan speed or modify voltages, you know, advanced stuff.
But hey, at least it’s free, right? Open Hardware supports all major software, and it’s compatible with most Intel and AMD based SoCs, as well as ATI and Nvidia graphic cards. Hard disk drives and SSDS are read via SMART, obviously, and the good news is that you can run Open Hardware on both Linux and Windows running machines, which is great.
By the way, no installation is required, and despite its simplicity, Open Hardware will deliver a very detailed report upon “system check” completion.
- Easy to use, free to download, no install required
- Monitors temperature, CPU frequency, CPU voltage, CPU load, RAM load, fans, and GPU
- Open source works both on Windows and Linux OS
- Low cost/low expectations temp monitor
- Gets regular updates, so don’t worry, open-source is the best
- Lacks advanced features
The Best Temp Monitor for Advanced Users
Finally, after all those freebies and basic CPU temp software, it’s time for the big boys to step in and reclaim their territory. Enter AIDA64 Extreme, which is actually a program designed for so-called “power users”, or, to put it differently, geeks whose only job is to monitor what’s going on with their expensive rig.
All jokes aside, if you’re into overclocking, heavy gaming, and serious stuff like that, AIDA64 Extreme is going to become your best friend, as its premium features and hardware detection engine are pretty much the gold standard in the industry.
AIDA64 Extreme will not only provide you with accurate and detailed information about your hardware and software, but it will also offer support for overclocking and diagnostic functions. On top of that, you’ll get real-time monitoring for all your computer’s sensors, including temperature, voltage, and fan speed readings, while the diagnostic thing will detect and mitigate possible hardware issues.
If you want to benchmark a particular component of your rig, AIDA64 Extreme can run stress tests on the whole system or individual components. The bad news is that AIDA 64 Extreme only works on Windows machines and costs money.
- Professional hardware monitoring solution comes with a 30-day free trial
- Supports more than 250 types of sensors, clean and intuitive user interface
- External display support, software audit, benchmarking, stress testing and diagnostics
- Can be overkill for most “normies” out there
The Best Temp Monitor for Windows 10
Speccy, also known as corporate freeware, is a very basic CPU temp monitor, and yeah, it’s absolutely free of charge, with a “premium” (as in paid) version available. Being part of Piriform’s software bundle, together with CCleaner and other cool stuff, Speccy does a really good job with monitoring the loads and temps of your GPU/CPU, operating frequency included, as well as other stuff.
For example, you’ll get a thorough analysis of your hardware, i.e. the exact make and model of your CPU, its performance, various data related to the RAM, motherboard, optical drives, graphic card, OS, storage disks and more, including the temperature for essential components. Portable support and a simple and clean design are some of its main attributes, and as far as basic system information tools go, Speccy runs with the best.
- Easy to use and to install, clean interface, provides detailed information on your system
- The summary page can be published on the web and shared, while results can be printed/saved
- Portable program available, the paid version gets frequent updates and has live support
- Lacks advanced features
The Best CPU Temp Monitor for Overclocking
Moving on to the more esoteric part of the show, we have NZXT CAM. If this is your “first time”, you should give NZXT’s CAM a chance, especially since the release of the 4.0 version.
The latest edition basically redesigned the software from the ground up and comes with more features, an improved user interface, and user experience, plus new sections like resource per process tabs and bandwidth, so you can see what’s eating your resources. So, yeah, NZXT CAM is a free and relatively comprehensive monitoring solution for PC/laptops/whatever device you’re using, provided it runs on Windows.
Here are the best parts of NZXT CAM: in-game monitoring, because after all, that’s where performance matters the most, right? You can use NZXT CAM to track your temperatures (GPU, CPU, what have you), FPS, internet bandwidth, time played, GPU/CPU load, and more. In this regard, the NZXT CAM is pretty cool.
Since we’re talking gaming, NZXT CAM can also control fan speeds, case lights, and even PSU voltages via its well-designed UI, but here’s the best part: you can even overclock your GPU to squeeze the latest drop of performance!
- Looks great, easy to use, works great, offers system status at a glance
- Comes with advanced features, like GPU overclocking and PSU voltages
- Excellent system monitoring app for windows, ideal for gamers
- It’s free of charge!
- None really
A Very Detailed CPU Temp Monitor
HWiNFO is something akin to an old friend for hardware enthusiasts, due to its comprehensive monitoring and analysis capabilities. Moreover, this free software tool for Windows and DOS is capable of delivering quick overviews as well as saving full/custom reports on a portable device, besides monitoring different hardware components in real-time.
Unlike other system information tools, HWiNFO is created with an emphasis on focusing on hardware, and it categorizes the information gathered into 10 sections, including the CPU, RAM memory, motherboard, GPU, drives, monitor, etc.
Even if it’s totally free, there’s much to like about HWiNFO, things like detailed results, its ease of use, the one-page summary view, the portable version available, and the regular updates. As a CPU temp monitor, HWiNFO works very much like Speccy, but gives you more details despite its novice-oriented user interface.
- Free real-time temp monitoring solution for all hardware elements, including CPU, GPU, mainboard, drives, etc.
- Permits setting up customizable alerts to keep track of performance degradation due to overheating
- Excellent for enterprise use, comes with both installable and portable version
- Lacks advanced features
The Best PC Temp Monitor for Older Machines
If you’re looking for a simple and compact CPU temperature monitor, Core Temp would fit the bill. Small footprint, compact and no fuss, these are the main attributes of Core Temp, a small yet powerful temp-monitor that can display the temperature of each individual core of the CPU, i.e. you can “admire” temp-fluctuations in real-time.
Core Temp is also motherboard-agnostic, i.e. it will work on virtually any build and any type of CPU. The software is easy to use, has an intuitive user interface, and offers a high level of expandability and customization, as it uses data taken from the DTS of each processing core.
Another cool thing about Core Temp is that it works with various add-ons so you can get additional features, such as monitoring devices by remote via an Android app.
- Free, easy to use, well designed, shows relevant information with zero fuss
- Collects data via DTS, aka digital thermal sensors, which means it’s very accurate
- Features alert systems to shut-down your machine in case of overheating
- Light on resources and straightforward CPU temp monitor
- Only basic features available
The Best CPU Temp Monitor for Intel processors
Finally, we have Real Temp, and as far as product names go, Real Temp runs with the best. But, what’s in a name after all right? So, here’s the deal: just like Core Temp, Real Temp “sucks” data from DTS, being a temp monitoring software specifically designed for Intel processors.
So, if you’re an AMD-Ryzen boy or girl, this is not the droid you’re looking for.
But, if you’re into big boys’ club, i.e. you’re an Intel owner, you can individually calibrate the software for each core. Real temp also logs the min/max CPU temps, has a shutdown feature and high-temp alert, uses test sensors and, to make a long story short, it makes for one of the simplest and most efficient CPU temp monitors out there. We almost forgot this baby is absolutely free of charge!
- Freeware at its best specialized on temp-readings on Intel CPUs
- Shows CPU temp/GPU temp in real-time, as well as min/max temps since the last shut down
- It’s portable, as in no installation required
- Lacks advanced features