Monitoring CPU temperatures can be a real challenge, but it’s a vital piece of information that can make or break the hardware on your network and provide you with great troubleshooting data.
In this article, we’ll dive into some of the best CPU temperature monitors you can use to make sure your network stays cool, and under control.
Here is our list of the Best CPU Temperature Monitors:
- SolarWinds CPU Load Monitor (FREE TRIAL) Part of the Engineer’s Toolset, this tool is ideal for monitoring CPU temperatures and status across a medium to large-sized network. This tool is ideal for business environments where uptime is a priority.
- Speccy Minimalistic hardware monitor with detailed CPU monitoring and easy to read interface.
- Open Hardware Monitor Simple hardware monitor that provides real-time temperature stats. OHM is free and open-source.
- AIDA64 Extreme Detailed hardware monitor, with built-in stress testing elements. Ideal for hobbyists and technicians.
- SpeedFan Real-time CPU temperature monitoring, along with fan speed control and automation.
- BurnInTest Live graphical CPU temperature monitor with CPU specific stress tests and additional hardware testing features.
- HWMonitor Barebones hardware monitor with CPU temperature and load monitoring. Has minimal reporting and event logging features.
The Best CPU Temperature Monitors
If you’re looking to monitor CPU temperatures accurately across your network, SolarWinds CPU Load Monitor has the sensors and reporting you can rely on. CPU Load Monitor is part of a larger suite of over 60 tools called the Engineer’s Toolset that helps you keep tabs on what’s happening in your environment.
Like many SolarWinds products, CPU Load Monitor is primarily built to serve system administrators and managed service providers with its device autodiscovery, and inventory management. Once your devices are scanned into Load Monitor you’ll see that there is plenty of information about the device available to you; we’ll just focus on the CPU and heat management features for now.
A feature I personally enjoy is the automatic threshold alerts, which will alert you if a device passes a specific temperature. You or your tech team can choose to be alerted via the dashboard, email, or SMS. This makes CPU load monitoring simple and almost effortless for most environments. You do have the option to configure these thresholds manually to suit your preference and networking needs. I find this feature really useful, especially for environments that heavily rely on their network uptime.
While most devices have temperature based kill switches, it’s still important to make sure you set your CPU alerts low enough. This is so you or your team will have enough time to physically reach the device before permanent damage occurs.
You can download the Engineer’s Toolset with CPU Load Monitor on a 14-day free trial.
Speccy is a fairly popular PC hardware monitor that lets you dig into your hardware without having to crack open the case. Speccy can pull a variety of different system information, such as your memory usage, hard-drive I/O, operating system, and of course CPU temperature.
What I really enjoy about Speccy is its quick install and ease of use. In under a minute I can have all of the PCs hardware stats available to me. The CPU tab displays your average temperature, as well as the individual temperatures across each of your cores which is convenient if you’re troubleshooting an overclocking issue or CPU heat problem.
In addition to the CPU temperature, Speccy also reads out fan speed, bus speed, socket type, and model, making this an ideal tool for hobbyists and PC enthusiasts.
Speccy is a great tool if you’re just curious about your home PC, or want to take a look at your hardware without actually opening up your case. Speccy is really geared towards home use and not a business environment. The lack of real-time monitoring, inventory management, and benchmarking restricts its effectiveness in a corporate setting.
If you’re looking for a fast, convenient CPU temperature monitor, Speccy can get the job done. Speccy is compatible with any modern Windows system and is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. It comes in both free and paid versions.
Open Hardware Monitor (OHM) is a free open-source tool similar to Speccy that provides detailed real-time information about your hardware current status. OHM provides granular detail under the hood of your PC to troubleshoot even the most obscure of CPU temperature issues. Installation of OHM is fast and just requires you to unzip a single folder. On launch, your system’s current temperatures and readings will populate the screen to give you a real-time look at what’s happening in your case.
OHM reads out CPU voltages, temperatures, bus speeds, CPU loads, and fan speeds. You’ll be able to immediately see if your CPU is running hot, and specifically on what core. If you’re a PC enthusiast and are working on overlocking or underclocking your machine, OHM allows you to quickly see your CPU voltages in real-time. This can come in handy if you suspect your CPU may be too underpowered when trying to optimize your case’s temperature.
In addition to CPU monitoring, you can also view your real-time memory usage, available disk space, and hard drive temperature. Although OHM lacks built-in benchmarking, it’s resizable window makes it easy to put on a second monitor and watch as you make changes to your machine.
Once again, this tool is geared more for individual troubleshooting and lacks key features like detailed reporting and inventory management. Open Hardware Monitor can be downloaded directly from their website and run on any Windows machine as well as any x86-based Linux operating system.
AIDA64 Extreme certainly lives up to its name when it comes to monitoring hardware usage and CPU temperatures. If you’re looking to dive even deeper into your machine’s hardware and perform in-depth diagnostics, AIDA64 Extreme covers all the bases.
With built-in stress tests and reporting you won’t need any third-party software to pair with your CPU temperature monitor. AIDA64 Extreme has an easy to use stability test that gives you real-time readouts of how your hardware is performing. With a simple check of a box, you can stress test your CPU, GPU, memory, hard drive, and cache.
Whether you’re doing a custom PC build or just need to make sure a machine will vent heat correctly, AIDA64 Extreme has over 50 pages of data points and sensor readings to aid you in optimizing or troubleshooting your machine.
The built-in benchmarking is what really makes AIDA64 Extreme unique and ideal for overclockers and even IT support technicians looking to troubleshoot hardware issues. For example, if you’re trying to replicate a CPU core temperature problem that only happens when the PC is under stress, you can easily create your own test and see exactly when and where the problem arises.
AIDA64 Extreme is compatible with all modern Windows environments and currently costs $29.96 (£23.76). You can also download a trial version.
What SpeedFan lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in power and configurability. SpeedFan is a CPU temperature monitor and fan speed controller that gives you a wide range of customizable options to keep your case cool and performing optimally.
You can expect to get all of the standard voltage, fan speed, and temperature readouts from SpeedFan in addition to creating rules for your fan speeds. You can configure SpeedFan to automatically ramp up fan RPMs when temperatures reach a specific threshold. This feature also comes in handy when trying to reduce fan speed noise.
Unfortunately, SpeedFan does not have any built-in benchmarking for tests, however, it does have an event log that notes hardware changes and temperature fluctuations. While SpeedFan can also pick up and monitor other hardware temperatures, it was nice to see that the software could even detect SMART data and RAID controllers, making this applicable to monitoring server hardware as well.
Due to the primitive-looking interface and its range of configurations, SpeedFan is really aimed more towards technicians and power users looking to get the most out of their machines. With that being said it could be possible to damage your CPU or other hardware if you misconfigure your fan settings, so always double-check your settings.
Due to its development over the past 20 years, SpeedFan has an extended range of compatibility, meaning you can install SpeedFan on more archaic systems dating all the way back to Windows 9x, ME, and NT.
SpeedFan is free to use and is compatible with nearly all versions of Windows.
BurnInTest wraps detailed hardware monitoring into an intuitive dashboard that makes testing your hardware quick and simple. BurnInTest can easily stress test all of your Windows or Linux based hardware in just a few minutes. In addition to stress tests, it can also provide real-time temperature readouts while your machine is idle, or under stress.
BurnInTest specifically has a Maximum CPU Temp test which stress tests the CPU and helps you gauge your CPU performance under a maximum load. You can easily scale up, or dial down the stress tests to trigger specific temperatures and ensure your cooling systems are properly calibrated.
In addition to the active tests you can run, BurnInTest also offers passive monitoring of your CPU’s temperature. This is broken down by each core and displayed in real-time in a graph format along with readouts from your other hardware. This feature allows you the flexibility to run your own stress tests or applications and still use the software to monitor your temperatures.
Lastly, this software comes with an event log and reporting feature to note significant findings during your tests. I found this particularly useful when running extended hardware tests over the course of a few hours.
You can try an evaluation version of BurnInTest for free on their website. Pricing starts at $53.10 (£42.13).
If you’re looking for a free, barebones temperature monitor with no frills or extra features, then HWMonitor is for you. This software gives you immediate real-time readouts of all of your system’s temperatures and loads. A top column automatically records the minimum and maximum temperatures during your session. You do have the option to reset this data if needed.
The display is simple and gives you a full view of all your CPU stats on a single screen. At a glance, you can check your CPU’s voltage, temperature, fan speeds, and utilization. HWMonitor doesn’t have any fancy reporting features but does the option to save your monitor data in text format for review later.
While HWMonitor is fairly basic, there is a pro version of the software that gives you some additional features and capabilities. The pro version includes remote monitoring via TCP connection for both PCs and Android devices, as well as the ability to save monitoring data in graphical bitmap files. These extended features could definitely prove useful to a power user but still fall short when implementing in a business environment.
HWMonitor works on both Android and Windows systems and is free to use. The pro version starts at $25.25 (€19.95).
Choosing a CPU Temperature Monitor
While there are clearly plenty of options to choose from, picking the right CPU temperature monitor is important, especially when accuracy and uptime are taken into account. For system administrators of medium to small-sized businesses, CPU Load Monitor will give you the control and alerting features you’ll need to keep your hardware monitored across your entire network.
Hobbyists and overlockers will find either BurnInTest or AIDA64 Extreme to be useful for both real-time CPU monitoring and built-in benchmarking. Both tools provide a range of customizable options that should cover nearly all hardware tests you need to perform.
Do you have a favorite CPU temperature monitor? Let us know in the comments below.