How Hot is Too Hot For a Laptop

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There are a number of reasons why a laptop might run hot. However, these are often not recognizable at first glance. It is therefore important to first find out exactly where the causes for the high temperature development are and we will discuss them further in this article.

A question that keeps coming to mind is, how hot is too hot for a laptop? The optimal temperature range for a CPU is under 130 F, which in Celsius is around 55  C. This does vary, depending on the situation. If a machine is out in the open in direct sunlight, then you need to be a lot more careful than if you were sitting in an airconditioned room inside your house. I would say from experience that anything below 60 C (~ 140 F) is going to be okay under normal circumstances but it is best to keep the temperature below 55 C (130 F).

However, there are situations when you have a heavier load on your computer and during that time it is normal for your laptop to exceed the 130 F mark. Temperatures up to 70 C ( 160 F) are okay under full load. Although a constant hot temperature can damage your computer in the long term. If your laptop fan keeps running all the time then your laptop is probably too hot or your fan needs maintenance (or both!)

Similarly, the GPU should not exceed 110 F (45 C) during normal operation and 175 F (80 C) under heavy load. You should be extremely careful if you have a gaming machine. Keeping gaming laptops cool is much harder since they operate at a much higher load.

All sorts of electronic devices have their temperature highs and lows. Extreme temperature can result in frozen LCD screens or your laptop may end up malfunctioning and shutting down. Heat can damage different components of a laptop, if your machine does get overheated it is best to turn it off and leave it be for a while; until it returns back to room temperature.

Modern computers also have temperature sensors installed. This helps exclude guess work from the equation. With a good temperature monitoring tool, you will get an instant notification when your machine is overheated.  Remember that excessive heat can directly impact the life span of your machine. Heat is a by-product of power consumption, there is no escaping it! But you can always take measures to keep this under control.

how hot should a laptop get

How Do Laptops Heat Up?

The best way of securing your machine is to avoid having your laptop in situations where it can suffer from temperature extremes. Prevention is key! So if you educate yourself on that subject, you can avoid situations where your machine may get overheated. But how exactly does a laptop heat up? Let us go through a few different causes below.

Compact Design

In a laptop, all components (CPU, GPU, RAM, HDD etc.) are installed in a very small space and are usually only cooled by a single fan inside the case. During operation, the components work at high output and generate heat that is difficult to dissipate from the restricted system. Due to poor heat dissipation, laptops get overheated quite easily.

High Computing Power

High computing power has a major influence on overheating in compact and powerful laptops. The more programs running on the system, the more power is required. This leads to increased computing power, which in turn increases the temperatures inside the notebook. The use of computationally intensive applications, such as video editing software or high-tech PC games, also leads to increased power and heat generation.

If you know you are going to be using CPU-intensive programs, then you might be better off investing in a laptop with no heating issues right from the start.

Dust and dirt

Dust and dirt inside the laptop case can negatively affect the already low cooling flow. The tiny particles can settle inside the housing on components of the ventilation system and have a negative impact on them. Over time, dust and dirt often clog the ventilation slots on the housing. As a result, the air circulation and cooling components no longer work properly and the laptop becomes overheated.

Improper Surface

Using a laptop on the wrong surface can lead to unnecessary heat generation. The reason for this is the location of the ventilation slots, which are not only located on the side of the laptop case, but also below. The notebooks small support feet usually ensure that air can circulate in the small cavity between the base and the housing. However, if the ventilation slots are blocked by an uneven surface, such as a bedspread or a sofa cushion, the cooling of the laptop will no longer function properly. This also applies when the laptop is used on the lap.

External influences

Even external influences can affect the temperature development in laptops. The best example of this is the use of the notebook in the summer outside in the garden in the blazing sun. Due to high outside temperature and direct sunlight, the device heats up faster and the laptop runs hot. This can also happen if the sun shines directly on the notebook through the window in summer.

Final Words

Often a lot more is expected of a notebook than a stationary PC. It is used on the beach, left in a hot car and usually hardly cleaned, at least from the inside. As for transportation, do not leave your notebook inside your car when it is parked in the sun. The driver’s compartment heats up much more than the trunk. However, it is even better not to leave the device in a car that is in the sun at all. It is better to take the computer with you.

Always make sure that your laptop fan is not being suppressed. For example, if you are working on your laptop on the bed on a hot day, make sure to either have the AC on or have an additional fan under your computer. Not doing so will result in poor performance and possible over heating of your machine.

Prevention is everything! Never leave your laptop out in the heat. Finally, if your machine does get over heated, do not try to force the temperature down by putting it in the fridge or using a cooling pad. Just let it rest for a while and you should be good to go.