Can I Start PC Without CPU Cooler? [Know the Risk Ahead]

Written By Steven Arends

The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the most significant component of a computer.

When you buy a new PC or build a new one, you may notice that a cooler is attached to the top of the CPU. Questions like, will my PC work without a CPU cooler or what will happen if I boot the pc without a CPU cooler may cross your mind.can-i-start-pc-without-cpu-cooler

In this article, I will cover all the answers to your question.

So, tag along.

Can I Run My PC Without a CPU Cooler?

Technically speaking, you can if you want to, but it would probably shut down soon as a safety measure. If you manage to disable the automatic shutdown function, the CPU will burn after several seconds of running.

That raises an important question. Why does the CPU need a cooler?

It’s because when the CPU operates, it produces too much heat. Check the CPU temperature; if it rises to 70 to 80 degrees Celsius, you can easily fry an egg.can-i-run-my-pc-without-a-cpu-cooler

Since the heat is generated inside the case where there is no airflow, thus, heat can’t be removed from the CPU. That’s where the cooling fan comes to the rescue. It takes out all the additional heat outside the case and keeps the PC cool enough to operate.

That is why a CPU cooler is necessary for your PC. If you want to know what will happen when you start your computer without a heat sink, follow the next section.

What Will Happen If You Turn on a PC without a CPU Cooler?

First, let me give you a heads-up, nothing good will come out if you power on your personal computer without a cooler.

Most of the CPUs have an automatic throttling system built into them that will turn off the computer. If it doesn’t shut down at the correct time, your processor and other parts, like RAM, the GPU, the storage device (HDD/SSD), etc., may suffer serious repercussions.

Even though the software on your computer may stay unaffected, physical damage might make your other important PC parts completely worthless.

So, what’s the perfect temperature for a CPU to operate?

Not more than 60° C (140° F). Although, if you are overclocking on your PC or playing heavy games regularly, the temperature can go over 70 to 80° C. The CPU can withstand this temp if you are running it once in a while. Whether you continuously do so will shorten the processor’s lifespan.

For example, if you run two CPUs, one at 60 degrees and another one at 85 degrees, surely, there is a higher chance that a 60C CPU will outlast the 85C CPU.

To check the temperature of your PC, download the HWMonitor software application. Monitor the processor temperature while you are gaming as well. It will immediately let you know the status of the CPU temperature. If the temperature goes above 80 or 90 °C, immediately shut down your computer and give it a few minutes of rest. It will help cool down the CPU. Facilitate liquid or air cooling to extend the CPU’s lifespan and keep it chilled.


Does a CPU need a heatsink?

Yes, a CPU needs a heatsink. The CPU is vulnerable to overheating. Without a heatsink, your CPU would be burned or fried by the heat created inside the PC case.

How hot is too hot for the CPU?

The CPU gets hot pretty easily. That’s why it needs a cooler to keep the temperature at a certain level. Therefore, the CPU shouldn’t operate at temperatures beyond 75° C (167° F). Any more than that is considered too hot. The ideal CPU temperature is less than 60° C (140° F).

How important is a CPU cooler?

A CPU cooler is very vital for any modern computer. Without a cooler, your computer will take an automatic shutdown within a few seconds due to overheating. So, you can say it’s nearly impossible to run a PC if there is no CPU cooler inside your PC case.

How long can I run a CPU without a cooler?

Probably 60 to 70 seconds, you can run a CPU without a cooler. Within this time, the temperature of the CPU will reach over 80 degrees Celsius, which is way over the operating range. After that, the computer will shut down, or worse; the CPU will get fried.

Can I run BIOS without CPU cooler?

Not at all. Almost all motherboards are incompatible with it. However, there are a few motherboards equipped with a little CPU that can run the BIOS individually. Typically, they are pricey and strong motherboards and are mostly used by gamers.


The processor in a computer produces a lot of heat and uses a lot of electricity. A heatsink is a crucial component that protects the CPU from the damage of overheating and keeps the overall system from running properly for years.

So, eliminate the idea of turning on the computer without a cooler. I hope you get all your answers here.

Comment below if you have any questions.


About The Author
Steven Arends is a computer science graduate and tech enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a vast collection of computer hardware and loves exploring the latest advancements. As a contributing author to 10Scopes, Steven shares his expertise to make the world of technology more accessible and easier to understand for all readers.

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