Modern processors can run at temperatures ranging from 25 to 90 degrees, depending on configuration, cooling and workload. That said, when a CPU takes on a heavy load, that increase tends to be gradual, rather than instantaneous. And it certainly shouldn’t occur for basic, undemanding tasks. Unfortunately, Intel’s Core i7-7700k might have a temperature problem, with spikes of 30;deg&C not uncommon when, say, opening a webpage.
Intel officially took notice of the 7700k’s supposed issues after a post by “BC93Key” appeared on the company’s forums. However, it seems reports of the processor’s unpredictable behaviour had been doing the rounds among users before then.
Here’s the gist of BC93Key’s complaint:
I have found that the i7-7700k reports a momentary (a second or less) temperature spike +25 > 35 degrees Celsius anytime a program is opened, a webpage is opened, a background app runs etc. The temperature blip cascades through the cores in random order; not the same every time. This causes my heatsink fan to constantly cycle up and down. Temperatures otherwise report as steady, normal increases. Peak temperature under Prime95 blend test is 71 degrees Celsius.
It’s important to note that BC93Key is running their system stock — that is, no overclocking or modifications to the hardware.
Now, it’s not unusual for an idling processor to ramp up quickly once something starts happening, but a spike of 30°C is insane. It didn’t take long for others to come out of the woodwork and report similar experiences.
Aside from basic troubleshooting, it took three weeks before Intel responded with concrete news, though it wasn’t what users wanted to hear:
In our internal investigation, we did not observe temperature variation outside of the expected behavior and recommended specifications. For processor specifications, please refer to the Intel® Core™ i7-7700K Processor Product Specifications … We do not recommend running outside the processor specifications, such as by exceeding processor frequency or voltage specifications, or removing of the integrated heat spreader (sometimes called “de-lidding”). These actions will void the processor warranty.
So as far as Intel is concerned, it’s working as intended, which means anyone hoping for a driver update, microcode patch or refund may be out of luck. For those unsatisfied with the company’s response, well, Intel’s not the only player in town.