Keeping track of your PCs temperature in Linux
I have had a few PCs in my time where keeping track of the temperature was critical to knowing the health of my system. In fact, I had one system that I knew would shut down if the temp reached anywhere near 44 degrees Celsius. So knowing the exact temperature can sometimes really be a must. Of course in situations like I was facing it was simply time to replace that machine.
I still have a machine that tends to work pretty hard, so I like to keep tabs on what the temp is doing at any given moment. Fortunately this is easy (when you have a PC that has the hardware setup to monitor the temperature. If you do, then you are nearly half-way there. In this article I am going to take you the rest of the way and show you how to monitor you systems temperature in Linux with a few simple gadets.
Panel or "widget"?
There are two ways in which I will show you how to monitor your temperature from your panel and/or using a screenlet. Both are incredibly simple to use and each have a very different look and different feel about them, but both tackle the same task.
Let's first take a look at adding temperature sensors to the GNOME Panel. This is fairly straight-forward. If you right-click the GNOME panel you will see the entry "Add to panel". Select that and, from the resulting window, scroll down until you see "Hardware Sensors Monitor". Select that applet and click the Add button. You will immediately see a new applet on your panel (see Figure 1).
With this monitor running you will see temperatures for all the cores in your CPU as well as the motherboard temperature. In the Figure you see above, the farthest temp on the left will be the acpi temp. You also see five other temperatures. You can add or remove sensors if your right-click, select preferences, click on the Sensors tab, and check what you do or do not want to see. The more cores on your CPU, the more temperature sensors will appear.
My favorite way to keep track of temperature is through the Screenlets application. By default there will be a particular screenlet called Ring Sensors. But before you even use it, you have to install Screenlets. To do this, follow these steps:
- Open up your Add/Remove Software tool.
- Search for "screenlets" (no quotes).
- Mark Screenlets for installation.
- Click Apply to install.
That's it! Now click Applications > Accessories > Screenlets and the screenlets icon will appear in your notification area. Right-click on the Screenlets icon and choose Screenlets Manager. When this window open scroll down until you see Ring Sensors. Double click the ring sensors to add it to the desktop.
By default, Ring Sensors will not be monitoring your CPU temperature. You have to tell this screenlet what to monitor. Right-click on the ring and select Properties. In this window (see Figure 1) click on the Options tab and then the Sensors sub-tab. From that window select the core you want to monitor and then click Close.
You will now see a ring sensor monitoring the temperature of the core you choose to monitor. If you need to monitor more than one core, just add another Ring Sensor applet and configure it to monitor a different core.
When on your desktop, the Ring Sensor will look like those shown in Figure 3. You can adjust the size of each ring by right clicking a ring, selecting Size, and then selecting a percentage.
There are plenty of other ways to monitor the temperature of your system. You can monitor the hard drive temperature and you can monitor the acpi temperature - both via command line! But keeping track of your CPU temperature will go a long way to help you know the health of your system.