Maximum Operating Temperature
Computers can run hot but how hot can you go without compromising your hardware. The key thing to remember is the CPUs “Maximum Operating Temperature” (MOT). Stay under this number and you should be fine. Go above the specified number and you risk damaging your computer. I generally like to keep my CPU temperature at least 10˚c lower than the specified MOT for peace of mind.
Mac mini (Late 2012) 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7
Try to stay below 95˚c
I like to use Hardware Monitor to keep an eye on my CPU temperature. If I get close to 95˚c then I quit apps to lessen the load. There are other passive things you can do to keep things cool such as locating your Mac mini in a well-ventilated area free from other warm hardware. I like to keep mine on a ventilated wire shelf. If I can’t get it to cool down and I see my CPU temperature rising to 100˚c then I would shut down as a precaution.
It’s a work horse
I’ve rendered images, gamed, and even encoded videos using handbrake on hot summer days in the Bay Area in California and have gone up to 92-96˚c and have not encountered issues.