CPU benchmark tests today do much more than approve an overclocked PC. Whether you’ve bought a new gaming rig, a laptop, or are wondering what might be slowing your PC down, a CPU stress test sorts it all out!
A CPU stress test works similar to the GPU benchmark test. It pushes your hardware beyond the manufacturer-defined limits and detects any instability. And even if you don’t play games or render videos, a CPU stress test might still benefit your PC’s performance.
Why You Need A CPU Stress Test?
A computer benchmark test evaluates your PC’s performance under heavy load. A stress test pushes all of your PC components (optional) beyond their boundaries for a specific amount of time. And, in return, detects any problems or weaknesses in the system.
Tip: For instance, if you notice abnormally high temps for your CPU or GPU during a CPU or GPU stress test, chances are you might need an upgrade. Either the thermal paste you applied is non-effective, or the GPU fans are not spinning.
You need to stress test your PC if you’ve just assembled a new build for gaming or video rendering. Or if you notice your computer pulling apart in speed and performance. And especially if you’re planning on overclocking your PC. In either of these scenarios, you’ll get a confirmation for your hardware’s performance or call for an upgrade.
How Long Should You Stress Test A CPU for?
There really is no defined time limit for a computer performance test. Every PC and gaming rig is different from another in features, hardware, and software. So, you can’t put a hard-and-fast rule for the duration of a CPU stress test.
However, a PC benchmark test for an hour should allow your CPU to reach its max temp and performance. Also, it is ample enough time to detect any lag or performance blunder by your hardware. As far as safety goes, you can even stress test your CPU for over 24 hours, though you rarely need to push your computer that far.
On the contrary, running a CPU overclocking software for less than 15 minutes barely gives you any insight. You need to run it just long enough to ensure you’ve pushed your PC beyond its limit and it can handle the load.
Is Stress Testing a CPU Safe?
A CPU benchmark test is relatively much safer today than a few years ago. Where you had to tweak power input and temp controls manually before, you can now alter them with indigenous CPU overclocking software.
Although your PC will shut down the moment your CPU reaches its critical limits, you may still be able to harm your hardware if it’s already old. In which case, it was going to give up anyway.
Stress testing a CPU is only unsafe if you’ve got weak hardware. Other than that, the modern chipsets have built-in safety mechanisms that will shut down your PC before any physical harm happens. However, the additional heat and load may reduce your hardware’s overall life, but not too much to notice in any way.
How Does A CPU Benchmark Test Work?
Different CPU stress tests work in different ways. Some force your CPU and GPU to render a large video file. Others may run a high-definition stimulation on the screen or even find a series of prime or Fibonacci numbers.
But, the one thing these benchmark tests have in common is stressing out your PC’s components. The processing loads a stress test software puts on your CPU are much larger than your everyday tasks. A few games even!
A CPU overclocking software performs a GPU test, CPU speed test, cooling test, wattage test, and even tests RAM to ensure your system is thoroughly sound.
The key in pushing your CPU beyond its limits is raising its temperature, achieving max engagement, and noticing if anything falls apart. If your cooling system, power supply, and hardware are sound, you’ll ace through the stress test.
How to Perform A CPU Stress Test?
Performing a PC benchmark test is way simpler today and doesn’t require complex computer knowledge. With a set of right tools, basic info, and steel nerves, you can easily stress test your CPU, but not without the following preparations.
Though unnecessary, it is always recommended to end all background processes and functions before performing a CPU stress test. It gives your CPU and RAM a lot more room to maneuver around and give specific results.
Do so by pressing “ALT + CTRL + DEL” at the same time and launching Task Manager. Check for all running and background processes from the list, select them, and click End Task.
NOTE: You can also perform a CPU stress test online now. No need for any additional software or tools; it’s all available over the internet. However, it is not as accurate as a local Stress Test and requires a strong internet connection.
While running a CPU overclocking software, you must keep an eye out for the monitors as well. Whether your overclocking software has a built-in temp gauge or using an external one, keep an eye fixed for abrupt temperature increases.
2. Best Tools To Stress Test CPU
You can use various programs to stress test your CPU. All such software and tools work on the same basic principle, with very minor alterations. Here are some of our top picks of the best tools for a CPU benchmark test:
AIDA is a one-stop shop for all the tools you need for a CPU stress test. From voltage sensors to temperature gauges, it accumulates information from every corner of your PC. Boasting a commendable presence of 25 years in the industry, it is a premium CPU benchmark test software.
Although it’s a premium product, you can still run a free trial of the software by downloading it here. AIDA offers you a comprehensive load test from the “System Stability Test” and individual tests as well. You can choose categories that your want to stress tests like RAM and GPU.
While running the PC performance test, you can navigate to other software screens and monitor temp and voltage overload quite easily. All-in-all, it is the most reliable and user-friendly benchmark test software that you may come across.
Prime95 is a popular choice for a CPU stress test among techies. It uses the technique of finding prime number sequences and pushes your CPU to its max processing power. With the 30th version released recently, it is one of the most frequently updated benchmark test software. And that makes it more compatible with more devices than other software.
Prime95 is accompanied by a feature known as “Blend.” It pushes and tests all the cores and caches in your computer. Unlike the top option on our list, this is a free version, hence the popularity!
> Core Temp
Core Temp is a must-have CPU monitoring tool when overclocking or stress testing your CPU. It provides you with live temp changes and the amount of load on your processor and can be downloaded for free over here.
A highlight feature for Core Temp is that if you have an Intel CPU, it shows you the cores’ temps individually. The same does not apply to AMD or other Cores. Core Temp only shows you the temperature of all the cores combined.
Moreover, Core Temp also provides you with some basic processor load info and updates you about voltage and frequencies. Though it is not a direct stress testing tool, it is an excellent monitoring software to keep in your saddle.
Causes for A Failed CPU Stress Test
A PC performance test typically runs smoothly without encountering errors. While this is what you want, it may not always be the case. When your CPU is overloaded, has a cooling or other issues, your test gets interrupted, and the PC reboots or powers off.
This indicates either faulty hardware, wrong settings for the test, or too much dust in the system. If you notice your PC shut down abruptly or the temp gauges go up, it may be that:
- Your cooling fans are clogged with grime and dust.
- You are running on an outdated driver or BIOS version.
- Your CPU is old, the thermal paste has eroded, or the Core is squeezed out due to continuous overclocking.
- Your PC experiences a lack of cooling.
The above problems might strike you daunting at first, but there usually is an easy fix. Either you can dust off your system, replace the thermal paste, or set your overclock limit lower. Or, you need to get yourself a new piece of hardware.
A CPU stress test is necessary if you’re either buying a new computer or overclocking your existing one. It allows you to test all the components to their max and see if the system remains stable. However safe, you may still damage your hardware due to overloading it.
And that’s why the decision is everyone’s own when benchmarking a CPU. If you look at the stats and figures, 99% of the time, it is safe and doesn’t expose your PC to any hardware risks.