A CPU stress test is an important test performed on the computer to evaluate how much it can handle. The stress procedure is carried out by software that’s designed to push the CPU’s performance to its maximum over a sustained period of time. In this article, we will explore CPU stress testing, what it entails, and identify different ways for you to stress test your CPU.
How to Perform a CPU stress test
A typical PC stress test can utilize both synthetic and real-world testing techniques to determine the CPU’s capabilities.
Synthetic testing uses software programs to simulate different types of loads on the CPU test aspects. It tests the processing speed, temperature, and stability by giving the CPU different loads. The benchmarking software then records the time taken to execute these instructions as well as other important metrics.
Real-world testing simply puts the CPU through the usage patterns of the typical apps and workloads that it might go through on a day-to-day basis. The test aims at simulating the demands of different software applications, such as video rendering, gaming, and scientific computing, in order to identify potential performance issues.
These two different testing techniques are important in evaluating the performance and stability of your CPU and its capabilities.
As you might have already figured out, stress testing your computer is not as simple as using an antivirus scanner. It is designed to put your CPU through the trenches and see just how much it can handle.
Since the procedure involves taking your computer through strenuous activity, it is important to properly prepare your computer by creating a controlled environment for the testing. A perfect example of a great environment is a situation where background apps don’t interfere with either the testing process or the results.
Performing your CPU stress test
To run a stress test on your CPU:
Step 1) Pick a CPU to stress test.
Step 2) Prepare the Test System and Methodology by first closing all programs on your computer and getting system monitoring software such as Avast or AVG.
Note: It helps to identify any programs that are wasting CPU and RAM resources and close them. You will also need to record your CPU temperature to use as a benchmark and
Step 3) Choose Monitoring Software for the computer.
Step 4) Select your preferred CPU stress test tool.
Note: There are different stress testing software available for use. Always download and install CPU stress test software that is compatible with your operating system and CPU.
Step 5) Configure the stress test settings – Start by selecting the type of test you want to perform and the duration.
Step 6) Start the CPU Stress Test
Step 7) Monitor your CPU temperature and performance
Keep an eye on the CPU temperature and performance throughout the computer stress test. Consider using a CPU temperature monitor tool for accurate readings.
Tips: Continue monitoring it throughout the test to make sure that it does not exceed 90°C. If the temperature rises to an unsafe level, stop the stress test immediately to prevent damage to your CPU.
Step 8) Complete CPU load tests and Analyze the Test Results.
Note: Crashes or errors during the stress test may be an indication of a problem with your CPU.
Best CPU Stress Test Software & Tools
Below are some of the best tools to use when performing a CPU stress test.
AIDA64 is one of the most popular computer diagnostic and information tools used to identify any issues and maximize GPU and CPU performance. It is an accurate tool that users can rely on to stress test CPUs.
This CPU testing tool uses different benchmarks to put the CPU through heavy loads, after which you can accurately judge your CPU performance.
Supported platforms: Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, Apple
Prime95 is a popular PC stress testing tool that uses a combination of predefined tests and benchmarks to place pressure on a CPU. All you have to do is pick and download a compatible version for your computer and make the correct configurations to stress test your PC. Prime95 is ideal for most testing situations because of its ability to test all your computer components efficiently. It offers support for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, or FreeBSD platforms.
The IntelBurnTest is yet another popular CPU test tool that uses the Linpack benchmark to put heavy loads on the CPU. It’s a great option when testing the stability of a CPU running at high temperatures.
Intel Burn Test is designed to push even the most powerful computers to their absolute limit. It supports Windows 10, 8, 7 (32-bit & 64-bit)
When it comes to torture testing your CPU, HeavyLoad provides the right environment to root out existing and potential issues such as memory leaks and buffer overruns. HeavyLoad puts pressure on the CPU and checks how the computer performs under extreme conditions.
Throughout the test, HeavyLoad also goes the extra mile to monitor your GPU temperature to reduce the chances of damage.
Supported platforms: Windows.
OCCT is yet another tool that will put your CPU through heavy loads to check for errors.
It uses a variety of benchmarks to stress test the stability of an overclocked CPU. What’s more, the OCCT also acts as GPU Stress Test and RAM stress test tools to check for stability and performance.
You should consider working with OCCT if you don’t want to have to download and use different CPU, RAM, and GPU stress test tools. It supports all Windows versions.
How to Perform Stress Tests for RAM?
While computers allow us to perform and accomplish different tasks, they are not perfect. Different components within a computer, regardless of the function, can break down at any time. That’s why stress testing is important in determining the computer’s ability to handle hard situations.
Luckily, computer manufacturers have different ways to stress test different components allowing you to ascertain that your computer is performing maximally.
For example, a component such as RAM plays an important role in your computer. Stress testing your RAM also allows you to understand its capabilities and decide whether you want to make an upgrade or not.
Here is how you can stress test your own RAM using Prime95 software:
Step 1) Open your Prime95 software.
Step 2) Click on Options and look for “torture test” on the provided list.
Step 3) Once the Torture test window opens, check the Custom button. If the Run FFTs in place button is checked, uncheck it; otherwise, leave it as is.
Step 4) Set the range for your minimum and maximum FFT size. You can set it between 448K and 4096K.
Step 5) Allocate the Memory to use in MBs. We suggest at least 70% of you ensure RAM size.
Step 6) Set the time to 2 hours.
Step 7) Click Ok on the top right corner and wait for the RAM test to finish.
Common reasons to stress test your CPU
Most computer users don’t need to worry about stress testing their computers since their computers are capable of handling basic day-to-day tasks.
However, CPU stress testing remains an essential part of maintaining the health of your computer.
Below are some of the common reasons to stress test your computer.
You’re overclocking: Overclocking is the activity of running your CPU at speeds higher than those intended by your computer’s manufacturer.
This is common with users such as gamers whose entire mode of operation requires that they squeeze every bit of performance from their computers. At that time, it becomes an essential part of keeping your computer healthy.
Your PC or laptop is new: Stress testing your new computer will give you an idea of just how much it can handle. This is especially important if you buy one of those small and super slim computers without cooling.
Your laptop or PC is old: Your old computer might also need a CPU stress test to determine whether it can still perform as intended in the first place. However, you should be careful when testing an old computer, though, as it is more likely to get damaged.
You built a new computer: Most builds require you to source for different parts yourself, and there’s little to no manufacturer’s oversight. Stress testing, in this case, becomes the perfect way to tell whether your newly built computer is up to the task.
- Stress testing your CPU is an important part of keeping your computer healthy.
- If you are looking to perform a stress test on your CPU and RAM, consider using CPU stress test tools such as AIDA64 and Prime95.
- A typical CPU stress test will usually utilize different types of tests to determine how much your computer can take.
- Remember to always keep an eye on your system as the test runs to avoid issues such as overheating, which might damage your CPU.