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You just overclocked your GPU or installed a new hardware component in your PC. Is it working? Benchmarking is a great way to take a snapshot of your PC’s performance, and the best benchmarking software is often free to use.
Whether you want to assess how poorly, or how well, your PC is performing, everyone can benefit from a good benchmark. Don’t wait until someone else has to benchmark your PC for you in order to troubleshoot an issue!
Benchmarking software typically allows for overclocking or fan speed settings changes. These options allow users to configure hardware changes through software. Keep in mind, benchmarking your PC is a bit more complex than simply running software.
Head to our article on how to benchmark like a pro to get a rundown of how to accurately benchmark your components.
CPU-Z will provide users with a complete rundown of your PC’s hardware specifications, particularly concerning your CPU.
It also provides specifications for your motherboard, RAM, and graphics card, making it a great all-around program to visualize hardware makes and models. You can even save a TXT file of the information via the Tools option.
HWMonitor not only visualizes the make and model of hardware components in your PC, but it also displays certain parameters live.
These parameters include power consumption, fan speeds, utilization percentage, clock speeds, and temperature. This can be crucial, as issues like an overheating component in your PC can lead to frequent PC shutdowns.
HWMonitor’s simple interface also makes all values easy to view and understand. Of course, you can also save this information for further troubleshooting via the File option.
SiSoftware Sandra Lite is a fully-featured benchmark suite which is aimed at users who are very well informed about the inner workings of their computers, and for businesses which need to perform a detailed analysis on multiple computers.
Want to test your computer’s memory bandwidth? No problem. Want to benchmark network performance? Sure. Want to benchmark your computer’s power efficiency? Yes, Sandra does that as well.
Another useful feature of SiSoftware Sandra Lite is its online reference database. SiSoft Sandra will benchmark your component or online connection and then compare your performance with other similar processors to give you a better idea of how an upgrade may or may not help you.
Piriform’s Speccy, from the creators of CCleaner, is a favorite among the gaming community for its simple layout of a PC’s hardware configuration.
Once it’s open, Speccy will provide a thorough rundown of every component, and most drivers, currently available on your PC.
If you click on the individual parameters on the left-hand side of the window, you’ll get even more information concerning your specific hardware including temperature, voltage, fan speeds, and more.
Fraps is the de facto FPS benchmarking tool in every gamers arsenal. Easy to use and configure, Fraps will allow users to view and save their FPS ratings over time.
While Fraps is largely used to show FPS ratings over time, which is very useful for testing new hardware or overclocking your PC, it can also be used to screenshot and record gameplay as well.
CPU benchmarks not only provide users with data concerning clock speeds and temperatures, but they also compare your CPU’s performance with the performance of others.
Keep in mind, it’s difficult to separate pure CPU benchmarks from pure GPU benchmarks; both typically drive a PC’s overall performance. A PC’s motherboard also largely influences the performance of the CPU, and a cheap or older motherboard may even throttle your CPU’s performance.
CineBench provides one of the most thorough and trusted CPU benchmarks available. It renders an image—rendering being a task largely undertaken by the CPU—and compares it to other real-world tests in order to gauge your CPU’s performance.
It’s as real-world as it gets: while other benchmarks will test your overall PC performance or a combination of your CPU and GPU, CineBench specifically tests all available processor cores of your CPU. After the test is run, your processor will be graded in points: the higher your points, the stronger your CPU’s performance output.
RealBench is another example of real-world CPU benchmarking. It uses four tests, all involving rendering in some capacity: Image Editing, H.264 Video Encoding, OpenCL, and Heavy Multitasking.
You can upload your finding to the RealBench website to compare where you stand with other benchmarked hardware configurations. Possibly the best aspect of RealBench is that it simulates a regular course load; no stress testing to push your CPU to the max in order to gauge its performance. Although, of course, stress testing is also an available feature in RealBench.
GPU benchmarks are much like CPU benchmark: they will update the user on the clock speeds, bus speeds, temperatures, and fan speeds of your GPU.
Not exclusive to MSI graphics cards, MSI Afterburner is the best live monitoring GPU tool around. Afterburner allows users to overclock and monitor their software in one program.
It tracks every parameter you need to chart graphics card parameters: clock speed, temperature, RAM usage, fan speed, and CPU usage (by core). You can also save and activate overclock profiles at startup, so you’ll always be overclocked at the outset.
The Unigine suite has been the go-to benchmarking software for graphics cards for years. If, for example, an overindulgent overclock has the possibility to damage your GPU over the long run, Unigine engines will make sure they benchmark and stress-test the GPU to ensure maximum performance and stability. It also allows users to test varying degrees of detail, so any GPU—budget or otherwise—can be tested using the software.
10. FutureMark Suite
Similar to the Unigine suite, FutureMark provides high quality benchmarking software for your GPU. Downloadable through Steam, you can use a free demo version of 3DMark’s paid software.
The 3DMark Basic Edition, equipped with the DirectX 12 benchmark Time Spy, should more than meet your needs. 3DMark scores are also some of the best indicators of GPU performance around.
Benchmark Your PC the Right Way
There are plenty of system benchmark software available online, most of which do a poor job of truly revealing your component’s performance. The list above is comprised of tested and trustworthy benchmarking programs which IT professionals and casual users can both use to gather information concerning a PC’s hardware configuration.
Much of the software provided can also be used to stress test your PC components. Read our article to learn more.