If you’ve just built your computer, overclocked any of its components, or are experiencing problems with an old system, stress testing it will help you determine whether your PC is stable and, if not, where the problem might be.
In this guide, we’re going to give you our selection of the 11 best tools to use to stress test your system’s components, including the best CPU stress tests, the best RAM stress tests, and the best GPU stress tests. We have also included a number of hardware monitoring tools you can use to monitor how your system is performing during the stress tests.
Hardware Monitoring Tools to Use While Running Stress Tests
Monitor your system’s temperature and load levels while running stress tests. When benchmarking your computer, you can use the following tools in conjunction with the benchmarks listed below to get more information.
You May Also Like: 9 Best CPU Temperature Monitor Tools For Windows [FREE]
1. Core Temp
Core Temp is a nice lightweight CPU monitoring tool that will show you your processor’s temperature and load percentages in real-time. Core Temp will also provide you with readings for the temperature and load on each core of your Intel processor. It just displays a single temperature for the whole processor.
Besides providing some basic information about your processor, Core Temp also displays the voltage and frequency of your CPU. In addition, Core Temp comes with a few useful plugins that expand its functionality, including an add-on that allows you to sync your RGB lights to the temperature of your processor or its load, a remote server plugin (for remote access), and more.
GPU-Z is similar to Core Temp, except it monitors your GPU instead of your CPU. By using GPU-Z you can monitor your GPU’s temperatures and load, as well as its clock speed, onboard memory clock speed, fan speed, and the amount of memory used. The program is also free.
3. MSI Afterburner
MSI Afterburner is another tool for monitoring graphics card hardware. As a result of all the other features, it calls itself a graphics card ‘utility tool’. In addition to providing you with much of the same information as GPU-Z, MSI Afterburner also allows you to overclock your GPU, set custom fan profiles, run in-game benchmarks, and even record gameplay videos. MSI Afterburner is free to use, just like Core Temp and GPU-Z.
With HWiNFO64, you can monitor multiple core components of your system at once, which makes it one of the more advanced hardware monitoring tools out there. HWiNFO64 lets you track CPU, GPU, RAM, and motherboard temperatures, as well as fan speeds, component loads, and more.
CPU Stress Test Tools
GIMPS developed Prime95, a computing project aimed at finding new Mersenne prime numbers (any prime number generated by the equation: 2n − 1). Prime95 was originally intended to find Mersenne prime numbers, however the program’s torture test (which ensures proper operation when looking for Mersenne prime numbers) has been adopted by many hardware enthusiasts to stress test their processors (and memory) after overclocking.
Aida64 is another CPU stress test tool that many users prefer over Prime95. Unlike Prime95’s torture test, Aida64 uses a more realistic approach by simulating real-world processes that place a 100% load on your processor to test how it will perform.
Aida64 is not free. Aida64 costs $34.99 for the basic license (which can be used on up to 3 computers). While not expensive, it is probably not the best option for users who will only run their stress test a few times. There is a 30-day free trial, so if you just need to use it right now then you won’t have to pay.
3. IntelBurn Test
IntelBurn Test is another tool that can help you determine if your CPU is stable by pushing it to the max. In addition to Prime95, IntelBurn Test is also criticized for pushing the processor too far. The IntelBurn Test puts even more unnecessary stress on your processor than Prime95.
RAM Stress Test Tools
The tools listed below can be used by those who want to stress test their system’s memory, either to diagnose problems with their RAM or to check for stability after overclocking.
MemTest86 from PassMark Software will test your system’s memory for problems. Also, there is MemTest86+, which was an offshoot of MemTest86, but is no longer considered a viable option since it hasn’t been updated since 2013 – whereas MemTest86 continues to be updated.
2. Prime95 [Blend Test]
Previously, we discussed Prime95 as a CPU stress test tool, but its ‘Blend’ mode torture test is also a great RAM stress test. But unlike MemTest86, Prime95’s ‘Blend’ mode does not check your RAM for errors. If you’re looking for a stress test tool that can also diagnose any memory issues you may be experiencing, MemTest86 is a better choice. Prime95’s Blend test is an excellent option if you’re overclocking your RAM and want to check for stability.
GPU Stress Test Tools
The following benchmarks give you a variety of options for stress testing your GPU.
1. Heaven & Valley Benchmarks (Unigine)
Ingine’s Heaven & Valley benchmarks are some of the most popular options for stress testing your graphics card, either after overclocking it and testing for stability, or just as a synthetic benchmark to see how it performs. The newer Superposition benchmark by Unigine is also worth considering, especially if you’re looking for a GPU benchmark that’s VR-enabled.
3DMark is another commonly used GPU stress test tool that can be used on a range of devices (PCs, laptops, phones, tablets, etc.). It also monitors the clock speed, framerate, load, and temperatures during each benchmark. The basic edition of 3DMark is free to use, but the full version will cost you $30 on Steam.
Another GPU stress test option worth noting is FurMark. FurMark is not popular among hardware enthusiasts because it puts an unreasonable amount of strain on your graphics card. FurMark can be used for short periods of time, but is not the best overall option for stress testing your graphics card.
Which Stress Test Tool Should You Use?
Even though all of the stress test tools mentioned above can work for you, the best approach for stress testing your system is to use several stress test tools. Multiple stress tests will give you the best idea of how your system will hold up to extreme real-world scenarios if you are looking for the most information possible.