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Best Tools To Stress Test Your CPU


As the days are passing by, we see more and more people building new PCs, or some are buying second-hand PCs for their work. Well, if you really want to know about CPUs health, a stress test is quite mandatory. Since the performance of hardware such as CPU degrades with time and usage, you can’t simply rely on some benchmark numbers.

A CPU stress test basically means running the CPU for a certain duration of time at its max potential to see its stability under heavy load. Hence, everyone should do it once in a while as it will show you stats about the CPUs current condition. Thus, if you want to know more about CPU stress tests, this article is going to be a complete guide about it, so you must read it until the end.

Why should I stress test a CPU?

It’s quite obvious that a CPU that has been heavily used for a long time will be beaten by a brand new one. You could know that by just benchmarking the CPU. But, that benchmark number can’t tell you how the CPU will perform in real-life, and for how long it will remain stable, right? So, there are a few common reasons to stress test a PC:

  • Built a new PC or bought a new laptop?

If yes, then you should try out some stress testing on your new machine to get an idea about its actual power. Not only it will help you know if the hardware is working fine, but also you will be sure about the performance of the cooling system and thermal paste.

  • Having issues with your old desktop PC or laptop?

In case you have an old PC or laptop lying around that often dies and shuts down for no reason at all. Running a CPU stress test will let you know if there are some overheating or temperature issues going on with your computer.

  • Are you thinking of overclocking?

If you are a heavy user who wants to squeeze out every bit of performance from the CPU, overclocking is a good idea. But, to know if the performance has increased or not, a stress test will definitely provide you with the answer.

How long should I stress test a CPU?

Generally, any CPU under heavy load reaches its max temperatures in almost an hour, so stress testing it for an hour is good enough. However, it depends on your personal choice as you can also leave it under stress for a full day. Many people do a full-day stress test just to ensure the stability of the CPU, and also to check whether the cooling systems are working fine.

Is stress testing safe?

Yes, stress testing is totally safe, when done correctly. We have barely heard any cases about CPUs getting damaged because of a stress test. Usually, when a CPU reaches its critical limits, your PC will automatically shut down before any mishappening occurs. Running a stress test on newer CPUs is fine if you keep the test duration under 24 hours. However, if you are dealing with old hardware, continuous heat generation during the process can cause some serious damage to the PC, if the tests are run for prolonged durations.

How does stress testing work?

As we said earlier, stress testing means putting a load on the processor to know how long it takes for the CPU to hit the max critical temperatures and become unstable. Well, to do a stress test on your PC, there are a bunch of tools available on the internet that are solely meant for stress testing CPUs. One good example of that is the Prime95 tool which consistently makes your PC search for the Mersenne Prime numbers. This is one of the best stress tests, mostly loved by the over clockers, as it vigorously pushes the CPU to run at 100% capacity.

Preparing your PC for a proper stress test

You are not supposed to download some tool right away and start testing, there are a bunch of preparations you need to do before as well:

1. Closing all the unnecessarily running applications:

Before we put the PC to test, we must ensure that no other application or software installed on the PC interferes with the process. Hence, closing all the non-essential programs and activities is advised for better test results.

2. Download and Install AVG TuneUp Software:

You can download a free trial version of the AVG TuneUp program from its official website. We prefer using this software since puts all the non-essential programs to sleep in one go. And, also halts all the background activities so that the stress testing tool can utilize the CPU completely.

3. Observe:

Since no other program on the computer is left to disturb us, the stress will only be on the CPU now, not on us. All you have to do is keep an eye on the CPUs performance. If the temperatures are going above 90°C, try not to continue the test for a prolonged period of time.

What are the best tools to stress test your CPU?

There are various tools that you can try out to do a stress test on your PC. While some of the software asks for a small price, you can easily find a bunch of free software out there as well. Although no matter what software you pick, almost all stress test software work quite similar to each other having a similar aim. So, let’s quickly check out all the most popular stress test tools which are often used these days.

1. PowerMAX

Although we are discussing tools for CPU stress tests, the power MAX tool is even capable of stress testing GPUs as well. Instead of giving any performance score after the tests, it basically provides you with a way to see how long the hardware can handle the load. During the stress test, you can be the judge and monitor the rising temperatures and other performance aspects of your computer. However, since it consistently pressurizes the CPU, using this tool for a prolonged time may cause damage to the components.

2. PassMark – BurnInTest

It is quite a popular stress testing tool since it’s not a single-purpose tool. The tool actually comes in two different variants where the free version is good enough for testing purposes, the Paid version obviously has a few extra features to offer. The tool gained popularity since it is capable of running multiple tests at the same time while testing your computer’s subsystems simultaneously.

3. Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool

If your PC is powered by an Intel chipset, this diagnostic tool is an all-rounder package for you. It tests the single-core as well as the multi-core performance of the processor simultaneously. And, also provides you with data about the CPU frequencies during the stress test. The good part is that the tool is available for free to download and is quite simple to use as well.

4. Prime95

Don’t mistake this tool with some generic benchmarking tool as it has really good potential to pressurize any powerful CPU. With a simple technique of testing, this tool forces your computer to find Mersenne Prime numbers. The method might seem a little simple, but it makes even the most powerful CPUs and RAM go under severe stress conditions. For the over clockers who seek to test the stability of the CPU, there is barely any better software out there than this one.

What if my PC fails the stress test?

Well, the sole purpose of a stress test is to confirm if the CPU is in good condition or not. However, if your PC fails the test, then your PC has some issue going on. While most of the time, the issues can be fixed. However, if the problem persists, it’s a signal that it’s the right time to invest in a new machine. A CPU might fail a stress test because of the following reasons:

If the cooling system, no matter air-cooled or water-cooled, is not working properly, the CPU might overheat fast and fail the test. Make sure all the cooling fans or water-cooling system are intact and working, and if not, fix that asap.

Laptops usually require more ventilation room as they come with only one or two fans for cooling. Hence, if those vents get clogged with dust and debris, the chances of the CPU getting overheated increases, leading to a failed stress test.

Although you might have a powerful PC configuration, if the components are old, and heavily used in the past, the performance might not be as pleasing as you had expected. Generally, all the computer hardware shows signs of ageing in around 5 years of usage. Thus, you should consider upgrading your system and invest in newer components.

Sometimes, running the computer on an outdated version of Windows, and even using the PC with outdated drivers can make your PC perform badly. Before doing a stress test on your CPU, make sure to upgrade to a stable version of Windows with updated drivers. Also, don’t forget to upgrade the BIOS version to the latest.

Stress testing: check! What’s next?

If you have read this article until here, it should be clear to you that stress testing the CPU is totally safe. If you keep things under control during the tests and monitor the CPUs performance rightfully, you can track down its health easily. While the CPU stress test will show you if the hardware is fine or not, keeping the software in a good shape is another duty for you.

Hence, to maintain your PC, and slow down its ageing, always keep the software updated and keep the hardware clean and tidy. If you think any of your friends or colleagues need to read this article, don’t forget to share it with them right away.



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