That new game doesn't run smoothly, your video editor falters and your PC sometimes just restarts – apparently your computer is reaching its limits. Difficult, because is it the memory, the processor, the disk or the graphics card? Fortunately, there are tools that accurately measure and benchmark the performance of your system and the various components, so that you choose the right solution. These are the best benchmark tools.
When your system is acting cranky or slowing down noticeably, it is often not clear exactly what is causing it. The performance of your PC is simply a complex interplay of software and various hardware components. For example, imagine that you put more memory in your PC or buy a new graphics card and then it doesn't seem to help. In order to find the right solution, it is therefore useful to accurately measure the performance of various system components and, if necessary, to compare them with other systems.
In this article you will discover a series of tools with which you can perform the necessary measurements and benchmarks. In benchmarks there is a distinction between real world (or real time) benchmarkers and synthetic (or artificial) benchmarkers. The first uses existing applications to map performance, while the second mimics applications and calculates the performance score based on that. Both are discussed here. But before we dive into the external tools, let's take a look at what Windows itself already has on board.
01 Performance Monitor
Windows itself has some tools that come close to what benchmarkers and burn-in tests do. For example, the Memory Checker (press Windows Key+R and enter mdsched off), the Resource Monitor (press Ctrl+Shift+Esc, go to the tab Performance and click Open Resource Monitor) and the Reliability Checker (press Windows Key+R and enter perfmon /rel from).
We limit ourselves with this to a built-in performance meter. Make sure you are logged in as an administrator, press Windows key + R and enter perfmon from. In the left panel, open Monitoring Tools / Performance Monitor. An empty graph appears on the right: indicate here which system component the tool should measure and in the graph. Therefore, press the green plus button, after which you can choose from various computer items in a drop-down menu. Click an arrow next to such an item for even more detailed options. To give you an idea: at Physical Disk you will find no less than 21 different measurable parts. click on Add>>to the desired parts and confirm with OK.
02 Data Collector Set
One downside to this is that these performance metrics are just a snapshot (unless you have the time to observe the graph for a longer period of time). There is also an option to have that performance measured over longer periods. Click on the left panel to do so Data Collector Sets and right click on User defined. Here you choose New / Data Collector Set. Provide an appropriate name and tick Create manually (advanced) at. Press Next one and select – for our purposes – Performance counter (if you prefer to follow certain registry values, choose here System Configuration Information). Press . again Next one and tick all the desired items via Add. Determine a suitable interval for each of these items and confirm with Next one (2x). Choose Start this data collector set now or choose Save and Close if you don't want to run the set until later. Finish with Complete.
You can start or stop the check at any time by selecting your set at Data Collector Sets / User Defined / and pressing the start or stop button. Afterwards you can view the results by clicking Reports / User Defined double clicking on your set name.
You can schedule at Data Collector Sets right-click your set and Characteristics to select. You add the desired times on the tab Scheme and on the tab Stop condition indicate the conditions under which you want the check to stop automatically.
03 System: UBM
A versatile benchmarker that measures the performance of various system components is UserBenchMark (UBM). Visit www.userbenchmark.com to download the tool. As soon as you start the portable program, you will see which components are being benchmarked: CPU, GPU, memory, hard drives and USB storage media. You start it via the run-key; leave your PC alone during this two-minute operation. If necessary, indicate in your firewall that it is reliable software; keep in mind that the test results are uploaded to the UBM server.
After the test, the report will appear in your browser. UBM makes clear how your system performs with funny ratings from tree trunk until speed boat and UFO. The criteria that UBM uses for each type of PC, such as gaming pc, desktop and workstation, can be found here. For a gaming PC, for example, that would be: 25%GCPU+50%GPU+15%SSD+10%HDD.
04 UBM detail information
What's the next step if your PC turns out to be a gaming speed boat? You will find much more useful feedback than that on the UBM webpage. You get detailed results for all tested system components and insight into what exactly was tested. If you click on a question mark next to such a test item, you will receive the corresponding explanation.
Even lower down the page, it becomes especially interesting when you consider replacing a system component with a better one. Click on the part for that Custom PC Builder on Explore upgrades for this PC. At the top left of the page you check the current parts of the tested PC, at the top right the parts of a possible alternative. Suppose you are considering replacing the graphics card. Then first open the tab GPU – you will also find the tabs here CPU, SSD, HDD, RAM and MBD (motherboard) back - and then click at Change Alternative GPU an alternative model. Here you can choose what is important to you: the performance (bench), the price (Buy) or the combination of price and performance ratio (Value). After the adjustment, you can read at the top right what such an upgrade will yield you. You can also compare your own part and your alternative via the Compare-knob. This gives you a very detailed comparison, based on the results of (often many thousands) other UBM users. So very educational.
05 System: Novabench
If you prefer to decide for yourself which components you want to test, try the Novabench tool (available for macOS, Linux and Windows 64 bit). Here you can decide for yourself whether you want to upload the test results to the Novabench servers or not. Keep in mind some limitations in the free version: for example, no test scripts or scheduled tests are possible.
Press the button Start Tests then all tests are performed. Through Tests / Individual Test you can choose between CPU, GPU, RAM and disc. In any case, there is nothing to criticize about the waiting time: it beeps within two minutes. The result is an overall score and a score for each of the components tested. Not too much depth, but you still get some details, such as the float, integer and hash-ops (cpu), speed in MB/s (ram), fps and Gflops (gpu) and the read and write speeds in MB/s (disk).
To compare your own system with previously tested systems, click on View Performance Charts and Comparisons. You can register for this, but it can also be done anonymously. Then you have the choice of three buttons: Performance Analysis (with which you compare your own cpu and gpu scores against the average scores of comparable systems), Baseline Comparison (to compare your overall score, your cpu and gpu score with certain types of PCs) and Add to Comparison Chart (so you can directly compare your results with other results).
There are also tools that focus on benchmarking a specific system component, such as CPUID CPU-Z which tests the central processor. First you will see the CPU tab with detailed technical information about your processor – here you will also find tabs with information about your motherboard (Main board), memory (memory and SPD) and GPU (graphics).
The actual benchmarks can be found on the bench. Of Bench CPU you start the test and after a few seconds the result appears in the form of a number, both for Single Thread like with Multi Thread. With the latter you can also set the number of simultaneous threads yourself. What the result actually means becomes clearer when you Reference select another CPU from a model list to compare with. You will immediately notice how well your own CPU is performing. You can compare with many more CPUs via //valid.x86.fr/bench/, where you replaces with a number between 1 and 16, depending on the number of simultaneous threads you want to compare to (for example: //valid.x86.fr/8).
You will also find on the tab bench still the button Stress CPU on, with which you load your cpu 100%, until you press the button again. You will notice this when you click on the tab in the Windows Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc). Performance consults and Processor selects. Such a stress test shows, for example, how stable an overclocked CPU actually is.
Do you have a specific game in mind, but are you unsure whether your system can handle it? You can test that very easily with Can You Run It. You select the desired game, after which you click Can You Run It clicks. Accept the associated download and run the tool to check your hardware specifications. Then the tool shows you on the website whether your system meets the requirements of the game via the various components such as gpu, cpu, ram and os. In addition, you can discover via the link Click here to see which games you can run how many of the approximately 6,000 games in the database meet both the minimum and recommended system requirements.
One of UNIGINE's more recent synthetic benchmarkers is Superposition. The basic version is free and you can use it to test how well your system can handle (game) graphics.
Start the tool, click Benchmark and tick Performance on – the option stress is only available in the paid editions. Bee preset you can choose from several resolutions, such as 720p, 1080p, 4K and 8K. Bee 1080p there are three possibilities: Medium, high and extreme. The quality of the shaders and textures is automatically adjusted to your choice. Do you want options like full screen, resolution, Depth of Field and Motion Blur set it yourself, choose at preset in front of custom. At the bottom you can see the total and the amount of video RAM available. Click on the question mark for a detailed guide.
Press on the button RUN to start the benchmark test. You will now see a number of graphic scenes where you can read the fps (frames per second). Afterwards you can save the result and Compare results online compare with other systems. Also nice: via the button game you run comparable benchmarks, but this time it concerns interactive graphics (read: a game) where you can adjust the settings at any time.
If you only want to know the fps for a specific game, then you are better off with Bandicam. It shows you the fps in real time while you're gaming.
Of course, memory also plays an important role in the performance of your system. The amount of ram memory is often decisive, but the speed of the memory also has an influence and in addition, one ram module is not the other.
A benchmark that also puts the RAM to the test is PassMark Performance Test (30-day free trial). Start the tool and press the button Memory Mark. It consists of seven tests that you can start all at once or each separately (via run). This includes read and write tests, a latency test and some intensive database operations.
A minute later you will receive the total score and various partial scores. You can then compare the total score with all kinds of other systems or with the performance of identical ram modules.
Disk performance is also important, especially in applications where a lot of data is read or stored, such as database operations. The free tool ATTO Disk Benchmark (available for macOS and Windows after registration) can handle various disk types such as SSDs, HDDs and raid arrays and you can also set all kinds of parameters yourself. This way you can change the block sizes (I/O Size) (up to 64 MB) and the size of your test file (up to 32 GB). You can also set the maximum number of read and write commands that you want to be executed simultaneously (Queue Depth). You decide whether the benchmarker is allowed to use system buffering and caching (by checking Direct I/O and Bypass Write Cache). You can even set your own test pattern when you also have the option Verify Data turns on.
When finished, the transfer rate will appear in number of blocks per second (IO/s), both for reading and writing. The makers do not collect result data themselves, so you cannot directly compare your scores with other systems. But a Google search for, for example, 'atto disk benchmark results' may provide you with useful comparison material.
There is also AS SSD specifically for ssds, also for nvme models. Based on a number of synthetic benchmarks, this tool nicely maps the sequential and random read and write performance of your SSD.