The 12 Best Tools to Stress Test Your PC (CPU, RAM, & GPU)

Stress testing is something you may already be familiar with, or it may be something that is new to you, and you are attempting to get to grips with. While it sounds quite complicated and difficult, once you know the basics, it is fairly easy to get your head around.

The most important thing you need to know about stress testing is the different programs you can use, and which one is the most suitable option. As there are different kinds of stress testing you can carry out, you will need to choose the correct option.

The 12 Best Tools to Stress Test Your PC (CPU, RAM, & GPU)

In this article we have broken down stress testing into the three options you will want to consider — the CPU, GPU, and RAM. All of these are important to test every so often. In addition to this, we will be talking you through the best options to choose, and why stress testing is important. 

What Is Stress Testing?

Before we get into the best tools to use for stress testing, let’s talk about what this is in more detail. Stress testing is a simple concept, and it helps to determine what your PC can and can’t handle. 

While it is not overly needed for prebuilt PCs, if you have built your own PC, or if you own an older PC, it is useful. It will help to gain a better understanding of your PC and its component’s limits, and how much the PC can safely be overclocked. 

In addition to this, if you are experiencing issues with your PC it can help you to identify what the issue is, and with what component the issue is linked to. From here, you will be able to figure out what needs to be fixed with your PC.

Hardware Monitoring Tools

If you are looking to use stress testing tools, you will want to ensure that you are monitoring your Hardware. This will help to ensure that you are not pushing the PC over its limits.

In addition to this, it will help you to monitor both the load levels and temperatures of the components. All of these Hardware Monitoring Tools can be used alongside the Stress Testing Tools. 

1. GPU-Z

One of the most popular Hardware Monitoring Tools is GPU-Z. It is a great choice overall, and will allow you to monitor your GPU in particular. It is a great option when you are doing GPU stress testing.

GPU-Z will help you to keep track of aspects such as the temperatures, load, fan speed, memory, and clock speed. These are the aspects that will be affected with carrying out the stress test. Given this, it is useful to monitor how these will change as the stress test progresses.

2. Core Temp

When you are stress testing your CPU, Core Temp is a fantastic option to consider. In a similar vein to GPU-Z, Core Temp will keep track of your CPU benchmarks. Given that the CPU is the core of the PC, it is important to ensure that the stress testing is carried out safely.

By using Core Temp, you will be able to keep an eye on the temperature the CPU reaches. It is important to make a note of the maximum temperature for the CPU before carrying out the stress test, to ensure that it does not reach above this. Temperatures over the maximum will cause lasting damage to the CPU.

In addition to tracking the temperature, Core Temp will allow you to monitor the load of the CPU as a whole and for each of the cores within the CPU. 

3. HWiNF064

If you are looking for a more in-depth monitoring tool, you will want to consider HWiNF064. It allows you to keep an eye on your CPU, GPU, and RAM. If you are looking to stress test all of these components, this is a useful tool to consider. It also allows you to keep an eye on your motherboard too, which is useful. 

You can track many things with this hardware, from the temperatures while stress testing, to how well the components are working. You can also monitor aspects such as loads, and fan speeds, which is useful.

While this is more complicated to get your head around, if you are someone that is used to hardware tools, it is a great option to consider.

4. MSI Afterburner

Last, but not least, we have MSI Afterburner. This is another popular choice that is used specifically to track the GPU hardware. It can also be used for utility purposes to an extent too.

It works similarly to GPU-Z, as you can keep an eye on temperate and general benchmarking. You are also able to overclock while using this hardware, and record gameplay too. It’s one of the better options if you have a gaming PC. 

GPU

Having a GPU that performs well is essential in a gaming PC. As a result, carrying out GPU stress testing is important. All the options featured below are the most popular and are great ways of testing the GPU limits. 

However, you will need to ensure that you only use these tools sparingly. It is not wise to push your GPU to its limits often. 

5. 3DMark

3DMark is a favorite for many, and is a great option for not only PCs, but for laptops, and tablets too. As it is the most versatile option, it is easy to see why it is so popular. 

When 3DMark is benchmarking, it allows you to keep an eye on aspects such as the load, temperatures, clock speeds, and frame rate. While you can pay for the extended version of this software, the free tool is great too. 

If you are stress testing for the first time, this is the option we would recommend. You do not have to pay for it, it is easy to use, and it does not place too much pressure on the GPU as a whole. 

6. FurMark

While FurMark is a great GPU stress tool, it is not the most popular choice. This is because of the amount of stress it places on the GPU. While it is great at letting you know the GPU limits, many people believe the amount of stress it places on the GPU is unnecessary.

If you have overclocked your GPU, it could be a great option to use occasionally. However, it is not an option you will want to use often as it could potentially damage the GPU. You will want to use this tool sparingly. 

7. Heaven & Valley Benchmarks (Unigine)

When it comes to the best GPU stress tools, many people, gamers in particular, will recommend Heaven & Valley. Overall, it is a fantastic stress tool and can be used for older GPUs and those that have recently been overclocked.

What is great about this stress tool is that it does not put too much unnecessary strain on the GPU in comparison to some other tools. It is a useful option if you are looking to see how the GPU will perform under normal circumstances, in addition to when stress is placed on it. 

Heaven & Valley Benchmarks also feature VR options, which is useful, especially given that VR is becoming more popular. It allows you to test how stable your GPU is as a whole. This tool when paired with GPU-Z is a great combination. 

CPU 

The CPU is essentially the brain of the computer. As a result, it needs to be functioning correctly in order for you to get the most out of your PC. All of these tools will help to determine how well your CPU will function when pushed to its limits. 

8. Aida64

Aida64 is one of the more preferred options because it is user-friendly. It is set out easily, and it allows the stress test to act as “normally” as possible. When looking at other tests, they will focus on aspects that are not practical within the CPU. 

However, Aida64 places the CPU under stress in a more realistic situation, in the same way that it would be put under stress for everyday use, just in a more extreme way. This is why it is a preferred option for many. 

In addition to this, the load it places on the CPU is at 100%, which will push your CPU to its limits. 

9. IntelBurn Test

IntelBurn is another fairly popular choice. Just like with Aida64, it ensures that the CPU has been pushed to its limits, and places a high load on it to determine how it copes with this stress.

It is simple to use, and is a good way of testing the stability of the CPU. However, given that it pushes the PU to the max, it is not recommended for regular use. Many people do not like how much stress it inflicts, which is understandable, especially with overclocked CPUs.

10. Prime95

Prime95 is a fairly popular stress testing tool that was created by GIMPS. It is clever in how it operates as it, like the name suggests, focuses on prime numbers by using equations. 

By doing this, it tests your CPUs capabilities, focusing specifically on aspects such as operation. It ensures that the cores and threads are working as they should be. It is particularly useful to use if you have recently overclocked your CPU, too.

While this is a useful tool, it is not the most user-friendly in comparison to some other stress tools. As a result, it is often avoided by beginners.

RAM

While testing the RAM isn’t as essentially as checking your CPU and GPU, it is still useful. The RAM is responsible for your PCs memory. Given this, you will want to ensure that it is functioning correctly.

This is useful to check after a PC has been overclocked. The last thing you want to happen is for the RAM to not function, and you lose your memory.  

11. MemTest86

MemTest86 is a great way of determining whether your RAM is acting accordingly. It will help to notify you of any problems it encounters.

This is important as you want to avoid RAM issues. If your RAM is working incorrectly, this will cause problems with the system memory, and the saving of programs and games. 

It is created by PassMark, and is an option that is popular with many users. It is fairly easy to use on the whole, and the way it is set up is simple. 

12. Prime95(Blend Test)

While we have already covered Prime95 in the CPU section, did you know that it can be used to test your RAM too? While it is a tool we would not recommend using often due to how much stress it puts your PC under, it is a useful option.

If you have recently overclocked your PC, it is a useful option. But, it is worth keeping in mind that overusing a stress tool will put unnecessary strain on the PC and the RAM. 

If you are planning to use Prime95, you will want to choose the Blend Test option, as this is what will stress test the RAM. However, it does not allow you to check for errors. If you are looking to check for this, we would recommend MemTest86 as an alternative. 

Summary

We hope that you have found this article useful. These stress tests and hardware tools are all great options. While some will work better than others, it all depends on what you are looking to test, and the PC build itself. 

While it is useful to stress test your PC, especially with an older system, or just after overclocking, this is something you will not want to make a habit out of doing. 

Though it helps you to see how your PC and components manage when put under stress, carrying out too many tests, or carrying out a test for too long can have a negative impact on how well your PC operates.

Stephen Deane

Stephen is a gaming and tech enthusiast. He has been playing computer games since the Commodore 64 days in the 80s. He has worked as Broadcast Engineer with BBC News and knows a thing or two about building, fixing, and playing with PCs.