How We Test Desktop PCs. How to test how good your pc is

In addition to the easy benefits of testing, sharing, and comparing, UserBenchmark can also be good at diagnosing your system. For example, if one of your drives starts to run slower than average drives of the same make and model, UserBenchmark will detect this and notify you if this component is performing below expectations.

5 Hardware Tests That You Need to Perform on Your PC

While the operating system and all other software that is installed on our computers can run for a long time without major problems, the hardware on which this software is installed is usually taken for granted. Most of us assume that when our computers perform well in terms of software, the hardware also works well.

As long as your computer is well maintained and is protected by enough software against all viruses and other forms of malware, it will run quite well, but that doesn’t mean the hardware doesn’t need to be checked and maintained. A perfectly functioning operating system / software does not necessarily mean that the hardware is working just as perfectly. You can have your software running smoothly for a while, but later when your hardware fails it can affect all of these great results.

This is the reason why you need to test your hardware every now and then to make sure everything works great on your PC – both in terms of software and hardware! In this tutorial, we’re going to go over 5 ways to test your PC’s hardware to make sure it’s running at peak performance all the time, so read everything from top to bottom and follow the steps we’ll show you below. You can also use these steps when testing the hardware before finally purchasing a computer in a store or from a friend who sells it to you.

Check the Keys!

In addition to the physical damage the keyboard can have especially on previously liked or used computers, you should also make sure all of them are really working without needing to be pressed harder than usual. This important part of any computer is exposed to dust and other particles that can make some keys inoperable when pressed lightly or normally. Since the keyboard is used for almost all the tasks you do on your computer, you’ll need to test it regularly, or if you’re planning to buy your favorite machine, you’ll really need to test everything to see if it’s working to avoid costly repairs.


Keyboard testing can be performed online using or offline using KeyboardTest software with a 30-day free trial. To avoid broken keys on your computer, we recommend that you clean it of dust and avoid spilling other particles on it, especially liquids, and of course regularly check the keys that require firm pressure so that you can clean the keyboard, wipe it dry, or take other necessary steps to restore normal operation and avoid complete breakdown!

CrystalDiskMark does not report access lagging though, so it’s a good idea to use a tool like HD Tune, IOMeter, or Physical Disk Benchmark in SiSoft SANDRA 2012 for this purpose.

Productivity Testing

Our first task is to evaluate the daily performance of your computer using the UL PCMark 10 test, which simulates the actual productivity and workflows of content creation.

We use PCMark 10 software to evaluate the overall performance of office tasks such as word processing, spreadsheet jockey, web browsing and video conferencing. The test produces a proprietary numerical score; higher numbers are better and the results are significant in comparison to each other.

We run the main test package that came with the software, not the Express or Extended version. Note that with all other parameters, a higher screen resolution will reduce system performance in PCMark 10. (The more pixels to transfer, the more resources required). As a result, we run the test on all desktops at 1920 by 1080 pixels. (1080p), except for all-in-one (AIO) desktops with built-in displays. They are tested in their native screen resolution which may be higher or lower than 1080p.

We also conduct a full PCMark 10 system disk storage subtest, which measures program load times and boot disk throughput. Like the Productivity Test, the PCMark 10 Storage Test provides a numerical result, with higher values ​​indicating a faster response. The test was designed to take into account the lower Serial ATA bus architectures and the higher class PCI Express / NVMe. Its purpose is to quantify the actual performance differences that can be attributed to these different disk types.

Next in line is the Cinebench R23 test, which loads the Maxon processor. We run this test with the All Cores setting to use all available CPU cores and threads. Derived from Maxon’s Cinema 4D modeling and rendering software, this is a fully threaded test of CPU power. Think of it as a total CPU deadlift.

Cinebench puts emphasis on the CPU, not the GPU, to render a complex image. The result is a proprietary score indicating the suitability of a PC for CPU-intensive workloads when used with software that is fully threaded.

Primate Labs Geekbench is another CPU training session. It supports a range of CPU workloads designed to simulate real-world applications, from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning. We record the Multi-Core Score Geekbench. (Larger numbers are better.) Geekbench is especially useful because, unlike many other popular benchmarks, it has cross-platform versions (including Apple’s macOS and iOS) that can enable valuable cross comparisons.

Cinebench and Geekbench are often good predictors of our HandBrake video editing test. This is another tough, multi-threaded workout that is heavily CPU-dependent and scales just like you add cores and threads. In this test, we put a stopwatch on the test systems while transcoding a standard 12-minute 4K video clip (Blender’s short open source Tear of Steel demo video) to a 1080p MP4 file. We are using the HandBrake App Fast 1080p30 setting for this timing test. The lower scores (i.e faster times) are better.

Our latest productivity test is PugetBench for Photoshop by Puget Systems, which uses Adobe’s popular image editor to measure a computer’s ability to create multimedia content and applications.

PugetBench performs a wide range of general and GPU accelerated Photoshop tasks, from opening, resizing, rotating and saving an image to applying masks, gradient fills, and filters (including lens correction, smart sharpening, field blur, and pan and tilt blur).

Graphics Performance Testing

Evaluating graphics performance requires testing that is difficult on any system but makes meaningful field comparisons. We use some benchmarks which report their own results, while others measure the number of frames per second (fps), the rate at which graphics hardware renders frames in sequence, which translates into a smooth scene in motion.

The first graphics test we use is UL’s 3DMark. The 3DMark suite consists of a number of different subtests that measure the relative strength of the graphics by rendering a sequence of very detailed 3D graphics in a game-style. Many of these tests focus on particles and lighting.

We run two DirectX 12 3DMark tests on all PCs: Night Raid and Time Spy. The former is the more modest of the two workloads, suitable for PCs with integrated graphics. It is designed for lower power systems, popular systems and renderings at a simulated resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. Time Spy is much more demanding, suitable for high-end PCs with the latest graphics cards. Renders in a simulated resolution of 2560 by 1440 pixels. The test uses the functions of the DX12 API, including asynchronous computation, explicit multi-tab support, and multi-threading.

Each test gives an overall score that we report. (We don’t separate graphics and CPU results.) Higher numbers are better.

Also in our mix is ​​another synthetic graphics test, the GFXBench. It is a cross-platform GPU performance test that tests both low-level procedures such as texturing and high-level, game-like image rendering. We are running two of its subtests, Aztec Ruins and Car Chase, rendered off-screen to accommodate different screen resolutions.

Both Aztec Ruins (1440p) and Car Chase (1080p) use graphics and computational shaders, but the former relies on the OpenGL Application Programming Interface (API), while the latter uses hardware tessellation. The results are in frames per second (fps); higher numbers are better.

These synthetic tests are helpful in measuring your overall 3D graphics ability, but it’s hard to beat all retail video games when it comes to evaluating gaming performance. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, F1 2021, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege are modern, high-fidelity titles with built-in benchmarks that illustrate how the system handles real-world video games under a variety of settings.

We run these three games at both their moderate and maximum graphics quality settings. We test at 1080p by default, sometimes also at higher resolutions, e.g. 3840 by 2160 pixels (4K), if the system configuration allows it. We also test all-in-one desktops at their native screen resolution, if it’s not 1080p or 4K.

In some cases, we run F1 2021 twice to see how much Nvidia’s DLSS technology can help weaker desktops. Our first F1 test is performed with TAA anti-aliasing, but on the second run, we switch the anti-aliasing setting to DLSS, if supported, to improve FPS.

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Improve Your PC Speed

There are several actions you can take based on your speed test results. Here are just some of the actions you can take.

PC Settings

Occasionally, computer settings can be in the way of optimal performance. Let’s take power settings for example. Moving to high performance can give your PC the acceleration it needs to run faster.

Open Control Panel and go to View by: Category.

Go to Hardware and Sound> Power Options. Select High Performance.

Slow on Startup

If your PC is only slow at startup, it’s possible it is stuck with applications that start at startup.

Right-click Start and select Task Manager. Go to the Startup tab. Here you will find a list of programs that run as soon as you start your computer. You can turn off apps that you don’t use often.

Right-click the unnecessary application and select Disable so that it does not run at startup.

Slow Internet

If you find that only the internet is slow, disabling OneDrive may actually help.

OneDrive works by constantly syncing files to the cloud, which can reduce your internet speed. The same principle applies to other cloud-based services such as Dropbox.

Go to the system tray and right-click the OneDrive icon. Click on Settings.

On the Settings tab, uncheck Start OneDrive automatically when you sign in to Windows.

You can also disconnect OneDrive by clicking Disconnect OneDrive.

Full Hard Drive

Windows 10 has a feature called Storage Sense. Automatically deletes files you don’t need, so storage never slows down your computer.

Go to Windows Settings> Memory. Turn on the Memory Sense feature to activate this feature.

Clicking Change how you automatically free up space gives you control over how often files are deleted.

Windows Troubleshooter

When all else fails, you can use the Windows troubleshooter to find out what is causing the problem.

Open the Control Panel and go to System and Security> Security and Maintenance. Expand the Maintenance section.

Click Start Maintenance in the Automatic Maintenance subsection.

Christopher Jan Benitez is a freelance writer for hire who provides useful and useful web content to small businesses and start-ups. In his spare time, he watches professional wrestling and finds solace in listening to 80’s speed metal. Read Christopher’s full biography

After doing the benchmarking, you get a results screen and the ability to compare your computer with many others, including “entry level” computers at different price points and comparisons with similarly equipped personal computers.

Find Windows System Score

In a very similar way to the Index, this method gives a numerical value for the system performance.

  1. Begin by right-clicking on the Windows Start menu, then “Search” in the context list.
  1. Then type “Windows PowerShell” in the blank search field.
  2. Right-click on the first result with the same name and select “Run as administrator”. This will open a Windows PowerShell window that is visually similar to the command prompt.
  3. Type “Get-WmiObject -class Win32_WinSAT” in Windows PowerShell and press Enter.
  1. The results will show a score for every aspect of your system including CPU, memory, graphics, hard drive, etc. The score is in line with the score previously reported by the Windows Experience Index.

Use Third-Party Benchmarking Software

If the workaround options inherent in Windows 10 don’t limit the proverbial mustard of benchmarks, your next step is to find a third-party benchmark tool. Which one comes down to personal preference, so we recommend experimenting with a few until you find one that suits your needs.

How to test your computer's performance

We rate UserBenchmark for its user-friendly nature as well as the ability to compare the results with other systems, and Catzilla for throwing all sorts of stuff onto your computer to get an exact snapshot of what it is capable of when pushed to the limit.

Alternative but equally great benchmarking tools include Prime95, valued by overclockers for CPU testing, and the ever-popular Sandra, which provides comprehensive benchmarks among a host of other features.

For example, we are heading to UserBenchmark. Before running any test tool, we recommend that you restart your computer, close all applications, and do not use your computer during the test. This ensures accurate, intact results.

The key function of the application is the “Self Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology” (SMART) test. It provides data on several aspects of disks, including read error rates, reallocated sectors, spin time, and more.


The most common method of evaluating memory performance is through synthetic tests designed to determine peak bandwidth and latency. Performance variables include the operating frequency and memory capacity, and the number of channels used by the system.

AIDA64 Extreme Edition has an excellent built-in memory benchmark that tests read, write and copy bandwidth as well as latency; but it’s only available as a limited trial period, unless you pay for the full edit of the tool.

The free SiSoft SANDRA 2012 edition also offers memory bandwidth and latency tests. Reports throughput results in gigabytes per second (GBps) and latency in nanoseconds. The tests are easy to perform and take a while. A system based on an Intel Core i7-2700K processor with 8 GB of DDR3-1333 MHz system memory operating in a dual-channel configuration (two memory cards) should offer a bandwidth of about 16 GB / s with an access delay in the range of 29 ns. A memory with a higher clock speed should provide more bandwidth and lower latency.

The SiSoft SANDRA 2012 memory bandwidth benchmark tests peak bandwidth using both integer and floating point tests.


CrystalDIskMark is an excellent tool for testing disk read and write performance at many different transfer sizes. To properly test the performance of your hard drive or SSD, it’s best to use a benchmark that evaluates read and write transfer speeds (for both sequential and random workloads) as well as access latency. Trace-based tests, such as those used in PCMark, which track performance over time with simulated application workloads, are also very useful.

One of the better free disk performance testing tools is CrystalDiskMark. This benchmark is especially useful as it tests both sequential and random read and write speeds at large and small block sizes and at queue depths up to 32. The Corsair SATA II SSD obtained the results shown in the screenshot on the right. Hard drive scores will be significantly lower, but most newer SATA III SSDs will score higher.

CrystalDiskMark does not report access lagging though, so it’s a good idea to use a tool like HD Tune, IOMeter, or Physical Disk Benchmark in SiSoft SANDRA 2012 for this purpose.

Today we will tell you everything you need to know about testing the performance of your computer. This will include a brief explanation of what benchmarks are, the differences between gaming and synthetic benchmarks, what components should be tested on your system, and our recommended tools for testing these components.

How to Benchmark my PCs GPU?

Unigine Heaven

While it may be an older benchmark, it is still an enthusiast’s favorite for several key reasons:

  • In fact, it was way ahead of its time
  • It looks pretty nice

Unigine Heaven was released in 2009, but GPUs that could perform well at higher settings only appeared in 2012 with the launch of the GTX 600 series. It’s a great benchmarking app that can run on both older GPUs as well as modern graphics processors, thanks to the excellent support for DirectX 11 functions and age, which makes it easy to compare graphics processors from different eras in real performance values.

The best part? Most of them are completely free. While some of the more advanced features (such as per-frame analysis and auto-looping benchmark) are locked in at the higher levels, the basic testing features should be sufficient in the free benchmark version.


If you need another free benchmark but a more… modern one, we recommend Basemark. Basemark tests for Vulkan 1.0, Open GL 4.5 and OpenGL ES 3.1 support and functionality with more GUIs to come. In addition to being available for desktops, it is also available for smartphones, smart TVs, and even cars. (Probably a self-propelled variety.)

In terms of benchmarks, this is a much newer player in the scene and probably won’t be very useful with older GPUs. However, it’s a great way to see how a modern GPU is dealing with heavy graphics effects like depth of field, advanced lighting, etc.


Last but certainly not least is the premium industry standard: 3DMark. 3DMark is certainly one of the most popular GPU test suites, thanks to the extensive range of tests released over the last decade. When people want to show off benchmark results, 3DMark is one of the most used apps, but there’s a catch.

Namely, it’s not free. If you want it – even for individual use – you’ll have to pay $ 29.99, unless it’s on sale. That being said, 3DMark is definitely worth the money. For the money you pay, you get years of great graphics testing that can be run through your GPU, as well as a large community of other consumers to compare your results with.

How to Benchmark my PCs Entire System?


Due to its simplicity, the low price of the “free” ones, and the huge test community, UserBenchmark is probably my favorite full system testing application. While it may not be as precise or comprehensive as benchmarking individual GPU / CPU components, it is very good at estimating the approximate level of performance for your system and its components. Thanks to the large community of people who also use UserBenchmark, you will be able to see how your computer performs compared to computers with similar or identical specifications.

In addition to the easy benefits of testing, sharing, and comparing, UserBenchmark can also be good at diagnosing your system. For example, if one of your drives starts to run slower than average drives of the same make and model, UserBenchmark will detect this and notify you if this component is performing below expectations.


Next up is Novabench, another free full system benchmarking solution. It’s another favorite of mine– while it doesn’t have as large of a community as UserBenchmark or premium benchmarking suites, it still provides solid results and a very clean, easy-to-use UI.

Once you’ve run the benchmark, you get a results screen and the ability to compare your PC to multiple others, including “baseline” PCs for various price ranges and comparisons to other, similarly-specced PCs to your own.

PCMark 10

Finally, PCMark 10, which is a premium product. Like 3DMark, PCMark typically costs $ 30 unless it’s on sale, but offers a thorough system-wide benchmark for all your components. However, it doesn’t really offer any features that the other products mentioned don’t have, and a lot of its testing focuses on “productivity”, which is better validated by .. well, just by doing the productivity work.

Honestly, PCMark is arguably more for professional use than consumer use. However, it’s still good enough to deserve its place on this list.

The best part? Most of them are completely free. While some of the more advanced features (such as per-frame analysis and auto-looping benchmark) are locked in at the higher levels, the basic testing features should be sufficient in the free benchmark version.

Third-Party Hardware Diagnostic Apps

If you’re looking for something specific or a bit more powerful, you’ll need to resort to third-party software.

There is a lot to choose from, but here are the top four PC diagnostic apps.

1. MemTest86

MemTest86 is well-established as the best RAM testing tool in Windows. It is more powerful than Microsoft’s Windows Memory Diagnostic tool.

The application has 13 different RAM testing algorithms and supports DDR4, DDR2 and DDR3 memory. You can run it directly from a USB stick or CD, and Microsoft has signed the application code for safe boot compatibility.

Unlike the Windows utility, MemTest86 also has a full-featured graphical interface.

Download: MemTest86 (Free)

2. CrystalDiskInfo

If you want to focus on testing hard drives, you should install CrystalDiskInfo.

The key function of the application is the “Self Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology” (SMART) test. It provides data on several aspects of disks, including read error rates, reallocated sectors, spin time, and more.

CrystalDiskInfo also includes advanced power management and sound management tools.

And if you leave the app running in the background, it may even show you live alerts if your drives are too hot or suffer from other crashes.

Download: CrystalDiskInfo (Free)


HWiNFO is ahead of the competition in terms of the amount of information provided. Indeed, if you are new to the world of hardware testing, we recommend that you steer clear of it until you are familiar with the concepts and terminology. It is one of the best computer diagnostic test applications.

From the hardware test point of view, we are most interested in the application system health monitoring functions. They provide detailed, real-time reports and charts on your machine’s CPUs, GPUs, motherboards, drives and peripherals.

You can also download several add-ons that provide HWiNFO with additional functionality. These include screen tuning, widgets, and log viewers.

Download: HWiINFO (Free)

4. RWEverything

Finally, we’ll leave you a tool for uber-geeks: RWEverything. It won’t win any design awards, but it’s extremely powerful.

You can use it to check almost every aspect of every piece of hardware on your computer. More specifically, you can also write to all your hardware. This means you can adjust any setting, no matter how small.

Warning: If you don’t know what you are doing, don’t change the settings. You risk irreparable damage to your equipment.

Download: RW All (free)

Other Computer Hardware Tests

Hardware monitoring is just one part of keeping a computer healthy and running smoothly.

For more information, check out our article below on How to Check Windows Health.

image credit: kmiragaya / Depositphotos

Use these Windows 10 health reports to see how your hardware is performing and detect any problems.

Dan joined MakeUseOf in 2014 and has been Director of Partnerships as of July 2020. Contact him about sponsored content inquiries, partnership agreements, promotions, and any other form of collaboration. You can also find him wandering the dance floor every year at CES in Las Vegas, say hello if you go. Before starting his writing career, he was a financial consultant.

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