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How to stress test a CPU

How to stress test a CPU? Let's find out

Updated: Mar 17, 2023 2:20 pm
How to stress test a CPU

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A stress test helps you ensure your CPU is working as intended. Not only can you confirm that your processor is delivering the level of performance you expected, but you can also validate max temperatures during the stress to determine if your CPU cooling solution is working properly. So, without any further ado, here’s how to stress test a CPU. 

Now Read: How to stress test CPU and RAM

Stress testing safely

But a quick warning before we begin: stress testing places a lot of stress on not only your processor but also on many of the components that work in tandem with it.

There are reports of users having damaged their hardware by running stress tests with extreme overclocks, without an appropriate cooling solution, with an unreliable power supply unit, or with an entry-level motherboard with low-quality VRMS (Voltage Regulation Modules). 

Have the four of these bases covered before running extensive stress tests on your system. 

Choose a stress testing or benchmarking software

Of course, to run a stress test, you will need software that provides you with the facility. You have multiple options available here. Some of the more popular stress testing software available today include

They each have their pros and cons, but if we’re being honest, the difference mostly comes down to the interface and design. These are all very effective stress tests and will push your CPU to its absolute limits, so you can go with any of them. 

Aida64 will cost you roughly $40 while the others are free. 

Choose a resource-monitoring software

In addition to stress testing software, you’ll also need resource-monitoring software. This will help you monitor metrics such as your CPU’s overall utilization, clock frequencies for individual cores, power consumption, running voltage, and of course, temperatures.

Some of the more popular options available to you for CPU monitoring are:

MSI Afterburner and GPU-Z are more GPU-centric test software, but they show you stats for your CPU on the side as well, which means we can use them here. 

Close background and applications

Once you’re done choosing your two software – one for testing and one for monitoring – go ahead and close all other background applications that might take resources away from the testing software. 

Make sure resource-intensive processes such as Windows Installer or Windows Defender aren’t actively using up resources in the background. You can check by using Task Manager. Launch the application with the Ctrl + Shift + Esc shortcut.

You can either wait till these processes are complete (usually only takes a few minutes) or shut them down forcefully, although we don’t recommend doing the latter. 

Closing background tasks and processes will help you get a more accurate result. 

Stress test your CPU

At this point, you can run a stress test on the software of your choosing. Keep the test going for at least a few minutes to allow things to stabilize, especially your temperatures, which will take some time to reach and stabilize at their peak value. 

If, at any point, you begin to notice glitches or anomalies with your display, play it safe and abort the stress test. Either one of your power delivery or cooling components isn’t pulling its own weight, or your CPU overclock is too high for stability, and continuing the test could result in damage to your hardware. 

Of course, most well-built systems will complete their stress test with ease, even if temperatures end up being higher than ideal. Modern CPUs (and other components) are much more resilient than you’d think and have built-in protection against common issues such as overheating. 

Final words

We hope this article helped you conduct a stress test and get a better idea of your CPU’s performance metrics successfully. If you weren’t quite pleased with the results, check out our article on lowering CPU temperature to find out where the error might lie and what you can do about it. 

Jack is a Tech and News Writer who has a vast and proficient knowledge of CPUs, Motherboards, and Computer technology.

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