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Novice PC Builder running at stock speeds - stress testing necessary?

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December 18, 2011 8:37:41 PM

Hey there,

I've finally gotten around to building my first gaming PC (hurray!), and am excitedly awaiting the parts due to arrive tomorrow. I've done a ton of research over these past 6 weeks or so, and built a nice, frugal gaming PC for The Old Republic (Phenom X4 970 3.5 ghz stock, radeon 6770, 8gb ram, 500w PSU, etc).

However, I have read conflicting reports about stress testing, i.e. which programs to use, how long they should run, before or after the OS is installed, etc. I recently came across a thread stating that a gaming rig running stock speeds doesn't necessitate any stress testing whatsoever.

Can any veteran enlighten me as to whether I need to stress test my build with everything running at stock speeds, including the use of the stock CPU heatsink? If so, what programs would you recommend, and for how long should they run? Thanks.

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a b 4 Gaming
December 18, 2011 9:25:45 PM

Stress testing isn't necessary. It's mainly used to ensure stability when going for high overclocks. Since you're running at stock you shouldn't have those issues.

That said I've thrown a few links below for your pleasure. They will make sure your system is in tip top shape :) 

http://www.memtest.org/#downiso (for RAM)
http://www.geeks3d.com/20110825/download-msi-kombustor-... (for the 6770)
http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=103 (for the CPU)

Cheers mate!
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December 18, 2011 9:33:27 PM

Kuzri said:
Hey there,

I've finally gotten around to building my first gaming PC (hurray!), and am excitedly awaiting the parts due to arrive tomorrow. I've done a ton of research over these past 6 weeks or so, and built a nice, frugal gaming PC for The Old Republic (Phenom X4 970 3.5 ghz stock, radeon 6770, 8gb ram, 500w PSU, etc).

However, I have read conflicting reports about stress testing, i.e. which programs to use, how long they should run, before or after the OS is installed, etc. I recently came across a thread stating that a gaming rig running stock speeds doesn't necessitate any stress testing whatsoever.

Can any veteran enlighten me as to whether I need to stress test my build with everything running at stock speeds, including the use of the stock CPU heatsink? If so, what programs would you recommend, and for how long should they run? Thanks.



I'm no veteran but from my experience Prime 95 is a good program to test your PC. Although some people would say that it is not necessary to stress test stock speeds, (which is true for gaming) a lot of people who game still may do video encoding and may not have necessarily seen what temperatures the CPU will run at 100% load on a stock cooler. I recently built an I7 2600 with stock cooler, and did some video encoding, it ran the CPU at 100% load, but also had temperatures above 90 degrees. (which obviously is very hot) (28 degrees at idle)

I don't know the exact length of time to run the stress test, others probably know a better answer then I, but when I ran the stress test again at 100% CPU load with a aftermarket Zalman Cooler, it did not get above 56 degrees celsius even after 10/15 minutes.

The stock cooler is fine for idle and up to 50% CPU usage, but anything higher then this the temperatures can potentially damage the CPU.

Hope that helps.
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December 18, 2011 9:39:11 PM

Thanks Striker, appreciate the info :D .

Nate, thanks as well.

While I was assured by many that the stock cooler for the Phenom X4 970 was adequate, I still am a bit nervous about using it for 8-hour gaming binges for precisely those reasons. I suppose I should invest 20-30 dollars in an aftermarket cooler...
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a b 4 Gaming
December 18, 2011 9:54:35 PM

The stock cooler is designed to handle the CPU. Nate, I'm thinking you may have some bad thermal paste. That's REALLY hot for a 2600, no matter what cooler it's on.

Kuzri you'll be fine. If you want to overclock I would suggest you get an aftermarket cooler. Otherwise you're ok. I have a friend who has a similar chip on a stock cooler (Phenom X4 overclocked to 3.5GHz) and his temps never go above 60c.
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December 18, 2011 10:03:34 PM

striker410 said:
The stock cooler is designed to handle the CPU. Nate, I'm thinking you may have some bad thermal paste. That's REALLY hot for a 2600, no matter what cooler it's on.

Kuzri you'll be fine. If you want to overclock I would suggest you get an aftermarket cooler. Otherwise you're ok. I have a friend who has a similar chip on a stock cooler (Phenom X4 overclocked to 3.5GHz) and his temps never go above 60c.


Excellent, thanks again! I'll just run a temperature monitor while i play my games to be safe :) .
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December 18, 2011 10:07:56 PM

Best answer selected by Kuzri.
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