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How to Stress-Test Graphics Cards (Like We Do)

FurMark & OCCT

FurMark

The undisputed classic among so-called "power viruses" is FurMark. It can generate loads that normal games or applications will never hit. As a result, you want to use FurMark for identifying cooling issues or a graphics card’s potentially unstable power supply. It’s not necessarily suitable as an overclocking stability test, though. Download FurMark here.

Visual errors and artifacts do occur in FurMark when GPU or memory frequencies are pushed beyond their limits, but the more significant errors and crashes show up earlier in games like The Witcher 3. This means that FurMark is largely useless for realistic tests, especially since some drivers recognize it and automatically limit power. Renaming the executable is usually a suitable workaround.

If you're testing a multi-GPU configuration, FurMark needs to be used in full-screen mode. Windowed mode only utilizes the primary graphics card!

GPUPackageVRMMemoryPower
Measurement64 °C87.5 °C78.9 °C71.6 °C102.2W
Compared to Maximum98.5%97.1%93.4%98.5%98.6%
Assessment- Very high power consumption- Very high GPU temperature for cooling tests- Very high package temperature for stability tests- Comparatively high memory temperature- Loads are not realistic
Use for- Cooling test- Establishing the maximum power consumption (power consumption limit)

OCCT

OCCT offers a demanding GPU stress test as well. In fact, it generates the highest package temperatures of any software that we evaluated. As with FurMark, use full-screen mode for maximum load and arrays of multiple graphics cards.

This software also produces some of the highest power consumption results we've seen, making it ideal for probing power limits and the effectiveness of coolers. Download OCCT here.

If you're running Windows 10 (build 1709 and higher), set OCCT to DirectX 9 mode for safe operation. The DirectX 11 setting either didn’t work at all or caused our systems to become unstable. Fortunately, DirectX 9 does produce incredibly high temperatures. OCCT’s not suitable for memory and overclocking testing, though. It keeps going after The Witcher 3 has already crashed.

GPUPackageVRMMemoryPower
Measurement64 °C90.1 °C81.3 °C68.5 °C103.3W
Compared to Maximum98.5%100%96.0%94.2%99.6%
Assessment- Second-highest power consumption- Very high GPU temperature for cooling tests- Extremely high package temperature for stability tests- Medium memory temperature- Loads are not realistic
Use for- Cooling test- Establishing the maximum power consumption (power consumption limit)


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  • phobicsq
    Doesn't hwmonitor cost money?
    Reply
  • FormatC
    HWiNFO is free :)
    Reply
  • Th_Redman
    Great article of information Igor(and Tom's, of course). I use a number of these stress tests and your article listed some I've never heard of or read about, so thank you.
    Reply
  • Jay E
    But did you eat the egg?
    Reply
  • Unolocogringo
    Very nice article to point newbie overclockers towards. You have to have some basic understanding if you want to overclock successfully.
    I have overclocked everything possible since my first overclock.A pentium 75mhz I overclocked to 90mhz. This was mid to late 1996. I learned how to do it from This site. Toms Hardware (sysdoc.pair.com back then).
    Since I overclock every thing to stable 100% load 24/7/365 for Folding@Home and occasional gaming, It must be 100% stable for correct folding results. And of course gaming with my son and grandson.
    I use most of the tests and tools you do, except for the fancy thermal images, to achieve this. Nice to know my testing methods are the Same as yours, but mine last 36 to 48 hours on final overclock settings before being put into service.


    Overclocking is a serious affliction , even my non overclockable SuperMicro 2p server board is overclocked from 2.5 to 3.0 on all 8 cores and folding away for years. :)
    Enjoyed your article and testing methodology explained. Thanks
    Reply
  • ddferrari
    For my uses (gaming, surfing) I see no reason to push a component to its power or thermal limit via synthetic tests. All that does is shorten its life span. I don't care if my OC fails during a multiple hour, unrealistic load. If it runs fine during real-world usage then I'm satisfied.

    All my components are overclocked, and I test them for stability the old fashioned way: I USE them. They key is to overclock only one component at a time and see if problems arise while gaming. I keep bumping up the OC until an issue pops up- then I know where the maximum lies.

    There seems to be a lot of monkey-see-monkey-do going on around the internet these days.
    Reply
  • stonedwookie
    We dont care about the stats what we want to know is did the eggs taste good?
    what would you rate the eggs ?
    Reply
  • FormatC
    The egg got only three-stars rating (3/5).

    The reason why:
    It was simply too long for my taste and it is a real pain to look over such a long time at this egg if you are hungry :P
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    What is the best thermal paste to use for a mining rig omelet pan?
    Reply
  • FormatC
    Olive Oil. The best taste :)
    Reply