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

Component Temperatures (Package, VRM, Memory)

Package Temperature

Temperatures underneath the GPU package are quite interesting to observe. MSI Kombustor’s Memory Burner, the application that produces the highest GPU temperature, gets bumped all the way down to the lower-middle of this chart due to the power supply’s circuit design, even as other areas get hotter than average.

Consequently, OCCT is able to shine. It allows us to explore heat transfer from the GPU to its cooler, along with the potential of a backplate that might use thermal pads to draw heat away from behind the GPU package.

Voltage Converters (VRM)

The voltage converters and their temperatures are a mainstay in graphics card discussions. If the goal is to test their cooling in the best possible way, then MSI Kombustor is the only way to go. From now on, we’ll use Kombustor’s GPU Core Burner or Memory Burner, depending on the measurement area, for all of our graphics card tests. The Witcher 3, with its consistently high loads, is a solid option as well, particularly since it's an actual game.

Memory Temperatures

No other application can touch MSI Kombustor’s Memory Burner when it comes to generating high memory temperatures. It beats The Witcher 3 by a massive 9 °C. This might not be a realistic number, but it’s most definitely the way to go when evaluating a graphics card’s cooling solution.

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

MORE: Desktop GPU Performance Hierarchy Table

MORE: All Graphics Content

  • phobicsq
    Doesn't hwmonitor cost money?
  • FormatC
    HWiNFO is free :)
  • 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.
  • Jay E
    But did you eat the egg?
  • 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 ( 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
  • 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.
  • stonedwookie
    We dont care about the stats what we want to know is did the eggs taste good?
    what would you rate the eggs ?
  • 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
  • Co BIY
    What is the best thermal paste to use for a mining rig omelet pan?
  • FormatC
    Olive Oil. The best taste :)