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How to Stress-Test CPUs and PCs (Like We Do)

System: AIDA64, powerMAX & Heavy Load

AIDA64 With FPU & GPU

The problem with AIDA64’s combined CPU and GPU stress test is that, even though it effectively isolates the performance of specific subsystems, the ratio of CPU and GPU load just isn’t right. This makes the test unrealistic. Adding up all of the individual loads to achieve a generally taxing scenario might provide some useful information, but we've already discussed better alternatives for the same type of task.

Even if the Stress CPU, Stress System Memory, and Stress GPU(s) settings are all activated at once, AIDA64’s efforts still fail to yield a realistic workload.

CPU Package(PECI)Core AverageSensorSocketGPUDiodeCPU(Watts)GPU(Watts)System (Watts)
Measurement84°C83°C96°C61°C150W86W307W
Compared to Maximum98.8%97.6%92.3%95.3%88.8%85.1%86.0%
AssessmentHigh package temperatureVery high socket temperatureAverage memory temperatureBelow game-level GPU power consumptionMuch higher than game-level CPU and system power consumption
Use forNot really suitable for combined stress testing

powerMAX With AVX Or SSE & GPU

powerMAX wasn’t one of our top contenders when it came to GPU stress testing. Can it redeem itself through the addition of an integrated CPU stress test? We run both versions again in order to find out what powerMAX does well. The GPU workload remains windowed in order to avoid pushing the CPU stress test too far into the background. We also ensure the GPU stress test window is active.

powerMAX With AVX & GPU

powerMAX has the same problems as AIDA64: Its CPU load is way too high, while the graphics load is a little too low. This test is simple and convenient to run, but it just doesn’t provide balance. It’s not suitable for pushing your system to its limits, and it doesn’t simulate normal operation, either.

CPU Package(PECI)Core AverageSensorSocketGPUDiodeCPU(Watts)GPU(Watts)System (Watts)
Measurement79°C79°C98°C62°C156W89W313W
Compared to Maximum92.9%92.9%94.2%96.9%92.3%88.1%87.0%
AssessmentSomewhat high package and core temperatureVery high socket temperatureSomewhat low memory temperatureBelow game-level GPU power consumptionMuch higher than game-level CPU and system power consumption
Use forNot really suitable for combined stress testing

powerMAX With SSE & GPU

Using the SSE code path shifts load from the CPU to the GPU. But that's not enough to simulate a realistic gaming scenario, and it’s not enough to push the system to its limits. Ultimately, our conclusions about this utility's AVX code path apply here as well.

CPU Package(PECI)Core AverageSensorSocketGPUDiodeCPU(Watts)GPU(Watts)System (Watts)
Measurement69°C68°C82°C62°C130W90W280W
Compared to Maximum81.2%80%78.8%96.9%76.9%89.1%78.4%
AssessmentSomewhat lower package and core temperatureMedium socket temperatureSomewhat low memory temperatureBelow game-level GPU power consumptionMuch higher than game-level CPU and system power consumption
Use forNot really suitable for combined stress testing

Heavy Load With CPU & GPU

Heavy Load didn’t exactly inspire confidence in us when we tried its CPU and GPU tests on their own. As it turns out, combining two bad tests gets you another bad test. In fact, it’s completely unusable as either a stress or stability test, unless you want to be duped into believing an over-enthusiastic overclock will run stably under truly taxing loads.

CPU Package(PECI)Core AverageSensorSocketGPUDiodeCPU(Watts)GPU(Watts)System (Watts)
Measurement58°C57°C59°C49°C100W34W186W
Compared to Maximum68.2%67.1%56.7%76.6%59.2%33.7%52.1%
AssessmentVery low package and core temperatureLow socket temperatureLow memory temperatureVery low GPU power consumption
Use forNot suitable at all for combined stress testing


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