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

System: Measuring Power Consumption With Different Stress Tests

Our power-consumption results tell us how much waste heat is generated by the different combinations of stress tests. For extreme cooling and power supply testing, there’s really only one option: Prime95 with AVX. There are two viable choices for simulating realistic gaming scenarios, and those are MSI Kombustor’s combined CPU and GPU test, and OCCT with its Power Supply test.

The same goes for graphics card stress testing. Prime95 with AVX, MSI Kombustor, and OCCT give you everything you need.

Looking at total system power consumption, we see that the top results are almost 100W above the numbers we'd expect from normal gaming. The difference is primarily due to the fact that Intel's Core i7-8700 draws a lot of power during AVX-based stress tests.

A look at how much of the remaining energy is converted into heat by the system paints the rest of our picture. The voltage-converter losses, in particular, increase quite a bit. Don't just focus on CPU or GPU cooling; also make sure the motherboard's VRMs (voltage regulator modules) receive plenty of airflow when you run punishing stress tests. These components can trigger throttling if they overheat. 

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