Skip to main content

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

CPU Only: OCCT With Four Options

OCCT offers a fairly challenging CPU stress test, which often gets overlooked. It might not generate the massive amounts of heat we measure under Prime95 with AVX, but it’s still a great choice for long stability tests. The software can log a number of important parameters, running in an endless loop or stopping after a defined length of time. Download OCCT here.

OCCT With Small Data Set

This option generates the highest load of the four available options, though it's still less taxing than Prime95 with AVX and Small FFTs. We can say, however, that its memory load is greater than Prime95’s.

CPU Package(PECI)Core AverageSensorSocketMemoryCPU (Watts)System (Watts)
Measurement72°C71°C84°C34°C148W219W
Compared to Maximum82.8%82.6%80.0%94.4%86%86.9%
AssessmentHigh package temperature for stability testsHigh memory temperatureMedium CPU and system power consumption
Use forProlonged stability testMemory test (overclocking)

OCCT With Big Data Set

The overall load drops yet again, making this test suitable for laptops that shouldn’t be pushed to their thermal limits.

Memory, specifically, is pushed harder than anything we saw under Prime95. In fact, this is the second-most-taxing memory workload in our suite.

CPU Package(PECI)Core AverageSensorSocketMemoryCPU (Watts)System (Watts)
Measurement62°C61°C72°C35°C113W163W
Compared to Maximum71.3%70.9%68.6%97.2%65.7%64.7%
AssessmentMedium package temperatureVery high memory temperatureSomewhat low CPU and system power consumption
Use forProlonged stability test for mobile devices and mini PCsMemory test (overclocking)

OCCT With Linpack & AVX

OCCT’s AVX implementation generates a demanding overall load, though it doesn’t reach the numbers generated by this utility's own Small Data Set option. Load on the memory is still fairly high, too.

CPU Package(PECI)Core AverageSensorSocketMemoryCPU (Watts)System (Watts)
Measurement68°C67°C75°C34°C130W187W
Compared to Maximum78.2%77.9%71.4%94.4%75.6%74.2%
AssessmentMedium package temperature for stability testsHigh memory temperatureMedium CPU and system power consumption
Use forProlonged stability testMemory test (overclocking)

OCCT With Linpack & SSE

OCCT’s SSE implementation generates a low overall load, similar to the Big Data Set option. But while it doesn't set any new records, this one's a good alternative for lower-end PCs with stock coolers. It’s also a suitable option for prolonged testing.

CPU Package(PECI)Core AverageSensorSocketMemoryCPU (Watts)System (Watts)
Measurement65°C64°C74°C34°C115W172W
Compared to Maximum74.7%74.4%70.5%94.4%66.9%68.3%
AssessmentMedium package temperatureHigh memory temperatureSomewhat low CPU and system power consumption
Use forProlonged stability test for mobile devices and mini PCsMemory test (overclocking)


MORE: Best CPUs


MORE: Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy


MORE: All CPUs Content

  • WINTERLORD
    Is this like a fancy water cooler im guessing? what about a typical AIO cooler. In fact i have a skyth fuma but may save up to get some kind of AIO water cooling been tryin to find decent reviews on decent water coolers both cheap and if needed high end. not no alpha cooler though lol
    Alphacool Eisblock XPX ($73.99 On Newegg)
    Alphacool Eiszeit 2000 Chiller
    Reply
  • FormatC
    This?rel=ugc]https://www.alphacool.com/shop/new-products/21410/alphacool-eiszeit-2000-chiller-black]This is a high-end compressor cooler for up to 1500 watts heat input. It's a modified version from industry and mostly used to cool the head of powerful laser cutters. Why I'm using this one? To show, which program is able to do it right. If you have additionally limitations from coolers, thermal throttling and other funny things, you will never see the exact difference. I can keep a constant water temperature of 20°C to make all the test results comparable. ;)
    Reply
  • Th_Redman
    What did you guys put on the hotdog after testing? A little mustard, ketchup, relish, sauerkraut...? LOL.
    Reply
  • WINTERLORD
    is actually a great article one can resort reference too. Good Job!
    Reply
  • aquielisunari
    I use Aida, Prime 26.6, Superposition, UserBenchmark, MSI's kombustor and I no longer use Heaven. I may be forgetting a couple. But something has always felt a little off. I finally see what it was. My build was missing a hotdog and its bun. I always do love learning from the pros. I placed it on a piece of parchment and instantly I notice a difference.

    I routinely check temperatures, loads and other info from my system. I also stress test with different CPU and GPU benchmark/stress test software. Thanks for the info. Page bookmarked.
    Reply
  • CompuTronix
    As the author of the Intel Temperature Guide - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-1800828/intel-temperature-guide.html - I can fully appreciate how much work went into creating this outstanding article, which has been sorely needed!

    Since most users test their rigs without a sense of scale for power and temperature, they can't compare apples to apples, especially when combined with major variables such as differences in ambient temperature, hardware configurations and software utilities. This article provides a perspective and some excellent comparisons.

    The Intel Temperature Guide differs in its approach toward the topic of processor Core temperatures and cooling with respect to Intel's TDP specifications, and distinguishes between steady workloads for thermal testing versus fluctuating workloads for stability testing. Nevertheless, our results are very similar.

    However, since Intel validates their thermal specifications at a steady 100% TDP, it's most appropriate to select utilities that don't overload or underload the CPU. The only utilities I've ever found that come as close as possible to 100% TDP are Prime95 v26.6 Small FFT's as a steady workload for thermal testing, and Asus RealBench as a fluctuating workload for stability testing.

    Although the topic of Prime95 (with and without AVX) was covered, I would like to have seen RealBench included in your test suite,since it's widely accepted as an excellent utility for testing overall system stability, and uses a realistic AVX workload.

    Otherwise, great work! I was very pleased to read this article!

    CT :sol:
    Reply
  • cangelini
    20741319 said:
    As the author of the Intel Temperature Guide - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-1800828/intel-temperature-guide.html - I can fully appreciate how much work went into creating this outstanding article, which has been sorely needed!

    Since most users test their rigs without a sense of scale for power and temperature, they can't compare apples to apples, especially when combined with major variables such as differences in ambient temperature, hardware configurations and software utilities. This article provides some excellent comparisons.

    The Intel Temperature Guide differs in its approach toward the topic of processor Core temperatures and cooling with respect to Intel's TDP specifications, and distinguishes between steady workloads for thermal testing versus fluctuating workloads for stability testing. Nevertheless, our results are very similar.

    However, since Intel validates their thermal specifications at a steady 100% TDP, it's most appropriate to select utilities that don't overload or underload the CPU. The only utilities I've ever found that come as close as possible to 100% TDP are Prime95 v26.6 Small FFT's for thermal testing, which is a steady workload, and Asus RealBench for stability testing, which is a fluctuating workload.

    Although the topic of Prime95 (with and without AVX) was covered, I would like to have seen RealBench included in your test suite, as it's widely accepted as an excellent utility for testing overall system stability, and uses a realistic AVX workload.

    Otherwise, great work! I was very pleased to read this article!

    CT :sol:

    That's an awesome resource, CT!
    Reply
  • WyomingKnott
    20740696 said:
    What did you guys put on the hotdog after testing? A little mustard, ketchup, relish, sauerkraut...? LOL.

    Thermal compound. Why not? People have used condiments between their CPUs and their coolers.
    Reply
  • FormatC
    Step 1 - Collect all what I need:

    Step 2 - Start the oven

    Step 3 - Enjoy!
    The benchmark:


    The complete review was so funny, but it was never translated :(
    Reply