Skip to main content

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

CPU Only: AIDA64 With CPU, FPU, Cache, Or Memory

AIDA64’s CPU stress test offers several different options that can be configured to suit your needs. It offers a true memory stress test, a demanding cache load, and a taxing execution core workload that doesn't utilize memory extensively. In other words, everything, nothing, or anything in between can be tested. The free version has a time limit, so potential cost is the only real drawback we can think of. Download AIDA64's 30-day trial version here.

It's possible to log various sensor readings to disk, even as you monitor their measurements in real time. Draw AIDA64's data to a curve, display instantaneous status on the Windows taskbar, or output its sensor information to a third-party application.

AIDA64 With CPU & FPU & Cache

If you thought that turning everything on would really push your hardware, then you were wrong. The individual tests might produce high numbers on their own, but combining them only gives us slightly above-average readings. Then again, that's fairly typical of what you'd see from a taxing real-world piece of software.

CPU Package(PECI)Core AverageSensorSocketMemoryCPU (Watts)System (Watts)
Measurement78°C80°C79°C32°C128W184W
Compared to Maximum89.7%93.0%75.2%88.9%74.4%73.0%
AssessmentHigh package temperatureSomewhat low memory temperatureMedium CPU and system power consumption
Use forStability testCooling test for medium performance

AIDA64 With Just CPU

All of these results are on the low end of what we've seen from other stress tests in our suite. In short, then, this may represent the maximum load generated by older apps, but certainly not the most demanding ones. Not surprisingly, we measure lower temperatures.

If you're looking to test an aging system by slowly increasing the load until hitting its limit, you have a good place to start here.

CPU Package(PECI)Core AverageSensorSocketMemoryCPU (Watts)System (Watts)
Measurement56°C56°C70°C26°C84W123W
Compared to Maximum64.4%65.1%66.7%72.2%48.8%48.8%
AssessmentVery low package temperatureVery low memory temperatureLow CPU and system power consumption
Use forStability test for mini PCs and older hardware

AIDA64 With Just FPU

The extreme FPU load results in very high package and CPU socket temperatures, yielding the highest core reading possible from our suite. Consequently, this test works well for determining the limits of potent cooling solutions. If throttling is ever going to be a problem for you, it should become apparent using AIDA64's FPU test.

CPU Package(PECI)Core AverageSensorSocketMemoryCPU (Watts)System (Watts)
Measurement85°C86°C98°C26°C156W225W
Compared to Maximum97.7%100%93.3%72.2%90.7%89.3%
AssessmentVery high package temperatureVery low memory temperatureHigh CPU and system power consumption
Use forCooling test for high-performance coolers

AIDA64 With Just Cache

This test gets more interesting with increasing CPU cache size and surface area. System memory also endures a somewhat higher load. All together, AIDA64's cache workload is a good choice for long-term runs on overclocked systems with an emphasis on evaluating stability, as opposed to cooling performance.

CPU Package(PECI)Core AverageSensorSocketMemoryCPU (Watts)System (Watts)
Measurement69°C67°C79°C33°C114W171W
Compared to Maximum79.3%77.9%75.2%91.7%66.3%67.9%
AssessmentMedium package temperatureSomewhat higher memory temperatureMedium CPU and system power consumption
Use forStability test for overclocked systems

AIDA64 With Just Memory

The software's memory test provides us with a more demanding load on system RAM than any other utility, as measured by power consumption and the warmest module's temperature. It’s a great choice for evaluating the stability of a memory overclock on its own, or as a supplemental test combined with other workloads.

CPU Package(PECI)Core AverageSensorSocketMemoryCPU (Watts)System (Watts)
Measurement48°C52°C47°C36°C75W116W
Compared to Maximum55.2%49.5%54.7%100%43.6%46.0%
AssessmentVery low package temperatureHighest memory temperatureVery low CPU and system power consumption
Use forStability test for system memory


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 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