You have a new graphics card. Why don’t you overclock (the process to force a computer to run faster than it’s intended to go) it to get the most out of it? Perhaps you are building an ITX(Information Technology eXtended) system and want to reduce the frequency of the card to make it quieter and cooler. Be that as it may, each of these routines involves stress testing the GPU for stability because no one needs a BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) while playing a game. Keep reading to know when and how to stress test your GPU. Don’t forget to check out the list of the best GPU stress testing apps and games.
When to stress test your graphics card?
After you get a new graphics card (either off-the-shelf or used) and decide to overclock or increase its voltage then stress testing is the best way to verify its stability.
Just run a demanding graphics benchmark temporarily to see if your GPU can run smoothly. Then, before you start tweaking your card, you need to figure out how the video card performs in your case in terms of thermal performance and noise. And the best way to do this is to “torment her” with a demanding benchmark for an hour or two.
Finding out how a video card performs under load is especially important when installing a used GPU. If it’s older than a year or two then you may require a “new coat of paint and by that, we mean a fresh coat of thermal paste.
Putting the entire system including the GPU, under heavy load for a while is a great way to test a new PSU or an old PSU with a new GPU. In this particular case, make sure to perform the stress test in a graphically demanding game.
How to stress test your GPU?
If you’re looking for consistent overclocking or voltage boost, the pre-stress test should be no longer than twenty minutes. Just select the stress parameter in the GPU performance test of your choice. There is no need to run it longer as the temperature stabilizes after fifteen minutes. Five extra minutes are earmarked for “bonus points”.
If everything works well then play a graphics-intensive game for a while. Keep in mind that GPU benchmarks and stress testing applications such as FurMark can’t replace a real test that does not only stresses up the graphics card but the entire system as well.
Step 1 to stress test your GPU?
First of all, play a demanding game for at least a couple of hours. If still it works well then everything is in order. Keep in mind that you require a GPU test app or stress test app with a monitoring app on a high-quality 4k Monitor when you conduct the stress testing of the GPU. Secondly, you are required to launch the monitoring tool. Thirdly, you must configure it so that you don’t have to scroll to get the most important data including thermal, boost frequency, and power consumption. Lastly, after configuring it just the way you require, you can run the stress test.
Step 2 to stress test your GPU?
Run stress test and see the thermal characteristics of the GPU. If no crashes occur within the first fifteen minutes then check the GPU temperature. Moreover, wait a couple of minutes to see if it has stabilized. If the temperature stops rising, run the test for a couple more minutes, and that’s it. It’s time for games. For a start, half an hour should be enough. This is where you need a monitoring app like MSI Afterburner to monitor temperatures and frequencies.
After you finish the preliminary gaming test, you can run the stability test again overnight. However, if you manage to play several games for several hours without crashing then there is no need for a nightly stress test.
Have a look below to get a hold of the Best Apps for Stress Testing and GPU Monitoring:
- Unigine Superposition
- Package 3DMark
- Cyberpunk 2077
Also Check out: The Best 4K Gaming Monitor with Ultra HD Resolution Review
Best Stress Testing Software and Games
FurMark is still the best when it comes to stress testing. This is an extreme GPU benchmark and if you choose to use it, use it for short sessions. FurMark, on the other hand, is quite outdated, and if you want stability it’s better to use a demanding GPU benchmark.
Unigine Superposition is the best free GPU stress test that you can use, at least in our opinion. This is a DX12 GPU benchmark that can seriously stress even the best graphics cards on the market. It is suitable for 4K displays and even has an 8K mode. The test itself is a great way to test losses and performance gains when overclocking or raising the voltage. The stress test option is only available in the advanced (paid) version, but a couple of runs (3-5) of the testing tool should be enough to make sure the GPU is stable or not.
Unigine Heaven is an old test but still quite demanding. You know what’s the best thing about it? Even the free version of Unigine Heaven comes up with a stress test feature. You can easily leverage it and test the GPU – regardless of any limit. Just set the maximum settings and click “Run”. The test will automatically repeat itself, so you do not need to configure additional parameters after it runs.
Package 3DMark – another great way to stress test your graphics card, but it’s a paid app. It often goes on sale on Steam, so you should be able to get it for under $ 5 if you wait for the next discount. Benchmarks included in 3DMark, such as Fire Strike, Port Royale, or Time Spy, are some of the most demanding GPU benchmarks to date and excellent tools for stress testing GPUs.
For real tests, use demanding games. Just increase the settings until you reach the maximum value or until you reach an almost unplayable frame rate, and then just play the game. Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the best GPU stress testing games out there as it drains both the GPU and the CPU and also affects memory and even storage quite a bit.
Assassins Creed Valhalla
Another good choice for stress testing the entire system is the recent Assassins Creed games, especially Valhalla is obviously the best choice. This game is extremely sensitive to GPU jitter and is ideal for short gaming test sessions. If you don’t have access to these games then any modern game cranked up and played for at least half an hour should be sufficient for a GPU stress test.
Best Monitoring Tools
GPU-Z is one of the best Monitoring Tools to monitor your graphics card when using benchmarks, as the app shows the most detailed information about your GPU.
HWiNFO is very detailed, works great, has tons of customization options, and is updated regularly. If you want a monitoring tool that can be used for the GPU as well as the CPU then the rest of the system HWiNFO is the great option.
MSI Afterburner is used for overclocking and lowering the voltage of video cards as well as for monitoring the GPU, especially in the game. The MSI Afterburner combined with Riva Tuner Statistics Server for a handy in-game monitoring tool is highly recommended.
Okay, that’s all. Remember, GPU stress testing doesn’t have to be done overnight or around the clock. A half-hour of torture followed by a couple of hours of playing a demanding AAA game should be more than enough.