Benchmarking software is a great addition to any PC. Whether you are using them to test your components or figure out your next big upgrade, benchmarking tools are the best way to get a solid understanding of your PC’s capabilities and limitations. While most of the tools on the market do an exceptional job, here are a few of our favorites:
Catzilla is a great system benchmarking program that is actually entertaining to watch. What sets this benchmark apart from the rest is its impressive animation (who wouldn’t want to watch a giant Cat monster terrorize a city?) and robust recommendation system. Rather than just spitting out a number without a whole lot of context, Catzilla gives its users a score and badge to indicate the capabilities of the system. It’s a simple 12-level certification that makes it easy for novice and advanced users alike to understand their PC’s limitations. Our favorite feature about Catzilla is its Game Test engine. This allows users to choose a specific game and immediately determine whether or not their system requires an upgrade to play.
If you aren’t interested in all of the bells and whistles of modern, visual heavy benchmarks, Passmark is a great option. Passmark’s Performance Test benchmark is a comprehensive benchmark consisting of over thirty different speed tests spread across five categories: CPU Tests, 2D Graphics Tests, 3D Graphics Tests, Disk Tests and Memory Tests. Performance Test is fast, extremely detailed and best of all provides a ton of contextual information. With its built in baseline comparison system you are able to immediately see how your system is performing against other similar PCs. This kind of information is really important to determine whether your components could be bottlenecked by something like insufficient cooling.
Unlike the previously mentioned benchmarks, CrystalDiskMark is an extremely simple benchmark that focuses on just one thing: storage speed testing. This is our number one recommended tool when it comes to HDD and SSD upgrades. CrystalDiskMark is completely free, easy to use and very effective. Use this tool to compare your current disk drive performance speeds with the advertised Read / Write speeds of potential upgrades. Of course, keep in mind that the advertised maximum speeds are not always the actual speeds you’ll achieve. Disk benchmarks such as CrystalDiskMark are a great way to actually know how fast your storage drives are performing.
While it isn’t a benchmark per se, we thought it’d be great to mention one of our favorite CPU stress testing tools, Prime95. What’s the difference? Well, a traditional benchmark would stress test your CPU for a set amount of time and spit out a score of sorts. A stress test like Prime95 is designed to take your CPU to its limits and keep it there. A benchmark is great for testing performance while a stress test is great for testing stability. This is our go to tool for stress testing all of our CPU overclocking. An incredibly simple one click “Just Stress Testing” button makes it easy for users at any level to test their CPU. While the default options will suffice just fine, advanced users are given a myriad of configuration options for fine tuning their CPU stress test.
What’s your favorite benchmark tool?
While these are a few of our favorite tools, don’t be mistaken to believe that they are the only great ones out there. As computer hardware continues to move forward and performance continues to grow, there will always be a need for great testing products. What are some of your must-have testing applications? Let us know and we may feature your recommendation in our next blog!