You’ve spent months planning, researching, and painstakingly putting together every component in your beloved gaming rig. Now it’s time to see what it can do. Much like a virtuoso pianist will practice his scales to see how fast he can do them, you too can test your PC to see if it’s ready for Carnegie Hall-like levels of performance. Today we’ll show you the best software for benchmarking your PC.

What is benchmarking? It involves using specific software to test the speed of each individual component inside your computer, such as your CPU, GPU, and SSD, or even how everything works together. Yep, it’s a lot of science and math. Don’t worry though! It’s usually free and very easy to do, as the benchmarking software will do all that science and math for you. (Our guide to benchmarking your graphics card shows how simple this process can be.)

Along with performance, benchmarking can also test for temperatures, thermal throttling, and even overall PC stability as a side benefit. We’ll discuss more intricate details for each of the main components in turn, but here’s a cheat sheet for the hardware types we’ll be covering and their recommended benchmarking software pairing. Many, many more benchmarks exist beyond what we’re recommending here, of course. These tools will cover all the bases though.

CPU – Cinebench R23 GPU – Superposition, Shadow of the Tomb Raider Hard Drive/SSD: Crystal Disk Mark Whole system performance: PC Mark 10, 3DMarkBenchmark your CPU with Cinebench R23

Let’s start with the beating heart of your computer. Several CPU benchmarks exist but we recommend using Maxon’s free Cinebench R23 software. This widely used tool not only gives benchmarks for both multi-threaded and single-threaded CPU performance, it can also test the stability of your system at the same time with a 10 minute stress test that helps you gauge your CPU temperatures when paired with monitoring software like HWInfo or Hardware Monitor. They’re both free and can provide deeper insights on thermals, frequencies, etc., though they’re not necessary to successfully use Cinebench.

Cinebench R23.

After running the benchmark, Cinebench lets you compare your scores to other users with the same CPU online —a fun way to gauge gains if you’re overclocking.  Another huge benefit of benchmarking your PC is the ability to monitor overall system health, which can be very important to h
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