Even if you’re not into overclocking, you should benchmark your graphics card. It can assist ensure that your GPU is performing as it should.
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Benchmarking your graphics card may appear complex, but it isn’t as difficult as you would believe. Pull up your sleeves because this guide will show you how to benchmark your GPU in an easy, enjoyable, and impressive way. It’s not just when you’re overclocking that it’s a problem! We’ll talk about benchmarking in terms of both stability and performance.
Why should you Benchmark your Graphics Card or GPU?
But before, here’s why you should benchmark your graphics card even if you’re not aiming for the top of the competitive overclocking rankings:
- To establish a baseline performance metric that you can compare to other standard results to see if the GPU is functioning as it should.
- To compare the performance of your existing PC to future hardware upgrades. What type of performance increase can you expect if you upgrade your graphics card? You’ll find out soon enough!
- To check for stability and other important factors such as thermals, clock speeds, and so on.
First, check for temperature and stability.
It’s time to delve into the how now that you know why you should benchmark. Let’s start with vitals and stability. It’s uncommon, but a graphics card might be faulty right out of the box. It might indicate a dead card, but it’s more likely that you’ll see “artifacts,” which are visual flaws, flickering, or even pulsing colours.
Unigine Heaven 4.0 will be the first application we’ll use. It’s free for personal use and runs in a loop to create a graphical environment that makes the most of your GPU. To verify that your graphics card can perform without shutting down or displaying any weird graphical irregularities, run Heaven for at least 30 minutes to allow the GPU to warm up.
If everything appears to be in order, keep a watch on the vitals, which will show in the upper right corner beside your GPU information.
The first and most important indicator is temperature, which can signal various hardware and case airflow problems. Suppose your GPU hits its maximum temperature limit rapidly. It might be due to a rare (but conceivable) issue with its thermal paste or (more commonly) inadequate airflow in your case due to insufficient space for the fans to access cool air.
The GDDR6X memory temps of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition are an excellent example of current concerns. Without stress-testing the GPU, you’d never know that the memory can approach the VRAM temperature limit, potentially restricting your performance. (Some users have seen significant improvements after updating their thermal pads.)
How do you determine your graphics card’s GPU core’s average operating temperature? Basic reference-style coolers can reach temperatures as high as 84 degrees Celsius, while some more oversized graphics cards with substantial heat sinks and many fans—like EVGA’s excellent FTW3 series—can reach temperatures in the 60s and 70s.
If your temps are in the upper 80s and your fans rotate rapidly, you’re in the danger zone; this frequently indicates inadequate case ventilation. Temperatures should improve if you add some fans or open any case panels. It directly results from the information gathered from benchmarking and evaluating your GPU.
You can also monitor your GPU’s core and memory frequencies to ensure running at or near its recommended levels. A simpler alternative is to use Unigine Heaven’s benchmark tool, which allows you to compare your score to others online and establish a suitable baseline to ensure you’re on the right track.
How to do a baseline performance benchmark on your GPU
After testing for stability and thermals, you may advance your benchmarking degree to the doctoral level by assessing performance. We’ll be using the popular 3DMark benchmarking package, which has various free options, in this case.
Time Spy (which evaluates DirectX 12 graphics performance) and Port Royal (which evaluates ray tracing performance) are two of the most popular benchmarks. 3DMark even offers an online hall of fame to compare your results to other users!
What statistics should you pay attention to? It’s simple. If you’re using Time Spy, there’s one overall score and then separate specific scores for the CPU and GPU. Port Royal only offers GPU and total scores.
If you change a component in your PC, the individual scores will show you how it affects the overall score. It’s convenient if you want to overclock.) See our post on Nvidia‘s Automatic overclocking function in GeForce Experience for more information.
3DMark’s Port Royal test scores and results.
3DMark mark may also offer you the approximate frame rate performance you’d receive on a particular game and resolution, which is essential information for gauging current performance and comparing it to what new improvements might achieve for you. 3DMark can also indicate system instabilities, such as crashes, allowing you to change your numbers and try again if you’re overclocking.
How to benchmark your graphics card in games
Using automated benchmarks in many games is another interesting method to benchmark your GPU. For a list of games with built-in benchmarks, read our GeForce RTX 3080 Ti review or the always great PC Gaming Wiki’s list of games with built-in benchmarks.
The following are the results of Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s built-in benchmark.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of my favorites since you can see the frames per second performance in each scene, which gives you a decent idea of how the game will run in general. You can re-run the benchmark if you change your graphics card or other PC hardware, and you’ll see what improvements you’ve made.
Advanced players can manually benchmark the performance of games that don’t have a built-in benchmark using tools like Fraps or OCAT, but this will take more effort, testing, and figuring out a repeatable testing setup to prevent potential scene-to-scene fluctuation.
That concludes the topic. You’ve mastered the art of GPU benchmarking. You now know how to ensure that your graphics card is stable and completely functional, how to verify performance data to ensure that your GPU is up to spec, and how to determine your hardware’s baseline performance for future upgrade comparisons. And who knows what could happen? You could find benchmarking so enjoyable that you convert it into a hobby!