Computer games are an integral part of many peoples’ lives. It’s hard to imagine playing computer games with the computational power of a modern PC without graphics cards, or GPU for short. Graphics cards are designed to assist general processing components in rendering images more quickly and with improved quality. Over the years the performance of GPUs has increased dramatically to the point that they are now the limiting factors in many games.
This is all good news for gamers, but it can also be frustrating if your GPU isn’t keeping up with the rest of your system. Thankfully there are several tools available to help you determine not only whether or not your graphics card is functioning correctly, but also what performance level it is currently operating at. In this article we will take a look at How To Test Your Graphics Card of the most popular Steps and discuss how they work and what types of information they can provide.
Tips for Testing your Graphics Card (Considerations):
Your graphics card is a key piece of hardware for your PC, and it’s important to test it regularly to ensure that it is functioning properly. With that being said, it’s also important to remember a few important considerations when you are testing your GPU:
You should only be concerned with testing your graphics card if you think that it has gone bad or has become damaged in some way. There are many different reasons why this might be happening, so before you consider testing your GPU, make sure to narrow down the problem first.
Graphics Card drivers are software that are specifically designed to allow your computer hardware to communicate with your operating system. They are updated frequently to ensure that they contain the latest code that deals with the latest hardware that is released.
They are also designed to fix bugs in older drivers, improve performance, and add support for new graphics hardware. Updating your drivers is a good first step to take if you’re experiencing graphics problems on your PC. You can find a guide for updating your drivers here.
Clean your PC:
Before you start testing your graphics card, you should make sure to clean up any unnecessary files that are taking up space on your computer. To do this you can use an application like CCleaner or manually delete files from your PC until there is enough free space to complete your testing.
Also, if you have recently installed software that uses a lot of graphics processing power (3D rendering, video editing etc.) it can impact your GPU performance. It’s best to wait at least a few hours after you have installed any large pieces of software before you begin testing.
Turn off any non-essential hardware:
Just like with cleaning up unnecessary files, turning off other hardware might improve your results. If you are testing your graphics card on a laptop, make sure that all peripherals (External speakers, Wi-Fi adapters etc.) are turned off. If you have a desktop computer, you can try turning off your internal Wi-Fi adapter and disconnecting any secondary displays etc.
Be careful with overclocking your graphics card. Overclocking is the practice of increasing the clock speed, voltage or memory frequency on hardware components in order to improve performance. In the case of GPUs this can be done by simply pressing a combination of buttons on your PC’s motherboard.
In general it’s a good idea to avoid overclocking if you’re looking for valid results from GPU testing tools. Testing tools are designed to test the performance of a hardware component at its current state, so by overclocking you will be testing with hardware that is operating outside of its normal settings.
When it comes to testing your graphics card, there are several different types of software you can use. Most of them will allow you to run the same benchmarking tools that professional reviewers use when they test graphics cards. There are some minor differences between them, but in general they provide similar results if you’re using the same benchmarks.
The most common GPU testing tools are from PassMark Software. The two tools that they offer are the PassMark Performance Test and the GPUTest. Both of these applications work in a similar way, as they will stress your PC’s graphics card system with a number of different tests to see how well it performs.
They allow you to check out your graphics card’s performance in a number of different areas such as 3DMark, Compute and DirectX tests. Both tools include a variety of different tests to choose from, but the overall results will be similar no matter which one you use. Also it’s important to keep in mind that no graphics testing tool is 100% accurate all of the time and some can produce incorrect results on occasion.
If you run your graphics card through a variety of tests and see that the results fluctuate widely, then there is probably something wrong with your hardware or drivers. While running the 3DMark tests, you should check to make sure that your graphics card is running at its normal clock speed. If the test results show a lower score than usual, it’s likely that your graphics card is running at a lower clock speed for some reason.
In addition to making sure that your graphics card is running at the appropriate clock speed, you should also check that your drivers are up to date and that you aren’t running any unnecessary software in the background. Many different types of drivers can have a bigger impact on your GPU’s performance than you might think. For this reason it’s important to keep all of your drivers updated and to leave only the ones that are necessary for your computer to function.
It should also be noted that if you plan on overclocking your graphics card in the future, then you should avoid doing this for benchmarking tests. One last thing to keep in mind is that driver updates are often released to improve performance on newer games. If you’re not playing newer games but want to test your graphics card, then it’s recommended that you uninstall any games that you have installed and then benchmark.
Steps to improve Graphics Card performance:
The Graphics Card requires a lot of the PC’s power so it’s important to ensure that your PC has good ventilation and that it isn’t enclosed in a small space. A graphics card will be affected by the amount of heat it produces, which can result in lower performance during benchmark tests. For this reason it’s important to make sure that your graphics card must fullfill these factors in order to improve its performance.
Airflow and Ventilation:
A graphics card needs good airflow to disperse heat so that it can function properly. Graphics cards will work harder when they are hot, which increases the rate at which they produce heat. If your computer’s airflow is poor, it could result in higher temperatures inside the case so keeping things cool will allow your graphic card to perform better.
Also it’s important to keep in mind that overheating can cause damage to your graphics card and for this reason, it’s important to keep proper ventilation. The last thing you want is a burned out graphics card so play it safe and ensure that there is a good amount of airflow inside your case.
Free up some space:
Make sure that you leave as much space as possible around the graphics card inside your computer. Even though most high-end graphics cards only require one slot of space, make sure that there is room around it for air to flow. Don’t put your graphics card on top of other components inside the case and avoid stacking things on top of it.
Updating your drivers is a great way to improve the performance of your graphics card. Newer drivers often contain optimizations that can boost GPU performance so it’s important to update your drivers regularly. Make sure that you only install the drivers that are necessary for your computer to function properly and uninstall any games that you no longer plan to play.
For the most accurate benchmark results it’s recommended that you don’t overclock your graphics card while benchmarking. If you plan on overclocking in the future, then you should save this for afterwards since it can heavily affect your results.
There are several testing applications that can benchmark your graphics card. I’ve listed a few below as well as the type of testing that each application is capable of.
- 3DMark11 (DirectX 11 Testing)
- 3DMark13 (DirectX 12 Testing)
- FurMark (GPU Stress Test)
- Unigine Heaven Benchmark (DirectX 11 Testing)
- Unigine Valley Benchmark (DirectX 12 Testing)
Developed by Futuremark, 3DMark 11 is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark test that runs through the rendering of various scenes and pans around a detailed 3D environment.
The latest version of 3DMark now includes multiple benchmarks, each designed to simulate different types of gameplay and real world scenarios.
Furmark is a graphics card stress testing utility which can be used to benchmark the stability of a graphics card by rendering fur on the screen until the framerate falls below 30 FPS.
Unigine Heaven Benchmark:
Based on Unigine Corp’s latest engine, Unigine Heaven Benchmark demo has been creatively designed to provide an accurate measure of the performance potential of a graphics card using the company’s in-house graphics engine.
Unigine Valley Benchmark:
Presenting a beautiful mountainous environment, this benchmark is based on Unigine Corp’s latest engine that accurately measures the performance of DirectX 11 graphics cards.
Graphics cards can vary significantly in performance. While you might have a high-end graphics card, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will always get good performance. Make sure to keep all of the above points in mind when benchmarking your graphics card. It’s also recommended that you try multiple benchmarks to get a realistic idea of how your graphics card performs.