How to Properly Benchmark Your PC

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Philips

Thank you for the casualty of providing all of these information. This is a lot actually. These are very helpful.

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Azrael808

This is a great article; I'm currently using this as a basis to benchmark my home machine so I can see how it stacks up against other rigs, but mainly so I can see how much an upgrade improves the overall system. Some useful comments too! :)

I did have one question: when taking an average of the benchmark runs, why do you use the median, and not the mean score? Is it simply because a mean score will most likely produce a result that wasn't actually obtained by a run of a utility?

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jlfrank83

The article states that real-world performance is what you are shooting for when you run your benchmarks, Yet they also want you to disable antivirus, disconnect from your network, manually launch idle process, etc, before benchmarking. Isn't creating a "virtual clean room" tainting your results as much as a synthetic benchmark application or biased video driver would? I don't go through all these preflight steps before playing a game or running Photoshop, so why would I do them before benchmarking and expect realistic, real-world results?

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mrvander

... one has to eliminate as many variables as possible in order to produce repeatable results. This is a basic of any scientific testing method - whether it be life sciences or computer sciences. Once you can produce a repeatable result - you have established a control (or a baseline.) THEN add in the other variables to determine the effect it has, preferably one at a time. Turn on your virus scanner. Repeat the testing and compare it to your control. Analyze the data. Add in another variable, say your network. Repeat and rinse.

This is also why they don't recommend using FRAPS and just running through a level of your favorite game. It's not accurately reproducable. It can give you a general idea over many runs, but it can vary wildly.

Of course you can customize this to your heart's content and maybe just a general idea is all you need. The article does mention the idea of "play more games" as opposed to just endlessly benchmarking one's PC and analyzing every last little detail to get that extra tenth of a framerate.

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jlfrank83

Thanks for that clarification. This makes complete sense.

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nekollx

 Daz 3d is good real world test since the preview/maniptlation window is GPU bound but renders are CPU bound

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Modred189

No furmark?

It's one of the most stressing GPU-only benches I know of.

 

And I must say, real-world benchmarking your graphics card is the best way to go. Pick a game or two you know well (HL2 works well), and play through a level a few times, measuring your fps with fraps. Throw the data into excel and average the columns. You can even make nice graphs from multiple data sets and compare them to show what scenes your PC is best at and which it has issues with.

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jlfrank83

Your columns are going to be radically different if you are controlling the action yourself. It's better to use a game that has in-game, real time rendered cutscenes, like Mass Effect or Assassin's Creed. If you use a playable section of a game, your graphics card will be rendering differently every time, since each playthrough is going to vary in length, FOV, etc.

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Modred189

I have done this a few times before, and if you play through the level a few times first, you can get it relatively reproducible. The problem with in-game benchmarks is that they disable a lot of things like AI, which is a big CPU drain.

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bikerbub

GTA IV also has a benchmark option. it's not very long, but it is an actively rendered test with AI and lots of gunfire. also somewhat humorous, as you are a clown (if i remember correctly) riding on a moped, through the streets, weaving in between the Liberty City skyscrapers.

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