The old makeshift metric of “Can It Run Crysis?” doesn’t hold the water anymore and we need a much better and more accurate way of testing the latest GPUs.
There have been several applications developed for that exact purpose, but what’s confusing is the fact that there are different ways to perform these tests and a lot more differing benchmarking software available.
In this guide, we will provide you with a closer look into quite a few of those and help you figure out the best GPU benchmarking software for 2020.
First of all, you should know why we’re even using benchmarking software and why you need to know what the best one is. There are a variety of reasons why you would benchmark your GPU, but usually, the main one is knowing how much intensity your graphics card handle.
You could be looking to see if there’s a bottleneck happening somewhere in your machine, or you just want to test your brand new GPU. It could also be the case where you’re overclocking your card and are wondering just how much close to the limit did you manage to push it.
We also need to talk about different methods of benchmarking. On the surface, it may seem like it’ll just be a simple stress test, but when we look a little deeper, we can clearly see two separate ways of benchmarking your graphics cards.
Synthetic Benchmarks are artificial programs that are constructed to try to match the characteristics of a large set of programs. Because of this, they’re also called Artificial Benchmarks.
The aim is to create a single benchmark program where the execution frequency of statements in the benchmark matches the statement frequency in a large set of benchmarks. The results will usually be presented in thousands, but this doesn’t give gamers what they really want to know – the frame rate.
Real-time Benchmarking provides exactly that. This type of benchmarking is also called Real-World Benchmarking as it can be done to test specific games and provide accurate FPS for them which is why gamers would run this sort of test in the first place.
Regarding both ways of benchmarking your GPU, it should be noted that in any case, you may still have a poor frame rate despite having a high-quality graphics card. This comes as a result of a bottleneck somewhere else, like CPU or RAM.
Let’s see what are some of the best GPU benchmarking software out there.
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Probably the top result of almost any related benchmarking software search and with quite a good reason. It’s produced by a software company called Futuremark that develops various benchmarking tools for both business and home use.
What’s cool about 3DMark is that there is a free version available, although if you’re going to be requiring the use of a benchmarking tool regularly, then it’s worth it to spring for the Advanced Edition. You can also use this version if you’re looking to test for 4K settings as that preset is only available there. There is also a Professional Edition, but that one is for business use.
3DMark shows detailed charts for temperatures (both CPU and GPU) and how clock speeds and frame rates change during the tests. The best part of this software is that it recognizes the hardware you own and assigns the proper benchmark test.
It also comes for Android and iOS platforms which is a big plus.
What this software can boast about is that the numbers of its downloads and computers tested is measured in tens of millions. Even more fascinating is the fact that UserBenchmark is absolutely free and is not considered a commercial enterprise. It doesn’t end there either – this software is tiny and astonishingly easy to use.
UserBenchmark can also run tests for the CPU, SSD, HDD, RAM, and USB. A cool feature is the ability to compare hardware and see how it measures on the same tests.
PassMark made a really good benchmarking tool here. Its fast and easy to use, which is pretty much a good benchmark for any software (pun intended). PerformanceTest can benchmark your CPU, 2D/3D graphics, Memory, Storage and CD drive via 28 standard benchmark tests across 6 suites. A thing many highly-involved tech nerds will love is the ability to create your own custom tests.
The biggest downside of PerformanceTest is that while it does technically come in two versions, free and paid, the free one is barely a skeletal representation of the full edition. Practically useless.
This is a very intensive GPU benchmarking tool. This is probably what separates it from the pack the most – the fact that it’s primarily a GPU benchmarking software. It’s designed in a way to produce very heavy and prolonged stress tests for the graphics card and can be used to accurately measure the stability of it.
Another reason why this might be the best tool for overclockers is the ability to keep an eye on the GPU cooler and see how much it can handle when pushed to the limit.
FurMark is a GPU benchmarking software for cards that are OpenGL compliant. This is the vast majority of GPUs so don’t fret about that. This tool can also be used to monitor the temperature and is thus useful for overclocking.
While FurMark (also known as GPU Burner) is free, it’s only available on Windows platform.
This may be thought of as just another free GPU benchmarking software, but it’s far more than that. The stigma of ‘free software’ unfortunately still exists, but GFXBench is doing its best to move away from it. It’s an excellent tool with specifically designed tests for different uses and the best part about it is that you can compare the performance of your graphics card to pretty much any other.
As seen above, GFXBench offers the possibility of testing across a multitude of different platforms and comparing the performance against other systems.
Coming from the makers of Heaven, Superposition is another great showing. It tests for high-grade visuals using UNIGINE 2 Engine and best of all – it’s free. It can also compare the performance of your graphics card with on the Unigine leaderboard.
It also comes with an interactive with some cool mini-games that you use to see directly how your GPU performs when playing.
Although primarily a CPU benchmarking software, this tool is awesome for GPU testing, as well. It’s unique in the sense that it can render an image and compare it with various different “real-world” tasks. It does so because image rendering is often tasked with CPU.
As a result of this CPU-centric benchmarking, Cinebench uses much larger and complex test scenes than other GPU benchmarking tools. A very impressive thing is that it can test up to 16 cores of your processor.
Last, but certainly not least, we have MSI’s overclocking tool. It’s freeware and if you’re confused about the MSI label – don’t worry, you can use it on pretty much any graphics card, despite the manufacturer.
It allows you to monitor the performance of your GPU while in-game, as in, there’s a transparent overlay while you play. Sure, it might seem intrusive, but that is an excellent way to see how your machine performs.
One of the coolest features of Afterburner is the ability to control fan speed, and if that seems minute to you, just know that bumping the fan speed from 50% (usually the default setting) to 75-100% can make a game go from system-crashing to perfectly stable and playable.
Alright, it’s time to see which one’s the best. Drum roll, please.
The Best GPU Benchmarking Software Right Now
MSI Afterburner is our choice for the best GPU benchmarking software of 2020. It’s specially designed for GPUs and has the easiest insight into a bunch of very useful stuff when it comes to overclocking.
Of course, this is what we think is the best, pound for pound, but like with any other software, your preference may be different.