The 7 Best Ways to Benchmark Your PC

Easily measure your computer's performance

Benchmarks can provide a lot of useful information, allowing you to tell whether your hardware is performing the way it should, and if you'll be able to run specific resource-intensive games and utilities. Gamers, enthusiasts and overclockers can all benefit a lot from benchmarking, but the use of benchmarks isn't limited to those circles. With the right benchmark, you can troubleshoot problems with your components, identify the most effective hardware upgrades, save money by avoiding apps that your computer can't run, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

The number of benchmark apps is staggering, so we compiled seven of the best ones in categories like the best all-in-one benchmark, best benchmark for gamers, best benchmark for virtual reality (VR), and more.

01
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The Best All-in-One Benchmark: Novabench

A screenshot of Novabench benchmark results.
What We Like
  • Full suite of basic benchmarks.

  • Easy to use.

  • Fast results.

  • Saves previous results.

What We Don't Like
  • Some tests locked behind paywall.

  • Difficult to tell if components operating efficiently.

With benchmarks for CPU, GPU, RAM, and disk speed, along with temperature and battery monitors, Novabench is our top recommendation for the best all-in-one benchmark. It's incredibly easy to use as well, allowing you to run the entire suite of benchmarks with just one click. Additional tests and parameters are also available if you purchase the pro version.

After you install and launch Novabench, you can easily run the entire suite of benchmarks by clicking Start Tests. Novabench will automatically run through all of its benchmarks and then present you with an overall score, which you can compare on their website.

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The Best Gaming Benchmark: Can You Run It

A screenshot of Can You Run It results.
What We Like
  • Very fast and lightweight.

  • Provides practical and useful information.

  • Save money by not buying games you can't play.

What We Don't Like
  • Very basic benchmark.

  • Doesn't give information on actual performance.

Can You Run It is a web-based benchmark that's both one of the simplest on this list and one of the most useful. Our other favorite benchmarks are all about generating impressive numbers and providing hard statistics, while Can You Run It answers a specific question: is your PC capable of running the games you want to play?

This benchmark allows you to choose the game you want to be able to play, after which you download a lightweight benchmark app. The app reports back to Can You Run It and lets you know whether or not your PC is up to the task. Armed with this information, you won't ever accidentally buy a game you can't play, and you can make strategic upgrades to keep your computer up to date.

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The Best VR Benchmark: UNIGINE

A screenshot of UNIGINE Superposition results.
What We Like
  • Powerful benchmark and stress test.

  • Great virtual reality test.

  • Easily understood results for VR Ready test.

What We Don't Like
  • Confusing to find the proper benchmark.

  • Unclear organization of tests.

UNIGINE is a heavy hitter that includes a fantastic GPU stress test if you want to see what your PC is really capable of, but we're primarily interested in their virtual reality (VR) benchmark. Not sure if your PC is up to the task of running VR games? UNIGINE's VR benchmark has you covered.

Like a lot of our favorite benchmarks, UNIGINE comes in a handful of different versions. The main difference is you only have to download the specific benchmark that you're interested in. Since we're interested specifically in virtual reality, their free Superposition benchmark is the go-to option.

After you download the Superposition benchmark, you'll want to run the VR Ready test in the Benchmarks section.

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The Best Lightweight Benchmark: Userbenchmark

A screenshot of UserBenchmark results.
What We Like
  • Lightweight app with fast download.

  • Compares performance to other PCs with similar specs.

  • Results are easy to understand.

What We Don't Like
  • Questionable weighting on CPU assessments.

  • Not great for comparing components.

If you have an older system, or you just want a benchmarking experience that's fast and easy, UserBenchmark takes our pick for the best lightweight benchmark. This tiny app is fast to download, and you don't even have to install it. Just run the executable file, and it's ready to start benchmarking your PC right away.

Even though it's surprisingly lightweight, this benchmark provides you with scores for your hardware for three different use scenarios: basic desktop, gaming, and workstation. You also get an overall score and scores for each of your components, like your CPU, GPU, and RAM. These numbers allow you to easily compare the performance of your PC against similarly equipped computers to identify potential problem areas.

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The Best 3D Benchmark: 3DMark

A screenshot of 3DMark results.
What We Like
  • Great free 3D benchmark.

  • Monitors hardware like temps and fan speeds.

  • Tracks frames per second during tests.

What We Don't Like
  • A lot of the benchmarks are locked behind a paywall.

  • Lacks custom adjustments and settings.

  • Can't choose which display to use.

A lot of our favorite benchmarks include 3D elements, but 3DMark is specifically focused on that task and an easy pick for the best 3D benchmark. This benchmark is primarily aimed at gamers, and its individual benchmarks are each designed to simulate games with 3D rendered graphics. If you want to see if your hardware is up to the task of running resource-intensive modern games, this benchmark is what you're looking for.

3DMark comes with a lot of benchmarks, many of which are only available if you pay for the premium version. Since we're interested in 3D performance, the free Time Spy benchmark is perfect. If your computer is capable of running it, 3DMark will automatically put it front and center, allowing you to simply click RUN to get the ball rolling.

When it's done running the benchmark, 3DMark will present you with an in-depth results screen. It presents an overall score, a graphics score, and a CPU score, allowing you to identify if either your CPU or GPU might be holding you back in terms of 3D rendering. For more information, you can compare your results online.

The 3DMark demo is available exclusively through Steam.

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The Best Productivity Benchmark: PCMark

A screenshot of PCMark 10.
What We Like
  • Basic benchmark covers almost all the bases.

  • Includes both scores and individual test results.

  • Free version provides a ton of information.

What We Don't Like
  • Can't save results without making an account and uploading.

  • Takes a long time to run.

From the same people who brought you 3DMark, PCMark is our recommendation for the best productivity benchmark. If you're looking to get some hard numbers on how your system handles productivity tasks like word processing, web surfing, photo and video editing, and even opening apps, PCMark provides detailed information on all of that and a whole lot more.

A strong contender for best all-in-one benchmark, the only real drawbacks of PCMark are the fact that it's a massive download, and a lot of its tests are locked behind buying the premium version.

The free version does perform an impressive amount of tests as it is though, providing almost too much information across a bunch of different categories. Some users will find the results screen to be information overload, while others will be sure to appreciate the breadth and depth of the testing and results.

The free PCMark 10 demo is only available through Steam.

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The Best Free Benchmark: SiSoft Sandra

A screenshot of SiSoft Sandra benchmark results.
What We Like
  • Extremely robust free benchmark suite.

  • Exhaustive benchmark with option to run individual tests.

  • Results conveyed in colorful graphs.

What We Don't Like
  • Extremely slow.

  • No visual feedback during benchmark.

  • Benchmark locks computer.

While a lot of our top picks hide their best functionality behind a paywall, SiSoft Sandra Lite provides everything you really need for free. This is a robust system analysis, diagnostic, and informational utility that's pure overkill if you're just looking for a basic benchmark, and it includes a ton of functionality despite being a free tool.

SiSoftware Sandra packs in a whole lot of tools and utilities, but we're interested in the free benchmarks. To access the free benchmarks, you need to select Benchmarks and then Overall Score. From the benchmarks screen, you can also select a wide variety of individual benchmarks like CPU, GPU, RAM, and more.