GPUs Hardware Reviews

Stress tests in detail: Testing graphics cards correctly (Tutorial – Part 1)

Why do we need stability and stress tests?

On the one hand, of course, the technical implementation of a graphics card is of interest. One often knows the performance-technical limits of the graphics hardware, but about the concrete use in one's own, mostly closed structure, the best review tells you not everything at first. Especially when it comes to overclocking the hardware even further, you are suddenly on your own. However, even a normal new or conversion can present the user with unexpected problems.

Whether thermal or utility problems already occur in normal operation or you just want to know how far you could actually go safely – you have to find out with suitable and appropriate programs where these vulnerabilities or boundaries and where you could even optimize something yourself (housing ventilation, power supply design, etc.). That's why we have created a two-part software test that informs in detail about the necessary tools and also questions the advantages and disadvantages of the programs used in detail.

Important note for all stress tests

We have to inform our readers before starting our own tests that the test programs presented here can not only partially take full advantage of the graphics cards, but that in some cases even the power limits set by the manufacturer can still be used. can surpass it. The use of such so-called "power viruses" is therefore not safe and certainly not in continuous use.

Those who wish to use such programmes on their own responsibility and at their own risk must at the same time ensure that, in the course of the process, they have all the relevant parameters up to the temperatures in question with appropriate and, above all, appropriate Programs continuously and completely monitored, in order to be able to intervene in a secure manner if necessary and to be able to abort the tests immediately!

Choosing the right monitoring programs

The classic for graphics cards is GPU-Z, a free and resource-saving software that can read out the most important parameters of a graphics card and, above all, log it in a real-time file and which also continuously improves and is updated. Certainly not a bad choice for the beginning, even if, for example, real-time overlays in the game are not possible. Here you have to rely on other possibilities and advertisements. In addition to the temperatures, you can also use various loads, limitations, fan speeds and voltage or voltage Current flow values or have you co-write. The free download is available here.

The "MSI Afterburner" is considerably more comfortable, which is not only suitable as an overclocking tool, but also offers a wide range of monitoring functions and also offers an in-game overlay that additionally displays the measured values of the can display your own selection in real time. This is now possible with AMD's Radeon software, but the afterburner is easier to configure (selection of display values, positioning, font size and color, etc.). The free "MSI Afterburner" can be found here.

The "HWiNFO64" tool is not only suitable for graphics card monitoring (but also) and can be downloaded here for free. There is actually nothing that cannot be read out and even written to a file in real time, but the sensor loop is also correspondingly sluggish due to the many values to be read out. Even intervals of one second often lag behind the timestamp.

Therefore, we strongly recommend that you not only hide unnecessary information (network, system, disk, etc.) for better clarity, but also to exclude it from the loop altogether. With such a slimmed-down selection, it works exactly and true to time even in the 500ms interval.

Especially in the second part of our review we will see that this program is almost gold value when it comes to reading out various motherboard sensors.

Choosing the right graphics card

We use for this test with intent "only" a graphics card of the lower middle class with a power limit of 100 watts, because we are especially interested in the board and the temperatures of the individual components. The design of this selected model (Asus RX 560 Strix OC) is very well in line with our goals. Both the memory modules and the voltage converters are not thermally connected to the actual heat sink and thus cannot influence each other. In addition, the memory modules and the voltage converters are also spatially far enough apart to be able to make reliable statements.

We randomly countertested with much more potent maps (Sapphire RX Vega64 Nitro+ and KFA2 GTX 1080 Ti Hall of Fame) and were able to confirm our statements and also to determine that it was precisely the reasons listed that were the reasons for these cards to be would cause measurement problems. With such high losses, one has to 30 minutes already a board that has been warmed up almost continuously, where the most important details are already blurred.

Test system and measurement methods

The new test system and the methodology have already been described in great detail in the basic article "How We Test Graphics Cards" (English: "How We Test Graphics Cards") and therefore, for the sake of simplicity, we now only refer to this detailed Description. So if you want to read everything again, you are welcome to do so. However, we have adjusted the substructure including CPU and cooling for this article once again.

If you are interested, the summary in table form quickly provides a brief overview:

Test systems and measuring rooms
Intel Core i7-8700
MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC
2x 8GB G.Skill TridentZ DDR4 3600
1x 1050 GB Crucial MX300
Be Quiet Dark Power Pro 11, 850-watt power supply
Alphacool Ice Block XPX
Alphacool Ice Age 2000 Chiller
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut (for cooler change)
Microcool Banchetto 101
Graphics card: Asus RX 560 Strix OC
Monitor: Eizo EV3237-BK
Power consumption:
non-contact DC measurement on the PCIe slot (Riser-Card)
non-contact DC measurement on the external PCIe power supply
Direct voltage measurement on the respective feeders and on the power supply
2x Rohde & Schwarz HMO 3054, 500 MHz multi-channel oscillograph with memory function
4x Rohde & Schwarz HZO50, current togor adapter (1 mA to 30 A, 100 KHz, DC)
4x Rohde & Schwarz HZ355, touch divider (10:1, 500 MHz)
1x Rohde & Schwarz HMC 8012, digital multimeter with storage function
Optris PI640, infrared camera
PI Connect evaluation software with profiles
Operating system Windows 10 Pro (1709, all updates)

Danke für die Spende

Du fandest, der Beitrag war interessant und möchtest uns unterstützen? Klasse!

Hier erfährst Du, wie: Hier spenden.

Hier kannst Du per PayPal spenden.

About the author

Igor Wallossek

Editor-in-chief and name-giver of igor'sLAB as the content successor of Tom's Hardware Germany, whose license was returned in June 2019 in order to better meet the qualitative demands of web content and challenges of new media such as YouTube with its own channel.

Computer nerd since 1983, audio freak since 1979 and pretty much open to anything with a plug or battery for over 50 years.

Follow Igor:
YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter