We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Computer Benchmarks?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

While some people use their computers mainly for surfing or for work, others are more interested in the performance of their systems or various components. They like to test hardware and sometimes software, not only to see if it lives up to its potential, but also to push it to new heights. There are special tests for this purpose, known as benchmarks.

Some computer enthusiasts “overclock” or raise the clock speed to see just how far they can push their systems. Benchmarks are a series of tests used to measure the level of performance at both stock and overclocked speeds. When a system is overclocked, it may not be stable at certain levels, so benchmarks are also used to measure stability at various speeds.

People who build their own high performance systems or do a lot of gaming, sometimes run benchmarks to compare scores, competing to see whose system is superior. However, one doesn’t have to overclock in order to use computer benchmark programs. Benchmarks offer a series of graphics and sound tests as well as standardized options, which can also be used to diagnose problems.

You can also find multi-tasking benchmarks to see how well your computer holds up under stressful situations. There may be several different processes running at any given time aside from those you are using directly. If you are running more than one program, along with the typical processes, you may notice your computer running slow or lagging as you go back and forth between applications. Multi-tasking benchmarks can help you determine which programs demand the most from your system, and help you establish which if any unnecessary processes you may need to turn off while using high drain applications.

There are full system benchmarks as well as those that only test certain parts of a system, such as the memory, CPU function, hard drives, network connections, video cards, and sound cards. You may also be able to purchase plug-in benchmarks for various specialty applications. Benchmark tests can help determine if there is a problem and where it is located. In turn, this may help keep expenses down when having a computer repaired or updated, by establishing that only certain areas require attention.

Be careful where you obtain benchmarking programs. Read reviews and choose those offered by reputable companies, even if you have to spend a few bucks. Look for a benchmark program that is easy to use, comes with complete instructions, and explains what scores mean. While you can find a variety of free downloads, some sites that offer benchmarks warn that they can be harmful to your system, so take your time and choose carefully. Check out some overclocking or gaming sites to see what types of benchmarking programs enthusiasts are using and to read reviews.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Soulfox — On Jun 30, 2014

@Melonlity -- true, but even those programs that aren't great in some areas can be useful if you are using them to compare the performance of different computers. The old "apples to apple" analogy holds true. If a program is a bit off when it comes to measuring graphics performance, it can still tell you whether one graphics chip is faster than another.

By Melonlity — On Jun 29, 2014

A problem with these things is that they spit out wildly varying results and some are better at measuring certain things than others. A benchmarking program, for example, might measure CPU performance very well but be downright horrible when it comes to measuring graphical performance.

Take this article seriously. Don't mess with benchmarking software until you do some research and find out which programs are the most accurate and are used by the pros to test computers under real world conditions.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.