So you’ve bought yourself a new gaming PC and now you’re wondering what you should do to put it through its paces. How can you demonstrate to yourself the awesome and wondrous power of your brand spanking new machine? The good news is that doing so is pretty easy; there are plenty of intensive PC programs out there for you to test your rig’s mettle. Knowing where to start can be tricky, though. We’ve assembled a guide on how to put a new gaming PC through its paces.
Browse the internet
Yes, really. You might not think that browsing the internet is a particularly CPU-intensive task, but that’s not the case. The most popular browser by far (at time of writing) is Google Chrome, and that can be a real resource hog on your machine. Open a few Chrome tabs with some embedded videos and watch as your PC handles them with no problems whatsoever. As for what you should do…well, how about a game of Bitcoin Dice? You could certainly do a lot worse.
Play some games
Since you bought your PC for gaming, one of the best ways you can put it through its paces is simply to game. Load up your Steam library, find the most graphically intensive title you can, and get started. Some suggestions: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Far Cry 5, and Hitman 2 all offer incredibly immersive and well-realised worlds that will get your graphics card humming and your processor working. Alternately, for a spot of racing realism, try loading up a game of Project CARS 2.
Run a benchmark test
Want to know just how powerful your new machine really is? Run yourself a benchmark test. The most popular and fully-featured benchmark software by far is 3DMark, which is often to be found on Steam at a discounted price (it’s not free, unfortunately, but it is an excellent piece of software). If you’d really rather not pay for your benchmark software, you should check out Heaven Benchmark, which is a little more rough around the edges but gets the job done perfectly well.
Load up some video editing software
Video editing software is notorious for being intense and demanding on your system resources. Most video editing software will consume a huge amount of RAM, so if you’ve just upgraded from 4GB to 16GB and want to know what kind of effect that’s going to have on your system, video editing is the best way to do that. We’d recommend Lightworks, which is an incredibly rich and complex video editor available entirely for free. You will need to go through the extensive tutorials, though.
Try some music editing
If you’ve got some musical bones in your body, then music sequencing software and digital audio workstations (DAWs) will put your machine to the test. Programs like Cubase, Ableton Live, and Reason are all excellent options. If you’d rather opt for free versions, you can check out Studio One, BandLab’s Cakewalk, and Stagelight. All of these programs won’t completely eradicate your system memory, but they will certainly put it under some strain.
Stream yourself gaming
One of the most demanding processes for a PC gamer is to stream yourself gaming. There are a number of popular platforms on which you can do this; Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube Live are all excellent options. The best software for streaming is probably OBS, which stands for Open Broadcaster Software. This program is entirely free, so you won’t need to pay for the privilege, and playing a game while simultaneously streaming it can tax your hardware something fierce.
Overclock your hardware
Some cards and processors are more responsive to the idea of overclocking than others are, so make sure your hardware supports this feature before you attempt this. Most graphics cards and processors will run at safe clock speeds to avoid overheating, but there’s usually some leeway to this number. Using a popular overclocking program like MSI Afterburner, you can force your card to perform above standard capacity, eking just that little bit more performance out of it. You’ll notice the difference!
Run an emulator
Remember – don’t emulate games unless you legally own them. The legal status of gaming on emulators is very, very specific, so make sure you’re not doing anything illegal with them! Still, emulators for advanced machines like the PlayStation 2 or GameCube can be extremely demanding on your hardware, making them excellent choices if you’d like to know just how powerful your new monster of a PC can be. For extra immersion, try plugging in an Xbox 360 or PS3 controller!
Try some image editing
Just like video editing software, image editing programs can be extremely graphically intensive and will take up a lot of memory on your system. Adobe Photoshop is the obvious go-to piece of software, but the excellent free alternative GIMP is also well worth a look. Some of the more resource-hungry functions on these programs can actually crash older machines, so there’s no better way to feel superior than to take the more intensive features out for a test-drive.