PassMark's PerformanceTest makes it easy to test your computer and compare its performance against baseline statistics and other users' PCs. Benchmarking your PC is important for tweaking its performance, and it's critical for overclocking. PerformanceTest runs a battery of sophisticated benchmarking tests and returns some expert-level data. With six suites comprising 28 unique tests, it benchmarks the performance of your CPU, RAM, 2D and 3D graphics, disk speed, and more. Recent updates include improved 32-bit performance in Windows 7 and compatibility with Windows 8. PerformanceTest is free to try for 30 days and costs $26. We tried it in Windows 7 Home Premium SP1.
The first thing we noticed about PerformanceTest's user interface is the totally cool rotating 3D motherboard that filled itself with 3D representations of all our system components: CPU, RAM modules, disk drives, and so on. We just had to click on a component to view its data. There's a good Help file, but PerformanceTest isn't difficult to use by any means: Click Run Benchmark to start the tests; Manage Baselines to view, manage, compare, and upload baseline data; and Preferences to select various program options. The Help file offers a lot of information about PerformanceTest's benchmarks, though.
For accurate benchmarking, close any open apps before running PerformanceTest. The full battery of tests takes several minutes and includes everything from 3D game scenes to a Mandelbrot set. The tool tracked each step with progress bars and finished with a numerical score we could compare to baseline results or upload to share. The tests showed the capabilities and limitations of our fair-to-middling graphics card, for instance, and displayed all our logical volumes as separate drives. Tab offered detailed test results, performance data, and graphs for Main, System, Summary, CPU Mark, 2D Graphics Mark, 3D Graphics Mark, Memory Mark, and Disk Mark, with additional tests available under the advanced menu, including Network, CD/DVD Drive, and Disk, as well as a Visualized Physics Test and DirectCompute Test. Many freeware benchmarking tools are out there, but few match this tool's capabilities. Anyone can use PerformanceTest, but skilled users will benefit the most from its benchmarks.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of PerformanceTest 8.0.Build 1018.
Experienced users will appreciate the ability to create their own specialized test scenarios to aid in conducting any in-depth assessment of hardware behavior. From the advanced test window, all component tests can be thoroughly customized to suit a user's needs. Results can then be exported to a graph for quick reference, or to a HTML report containing detailed system information and snapshots showing performance over the duration of the test.
Among other new features, Version 9 of PerformanceTest boasts a redesigned user interface that presents users with detailed system information and test results in a dynamic and interactive way. Several advanced benchmark tests allow the user to create their own test scenarios for 3D, networking and disk performance.