The Best Software for Stress Testing a Computer
Overclocking a computer's components, including the processor, video card and RAM, can improve overall performance. Enthusiasts often do this because overclocking is a free boost - the only cost is your time. In exchange, you can sometimes improve your computer's performance between 10 and 20 percent.
The downside to pushing your computer, however, is that you might decrease your computer's stability. In other words, overclocking can cause your computer to crash in spectacular fashion, blue-screening or cold-rebooting without any apparent provocation. This occurs because overclocking is, by definition, the process of pushing a component beyond the limits it has been tested and known to tolerate. Eventually this will cause hardware to malfunction.
Sometimes these malfunctions are constant and obvious. For example, you might overclock your video card only to find that, once you pass a certain point, games no longer play for more than two minutes before crashing. This instability is very obvious. In other instances, however, instability might only appear occasionally. Your computer may crash once every few days or few weeks.
If you're experiencing this problem you can use stress testing to coax out issues. Stress testing programs put your computer under the most demanding load possible. They try to make your computer crash. If your computer crashes during stress testing you know that you need to back off your overclocking a bit - if it doesn't crash, you know that you can demand maximum performance from your computer without being rewarded with a BSOD.