PC utilities, Monitoring, Burn-in Tests and Maintenance.
In past articles I have mentioned some program I use to overclock or do other misc work on my rig. Any PC needs a bit of maintenance and love and at times when you tweak your settings and go into overclocking you need to run tests.
Therefore I thought it would be wise to write this short article covering my favorite utilities that I frequently use. The programs I list will be free of charge, no trial period or similar sales tricks. I do use paid programs to run tests at times but those are far and few in between but are very good.
A little free tool that allows you to check for outdated drivers. While 3DP Chip does not offer 100% coverage it will find most drivers, I run it roughly once a month. Be aware of the adds it tries to install just decline that request, security software could flag this program because of that.
ASUS Real Bench.
ASUS released this toolkit using open source program some are covered in this article, however, this program combines several. It can be a bit time consuming to run the program it offers a benchmark setting and a stress test setting covering the full range of hardware. Mainly used by ASUS ROG users but it is for every system, test your PC performance or subject it to a stress test.
PC cleaning and optimization it offers a full version for free with an option to upgrade to a pro version that offers more automating features. In its core, the free version cleans your browser(s), various hidden or hard to find folders that tend to collect junk files. Keeps your registry free of empty and dead links that will consume resources or even causes errors and crashes, startup program management. Very useful and easy to use tool to keep that rig running at peak performance with little to no effort on your part.
The go to program to find out what hardware you are running with numbers, data, and specifications. Offers some benchmarking and validation must need if you wish to partake in overclocking contests.
DiskMax is a handy free disk and windows optimization tool that I use to supplement CCleaner. It looks for a range of files such as windows cache, windows event logs and sorts files for faster access through windows. This is by far the best program to keep your windows from unstable and clutter your hard drives with random junk.
The go to GPU benchmark and OC stress test tool, ensuring your freshly overclocked GPU is up to the task. Furmark uses intensive OpenGL fur rendering algorithms to measure GPU performance due to that heavy load it is ideal for stress testing. Because of that, it offers several modes, a benchmark setting, and a stress test / burn-in test either in full-screen or in a window.
HWiNFO64 / 32.
System and monitoring for your hardware with options to make reports/log files for overclockers a useful tool to monitor temperatures. Anything from CPU clock speeds, RAM clock speeds and timings to an in-depth temperature reading from all motherboard sensors. Furthermore, it reads the voltages of various installed hardware and fans speeds vital for stable and safe overclocking. For Ryzen this program at this point in time offers the most accurate temperature readings.
Does exactly the same as HWiNFO but from the same website that offers CPU-Z. Different people will like different programs for hardware monitoring, temperature, clock speeds and fan speeds so people will advice one of these. Another small difference is that a pro version is on offer that allows for remote access, graph generator, and custom labels.
An unconventional program Project Mercury will optimize your PC resources multi-core processors may that be Intel or AMD. Consider this a more advanced program and go to the info tab to see what the features can do for you. Among the features is disable core parking, disable standby on CPU load, no multi-core stutter etc.
A file recovery program that will allow you to recover deleted files from any hard drive or even overwritten files. For this reason, drive wiping programs with DOD standards always rewrites up to 32 times so no files can be recovered. But for the regular users, this program can be a lifesaver if you deleted files or want to attempt a recovery from an old hard drive. Recuva can even offer hope when a drive has been damaged although this depends on the severeness of the drive if that will be successful.
A system information tool like CPU-Z and temperature readings like HWMonitor and HWiNFO. It has a far easier interface than other tools I listed but as a general tool, it offers less in-depth reporting. Easy when you have a friend or relative with hardware problems you can guide them and find the information you need to resolve the problem(s).
Unigine Valley Benchmark,
A performance and stability test for various PC components that are related to your GPU. It offers realistic rendering load on your GPU and components related to your GPU as the cooling and PSU. I normally test with FurMark then use Valley to check performance under a realistic load to confirm a stable overclock of my GPU.
This concludes this short article on some of the utility software I frequently use on my PC's or tests and troubleshooting for others. Programs like this will save you time and effort or offer you better-overclocking capabilities and stability overall to keep that rig at peak performance. It is by no means a final list but these programs are the most common others will point out if you are searching the internet. All the programs I listed are still supported and receive frequent updates from the developers.
- Paul Ripmeester