There are many tools out there for benchmarking your graphics cards or GPUs in Windows 10. If you’re overclocking, then we recommend using something like Heaven benchmark or 3DMark to see if your tinkering is pushing out the framerates you want at the temperatures you want.
FurMark may look similar to those tools but in reality is more of a stress test than a benchmarking tool. What’s the difference? FurMark will push your GPU harder and draw more power, making it a good way of testing to see if your graphics card is stable at stock settings.
If you suspect your GPU hardware may be faulty, then test it in FurMark, and you’ll quickly find answers. It’s also a good way of testing your GPU’s heat management and will give you an idea about whether you may need to upgrade your cooling. It pushes your GPU to its limits to test its stability.
Note: for these reasons, we don’t recommend using FurMark for overclocked GPUs, only to stress test a GPU at its stock settings. With that in mind, here’s how to stress test your GPU using FurMark.
2. Open FurMark, and you’ll see various settings you can play around with. You should leave most of these as as they are if you just want to do a regular GPU stress test.
3. The one thing you may want to change in the Settings menu is to tick the “GPU temperature alarm” box, which will emit a warning when your GPU hits a certain temperature. (I set mine to 95°C, which my GPU definitely shouldn’t be hitting.)
4. To run a default stress test based on the resolution you usually run games at, click the relevant preset in the “GPU benchmarks” box.
What looks like a giant donut covered in cat fur will appear on your screen. (The whole thing looks weirdly like a Windows 95 screensaver.)
The stress test will slowly increase the power usage of your GPU, and you’ll see your GPU temperature ticking up. As a general rule, if you can run a FurMark stress test without any problems for 30 minutes, that means your graphics card is performing as it should.
5. Keep an eye on the top-left corner for the load on your GPU (it should be around 100 percent), as well as the chart across the bottom to monitor the temperature.
While the stress test is running, there are a few telltale signs that your GPU may be struggling.
The first, and most obvious, sign of hardware problems is FurMark crashing or causing your PC to crash. If this happens repeatedly across several times of running the stress test, then you could have a faulty GPU or PSU (power supply unit).
More subtle cues of GPU issues could include visual artifacts and glitches on the screen during the test.
If your GPU (not overclocked) is running in excess of 90C to 95C during a stress test preset, then you should look into improving your cooling situation – either by getting a cooler for your GPU, improving the fan layout in your case, or getting a different PC case with better cooling.
If you want to keep delving into the world of GPUs, see whether we think an eGPU is worth buying in 2020. Also check out our guide to the most underrated tool every Nvidia GPU owner should use, Nvidia Inspector.