How to Stress Test a Graphics Card on Linux

Graphics Test Linux Featured

No PC hardware will last forever. Over time, heavy usage can begin to burn out components like your processor and graphics card. If your display is starting to seem a little glitchy, it could be time to replace your graphics card with a newer model.

Before you do that, you should consider checking your graphics card for problems by conducting a stress test. Here’s how you can stress test your graphics card on Linux.

GpuTest

The first method for a GPU stress test on Linux is to use the GpuTest tool. This cross-platform tool is available for Linux, macOS and Windows PCs. It’s actually several tools in one, running several different types of graphics tests to see how well your graphics card is performing.

While the software is a little outdated, it’s still capable of running tests on your GPU in 2019 and beyond. It also includes the well-known and popular FurMark tool, which in recent releases has become Windows-only.

Gputest Linux Testing

GpuTest also includes several benchmarking options which will give you information on performance speeds, temperatures and more.

To install it on Linux, download the most recent release of GpuTest and unzip the file. From there, open a terminal window and type the following to start the GpuTest GUI:

Choose your stress testing method in the GUI menu that appears, then click the “Run stress test” button to begin the stress testing. Click “Run benchmark” if you want to see detailed data on your GPU.

Glxgears

A noticeable issue with a failing GPU is a reduction in the framerate. To give you a quick indication of your current GPU framerate, you can use the Glxgears tool. This is a tool included with the Mesa 3D graphics library, available for Linux users.

Glxgears Linux Test

Ubuntu and Debian-based Linux distributions can install Glxgears by installing the mesa-utils package. Open a terminal and type:

Once the mesa-utils package is installed, start Glxgears by typing glxgears at the terminal.  As you might guess from the name, it performs a framerate test by loading a 3D simulation of moving gears.

Every five seconds it logs the current framerate in the terminal window. If there are any sudden framerate drops, you can use this information as a sign to investigate your GPU further. However, be warned: some Linux graphics drivers don’t work well with Glxgears, and you may need to run further tests to confirm any suspicious readings.

Unigine Benchmark

If you’re looking for an in-depth test, the Unigine Benchmark tools will likely satisfy you. Using the Unigine 2 Engine, the incredibly detailed 3D environments created by the tool give you an actual game-like environment you can play around in, with underlying tools to test your GPU as you go.

This is the perfect tool for gamers looking to benchmark their GPU on Linux. There are several environments to choose from, with each new model offering new advancements to offer the best stress tests for newer graphics cards.

Unigine Benchmark Tool Linux

Each benchmark tool includes an automated stress test mode, deep framerate analysis, and a detailed reporting feature to help you identify problems. The latest tool, Superposition, also includes support for VR devices, allowing you to test your graphics card for VR readiness.

To install, go to the Unigine Benchmark website and select the tool you wish to download, then click the “download” button. The tool will come as a RUN file. Once downloaded, open a terminal window, go to the location of the file, and type:

Replace “Benchmark-Filename” with the correct filename for your Benchmark tool. Once you’ve done that, type the following to begin installing the testing software:

Once again, replace “Benchmark-Filename” with the correct filename. Enter the folder the installation file creates using the cd command, then type the following:

Replace “superposition” with the name of one of the other Unigine benchmark tools if you’re using an older version.

Stress Test Your GPU Before Replacement

Before you rush out to buy a new graphics card, you should stress test your graphics card first to see how well it’s actually performing. A problem with your GPU could be fixed with regular maintenance or by switching your Linux graphics card drivers.

If your graphics card is failing, take a look at our graphics card buyers guide to help you find a replacement.

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