Personal computer (PC) benchmarking is a method of checking a computer’s speed by initiating processes and seeing how they long they take to complete. To ensure that PC benchmarking is correctly reported, any programs or functions that can cause inconsistent data should be shut off. Each PC benchmarking program is made to affect a different piece of hardware, and poor performance may mean having to change that hardware. Without running this program, a user may never know if his computer is degrading in speed.
When someone uses PC benchmarking software, the program will test how quickly the computer responds to certain stimuli. For example, this program may simulate downloading or opening a program, and it will record the times of each process. It may not be able to directly show speed degradation the first time, because it will not have other test results to compare to determine whether the speed is increasing or decreasing. This means it usually is best if someone runs the program when it is first installed so information is present from the beginning.
While PC benchmarking can be performed at any time, it usually is best to prepare the computer before getting a benchmarking report. This means shutting down anything that can cause inconsistent data, such as the Internet. If the computer has been used for several hours, then it also may be best to restart it, because heavy usage can decrease immediate resources that otherwise could increase speed and responsiveness.
A PC benchmarking system often is meant to show how well the computer is functioning overall, but each benchmarking program usually affects one piece of hardware more than others. For example, if the benchmarking is concentrated on the CPU, then it may test the amount of memory that can be moved during a clock cycle, while a hard drive benchmarking program may be more focused on how quickly the computer can save files. It is important to know what is being tested because, if hardware needs to be changed to increase performance, then the user needs to know what hardware to change.
Computer functioning often degrades slowly and fluidly, and most people will not notice the speed difference, because their minds will adapt to the slower speed over time. Using PC benchmarking software will show users in exact numbers whether the computer is working at the same speed as it did when it was new or if the speed has decreased. This will let users know if they need to change something in the computer or if other speed-optimization methods should be applied to get the computer working at full speed again.