Other Developing a consistent method for benchmarking and testing thermals...


King of Cable Management
Original poster
Jan 5, 2017

I recently ordered a test bench and would like to start learning more about the differences between hardware and performance and thermals. I've had the general/basic knowledge required to build a computer for more probably almost two decades now, but when I'm trying to help a friend assemble a list of parts I often end up second-guessing myself and hesitating to recommend less than what I would consider 'acceptable.' You know, I'm trying to help a friend with a budget build but I'm still strongly recommending a ~250GB SSD alongside of a ~2TB HDD, I don't want to recommend less than 16GB of RAM, I'm hesitant to recommend the 1050 even though it's a great card for the price... the 'little difference' in price of upgrading from these things or "just adding a HDD" add up and quickly and if someone has a tight budget around $600, it's pretty easy to end up over that.

Anyways, I'm interested in learning more about this stuff, it's practically useful for me, and I think it would help me benefit my peers more too! On top of that, I'd like to help you folks and anyone else interested in hardware--I'm really fascinated by the space efficiency and 'console-killing' angle that mini-ITX and other SFF options give us enthusiasts and I'd really like to help provide information that not only helps us become more popular but helps us all make more informed purchasing and budgeting decisions.

So my first group of questions are regarding you folks' preferences:
  • What sorts of benchmarks do you look for?
    • Do you care about synthetic benchmarks?
    • Do you care about "real world" (gameplay/project) benchmarks?
  • What do you look for in thermal information?
    • Do you think "open-air" thermals (like on a test bench) are useful?
    • Do you have any suggestions for a "generic" SFF case airflow/volume thermal test?
Now, I don't know much of anything about benchmarking or accurately recording thermals. It's apparently a lot more of a science than I had originally assumed, and I feel like I'm on the outside looking in. Do you have any recommendations (or recommended reading) for creating accurate or useful benchmarks? What about thermals, are there any good tools or software or sensors?

If you're interested in helping me generate this information, (once I'm set up) I'd happily accept any relevant hardware that you either don't need or aren't currently using. Either as a donation or as 'a loaner.' Chances are, excess hardware would either hang around for re-testing or possibly get raffled off/given away. Or I could just send it back if you'd prefer that.

All that said, I'm pretty interested in learning more about system power draw, too. I wish consumers had more options besides 35W+ chips "or a soldered on chip." Depending on how much excess time I have I would be excited to compare chips and how they perform with undervolting/underclocking. I'm also fairly interested in integrated GPUs (and overclocking them!) and learning more about the current offerings could lead to some spicy face-offs when AMD finally releases their new line of APUs later this year.

So, this is another group of questions that knowing your preferences would "help me help you:"
  • Are there any particular parts you'd like to see tested or compared to its competition? (Feel free to be specific!)
    • Motherboards?
      • Similar chipsets/generations?
      • Same manufacturer and chipset, different form factors?
      • Over-the-years? (Is my hardware dated?)
    • CPUs
      • Same generation? (i5-7600K vs i7-7700K)
      • Similar SKU (i7-6700K vs i7-7700K)?
      • Over-the-years? (Is my hardware dated?)
      • Which CPU/platform is right for me? (HTPC, Steam in-home streaming, NAS, etc.)
    • GPUs
      • "Mini" thermals vs "full-size" thermals?
      • Is it worth upgrading? (750Ti vs 1050/Ti)
    • Power Supplies
      • There's a pretty rich variety here, this would be pretty unique/specific to SFF and modders.
      • Power bricks? (Stress tests?)
  • How do you like to digest this sort of information?
    • In an article?
    • In a blog? (Is there a particular difference between this and an article?)
    • In a YouTube Video?
      • Just charts and graphs with a voice over? Or do you like shots of hardware/gameplay and "talking head" footage?
    • In a podcast?
      • A podcast just about benchmarks and thermals and hardware? Or what other kinds of info or hosting would you like sprinkled in?


King of Cable Management
Original poster
Jan 5, 2017
Well, that Geeek mITX test bench that I ordered came in. It shipped within about a week, and I was concerned it didn't survive the trip from China based on the condition of the box... but it looks fine on the inside, it had bubble wrap around it.

I wouldn't have expected an entire test bench to fit comfortably in my hand like a tablet, but a mITX one does!

Excuse the mess in my office...

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