I prefer running lighter (HandBrake) and more obsolete (IntelBurnTest, IBT) stress tests for quick testing to see how stable the CPU is while making one tweak after another. However, just running these types of tests and passing doesn't mean your CPU is 24/7 stable. Memtest is one of the most popular tests for testing memory stability. From my experience, if you can pass Handbrake encoding with a large 4K video or IBT, you aren't far off from your voltage required for 24/7 stability, but just running something like HandBrake or IBT isn't enough to say your CPU is totally stable.
I like Handbrake for quick testing because it spits out a performance figure in FPS in its log and you can see throttling with that number, and it is a real-world test and uses AVX. However, AVX is not a huge issue for Ryzen CPUs because they don't have large dedicated AVX units built into them. I like Intel Burn Test because it does get your CPU very hot and if your system is very unstable it will freeze, but if it is mid-stable, it will error out while HandBrake will just skip to the end of the queue.
Some users will just go to the strong stress testers like Prime95, and run it for a day or two. I mainly use three stability testing programs; HandBrake encoding of a 4K video (very quick but shows performance and uses AVX), Intel Burn Test with a decent chunk of memory usage (has AVX and can be run however long you like), and Prime95 blend one day and small FFTs for another (latest version with AVX). Prime95 has a few different tests you can run. The default test is a blend test, which tests most everything, but isn't going to demolish CPU core instabilities as Small FFTs would.
AIDA64 also has a built-in test, and you can choose what you test (core, FPU, etc.) but I would increase the amount of RAM used in that test as the default value is a bit low. AIDA64 is considered a "safe" test by many, as it's not designed to beat your CPU up, but many believe you can't become a man until you get a really good beating. Over time, it's possible for certain stress testing programs to do better than others, and the best place to find this information is in the stress testing threads on overclocking forums.
When you stress test, it's also a great idea to keep a monitoring program up and running. I like HWinfo, as it monitors a ton of metrics and is often updated. I wouldn't keep up multiple monitoring programs. That means I highly recommend using a program like HWinfo and disabling or uninstalling any other software like motherboard monitoring software. It's also a good idea to not have a CPUz tab up either, as it polls the CPU a lot and HWinfo already reports on CPU speed. You might also want to set your Windows Power Plan to high-performance. Overall, in the end, some people recommend up to 2 days of stress testing to ensure your system is totally stable. The only thing to keep in mind in the long term is that any overclocking and hardcore stress testing can negatively impact the lifespan of your components, but overclocking is fun and can increase performance with ease.
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- Page 1 [Introduction to Overclocking and Flow Chart]
- Page 2 [Disclaimer and Before You Begin Overclocking]
- Page 3 [CPU Multiplier and Voltages]
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