How to benchmark

How to benchmark performance



Performance benchmarks

For Windows PCs, we recommend 3DMark for benchmarking gaming performance and PCMark 8 for benchmarking complete system performance.

For smartphones and tablets, we recommend 3DMark, a cross-platform benchmark for Android and iOS, and PCMark for Android.

Before you start

In general, you should benchmark every device you test under the same conditions. For example, you should test every system in the same location, at room temperature, and away from direct sunlight and other heat sources.

The precision of Futuremark benchmarks scores is usually better than 3%. This means that running a benchmark repeatedly on a consistently performing system in a well-controlled environment will produce scores that fall within a 3% range.

Individual scores may occasionally fall outside the margin of error since the factors that influence the score cannot be completely controlled in a modern, multitasking operating system. There are also devices that simply do not offer consistent performance due to their design. In these cases, it is necessary to run the benchmark multiple times, and then take either an average or a mode of the results.

Recommended process

  1. Install all critical updates to ensure your operating system is up to date.
  2. Install the latest approved drivers for your hardware.
  3. Close other programs.
  4. Run the benchmark.

Expert process

  1. Install all critical updates to ensure your operating system is up to date.
  2. Install the latest approved drivers for your hardware.
  3. Restart the computer or device.
  4. Wait 2 minutes for startup to complete.
  5. Close other programs, including those that may be running in the background.
  6. Wait for 15 minutes.
  7. Run the benchmark.
  8. Repeat from step 3 at least three times to verify your results.

How to benchmark battery life



Battery life benchmarks

For Windows laptops, notebooks and tablets, we recommend benchmarking battery life with PCMark 8. We also offer Powermark for business users. You should use the Windows Power Plan settings that are shipped to and used by the end user. Make a note of these settings in order to compare devices fairly.

For Android smartphones and tablets, we recommend benchmarking battery life with PCMark for Android.

Calibrate the battery

When a device is brand new, or is usually connected to a power supply and hasn't been discharged for a long time, or has been shut down and disconnected from power for a month or more, you must calibrate its battery before running the test.

You can calibrate the device's battery with a full drain/charge cycle followed by a couple of hours left connected to mains power. For better accuracy, we recommend two complete drain/charge cycles. The device manufacturer may provide special software to calibrate the battery. Check with the manufacturer for details.

Set the screen brightness

Screen brightness can have a significant effect on a device's battery life. To produce comparable results you should calibrate every device you test to the same screen brightness. In practice, this is difficult without expensive, specialist equipment.

Our benchmarks can display a pure white calibration screen to help you set the screen brightness. If you don't have access to a luminance meter, you can calibrate your devices by comparing the pure white calibration screen to a reference such as a monitor, light-box or similar. Alternatively, place your devices side by side and adjust the brightness levels by eye.

It is not a good idea to calibrate the screen using the device's built-in brightness settings. Different screens offer different levels of maximum brightness. The 50% brightness setting on one device may not be equal in luminance to the 50% setting on another device, for example.

Before you start

The battery must be at least 80% charged before the test will start. The test loops the benchmark until the battery charge drops below 20%. Battery testing can take several hours during which you will not be able to use your device for other tasks. Do not use the charging cable, or connect mobile devices to a PC, while the test is running.

Recommended process

  1. Test the device at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
  2. Disable automatic screen brightness adjustment.
  3. Use the pure white calibration screen to set the device's screen brightness to a defined level, ideally 110 cd/m2 for laptops and notebooks or 200 cd/m2 for smartphones and tablets.

Expert process

  1. Test the device in an environment that meets the requirements of ECMA-383.
    • Temperature: 23 +/- 5 degrees Celsius.
    • Relative humidity: 10 - 80 %.
    • Ambient light: 250 +/- 50 lux.
  2. Disable automatic screen brightness adjustment.
  3. Use the pure white calibration screen in the app and a luminance meter to calibrate the screen brightness to 110 cd/m2 for laptops and notebooks or 200 cd/m2 for smartphones and tablets.

Benchmark guides


Our detailed Technical Guides explain what each benchmark tests measures and how the scores are calculated.
The Command Line Guides are for use with Professional Edition benchmarks.