Computer Testing Process

Computer Testing Process

The Art and Science of Computer Reviews

At ENBLE, we take pride in our comprehensive and objective reviews of computers. Our team of expert reviewers meticulously test and evaluate various devices, including laptops, desktops, tablets, and other computer-like devices. Our review process consists of two main components: performance testing under controlled conditions in the ENBLE Labs, and extensive hands-on use by our experts.

When a computer arrives at our labs, we set it up as a typical user would, ensuring that we disable invasive privacy and data collection options during the setup process. We then update the operating system, GPU drivers, BIOS, and manufacturer utilities as needed. To gather information about the system’s components, such as the CPU, GPU, RAM, SSD, and mainboard, we use applications like Sandra from SiSoftware, CPUID’s CPU-Z, TechPowerUp’s GPU-Z, and more.

Our benchmark tests are designed to evaluate a computer’s performance across a range of use cases. We have a core set of tests that we run on every compatible system, as well as an extended set of tests for specific scenarios like gaming or content creation. These tests allow us to examine how systems perform with more powerful GPUs or higher-resolution displays.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the benchmarking software we use:

Primate Labs Geekbench 5 and 6

Geekbench is a popular benchmarking tool that measures the performance of a mixed workload on a computer’s CPU. We run both the single-core and multicore CPU tests, as well as either the Vulkan (Windows) or Metal (MacOS) Compute test. On Android, Apple devices, and Chromebooks, we run the CPU tests and the Compute test. Comparing results from both versions of Geekbench allows us to evaluate models tested before Geekbench 6 became available.

Cinebench R23

Cinebench is another valuable tool for measuring CPU performance, specifically for 3D rendering. We run both the single-core and multicore tests on both Windows and MacOS devices.

PCMark 10

While we are phasing out PCMark 10, we still run this Windows benchmark to simulate a wide range of functions, including web browsing, video conferencing, photo editing, and video editing. It provides insight into a system’s overall performance.

3DMark Wild Life Extreme

This cross-platform benchmark is used to test graphics performance on MacOS (Apple silicon), Windows, Android, and iPadOS systems. It eliminates screen resolution as a variable when making cross-device comparisons.

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra, Time Spy, and Port Royal

These tests focus on a system’s DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 graphics performance, which is particularly important for gaming computers. We are transitioning from Port Royal to 3DMark’s DXR or Speed Way tests, which assess raytracing and a mixture of DX12 Ultimate’s features. We have also incorporated 3DMark CPU Profiler, Storage, and PCI Features tests to better understand mixed workload results.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Benchmark

This benchmark runs on lower-end gaming hardware, providing insights into CPU and GPU loads. It offers a balanced analysis rather than relying exclusively on the GPU, simulating the demands of real-world gaming scenarios.

Guardians of the Galaxy Benchmark

As a more modern game that can still run on lower-end gaming hardware, this benchmark focuses on pure GPU performance. By running the core test at different resolutions and quality settings, we can compare the performance across a range of relevant hardware.

The Rift Breaker CPU and GPU Benchmarks

Rift Breaker presents a unique challenge, as it incorporates both action and complex simulation, heavily relying on both the CPU and GPU. By running this test at various resolutions and quality settings, we can gauge system stability and performance under different loads.

UL Procyon Benchmarks

For systems that meet baseline requirements to run Adobe Premiere Pro and Photoshop with Photoshop Lightroom Classic, we include these benchmarks to assess a system’s suitability for content creation. Unlike pure GPU benchmarks, these tests provide insights into how mixed CPU and GPU loads are handled.

Battery Life Test

For computers with batteries, we conduct a thorough battery life test. We ensure that the system remains active by changing settings to prevent sleep or hibernation. We stream a custom YouTube video over Wi-Fi at 50% screen brightness and volume, monitoring the duration of active usage.

JetStream 2, MotionMark, and WebXPRT 3

These browser-based tests help us evaluate Chromebook performance and occasionally provide data for comparison on Windows systems.

In addition to our standard benchmark tests, we also conduct discretionary testing to explore different aspects of a computer’s performance. For example, we may run Geekbench and Cinebench tests on battery power to assess the impact of power-saving settings. We also run loops of other benchmarks on systems with powerful components to measure system stability and component temperatures under full load.

Discretionary testing extends to exploring game upscaling and optimization technologies such as DLSS 2 and 3 (on Nvidia), FidelityFX Super Resolution 2.x (on AMD), or XeSS (for Intel hardware) in 3DMark and supported games. For midrange and high-end GPU systems, we sometimes include SpecViewPerf 2020 for professional content creation and analysis, as well as anecdotal testing with OBS Studio for streaming.

As part of our reviews, we present comparison charts of scores from relevant tests across comparable products. When introducing significant changes to our testing methodology, such as adopting new versions of benchmarks, we double-test both the old and new versions to create a comprehensive database of comparison data.

We continually strive to improve our testing process and expand our test suite. Currently, we are evaluating UL Procyon’s recently added AI Inferencing tests and the game Returnal, known for its high-end graphics and informative benchmark.

Benchmark results provide vital insights into a system’s performance. While many computers share similar components and specifications, the benchmark data allows us to identify nuanced differences in performance between brands. Laptop performance, in particular, depends on a manufacturer’s decisions regarding power allocation, even when plugged in. With various settings and “AI”-driven adjustments, it can be challenging to discern the true performance within the ever-evolving landscape of computer technology.

At ENBLE, we take the art and science of computer reviews seriously, striving to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of a device’s capabilities. Our emotionally rich, humorous, and positive approach ensures that our readers are not only informed but entertained throughout the review process.