Using 3DMark to measure sustained performance.

December 13, 2023

The latest generation of portable tech can run incredibly fast, even with minimal or no active cooling. To meet the demands of a typical device owner, mobile devices like smartphones are capable of delivering high processing power in short bursts.

However, to keep devices from getting too hot, many portable devices don’t maintain their fastest speeds for long. When running many popular mobile games, the full power of a phone or tablet often isn’t needed. This is great for many mobile gamers, but for some hardcore users, the graphics of their favorite games mean they’re more interested in a device’s sustained performance during longer, demanding gaming sessions.

This is proving to be especially true as more devices include processors featuring a variety of different core types. This means a processor can be very efficient when used for lighter tasks but also able to handle demanding next-gen technologies such as ray-traced gaming at the cost of increasing the heat output of a device.

3DMark Stress Tests

We’ve designed our 3DMark stress tests to complement our benchmarks, meaning gamers have a way to easily find out both their device’s peak performance, as well as how it may change over longer gaming sessions. Stress tests run for 20 minutes, by which the average device’s temperature will have stabilized in a typical gaming session and any variation in performance due to the device temperature will be visible. You’ll want to make sure your device hasn’t been running any benchmarks or games before you start the stress test to prevent heat from previous tasks affecting your run.

3DMark Solar Bay Stress Test for Windows

When you’ve completed the stress test, you’ll get results showing the difference between your lowest score and your highest. You’ll also get metrics showing how performance scaled over time, helping you identify when your device needed to throttle performance to keep itself within a safe temperature range.

3DMark Solar Bay Stress Test for Windows

Our benchmark recommendations

For testing lightweight Windows, Windows-on-Arm, iOS, Android and Apple Silicon Macs, we recommend you run the stress tests for Solar Bay (if your device can handle ray tracing), or Wild Life Extreme.

For gaming PCs, Speed Way is our most intense benchmark, and the stress test is our best way to test your new gaming PC. Time Spy Extreme is currently our heaviest non-ray tracing benchmark. These recommendations are soon set to change, as our team is hard at work on our successor to Time Spy — 3DMark Steel Nomad — which will be released in 2024. Steel Nomad will support Windows, Windows-on-Arm, Apple Silicon Macs, iOS, Android and Linux devices.

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