PC Guide Testing Lab

Last Updated on May 24, 2024
Our CPU test rig built into the Cooler Master Master Frame ©BGFG
PC Guide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read More
You can trust PC Guide: Our team of experts use a combination of independent consumer research, in-depth testing where appropriate - which will be flagged as such, and market analysis when recommending products, software and services. Find out how we test here.

Our PC Guide Testing Lab enables us to ensure we give careful, detailed, attention to new products and components. It is at the center of all of our hands-on reviews and tests. Reliability and repeatability of benchmarks are key to testing any product, so our standardized setups ensure our testing environment is kept as uniform as possible to deliver clear and useful results across product areas.

PC Guide Testing Lab – ethos

We have built our testing setups to deliver balanced and useful performance insights – using the same core elements unless a change is needed for specific testing. For example, in the case of CPU testing, we would need to use an Intel partner motherboard for testing an Intel CPU. However, in all testing across product areas, we ensure uniformity to deliver fair, balanced, and ultimately useful results that allow us to produce helpful buying guides and reviews. And, crucially, that enables you to make the best possible buying decision. Our testing utilizes:

  • Repeatable, standardized processes
  • Recognized synthetic and real-world benchmarks
  • Product and market expertise
  • A controlled Testing Lab environment
A person playing a video game on a dual monitor setup with a colorful illuminated PC Guide and gaming peripherals.
Jack Howarth, using the CPU test rig to run real-world gaming benchmarks ©BGFG

CPU and GPU testing

We use separate CPU and GPU test setups to minimize system changes across our testing environments. This allows us to keep both set-ups as standard as we can while swapping only the required parts. It also means that we can test CPUs and GPUs alongside each other on dedicated rigs. For ease of access to components, and easier audio level and temperature testing, our CPU and GPU set-ups are each built into the open-air Cooler Master Master Frame.

CPU testing

Our standard CPU test system is built using the below components. We’ve included our go-to AM4 (DDR4) and AM5 (DDR5) RAM, alongside motherboards for AM4, AM5, and Intel LGA 1700 platforms. Testing is carried out by our resident CPU expert, Jack Howarth.

A close-up view of an open computer in a Testing Lab with visible components including ram sticks, a geforce gtx graphics card, and a corsair cooler displaying the temperature.
Our CPU test rig, with the Corsair Elite LCD 360mm fitted on the tested CPU ©BGFG
Jack Howarth, re-attaching the CPU test-rig cooler
Jack Howarth, re-attaching the CPU test rig cooler ©BGFG

CPU test setup

Component TypeComponent
Graphics cardRTX 4070Ti Super
CPU coolerCorsair Elite LCD 360mm
Testing frameCooler Master Master Frame
Power SupplyAsus ROG Thor 1000W
RAM (DDR4 for AM4)Netac Shadow DDR4 (3600MHz – 18-22-22-42)
RAM (DDR5)Corsair Vengeance DDR5 (6400MHz – 32-40-40-84)
Motherboard (AMD AM4)Gigabyte X570 Aorus Pro
Motherboard (AMD AM5)Asus ROG Crosshair Extreme X670
Motherboard (for Intel Raptor Lake)Maximus hero Z790
Our PC Guide CPU testing setup

CPU Cooler testing

CPU cooler testing - PC Guide CPU cooler test bench

This setup consists of basically the same components that we use to test CPUs, only everything is constant bar the cooler. We use an Intel setup for this, as Intel CPUs tend to run a little hotter than their AMD counterparts. The components on the CPU cooler testing bench are as follows:

CPU cooler test setup:

Component Name
GPURTX 4070 Ti
Motherboard64GB Dominator titanium @6400MHz
MemoryASUS ROG Maximus Extreme Z790
CPU coolerCorsair Elite LCD Capellix 360MM
Power supplyCooler Master MWE v2 1050w
Table of components used to test CPU coolers at PCguide.

You can view the full process of how we test CPU coolers here. We use all the latest components, specifically the CPUs to give the coolers we test a ‘worse case scenario’ challenge. This is well noted in the CPU cooler testing page and all the reviews we conduct.

GPU testing

This system is built around the AMD AM5 platform. You can also read more about how we test GPUs. Our GPU benchmarking is carried out by Sebastian Kozlowski, with a full range of GPU synthetic and real-world gaming benchmarks applied to any card that we fit into the system.

PC Guide GPU testing rig with Sebastien
Sebastian Kozlowski testing a product using our dedicated GPU test setup ©BGFG
PC Guide GPU test rig running 3D Mark synthetic software
PC Guide GPU test rig running 3D Mark synthetic benchmark software ©BGFG

GPU test setup

Our standardized GPU test system is built using the following components.

Component TypeComponent
CPURyzen 9 7950X CPU
CPU coolerROG Ryujin II 360 AIO CPU cooler
Testing frameCooler Master Master Frame
Power SupplyPhanteks 1000W PSU
RAM (DDR5)Corsair Dominator Titanium 64GB 6600
Motherboard (AMD AM5)ROG X670E Hero motherboard
Our PC Guide GPU testing setup
A person installs a graphics card into a computer motherboard in a testing lab, surrounded by various internal components and cables.
Our use of open-air cases allows for easy switching of GPUs into our standard test rig ©BGFG

The above test setups are specific to the testing of CPUs and GPUs. Periodically we assess titles that we use in our real-world gaming tests; we may add or remove titles to produce more useful and relevant results to offer more depth and insight into performance expectations.

Router testing

At PC Guide we know reliable and capable routers are critical to home and office networks, and device connectivity. Our lab testing considers router key aspects including, physical, features, and capabilities before analyzing performance across key repeatable tests. Our tests aim to provide the most useful information about performance and reliability for you, through:

  • WiFi speed, strength and range testing
  • File transfer testing
  • Setup assessment
  • Full feature analysis
  • Full device specs breakdown
  • Value and market positioning

Printer testing

An Epson EcoTank printer on a desk next to a set of four color ink bottles, with a PC Guide in the background.
Epson EcoTank printer ready for testing in our printer labs ©BGFG

Our printer labs are also designed to reflect real-world needs across a range of use cases and day-to-day functionality – including printing, and copying (where applicable). Throughout our structured testing, we look at everything from physical design and construction to performance, compatible media type, economy, and value. Our in-depth printer reviews include specific tests featuring:

  • Print and scan tests (mono and color)
  • MacBeth Color Checker test with Nix QC accuracy testing
  • Copier testing
  • Economy (cost per print, ink use, wastage)
  • Display, build quality and features analysis

To understand our wider approach to testing, reviews, and hands-on coverage of products and components, read more about how we select, test and review on PC Guide.

Kevin is the Editor of PC Guide. He has a broad interest and enthusiasm for consumer electronics, PCs and all things consumer tech - and more than 15 years experience in tech journalism.