How to stress test your machine

Getting to know how to stress test your machine is always an important thing, may it be system administration for servers or for bench marking an embedded board. There are plenty of tools that are available which I will list below with some example on how to use it.


The first command we are going to see is stress. It a tool to impose load on and stress test systems.

apt-get install stress
stress --cpu 8 --io 4 --vm 2 --vm-bytes 128M --timeout 10s

Here  –cpu or -c spawn N workers spinning on sqrt(), –io or -i spawn N workers spinning on sync(),  –vm or -m will spawn N workers spinning on malloc()/free(),  –vm-bytes malloc B bytes per vm worker (default is 256MB) and finally –timeout will end the program after N seconds.

stress --cpu 8 --io 4 --vm 2 --vm-bytes 128M --timeout 10s

For more information check man page of stress using the command man stress.


The Stress-NG is an updated version of the stress command. The stresss-ng as the manual says  “stress-ng”  will  stress test a computer system in various selectable ways. It was designed to exercise various physical subsystems of a computer as well as the various operating system kernel interfaces. Stress-ng also has a wide range of CPU specific stress tests that exercise floating point, integer, bit manipulation and control flow.

Stress-ng was originally intended to make a machine work hard and trip hardware issues such as thermal overruns as well as operating system bugs that only occur when a system is being thrashed hard. Use stress-ng with caution as some of the tests can make a system run hot on poorly designed hardware and also can cause excessive system thrashing which may be difficult to stop.”

apt-get install stress-ng

The stress-ng contains all the features of the stress command and many additional features.

stress-ng --cpu 16 --cpu-ops 900000
stress-ng --cpu 4 --cpu-method fft --timeout 2m


The next command we are going to see is spew. Spew is used to measures I/O performance and/or generates I/O load.

apt-get install spew
spew --write -b 16k 1m /tmp/bigfile
WTR:   288931.54 KiB/s   Transfer time: 00:00:00    IOPS:    18058.22
root@orangepizero:~# ls -lh /tmp/bigfile 
-rw------- 1 root root 1.0M May 23 18:38 /tmp/bigfile

For more examples check the man page of the spew. I found lots of other performance testing and bench marking tools which will mentioning below.
tsung – distributed multi-protocol load testing tool
stressapptest – stress test application for simulating high load situations
fuzz – stress-test programs by giving them random input
netstress – utility designed to stress and benchmark network activity
cpuburn – collection of programs to put heavy load on CPU.

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