You've just bought a new computer. Or better yet, you've just built one--or added some new hardware to your current PC. You want to know how fast it is; how it compares to other new or recently upgraded computers.
NovaBench provides an extremely quick and easy way to benchmark your PC and compare it to others. Simply press the big Start Benchmark Test button, and wait a minute. You'll soon get an overall score plus details. You can save the results to bring them up later, or click the Compare These Results Online button to see how your PC matches up against other recent tests. With an online profile, you can track performance online as you improve your hardware.
I found NovaBench to be reasonably accurate, but not definitive. There's only so much a program can do in one minute. It was least accurate with the hard drive. That's hardly surprising--a few seconds isn't enough to judge the speed of a mechanical device. I compared its performances against HD Tune--a hard drive diagnostic and benchmarking utility--using both a conventional hard disk drive and a much faster SSD. While NovaBench gave me a single MB/s number, HD Tune gave me three: Minimum, Maximum, and Average. For each drive, NovaBench's result came in between HD Tune's Minimum and Maximum, but nowhere near the Average. In other words, it was accurate, but hardly the big picture. On the other hand, HD Tune takes over three minutes just to benchmark the hard drive.
NovaBench has its limitations. But if you want a quick and simple way to benchmark your new PC and see how it performs against the competition, it still makes a good choice.