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Re: testing hardware - use what software ?

Robin Laing wrote:
max bianco wrote:
On Fri, May 23, 2008 at 11:47 AM, Tim <ignored_mailbox yahoo com au> wrote:
On Sat, 2008-05-24 at 00:08 +1000, David Timms wrote:
Yes, and shoot it with the heat gun and so on. But is there some
software designed to do stress testing ?
I've often asked something similar from PC shops, as their testing
seemed to comprise of just seeing if it'll boot and stay running for
half an hour...

Yes, people do not realize how hard it is to pinpoint a hardware
problem. Many are under the impression there is some magic involved
and results should be instant and/or provide instant "Star Trek" style
solutions. We are not quite there yet , especially as far down the
totem pole as your average pc repair shop. I try to use the computer
as much as possible but time is money and you can easily run up a bill
that exceeds the cost of a cheap machine quite quickly. However if you
feel you have a genuine hardware problem then I would do the
following. The order will vary depending on where you think, based on
your observations, the problem lies.


All comments, criticisms, questions, pointing out of incorrect info
welcome and appreciated.


Very good points.

Back in the 386/486 days, I had an ISA board that would run a bunch of hardware and software tests to check the hardware. Not perfect but sure helped.

A good digital volt meter to measure the voltage rails. A power supply that is close to being out of limits could drift enough to cause the computer to freeze at strange times. The BIOS voltage readings are not always that accurate.

Also, when cleaning out the dust. Make sure that you know where all the jumper settings are on the motherboard. Cost me many hours when one of the jumper shorting connectors came off on my computer.

Also confirm that the latest BIOS is installed. Even on new motherboards. This fixed a freezing issue on a new computer for me. Worked okay with 4Gig of ram but not 8 gig. Memtest worked great.

Compiling up something called HPL (with something called MPI) at least does nicely at finding that you have a memory/overheat/internal CPU issue. If the results corrupt or the machine crashes something is really wrong, typically it won't tell you what is wrong, but if it successfully runs for a long time then you can expect most things to be correct. Generally it will at least crash the machine several times faster than most other applications.

It won't find IO/PCI/Video issues unless they are really severe, though generally most of the issues fall into what it does test.


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