What are the best programs to TEST and Stress test a Laptop PC?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by google88, Oct 1, 2010.

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  1. google88

    google88 Registered Member

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    Hi

    I bought a PC a while back from Scan computers. they did some stress tests before they shipped the PC out to me.
    3d mark?
    Passmark?
    prime something?

    I recently had a few problems with my friends Acer Laptop blue screening (page fault in nonpaged area" BSOD)

    so i used Memtest86 to test the Memory
    and WD drive tools to test the Drive

    I have an XP PC
    and a Win 7 Laptop

    My friend had to send his laptop back to Acer twice now. (it blue screened immediately after it was returned)

    My question

    What are the best programs for testing the PC xp and win7

    Hardware
    Memory
    Drive
    Graphics
    etc

    And also stress testing?

    Is there a single program that does all?

    Many Thanks
     
  2. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Prime95 is the other one and those are probably the most popular. But even so, they do not always shake out any problem areas, they mostly are used just to set baselines for benchmarking.

    MemTest86+ (the updated version of MemTest86) as well as Windows Memory Diagnostic are good for testing RAM. Windows 7 users can use the built in Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool. But even so, RAM can test good and still have problems. And individual sticks can work and test good, but not play well with other sticks too - makes troubleshooting frustrating at times.

    You can test your multimedia features in Windows by running dxdiag from the the Run box in your Start menu (search box in Win7) and stepping through all the tests.

    Other than that, keeping an eye on heat, and keeping the system free of heat trapping dust, the best test is to use the computer. Of course, keeping the internals of a notebook clean is not always possible.
     
  3. google88

    google88 Registered Member

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    cheers for extra info on testing

    I'll check those bits out
     
  4. TairikuOkami

    TairikuOkami Registered Member

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    As for RAM, I would choose http://hcidesign.com/memtest it can actually find errors unlike memtest86+ and it runs from Windows.
    Free version is good enough. I spent months to find out, that I have wrong RAM, because memtest86+ allways said, that it is OK.

    As for HDD, Windows inbuilt scandisc at full does fine, it takes houres to finish.
    Furmark is great for GPU testing, but it can actually burn it, so use with caution.
    All in one solutions ussually use Windows inbuilt software, so they are not so great.
     
  5. burebista

    burebista Registered Member

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    OCCT PSU test for CPU&GPU (pay attention on temps though).
    Memtest86+/HCI Design Memtest for RAM.
    prime95 Blend test for CPU and RAM.
    LinX/Linpack for CPU&RAM.
    Furmark/Kombustor for GPU.
    For HDD manufacturer tools (mostly for diagnose).
     
  6. google88

    google88 Registered Member

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    Many Thanks

    these all look really good :)

    I didn't realise there were dangers in Stress testing, cheers for the heads up.

    i just want my friend to have confidence in his Laptop (since its been back to Acer twice now)

    And I have a HP laptop I am going to use to perform live with, I thought I check it out before i take it out somewhere important.

    I ran a FutureMark ans a Passmark tests. It said i had to install DirectX drivers when i installed the program. Is that pretty much standard stuff? If I'm going to test my music laptop I really want to avoid putting anything on there that may interfere with the 'goings on'. Or are directX drivers nothing to worry about. Sorry if its an obvious question. :ninja:
     
  7. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    It's like taking your new car to the race track to see how fast it can go while hoping it does not blow up. The word "stress" is not used by accident.
     
  8. google88

    google88 Registered Member

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    Danger noted :) :) :cool:

    I'll use this picture as a visual reminder before i start any testing

    @Everyone, thanks for the input

    burning-stunt-car-1.jpg
     
  9. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    I've never bothered with "diagnostic tests" for memory and drivers, many years of seeing them "cry wolf" or "fail to warn" has led me to believe they just aren't worth the time.

    I've seen memory reported as good have quirks with machines, often because there was a compatibility issue with the RAM, it wasn't certified compatible with the computer. And I've seen RAM that has run fine for years fail a test as bad.

    With hard drives, I've seen SMART errors perform false positive warning alerts waaaaay more than actually signal impending doom, drives ran great for years, and I've seen in many more cases than not, drives go belly up without SMART alerts.

    When adding RAM, purchase RAM that is certified compatible with your exact model computer. Most memory manufacturer online sites have memory selection guides, you run through a hand holding wizard and enter the brand, and model of your computer, and it spits out the memory that they've selected and tested and certified to be compatible with your exact system . Gone are the days of "oh any old PC2-5300 will do". Well, it will probably work, but will you mind that occasional lockup or glitch.
     
  10. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    There have been many improvements over the years. Current versions of memory testers are better than older ones, but they are not perfect. I agree that memory testers often test RAM as good, but then when the RAM is put in use, it fails, or it works fine alone, but when paired with other RAM, it fails. But I have never had Memtest86+ or MS testers tell me RAM was bad, when in fact it was good - at least not that I know of. When tested bad, replacing fixed the problem.

    As far as certifications, memory makers do NOT test their RAM with every motherboard listed. There are 1000s and 1000s of motherboards out there. Right now, for example, Newegg currently has nearly 200 AMD motherboards and well over 300 Intel boards for sale. Crucial has over 900 ASUS motherboards and that is just one maker. For RAM makers to certify all their RAM for every motherboard would be a HUGE, very expensive, and virtually impossible undertaking. Therefore, they do NOT certify their RAM will work on the motherboards their wizards list - they go on theory alone, based on the motherboard maker's "published" specs of what the motherboard (or chipset, actually) supports.

    On the other hand, the motherboard makers maintain a QVL - qualified vendors list, for their motherboards in which they actually test various models of RAM from several RAM makers. And they do certify those as compatible. So I agree with YeOS to ensure compatibility, but to ensure "certification", you must buy RAM that has been certified by the motherboard maker, not the RAM maker. And while, in theory, you can mix and match RAM brands, speeds, etc. with dual and triple channel memory architecture, it is best to buy matched RAM, and all at the same time so that it is from the same production lot.

    That said, motherboard and chipset makers have made huge advances too and current motherboards are more tolerant of slight variations in RAM characteristics. By the same token, the major RAM makers are much better at producing RAM with very tight tolerances so those variations are minimal.

    I also agree that for drives, SMART warnings can be premature but I still pay attention to them. Drive makers have made improvements in this area too.
     
  11. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    I can't speak for other brands, but Crucial (Micron) can, and does test and qualify their RAM on specific motherboards, their regional reps have stated so, I've seen and heard their techs talk about it at VAR trade shows and the slide shows of their rather rigorous testing methods. And immense task, I'm sure it is, but they're one of the biggest makers out there, they have the resources.

    But good point on adding the qualified vendors list from the motherboard makers side too.

    When you follow those guides, chances of memory related issues in your system greatly diminish.
     
  12. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    I don't believe it. I believe you when you say they told you that, but I don't believe they have tested all the boards. For one, I too have talked to Crucial reps about this very subject when I used to test hardware for government contracts. Technicians, not sales reps. What they do is test a sampling (granted a large sampling) of boards using a specific chipset and they do very rigorous testing on that chipset. For example, Newegg today has 57 boards using the Intel H55 northbridge chipset from 11 motherboard makers. These include 11 boards from MSI, 11 from ASRock, 8 from ASUS, and 6 from Gigabyte, the rest from various other brands. They may get 2 or 3 samples of 2 or 3 models from ASRock/ASUS, 1 or 2 from Gigabyte, 2 or 3 from MSI, etc. Then they do rigorous testing on that chipset. They did not test a sample of each of the 900+ ASUS boards listed in their wizard, or the 800+ MSI boards, or 900+ Gigabyte boards, or 400+ BioStar boards. Nor did they test a sample of each and every notebook they support. Even if all the motherboard makers provided for free, including shipping to and from, the time involved would be too extensive. And it is not likely every motherboard is going to ship samples to every RAM maker.

    Don't forget that Dell, HP/Compaq, Acer/eMachine/Gateway, etc. all use proprietary OEM motherboards in their PCs and certainly Crucial does not buy a sample of every one of those, assuming these makers would sell them one.

    I have no doubt extensive testing is going on, and certainly, Crucial, being one of the largest RAM makers in the world, has more resources than most of the other RAM makers. But no way did they obtain and test every model and version number of every one of the 1000s and 1000s of motherboards listed in their wizard. They don't need to! It takes too much time and money. They just need to thoroughly test the chipset.

    It is important to note that Intel (or whoever makes the chipset) publishes the specs to the chipset. It is Intel's responsibility to publish accurate specs, and make chipset that adhere to those specs. The RAM makers then make RAM to support those specs. It is the RAM makers' responsibility to produce RAM that adhere to those specs. And the good news is, thanks to major advances in manufacturing technologies, ensuring everyone meets the same specs is not a difficult task, and that is why Crucial and the other makers can guarantee compatibility. It is also why even generic RAM makers can guarantee their RAM for life.

    Motherboard makers must ensure their boards support RAM, as per the specs of the chipset used. So the motherboard makers probably do more testing than the RAM makers.

    BTW - I don't want to sound like I am picking on Crucial here. I buy a lot of Crucial RAM - with good reason - they make good stuff.
     
  13. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    I'm sure you don't, but I sat there and watched it on the projector board, and asked him to select some motherboard I had at the time (probably some Asus or Abit model, it was back in the Pentium 3 days), and it was there ...and I saw the dozen or so tests they run, hot, cold, low voltage, high voltage, various stress tests for XXX amounts of hours. That was the New England rep that stated that, and he had that position for many years, he wasn't some fly-by-night sales kid or overseas tech. And Microns tests are actually what provides the list on Intels site.

    "Every single motherboard"...no, I'm sure they don't, as not every single motherboard is on the list obviously...and there's some that I'll never be looking up...like biostar..lol. And I'm sure not every sub model, as who cares if board model(s) has no firewire but board model T has firewire. I standby that one is still better off following those lists.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
  14. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    :( That's sad, YeOldeStonecat. No where did I say, suggest or even imply "every single motherboard"! I have asked you before not to misquote me, twist my words, or imply I said something when I didn't, yet here we are again. What's up with that? Note, I specifically said repeatedly, ...motherboards "listed in their wizard", and "...on their wizards list". I never said, suggested, or implied, "every single motherboard".

    So I ask again, do not misquote or twist other's words around, or imply to others reading something was said when it was not. That's just not cool. Okay? Thanks.

    Now, to be clear, RAM makers do not test every motherboard ever made. And they do not test every one of the 1000s of motherboards, notebooks, and factory made PCs listed in their wizards. It would simply cost too much! The motherboards, factory made PCs, and notebooks listed in their wizards cost a lot of money and so testing each one is not cost effective. As noted above, for ASUS alone, there over 900 boards in Crucial's wizard. The profit margin on RAM modules is not big enough. They would have to sell 1000s (or more) modules just to break even. It's not like they can re-sell all those boards and computers at cost - they're used! So they test a reasonable and large sampling for each chipset from various motherboard and notebook makers. And that's all they need to do to guarantee compatibility.

    @google 88 - I apologize for the distraction. I think you have your information about stress tests.
     
  15. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    Uhm...right here
    "ALL the boards"..you said "all. www.webster.com and lookup "all"..it's whole amount, extent, everything, etc.

    You tried that "don't twist my words" unsuccessfully when I illustrated your clear misunderstanding of a gateway and difference between that and a modem in the other thread.

    But not time for reading a comic book today, my 5 minute self appointed break is over, back to remote work on an Exchange server.
     
  16. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    And you know darn well I was talking about all the boards on their list because I was responding to YOUR comment about what you claimed the Crucial rep told you! So out of context and twisting again. Note you said, with quote marks, "every single motherboard".

    And sorry, but you did not illustrate my misunderstanding at all. In fact, I illustrated, with corroborating links, that in a home network, the modem can be, and often is the Internet gateway device.

    Now I suggest we drop this, and move on.
    I'm done here.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010
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