Testing a newly build or purchased computer is essential for two reasons. The first is to make sure that the hardware does not get damaged.The main problem of most modern PCs is heat, each device can only cope with a certain amount of heat and if that heat rises above a level the device was designed to endure it can lead to hardware damages and data corruption.
The second reason is to make sure that the hardware is working properly. If your computer ram is faulty you can run into all kinds of difficulties from crashes and bluescreens to severe data loss.I use several applications to test a new computer to reduce the chance that I will run into such difficulties.
I consider the first start the first test of the computer. Why ? Because if the computer boots properly I know that all the devices that are needed to boot are working properly at that time. I usually check the BIOS first which normally does come with a PC Health menu that displays PC temperatures. This first step is essential.
If the CPU temperature for instance would look very high (consult the CPU booklet or website of the developer if you don't know the values) then something went wrong with the cpu cooler. It could be that the cooler has not been properly placed on the cpu or that the cooler does not have the capacities to cool it effectively.
I usually only test the memory and the cpu of the computer. Especially the memory is essential. The applications that I use for testing purposes are Prime95 (Torture Mode) and Memtest86. Memtest86 is available as a bootable ISO version which means that you can run the application before installing the operating system.
I suppose there is some Live CD that is offering additional applications, anyone having a good tip about that ?
Both applications stress test the computer and should not display errors or cause reboots and shutdowns. A reboot or shutdown usually means that the computer has a cooling problem or faulty hardware. I normally run both applications for at least six hours to make sure everything is alright.
Keeping an eye on the computer temperatures is essential in the beginning. It's not only the cpu that is important, hard drive, video card and system temperatures are important as well and should not rise to critical levels even when stress testing the computer.
The first application that I usually start after installing the operating system and the drivers is one of those system analysers. Something like Sandra Sisoft or Everest Ultimate. The trial versions are sufficient for my needs and I uninstall the applications after a while again.
Both display the temperatures of all important components and they usually come with their own system stress tests as well.These programs are also excellent for comparing the build in hardware with the hardware that you did purchase.
Gamers can also run 3D Mark 2006 to test their system and observe the temperature level of the video card and cpu afterwards.I usually run Speedfan all the time for the first week which display all temperature sensors of the computer and has the advantage that it is a tiny application that does not use a lot of system resources.
Do you use other programs to test a computer ? Let me know about them.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.