I just assembled my first computer, got it to POST, and loaded win 7. What kind of component tests should I be running to check the components? I'm thinking memtest86+, prime85, and spinrite. I appreciate any advice!
Antec 200 case
4GB DDR3-1600 (9-9-9-24)
500GB WD Caviar Black
550W OCZ power supply
Memtest86+ is a good test but isn't really needed unless you suspect a Memory issue. I always recommend 3DMark Vantage to get a "benchmark" score of your PC to compare against similar setups as yours.
Thanks for the replies! Well, the reason why I'm suddenly aware of these component tests is because my computer suddenly shut down while I was playing Bioshock.... Maybe the stock CPU cooler isn't good enough? Not sure, so I figured I'd ask to see what people do.
Check your temps with either HWMonitor, SpeedFan, or RealTemp while running at idle and load under Prime95. Post some temps or failures in Prime95, which might pin-point some issues. Memtest86+ will help pin-point possible memory errors...
From there, you start your standard troubleshooting to find the problem.
I have been troubleshooting with memtest & prime95 for a few years.
here r my findings:
1. Memtest uses pattern testing without really stressing the whole memory system & data pathways. Good at quickly finding serious problems, but almost impossible at finding memory timing inaccuracy problems that sometimes has to do with motherboard-BIOS-RAM module optimization.
Memtest does not detect all memory problems, sometimes that includes RAM compatibility issues.
2. Prime95 is super at stressing the memory & other systems with data, simulating real computing conditions. It is one of the best System stress test software.
3. Many graphics benchmarking software is not specialized enough to properly test for memory errors. While they do stress test many systems, the system memory is sometimes not fully tested. IMHO, not a reliable RAM test.
Memory errors can be dead tricky to detect.
Prime95 is also good at cooking yr cpu to max temp. if the torture test cpu temp is close/higher than cpu spec, u know u got a heatsink-thermal paste (too thick) problem... or worse
Again, thanks for the help! I only had time last night to download the various tests and run memtest86+. I got 2 passes without any errors (though the ram is underclocked and undervolted as compared to spec). However, when I turned on RealTemp, I found I was running hot - 98C just after running memtest and about 71 idle.... Not good, not good. I definitely need to re-seat the stock heatsink and look into buying a better cooler. (And yes, I have some of the OCZ Freeze thermal compound and some isopropanol to take off the old stuff, so I should be set on that end....)
So I reseated the stock cooler and it works much much better. CPU idles at about 37C and tops out at about 70C. No problems w/ memtest, even after boosting the ram to ddr3-1600. No problems w/ prime95 (at least not yet). Thanks to everyone for the help.