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Looking for system stress / burn-in software

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September 19, 2010 12:36:47 PM

I've got a few motherboards that I need to determine their operational reliability / stability while running XP, so I'm wondering if there is any free software that can do stress testing or "burn-in" operations for one or two weeks continuously running under XP.

Basically, any software that can keep a system busy doing stuff until (or if) the system crashes or locks up. Serial, parallel, network, audio and USB stress testing is not required. Some hard-drive operations (reading/writing) is also desired, but nothing that's really going to hammer the drive continuously if I'm going to run this for a week straight. Some video operations (moving a window around on the screen or some other form of typical user-type activity) would also be useful.

Anyone know of any such software?

A program called CPUBurn (not CPUburn-in) has been recommended, but I don't know if it does any hard-drive or video stressing.


a b B Homebuilt system
September 19, 2010 12:58:07 PM

Furmark will stress CPU & Video (but only 1 cpu core)

Prime 95 will stress all CPU cores (running both will stress your entire CPU/GPU/Cooling setup)

Memtest 86+ will do memory only (though prime95 obviousky uses memory)


3D Mark, the popular benchmark tool, also works as a cpu/gpu stress test, and can catch things prime95 and memtest miss

I'm not aware of a Hard drive stress tester.

a note: stress testing will shorten the life of your PC! running furmark+prime95 for 24 hours would match a month or three of normal usage. It runs your system right up to its redline, just like running a car up to redline for a long time. Short uses for testing are fine. But don't be excessive in your stress testing.


other popular testers are SuperPI, CPUBurn, OCCT and Toast.

and excellent article (based on overclocking, but useful for a new build):
http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=335...
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 19, 2010 1:55:35 PM

Hey check this out: Passmark

Before I discovered THG and was basically a complete N00B, I decided to build my own PC. Google led me to this site, and I used it to select my components. Once built, I ran the performance test and discovered my SSD was running slower than average, which led me to discover that my bios setting needed to be changed to AHCI.

In addition to the performance test, Passmark also has a burn in test. Both of these tools will exercise all the major components including hard drive.

Edit: Just re-read OP question. There are some settings on these tools that will throttle the testing, but not really sure why you would want to run them for so long. There is definitely a risk of wearing out the parts in your computer. What exactly are you trying to accomplish? There may be a better way through scripting or the like.
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September 19, 2010 4:08:09 PM

I'm looking for software that will basically do something to simulate the workload that an average human being might perform on a PC. I'm not really looking to max out the CPU just to test the heatsink of the CPU or something like that.

I can turn on these PC's and just let them sit there with no app running for a solid week, but I'd like the PC to be doing something more than that during that period.

Prime 95 won't (as far as I know) do any hard drive reading / writing, or do anything graphics related. If I'm not mistaken, it's actually booted from a floppy and doesn't even run as a Windows GUI program.

I want something that I can start and then walk away for several days, maybe even a week or two, and will keep running until I stop it or the PC locks up or crashes.

And I want one app, not 2 or 3 that I don't even know can run concurrently under XP.

What about Sandra? Anyone know anything about that?
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 19, 2010 4:34:16 PM

the only thing for that is actually using it

stress tests do just that: STRESS. to see if there is a problem in LESS time than weeks of use. If something can run furmark and prime 95 for 24 hours without crashing or getting error, thats the equal of using your computer normlly for around 3 months.

I'm not sure why you want to test something for weeks on end.

you could try SETI@Home or Folding@Home as something that will run for weeks in the background, but that won't tell you if something is wrong
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 19, 2010 5:22:40 PM

Sandra seems like another stress testing tool. Maybe what you are seeking is a Load testing application. Load testing is used to simulate a group of users to see how an application handles under production conditions. If you set the load to 1, then you might obtain what you are looking for. Unfortunately, what you are asking for is not a typical off the shelf application, and therefore is not necessarily a simple mater to install and operate. You will probably need to know a scripting language like python or perl. But if you are willing, here are several options: http://www.softwareqatest.com/qatweb1.html

Now, why do you really want to be able to set your computer up so that you can walk away and have it still appear that your doing something on it? Is somebody remotely looking over your shoulder?
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September 20, 2010 2:23:05 PM

> Now, why do you really want to be able to set your computer up so that you can
> walk away and have it still appear that your doing something on it? Is somebody
> remotely looking over your shoulder?

Our company has shipped a number of data acquisition computers based on the Soyo SY-P4I 845PE ISA (SY-845PEISA) and SY-P4I-845GVISA Plus motherboards over the past 5 to 6 years.

http://www2.dealtime.com/xPF-Soyo-SOYO-P4845PEISA-DDR33...

The first of these boards that we used was the PE-ISA, which does not have on-board video but it does have an AGP slot. Starting about 3 years ago we started shipping systems based on the GV-ISA-Plus. These boards seem identical except that the GV has on-board video (Intel Extreme graphics or something like that - 8mb video ram) and no AGP slot.

I'm sure that all of these boards (both types) were originally manufactured between 2003 and late 2005.

Over the past year, we've had some of the GV boards fail in the field, exhibiting strange problems (some don't boot at all, some will partially boot XP and then just freeze, some will boot XP and run fine for 6 to 12 hours and then either spontaneously re-boot or just freeze/lock-up).

The problem does not seem to happen with the older PE motherboards (the boards that don't have on-board video but do have an AGP slot). We have some of these PE boards being used heavily in-house for the past 5 years and they work great - no problems ever.

These systems that have failed have been working for at least 1 to 2 years, but the frequency of use of any given system is unknown. They all have socket 478 Intel Celeron CPU's, 2.6 ghz speed, stock Intel CPU cooler/fan, and either 512 mb or 1gb ram, 80 gb WD hard drive.

We don't have that many of these boards left for use in new systems, and some of those that we do have seemed to have problems on the construction bench in the past and were not used for one reason or another.

I'm aware of a massive problem with capacitors that really affected Dell around the same time that these boards would have been made, and we are experimentally taking a few boards and changing the electrolytic capacitors (1000 and 1500 uf) with new ones to see if that solves their problems with operational stability.

Hence the reason for my original question, which was to seek software that simulates medium to heavy single-user load on systems running XP. We have to insure that these replacement systems can run for at least a week solid with no hint of trouble before we ship them back out.
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