PassMark Software is teasing an updated version of one of the PC memory troubleshooter’s most versatile tools. With an upcoming release, MemTest86 will usher in a “new era of memory testing,” according to the software vendor. The biggest highlight of the new memory stress testing software is the ability to pinpoint which ICs on DIMMs have errors.
When troubleshooting a PC fault, memory hardware issues are perhaps one of the most devilish a DIYer will face. Some hardware is more prone to developing problems than others or may have a tell-tale sign which will provide a red flag. However, memory issues manifest in many different and unpredictable ways. Moreover, DRAM seems particularly sensitive to problems and compatibility issues with other hardware. For years MemTest86 has helped people thoroughly check and stress test memory.
Depending on your PC problem’s severity, you might want to test each memory module individually, following the basic logic of deduction by elimination. However, if your system can run and complete tasks with all its memory modules seated, then MemTest86 can check through them without tedious plugging and unplugging – and then trying the various slots.
The image above shows the headlining feature brought to the forefront. A user put a quartet of Crucial 16GB DDR5-4800 DIMMs through the MemTest86 tool, and you can see an issue with DIMM_B1. It failed the test, throwing up 99 errors.
The new MemTest86 is showing more granular test results than ever in the screenshot. About halfway down the ‘image’ of the DIMM, ‘U6’ is highlighted in red, with a column beside it indicating all 99 errors were due to this DRAM chip or IC.
With the error shown, most users would swap out the affected DIMM with a new one with the same specs. Hopefully, it would be covered by a warranty so that you could get a new module a few days after return. Some PC and electronics repair enthusiasts/workers might keep the module with errors. The knowledge of the faulty chip could mean a repair is feasible, or the DIMM could be held in stock with several donor DRAM chips / ICs available for fixing subsequent PCs.
PassMark commented on its image a few hours after posting to highlight that the IC error highlighting feature is only working on DDR5 platforms running in a dual-channel mode right now. Also, at this time, this is an Alder Lake and Z690 exclusive feature.
That is all we have for now, and as with many teasers, we have more questions. For example, when will this feature arrive, will it be present in the free version of the tool, and will we get the IC-specific error highlighting with DDR4 memory?