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[GUIDE] Is my hardware and/or overclock stable?

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This post contains several procedures to check out if the main components of a system (CPU, RAM and graphics adapter) are stable. BIOS settings also have their influence on the results, so although BIOS settings are not hardware by themselves, they can have a lot of influence on a system' stability.

If you don't overclock, you should carry out the tests once your BIOS is properly configured. After passing the tests you know you've a stable base system, so you can start overclocking. Then you would have to carry out the tests with your overclock settings applied in order to make sure your system is rock solid.


Requirements:


Hardware: Any PC.

Software:

- Lynx (get it here)

- Prime95 (get it here)

- HCI MemTest (get it here)

- OCCT GPU (get it here)

- Windows 7 Home Premium (for systems with 16Gb Ram or less) or Windows 7 Professional (for systems with more than 16Gb of RAM)


Testing CPU core logic stability:

lynx.PNG

We will be using Lynx. For this test it is better to disable hyperthreading features in BIOS (hyperthreading features slow down the test and reduce the ability to determine stability). You will have to set Lynx's preferences to use as many threads as cores are available on your CPU (4 cores on an i7-3770K, just to put an example). The memory setting should be adjusted to "All", in order to use all the memory available for this test.

Your system should pass a minimum of 5 cycles. Passing 20 cycles is considered "Gold Standard". :thumbup:


Testing CPU L3$/IMC stability:

prime95.PNG

We will use Prime95 for this test. Hyperthreading is ok, so remember to enable this feature in case you disabled it in the previous test. Start Prime95 and select "Torture Test". Then select "Large FFT" and your number of threads (8 on an i7-3770K hyperthreaded).

Your system should pass a minimum of 2 hours doing these calculations. If your system passes 12 hours, you're in front of a "Gold Standard". :thumbup:


Testing memory stability:

memtest.PNG

We will use HCI MemTest. You will be able to run the tests with the shareware version, but the configuration is somewhat tedious. The registered version is way easier, since the test gets configured almost automatically. A boot CD version is also supplied. Let's have a look...

If you're a registered user, I'd recommend running the test via boot CD, since this way the test is OS independent. However, since many of you will be using the shareware version, here is the way to configure the test:

First launch one instance per each thread available on your CPU (8 instances for an i7-3770K). Then set each instance to use an appropriate fraction of the memory. For a 16GB system on a 3770K you would have to set each instance to use 2048 MB (so 2048Mb each instance x 8 instances = 16Gb).

Your system should get a minimum of 200% coverage. Passing 1000% is considered "Gold Standard". :thumbup:


Testing GPU stability:

occt.PNG

You will need OCCT GPU. Launch the application and go to the GPU section. You have to make sure that error checking is enabled (if not, the test will not report errors, making it unreliable).

Your system should pass a minimum of 20 minutes. Passing 1 hour is considered "Gold Standard". :thumbup:


Recommendations:

I recommend carrying out these procedures before starting OSX installation, since this way we can know for sure that a concrete system is stable by itself. So if we find problems later on OSX, at least we will know that our components and BIOS settings are stable and correctly configured.

Due to the nature of the tests you will need a working Windows 7 installation with all hardware correctly installed and recognized. I recommend a fresh installation with just hardware drivers. Personally I like to carry out the tests with all hardware connected (I mean, everything you use on a daily basis), although some may not agree with this. Anyway if your machine doesn't pass a certain test you can always disconnect suspicious devices and try again, in order to find out the device and/or BIOS setting causing unstability.

Regarding Windows 7 settings, you should disable screensavers and hibernation, as well unneccesary background processes like antivirus software, backup software, firewalls and so on (remember: it's better just a fresh install with hardware drivers).

Please take into account that these tests will stress your computer, so temperatures will be high. Some of these tests take a very long time (more than twelve hours in the case of CPU tests and several days in the case of RAM tests, depending on how many memory sticks and its size). I take no responsibility on any damage occured as a result of these tests.


Credits:

Credit goes to Idontcare from the Anandtech forum, who described the whole procedure in this thread. Although the original thread at anandtech's forum is mainly related to overclocked systems, these methods also apply to systems using stock speeds.

If your computer passes all these tests, you can be sure that your most important components and settings are stable.

Good luck and happy hackintoshing !
 
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FYI Prime 95 is also available for OSX at the link below

http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft/

Correct ! I just mentioned the Windows version since all other tests need Windows, and also because there are better monitoring tools in this platform than in our hackintoshes. But yes, Prime95 works exactly the same on its OSX version.

Glad it helped you, good luck !
 
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I'm not sure how he established that linpack (in any form) is 'better' than prime95. At the time he wrote the original post, linpack would cause slightly higher temperatures, but that alone doesn't make it 'better'. If you read the thread there's a few posters that say for them it's the opposite. I suspect the OP got an error in linpack on a machine that was 'stable' under prime, and he decided it was better. But errors are probabilistic, and a rare occurance (i.e. an error after many hours) could occur under any test. Also, since then prime95 has released 277 which includes AVX extensions (which Intel SB onward, and AMD Bulldozer onwards have), which equalized the temperatures produced.

I don't think there's any logical reason to think linpack is better. I'd say the same for HCI over Prime95 blend. When one test has a rare error, that doesn't make it 'better', it's just the luck of the draw.

The bottom line is that if your machine is able to pass a Prime95 test, your machine is stable. Is it possible to still have occasional errors...yes. If you go on and do linpack and HCI in addition to Prime, and they all pass, can it still have occasional errors...yes.
 
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Your guide came in very useful when I was setting up Windows XP. After some searching, I found out the nearest thing to HWMonitor on Windows is OCCT. I didn't realize Windows XP does NOT enable EIST by default - and my i5 3570K was running at 3.4 GHz all the time. The fix is to open the Power Options Control Panel and switch the computer type from Desktop to Mobile/Laptop - this allowed the CPU to switch to 1.6 GHz when idle. When running the Prime 95 benchmark, it overclocked (Turbo) to 3.8 GHz.
 
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What is considered a fail? I keep hearing about running Prime95 and making sure everything is stable, but have yet to hear what is considered unstable. Is it simply making the computer crash or beachball? Or is there something else to look for to constitute a failure?

Would encoding BluRay rips via Handbrake for 12 straight hours be considered a test of stability?
 
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Hello!

I have a video / photo system that needs to be robust but is plagued by system slow-downs that I cannot identify the source of yet. I'm looking for a little help with my system stability.

I am running ML 10.8.5
GA-Z68x-UD3h-B3 f10 Award
32G Corsair Vengeance 1600 RAM
SSD system drive
Cooler Master Fan
GTX 770 Graphics card

Running Photoshop and Lightroom will often inspire slowdowns after minutes or hours of work. Long loads, beachballs etc. Rebooting will solve for a time.
All programs are on SSD system drive, all data on new WDBlack 7200RPM drive.

Please excuse my newness in this realm. I am trying to find out if I have hardware issues.

I started with Prime95 to do some tests. The program is crashing on launch and will not re-open. Seems like bad news...
Not sure how to proceed as the other tests listed here require windows.

Any advice or guidance would be welcome.
 
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