PassMark Software

The test run stops after 15 minutes, why ?

With the trial version the tests will only run for 15 minutes at a time. After the software has been purchased, the time is unlimited. Note that you can still get a much longer test run in the trial version by clicking on the Go button each 15 minutes After the software has been purchased the test duration can be increased from the, ‘Auto Stop’ field in the ‘Test preferences’ window.

How does BurnInTest work? Doesn't it just wear my computer out ?

Societies’ reliance on computers means that the cost of hardware failure can be enormous (and embarrassing). BurnInTest thoroughly exercises PC hardware in the shortest period of time so intermittent or hidden problems are found before they turn into a disaster. The typical life span of the main moving component in a PC, the hard drive, is quoted at around 300,000 hours by manufacturers such as Seagate. The use of BurnInTest for a 6 to 12 hour period would thus have a no significant impact on the life of the drive. On the other hand, it would allow manufacturing faults and intermittent faults to be detected in a controlled manner when the consequences of failure are minimal. The situation is the same for more modern SSDs, a test lasting several hours will still only be a tiny percentage of expected lifespan for the hardware.

How long should I run BurnInTest for?

Not an easy question. In our opinion, the chances or finding a problem in the first hour are relatively high, (the system gets hot, it's the first run across the disk / CD and the first use of some of the drivers). Then every hour after that, the chance of finding a hardware problem drops significantly. The extra benefit of doing 12 hours compared to 6 hours is thus probably not great. What is desirable however is having the test run long enough so that the entire surface of the hard drive is tested. For a small fast SSD, this might be just 1 hour, but for slower large drives this might be 24 hours. Other nice technique is temperature cycling. All major manufacturers of electronic equipment do this, they have large ovens and fridges in which they test equipment. The expansion and contraction of components and solder joins brings to light many problems. You could do 6 hours On, 6 hours Off, then 6 hours On, to get some limited temperature variation like this. NASA and the Army load their equipment on to vibration machines, but this may be going too far for home / office use.

What duty cycle setting should be used?

What tests you select to run and the ideal duty cycle settings will vary depending on your testing requirements and the hardware in use. In most cases it is common sense. Some examples

You want to test just your hard drive: Turn off all tests except the hard drive test and set the hard drive duty cycle to 100%

You want to test just your main RAM: Turn off all tests except the RAM test and set the hard drive duty cycle both to 100%

You want to generate maximum temperature: Different computers will have different (potentially) hot componets. Typically these are the CPU and the video card. These generally use the most electrical power and thus generate the most heat. In this case set the CPU and GPGPU duty cycle to 100%.

You want to test the whole system: Turn on all applicable tests (those that correspond to the hardware in the machine). Then adjust the duty cycle settings until the CPU load is around 95% to 99%. Generally you still want to have the hard drive at 100% duty cycle however as it is the slowest component. We recomend around 99% rather than 100%+ as we want to keep sufficient CPU time available for the disk to run at maximum speed.

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