Stress Test

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Revision as of 14:17, 20 October 2012 by Graysky (Talk | contribs) (TL; DR)

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Running an overclocked PC is totally fine provided that the PC is stable at the overclock settings. There are several programs available to assess system stability through stress testing the system and thereby the overclock level. The steps of overclocking a PC are beyond the scope of this article, but there is pretty inclusive guide written by graysky on the topic: [Overclocking guide].


Mprime (prime95)

mprime-binAUR - Mprime factors large numbers and is an excellent way to stress CPU and memory.


linpackAUR - Linpack makes use of the BLAS (Basic Linear Algebra Subprograms) libraries for performing basic vector and matrix operations. and is an excellent way to stress CPUs for stability.


systestAUR - Systest is a multithreaded piece of software capable of deriving values of pi out to 128,000,000 decimal places. It has built in check for system stability.


Memtest86+ is a standard memory testing util and is packaged in [extra].

Stressing Memory

A very good program for stress testing memory is [Memtest86+]. It is based on the well-known original memtest86 written by Chris Brady. Memtest86+ is, like the original, released under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). No restrictions for use, private or commercial exist other than the ones mentioned in the GNU GPL.

Running Memtest86+

Either download and burn the ISO to a CD and boot from it, or install memtest86+ from [extra] and update GRUB which will auto-detect the package and allow users to boot directly to it.

Tip: Allowing Memtest86+ to run for >10 cycles without errors is usually sufficient.

Stressing CPU and Memory

Mprime (Prime95 for Windows and MacOS)

Prime95 is pretty much recognized universally as one defacto measure of an overclocked system's stability. Mprime under torture test mode will preform a series of very CPU intensive calculations and compare the values it gets to known good values.

Prime95 for Linux is called mprimeAUR and is available in the AUR.

Warning: Before proceeding, it is HIGHLY recommended that users have some means to monitor the CPU temperature. Packages such as Lm_sensors can do this.

To run mprime, simply open a shell and type "mprime"

$ mprime
Note: If using a cpu-frequency scaler such as cpufrequtils or powernowd sometimes, users need to manually set the processor to run with its highest multiplier because mprime uses a nice value that doesn't always trip the step-up in multiplier.

When the software loads, simply answer 'N' to the first question to begin the torture testing:

Main Menu

1.  Test/Primenet
2.  Test/Worker threads
3.  Test/Status
4.  Test/Continue
5.  Test/Exit
6.  Advanced/Test
7.  Advanced/Time
8.  Advanced/P-1
9.  Advanced/ECM
10.  Advanced/Manual Communication
11.  Advanced/Unreserve Exponent
12.  Advanced/Quit Gimps
13.  Options/CPU
14.  Options/Preferences
15.  Options/Torture Test
16.  Options/Benchmark
17.  Help/About
18.  Help/About PrimeNet Server

There are several options for the torture test (menu option 15).

  • Small FFTs (option 1) to stress the CPU (option 1)
  • In-place large FFTs (option 1) to test the CPU and memory controller
  • Blend (option 3) is the default and constitutes a hybrid mode which stresses the CPU and RAM.

Errors will be reported should they occur both to stdout and to ~/results.txt for review later. Many do not consider a system as 'stable' unless it can run the Large FFTs for a 24 hour period.

Example ~/results.txt; note that the two runs from 26-June indicate a hardware failure. In this case, due to insufficient vcore to the CPU:

[Sun Jun 26 20:10:35 2011]
FATAL ERROR: Rounding was 0.5, expected less than 0.4
Hardware failure detected, consult stress.txt file.
FATAL ERROR: Rounding was 0.5, expected less than 0.4
Hardware failure detected, consult stress.txt file.
[Sat Aug 20 10:50:45 2011]
Self-test 480K passed!
Self-test 480K passed!
[Sat Aug 20 11:06:02 2011]
Self-test 128K passed!
Self-test 128K passed!
[Sat Aug 20 11:22:10 2011]
Self-test 560K passed!
Self-test 560K passed!