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By Felix Nutter

In the IT industry it is not uncommon to hear someone talk about running a stress test on something. While a medical stress test is intended to check for abnormalities in the human heart an IT related stress test is something totally different. The two types of stress testing that you might hear discussed are software stress testing and CPU stress testing. Software stress testing is simply the tests that check a program for its ability to function under a heavy load. This includes it error handling, availability and anything that might be considered out of the norm for that program. A CPU stress test is slightly different.

Why Stress The CPU?

There are times when an IT professional will want to modify certain operating parameters of a CPU that they are working on. This may include such modifications as underclocking, overclocking, undervolting or overvolting. Underclocking allows computer programmers to run their CPU at a reduced speed which can lower or eliminate the need for a cooling fan. Overclocking is the complete opposite. The programmer is looking for more processing speed but is at risk for overheating. They may have to add another method of cooling the CPU so that it does not malfunction. Undervolting and overvolting are somewhat the same as clocking. Undervolting saves power and overvolting enhances performance.

Bring On The Test

When a programmer changes their settings in order to achieve on of these states there is a need to test the CPU to make sure that it can operate properly. There is a chance that heavy CPU loads may render the new parameters unsuitable. One of the best ways to check a CPU for this is to run a program that is very CPU-intensive. One of the most widely used programs is Prime95. The program is allowed to run for a long time to see whether or not the computer will crash or freeze up. One of the alternate names for CPU stress testing is called torture testing. One of the most important requisites for software suitable for stress testing is that they must run instructions that will use the entire CPU chip. Most programs only run a few units which make them very unsuitable.

A Word On CPU Stress Testing

If you are not a programmer by nature or by hobby then you should possibly avoid trying to place your CPU in a situation that will require stress testing. It is very easy when over or underclocking a CPU to mess up an entry and end up frying your CPU. It is equally as easy to overvolt your CPU and fry it as well. Undervolting might damage your CPU but not quite as easily as overvolting. If you would like to enhance the operating capacity of your CPU then you would be best served by taking your it to a programming professional. Make sure you get one who can guarantee their work however. This will ensure that you get your CPU back in as good if not better shape than when you sent it off.

Felix Nutter
Coach Life Training Uk

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