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What is the best computer “burn-in” or stability testing software?

I've just built a new HTPC and need to make sure it'll cope with playing all my different media formats and not get too hot. So I'm looking to burn test (is that the right term?) the CPU to make sure I've got the heatsink correctly installed and all my components are working as best they can.

Is there some software I can put on to a boot CD which I can run before installing the operating system?

Or, is it a case of loading up windows and then installing some other software?

Recommendations please :)

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marked as duplicate by Shinrai, Breakthrough, Sathya Jul 22 '11 at 15:38

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Jeff Atwood had this to say:

Burn your new settings in with Prime95. Assuming you booted and logged into your operating system without crashing, hanging, or bluescreening*, your next job is to run torture tests to see if things are really working. Prime95 is your new best friend. You'll run one instance for every core in your CPU-- create a copy of the Prime95 folder for each core, and run the executables from those folders. Use Options, Torture Test, "In place large FFTs" to start. If you can run Prime95 this way for an hour, it's very likely your system is stable. If you can run Prime95 this way overnight, your system is guaranteed stable.

It seems Prime95 is the way to go.

(Quote from

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+1 - use Prime95 for stability testing. I have seen overclocks that are stable no matter what I throw at them that BSOD in 5 minutes on a heavy Prime95 load; the simple nature of the computations it's doing will reveal processor instabilities pretty damned quickly. –  Shinrai Jul 22 '11 at 15:15

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