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Ultra-X RAM Stress Test Software

by Drew Dunn

Drew Dunn's assessment: 5/24/1999

Ultra-Xs RAM Stress Test is a self-booting memory testing environment designed to exhaustively test the memory of a PC-compatible computer.

I must admit that when I was offered the chance to review this software I jumped at the opportunity. Ive used RAM Stress Test before. So let me spoil the climax of this review: If you build or repair computers, you need this software.

RAM Stress Test can be run interactively or in "burn-in" mode.

In its interactive incarnation, a clear, understandable menu system guides you through a battery of memory tests that you can selectively perform. You can specify memory ranges, types of tests and number of loops. The display provides intuitive feedback using sound and color. If a test fails, you will be alerted by an alarm sounding, a feature that I found invaluable in a large-scale testing environment.

In burn-in mode, testing of all extended memory begins as soon as the program is started. All but two of the tests are run in this mode. This testing mode is thorough, but very time consuming. The system that I tested in this mode took over a day and a half to complete the test.

I used this software on several computers undergoing hardware beta tests. No problems were discovered by the software, and after two months of user tests, no memory errors occurred. When I installed known bad memory modules, the software found the errors each time, in any system and in combination with any other memory modules.

The software performs up to 24 tests, the ultimate being the proprietary "Leak" test. This test is comprehensive and very time consuming. A system containing 16MB took almost 60 hours to complete the diagnostic. Ultra-X states that the RAM is exhaustively tested for memory leaks, interference, contamination, stuck bits and memory cell coupling.

Ultra-X RAM Stress Test is easy to use, finds even obscure, intermittent faults and simply works. It deserves a place in any technicians bag of diagnostic tools. I highly recommend

by Bob Wright 3/10/99

The first thing I noticed about Ultra-X's R.S.T. product was it completely fits on a standard 1.44mg floppy disk. That makes transporting it and using it very easy, since the one thing every computer today has is a floppy drive.

The second feature I liked about R.S.T. was the ease of use. Since it is completely self booting, there is no concern about compatibility with the operating system on the computer. You just snap the disk into the drive and start up the computer, then immediately the diagnostics screen comes up.

I discovered the program is very comprehensive in the number and types of tests it offers. In manual mode, I found a group of test algorithms including, Stuck High and Low, Snake On and Off, Pseudo Random. Parity (Standard and Inverse), Walk Left (Standard and Inverse), Walk Right (Standard and Inverse), Checker Board (Standard and Inverse), ATS, MATS+, Marching C, Block Move, Leak (forgive that I did not try this particular test as the manual advised it could take upwards of 4 hours per megabyte) and a User Selectable category.

Although I tested several ram modules, I was fortunate enough not to run into any failed memory, (which pleased me no end, but was unfortunate in that I was unable to experience the procedures the software gives for failed memory). I can share with you this from their web site:

"Once an error is detected, Ram Stress Test will identify the exact failing memory location. The program uses a simple and unique memory map that identifies the exact failing chip (Yes, it will not only detect the SIMM, but the chip on the SIMM). The program also sounds an alarm when it detects a failure, which allows the program to be run unattended. The program also generates a report at the end of each test cycle and the report may be printed for hard copy purposes."

"R.S.T. lets users test system RAM without the interference of any Memory Drives, TSRs, Operating System limitations, or Windows protected mode environment. R.S.T. runs all tests in protected mode which may completely and thoroughly test up to four gigabyte of memory. This utility provides users the options of running complicated test patterns to detect hard to find memory errors or memory errors, which are not detected by other test software."

In the final analysis of this product, I would give it a clear thumbs up and recommend it to any professional working on computers. It clearly has the ability to find Ram memory problems quickly and easily. The portability of the product makes it easy to carry out for service calls. Though this is not a consumer product for the home user, clearly it is a winner for Computer Technicians.


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