The challenges of a hardwaretest

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Anyone who has ever tried has slightly structured a hardwaretest will have experienced that the practice is usually far more problematic than beforehand thought.

Not suitable parts, malfunctioning drivers, inexplicable stability issues and a lack of good comparable data, are just some of the many challenges a tester faces. Tweakers.net is this time being no exception. The rigging of a fullscale test lab has long been on our wish-list, but the space is lacking, as yet, to realize this dream. Fortunately, glimmers of hope, but more about that later.

Last Tuesday, we were unexpectedly confronted with a large box by our colleagues of the HUB on behalf of Intel was provided. In the box we found a sample kit of Intel’s Skulltrail platform. Now it is Intel, at least still so friendly to a fairly complete kit including memory and coolers to deliver, but it’s far from a testklaar system. Hard drives, power supplies, and video cards must be from the private stock he calls. Hence, we regularly enlist the help of friendly hardware vendors such as Leon van Rooijen of Dollarshops to us within two days managed to include two Jetway Radeon 3870 X2 graphics cards. Verily very useful, but unfortunately it was already Thursday, while the kit is on Friday already been delivered had to be at the next reviewer.

Well, there you are, with your good intentions. You have a test kit of completed. one of the major launches of 2008: the biggest chip maker in the world, but you have no time for a real review to jobs. Wait until the kit becomes available again, also has no meaning, because at that moment half the world is already on the system had gone, and a review on our part, yet but little useful information will be able to add.

Sole efforts of the undersigned resulted, therefore, in the following test setup.

On the left we see the two Tagan power supplies, respectively, 480 and 500 watts that were necessary to the system lwa berhaupt to get underway. The Intel D5400XS motherboard requires two 8-pin 12V connectors, and only the most clumsy power supplies have standard features. That we had not, so we will use only two. In addition, the Radeon 3870X2 cards each also a pair of pcie-e power connectors and power supplies with four such instances are also rare. It is our not, incidentally, managed to get the two ATI cards in Crossfire set-up to get underway. With two cards in the motherboard, put wanted the Windows installation does not even start, let alone run correctly. Once ge lwa installed see Windows itself the second card correctly, but the ATI driver there is currently very little. Nevertheless, it also provides completed. n card is quite impressive scores on (17.500 points in 3Dmark06 without any optimization).

The images show that the ad-hoc testing steps that can be improved. Fortunately, in the short term, the necessary improvement on this just to be expected. Within a few months will Tweakers.net namely, a second floor in the current building involve so there is finally room to a professional test lab to achieve.

In total, we get the disposal of more than 500 square feet of floor area extra, of which about ninety square meters for the new test lab is reserved. This will be approximately 75 square metres for hardwaretests be used; the remaining 15 square meters will be renovated to ‘gameroom’. In both areas, we can then finally permanent test facilities ensure the structured and professional, and can be tested. In the hardwarelab is about 90 linear metres of stellingruimte, causing the pile up of boxes with hardware of the past, we have a nice stock of test hardware construction and the necessary parts could have been lost.

So although we are not at this time always pleased about the way in which we have some tests run and are dependent on external factors, it is intended that in the first half of this year will significantly improve.