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A stability test is essentially a stress test for a software program, central processing unit, or computer component such as a video card. The idea is to stress the component to the maximum to determine how well it performs under pressure, and to establish performance parameters. There are a number of uses for stability testing, ranging from routine testing conducted during product development to tests conducted by overclockers to explore the limitations of their systems before they start making modifications.
In a stability test, a component is pushed to the point of crashing to learn where its limitations are. Stability testing can also be used to determine how long a component can operate under high stress, and at what point errors other than a total crash start to occur. A number of computer programs are designed to be used in stability testing, with people loading the software onto their computer and allowing it to run the testing, and people can also conduct tests manually.
Stability testing is a very important part of product development. It is used to determine the limitations of a product before it is released, and to identify areas which may need improvement or modification before product release. The stability test is also part of the quality assurance testing used to show stockholders the capabilities of the product, and to assure them that the product is being meticulously tested before it goes to market.
A CPU stability test is one very popular form of stability test. This type of test checks for processor stability, and also monitors processor performance as the processor's workload is increased. For example, if a processor starts to develop errors under a relatively light load, it may not matter that it will withstand a high load before crashing, because users will be frustrated by the errors long before they encounter a crash. Since many computer users expect to be able to run multiple programs with high processing power demands at once, CPU stability testing is important for manufacturers who want their customers to be satisfied.
A stability test can be used to check on a newly configured system, or to audit an existing system to determine whether or not it is functioning as desired. Stability tests can be important from a security standpoint, as they may identify areas of weakness which could be exploited by someone trying to attack a system or individual computer.
I would like to mention that a stability test can also be done on web servers and massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) servers. Both types of servers have to be able to handle millions of users at a time.
In both cases, everything needs to be tested, including the hard drives, CPU, RAM, and even the wires that connect the server to the internet.
A friend of mine works for a web hosting company. He says they test their servers with all of their anti-hacking and anti-virus software turned on, because that’s the way the servers will usually be operating.
Stability testing helped him find and fix a few hardware problems and one incorrect software setting before he put new servers online. That saved his company’s customers from a server crash later.