Cooking the Celery
I test each CPU under initial identical conditions prior to "burning in" my combos. I do an initial test run using the same Abit BH6, same RAM (single stick 64MB Micron, CAS3) and the same video card, a Trident 975, 4MB AGP. For those who are interested, this is a very fast 2D card that consistently scores better than 5 in Final Reality. Not very good in 3D, but for a business system, its a screaming bargain. I use an old 270MB Quantum hard drive (actually have 3 set up identically, so I can burn multiple combos at once). I use an old hard drive because I assume that these setups will be going in to a variety of situations with a variety of drives and that if itll work with this clunker, itll probably work anywhere.
I run a quick test at 450 using Business Winstone 97. Why such an old version, you might ask? Because Im not testing for performance, only stability. This works perfectly for that purpose. If it fails, I bump the core voltage up a notch until it passes. If the CPU wont do 450 or requires more than 2.2v core, I set it aside for later evaluation. After passing the first test on my evaluation board, I move the chip to the motherboard with which it will be mated.
I put each one through 6 full rounds of Winstone and 2 hours of Final Reality. By using these two tests, Im covering both the 2D business users and the 3D gamers. As an aside, for those who havent used it, Final Reality is not only a great test, it is visually stunning. One glitch at current voltage, and its bumped up a notch, until its completely stable. Because I believe that stability means having a little breathing room, I dont sell a chip at 450 if it requires more than 2.2v core to stabilize.