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RightMark Memory Analyzer 3.5 - a New Version of the Benchmark with a New Memory Stability Test

May 18, 2005




Finally, after all these pre-releases of RMMA 3.4x benchmark, being mostly upgrades of the SysInfo component due to the appearance of new processors and chipsets, time has come for a major release of our universal benchmark. An occasion for this release appeared when a stand-alone utility RightMark Memory Stability Test (RMMS) was integrated into the final version of the test suite. We have been using beta versions of this utility for a long time to test operating stability of memory modules with overclocked timings from the leading manufacturers. This article will be devoted to the review of this utility.

RightMark Memory Stability Test

RMMS utility is included into the new RMMA 3.5 benchmark as a stand-alone application, which does not require any other RMMA components (such as SysInfo.dll) due to a cardinally different approach to memory stability testing. The key difference of this test from many other built-in RMMA tests, including the old RAM Stability Test, lies in using maximum available memory, while the memory block allocated for RMMA tests is just 32 MB (of course, nothing stops users from using a different memory block size in RMMS — down to 32 MB, however the efficiency of the new test may drop considerably in this case).

This utility was developed with a special purpose in mind — to test stability of efficient memory modules solely in case of overclocked frequency and/or timings of the memory system. Our tests demonstrated that this utility is not so effective in professional tests used to detect hardware defects in memory modules. We recommend other utilities for this purpose, a beta version of our RAMTester in particular, which is available at http://cpu.rightmark.org/download/mem20041217.rar.

Let's have a look at the main (and only) window of the test, which opens when you start the application, to be more exact — the functions of its elements.

RightMark Memory Analyzer diagram

Virtual Memory Map

This part of the window displays a conventional map of virtual memory that corresponds to the allocated block of physical memory. The total number of map blocks equals to the total capacity of physical memory, divided by the block scale (specified in the Legend). The number of involved blocks is proportional to the block size, allocated for testing in physical memory (it's free physical memory size by default).

Memory Status

Information on physical memory status:

Total Physical — total capacity of physical memory, available to OS

Available Physical — physical memory capacity, currently available to user applications (of course, RightMark Memory Stability Test belongs to this class as well).

Test Status

Information on the progress of a test:

Test No. — the number of a current test, total number of tests

Run No. — a repeat index of the current test, a total number of test repetitions

Patterns — patterns used by the current test to compare the data written to memory and then read from memory

Test Time — run time of the current test

Total Time — total time the tests are running

Test Errors — the number of errors, found by the current test

Total Errors — total number of errors found.

Test Settings

Here are the test settings, which you may modify before you start the test:

Memory (MB) — memory block size to be tested. The minimum size is 32 MB, the maximum size is limited by the available physical memory (see the Memory Status section).

Stride Size — the stride size for walking a memory block. The minimum size corresponds to the natural element size (32-bit DWORD, i.e. 4 bytes), 8 MB maximum, at logarithmic steps. The larger is the stride size, the lower is the data caching level, which increases the test time and its reliability. Caching data from memory goes down towards zero, when Stride Size exceeds a cache segment size, which equals to the maximum cache level size divided by its associativity level (for example, 1024KB / 8 = 128 KB for L2 Cache in Intel Pentium 4 with Prescott core).

Test Patterns — the type of memory patterns used (comparison samples):

Normal — solid-filling the allocated memory block, at first with direct pattern, then with the inverse pattern

Alternating — filling an allocated memory area with alternating direct and inverse patterns.

Selected Tests — subtest selection, in fact you select which patterns to use:

1-bit — 1-bit patterns (1 item)

2-bit — 2-bit patterns (1 item)

4-bit — 4-bit patterns (4 items)

8-bit — 8-bit patterns (8 items)

16-bit — 16-bit patterns (16 items)

32-bit — 32-bit patterns (32 items)

Legend

Conventional signs on the virtual memory map.

Unallocated — memory area, which is not available to the test (i.e. occupied by the operating system or other applications)

Untested — untested areas of memory

Test Running — a currently tested memory block

Partially Tested — partially tested memory blocks

Test Successful — successfully tested memory blocks, where no errors were found

Test Failed — memory blocks (partially or successfully tested), where one or several errors were found

Block Scale — scale of a single memory block, KB.

Run Test

This button starts the test (when a test is already running, this button changes to Stop Test and allows to stop the process at any moment).

About...

Information about the program and its developers.

Exit

To quit the program (if a test is running, it will be cancelled).

That's how the running test may look like.

RightMark Memory Analyzer diagram

We hope that RightMark Memory Stability Test, reviewed in this little article, will be useful not only in our tests, but also to all interested users, who want to squeeze maximum performance from their computers, from the memory system in particular - by overclocking its bus and/or timings.

Dmitri Besedin (dmitri_b@ixbt.com)

May 13, 2005.


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